This has been our home at WordPress since we began our ministry at Faithful Marriage Blended Family. It has grown faster than we could’ve ever imagined thanks to God’s hand in each post we and our amazing authors have prepared. It came to the point where we were stuffing 10 pounds of potatoes into a 5 pound sack, so the move was good.
Where Y’all Heading?
Thanks to technology and a pretty smart IT support, we’re still at the URL-Faithful.Live (https://www.faithful.live). You’ll notice how much easier the site is to navigate, and the robust addition of resources. We even have a Members Only forum where registered friends are free to ask and discuss anything in a secure environment.
What About Here?
Again, thanks to technology and that same savvy IT support, we archived all of your favorite articles from the beginning at this platform at the URL – https://blog.faithful.live
You can access the articles here, but there will be no new ones posted at this site. All of these articles are being migrated to the new site atFaithful.Live.
To let you in on a secret, as we move each article from here to there, they will be deleted from this site to avoid confusion. We’d hate for you to post or ask a question and it go unanswered at this site, so it’s best to shut it down one transfered over.
What About Us?
It’s still the same authors and community you’ve come to trust. Just sign up to follow the site and you’ll receive emails and notifications each time an article is released.
And There’s More…
The new site allows us to grow as God has led. We’ll be sponsoring private, online workshops on topics from remarriage, blending families, manhood and more. Plus, there is a cool store where our upcoming books and resource are listed at special offers.
But The Blog Posts…
If you’re looking for the latest and these classic posts, 1-click over to https://www.faithful.live/blog where you’ll see familiar faces. Signup right there so you’ll never miss an article or email.
We do thank you and are so appreciative for you becoming part of our family.
I went live on Facebook (original post) after receiving numerous requests for prayer. The volume of requests weren’t the issue. I love it, but the topic seemed to show that the guys who were reaching out had possibly missed the mark on the purpose of prayer, and it’s power to change.
When I started Brick Breakers a few months ago, I fully expected that a site dedicated to supporting men in their walk with Christ was going to be like sitting in our backyard at night – dark and full of crickets.
I knew God had moved me to start the outreach, but I know guys, and we don’t express our feelings or show vulnerability – EVER.
So, I expected to generate content, and prayed that men would read it and benefit from knowing they were being prayed for.
God really does have it together so much more than I do!
The page continues to grow each week, and although this wasn’t created to count hands, the outpouring of honesty has become a blessing and a lesson learned.
There is such a great desire among men to know more about walking with Christ. They share their struggles, prayers and blessings. I’ve loved watching them reach out and promise to pray for each other. It’s gelling as a very cool community.
But back to the video call-out.
I get many messages from guys who want their wife to return. They say they cherish marriage and want to save it. They also assure that they’ve changed and that their wife either doesn’t believe them or doesn’t want to return.
And while I understand the intentions of their requests, it became important that I try to sharpen their focus on the spiritual realities of praying for someone else be changed by God to suit their personal preferences.
I posted this below in the content of the Facebook post, but wanted to share the short video that goes into detail about praying for change. Please, if you find yourself doing or praying for the same things, give this a view and allow it to help set your prayer life on a direct track with God’s desire.
Do you pray for God to change other people? Think about this for a second.
1-Your prayers are Spirit centered, not self centered.
2-You’re spiritually ready to accept the blessing of an answered prayer.
3-Before you ask God to change someone else, pray that He changes you first so others may see the Christ in you.
Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel
Decades ago, although I had accepted Christ, I was and wasn’t conscious of my outward behavior. It was a conflict between what I’d felt in my spirit and what actually came from my mouth and actions.
I knew God’s promise of becoming a new creation was a solemn oath, but I wasn’t sure how to push the buttons to get the reaction started.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
2 Corinthians 5:17
As I matured in the faith, the reality of others watching became a reality. I think the most hurtful thing people have said at times were, “Oh, you’re a Christian? I never knew.” Talk about cutting to the core.
Of course, I would self-justify by thinking that being a Christian wasn’t about putting on a performance. It was living for God.
Thankfully, as there became less of me and more of Him, I learned it was no performance. Living for Christ was life changing, and along with that change was not only the internal conviction, but an external behavior.
When I accepted the position as chief of police I felt a stronger conviction to openly speak of my belief in Christ. Public prayer in uniform rubbed some in the community the wrong way, but God’s calling encouraged me to disregard the hesitation and press into His will.
Talk about living in a fishbowl!!!
But, a wonderful thing occurred. I began to care less about public opinion as I prayed more about God’s will. What I would come to understand was that there really wasn’t much dissention. I think it was the remnants of my own doubt.
The lesson God allowed me to learn was that indeed people do watch, but if you conduct yourself as Christ demands, what they see becomes consistent with what you believe.
