“I am sure God will use this crazy life of mine some