Recently, this became evident while Leah and I were attending a huge writer’s conference. We had just come off the heals of a 21-day, cross country motorcycle adventure. We had committed to chronicle each day in a travel blog as we progressed across America.
There was a risk of each post revealing our exhaustion or moments on Facebook live broadcasts where the high heat and endless miles might have exposed a snap, terse comment.
Honestly, we were too tired to snap. Despite the potential for a misguided moment, we felt God’s tug to share the adventure and His presence.
In addition to spending time with a fantastic writer and one of the Faithful.Live crew, Hallee Bridgeman, we were greeted by fellow authors who had followed our posts.
All were kind enough to share how much they enjoyed not only the beautiful pictures, but also the messages we shared about our faith and the blessings of being married.
The reality is people do watch you. Whether you’re a believer in Christ or just going to the grocery store, people observe and judge. Not just strangers, casual acquaintances, or friends, but the kids soak it all in.
This is why children of blended families may still grow to experience loving, long-lasting marriages of their own. Although it’s not their biological parents, the example of two married adults in a healthy remarriage scenario is a powerful example that demonstrates to the kids that marriage is still sacred.
Leah and I have learned that living our lives for Christ has also changed our behavior in public and at home. Not that we were a public nuisance before, but beginning each morning in prayer and talking about God throughout the day has led us into a walk more consistent with His will.
We each also understand that our behavior between each other is seen on an intimate level at home alone and with our kids. It’s not an act or performance from some make-believe script. We’re not expected to waltz around like Charlton Heston in the 10 Commandments, but we are expected to be more Christ-like in our thoughts, words and actions.
I thought this was a funny picture Leah had posted during our motorcycle adventure, but it’s about as close as I come to Moses or Charlton Heston!
The key is pursuing the relationship with Christ. Ever notice how your peer group influences the way to talk and act? Now, apply that reality to hanging with Jesus and imagine how it will shift the change in you. Pretty powerful, right?
And of course, while we like (used subjectively) to remind our kids that Jesus is watching, the truth is Jesus is watching. Not just our mini-me’s but us as well.
So whether it’s a global social media audience, peers at a conference, strangers at the store, your kids, your spouse or Christ himself, you are being watched. It’s only a bad thing if you’re doing bad things.
Seek God’s will and understand that every negative action has a reaction as well as a potential for consequences. One of the worst reactions would be if your behavior turned another person off to Christ. Can you imagine your beloved child telling you this one day?
One couple that I enjoy keeping my eye on are also contributors at Faithful.Live. Talk about doing the right things, they live for the Lord and are blessed for their faithfulness. John and Arlene MacFarlane came down to the writer’s conference from Canada, and we all made sure to connect.
You know the old saying, “I’m watching you.” well, it’s kinda like this kid below. Somebody (somebodies) is watching.
On July 1, 2017 Leah and I took off on our Harley Davidson motorcycle. We’d planned a 6,000 mile trip around the United States. I’m a bit more of the motorcycle enthusiast, so to say it was all I focused on for months prior was an understatement.
Our weeks of planning and mapping out routes for hotels, restaurants, visiting landmarks and seeing friends kept our focus zeroed in on the road trip around America.
Leah and I pray together daily. Unfortunately, we get rushed and allow a day or so to pass before we reconnect in prayer. We confess that we both sense the ache in our souls when we miss that connection with each other through Christ.
One promise we committed to was that while on the road, daily prayer was a priority. It was our time on the road and we’d be isolated from work and responsibility. Therefore, not praying was not an option.
The morning we were set to head out, I led us in prayer. My prayers usually start out with thanking God for the many blessings, and then move to praying for others. I continued to pray as God moved and directed my words.
That morning as I prayed for our travel safety, the scenery and enjoyment of the trip, His word stopped me, and I waited on it. It was crystal clear.
Talk about a shift in perspective. I’d thought only of the open road adventures. Crossing deserts, climbing the summits of mountains, traversing the winding swings of crystal lakes and motoring along an endless black ribbon highway around the country.
God’s word was unmistakable. “This is about me.”
Throughout that day I wondered just what He meant that it was about Him. Of course what we do, we do to honor Him, but the words were so precise, I could only think about what God meant. I also worried that I’d miss what He meant. I didn’t want to disappoint Him.
Each day that followed, our prayers became more intimate and specific. It became clear to us after about the third day that this cross country motorcycle adventure was in fact all about Him.
God revealed that this was a prayer revival with motorcycle rides in between. But there was no mistake to be made, this was about pressing into Him through prayer and meditation on His word.
It’s also predictable that satan will do anything to detract us from God’s loving will. Big surprise, right?
I knew so deeply that this trip was about a prayer revival once satan’s interference set in over the course of the many hours of silent travel along the hundreds of highway miles. I never doubted God’s word, but it was an opportunity to practice what I know is God’s truth about defeating the devil in the name of Jesus Christ.
As the weeks continued, Leah and I received God’s word about our marriage, our future and our service for His kingdom.
It can be overwhelming, if not intimidating. After all, once God shares His word, it’s kind of hard to ignore it or decide to do something else.
While we were still enthralled with the sights and experiences on the open road, Leah and I talked less about the ride and more about our relationship with God and each other.
Early 2017 had been a tough time for us. There were several unexpected exterior factors that reared an ugly head as well as issues she and I had not resolved in our still new marriage.
The first half of the year had focused on our understanding, resolving and healing. This trip was also revealed to be a much needed marriage retreat. While Leah and I are very close, we knew there was a depth we needed to achieve in God’s will. This allowed for us to experience God in a very real and active environment.
Each day God would place a word in my heart during prayers. We soon realized that what He was doing was weaving parts of the complete story of our lives each day. It was a beautiful experience.
It’s easy to miss God’s word for our life when we remain focused on things of this world. Leah and I were blessed to have been placed in a social vacuum for a period of three weeks.
It was in that time alone that we heard God’s word for us. The miracle we experienced was that while we anticipated an extreme cross country motorcycle adventure, God knew it would instead be a prayer revival and marriage retreat. He was patiently waiting for us to realize it also.
At God’s lead, I started a men’s outreach a few months ago called Brick Breakers. The focus is to encourage men to be the men God called us to be. I regularly encourage men to begin praying with their wife. I know this has changed our lives once Leah and I began last year. This trip was a fruit of that labor.
While you don’t have to run off on a Harley Davidson to hear God’s word, you must seek His will through prayer. If you don’t pray with your spouse, please begin immediately. God has a word for you.
Summer usually means extended visitation for parents and their kids. That’s a great thing, right? Yes, but with extended time comes an extended absence.
Most summer custody arrangements allow one month together, but it also means one month apart.
This can create a stressful environment for everyone, including the child who is on break after the intensity of an academic school year.
The effects of a difficult summer on the child carries over into the school year.
The stress on the parent also creates feelings of regret or guilt for being unable to provide an epic experience for their child. This places parents in a crux where they spend more than they can afford to provide entertainment for their kids.
This may be driven by guilt, competition to outdo the other parent or a genuine desire to provide memorable adventures.
Now add the dynamics of blended family. When there are kids from the spouse’s side as well, the scenario can exponentially increase in difficulties for all involved.
Satisfying multiple kids with varying interests, ages and experiences can seem almost impossible.
But take heart.
Leah and I just enjoyed another incredible month with all of the kids under roof. Unfortunately, they all left July 1st for a month with their other parents.
We make no secret about how hard we work during the other 11 months so we can spend every second focused on them in June. Planning helps us make sure every one of the kids are provided a stress-free experience while they enjoy their summer break.
I guess one of the things we didn’t plan on was the affect their leaving would have on us. Our first year with everyone together, Leah and I took some time off because we didn’t want to be in an empty, quiet house.
The next summer, we made sure to schedule work travel as soon as the kids left because again, we didn’t want to face the quiet.
Now please don’t misunderstand. We love being home and especially when it’s quiet, whether the kids are there or not, but the drastic shift in a home full of family for a month and just us the very next day is extreme.
Oh, and this summer we took off for a cross-country motorcycle trip when? July 1st.
I’m not saying we’ve found the solution, and “running away” is not the answer. But for the sake of honest disclosure, I think there are a few points to help with the dark days of summer.
Accept the fact that there is a high emotion with family time, and a low when they leave.
Commit to not involving the kids in your dread over them leaving.
Prepare positive activities for you and your spouse in and away from the home to help ease into the transition.
Establish a regular schedule for contact without imposing on the other parent’s time.
Use the time to reconnect with your spouse after an extended period focusing on the kids.
While it’s tempting to fill the emptiness with calls and requests for reports, here’s a few tips to allow the kids to maximize their time at either home.
Do avoid drilling the kids about activities with their other parent while talking with them.
Do avoid comparing activities or trips they have taken with the other parent.
Do avoid going overboard about missing the kids and cause them sadness.
Do avoid calling for the kids all of the time and impede on the other parent’s time.
Do avoid texting the other parent to give suggestions or instructions for care.
Do avoid asking for a daily activity report from the other parent.
Do take comfort in knowing that you enjoyed a wonderful time with your child.
Summer is winding down, and we’re looking forward to seeing the kids come August. But we had another summer of making great memories as a family, and we’re ready to tackle a new school year. Don’t wait until next June to start planning.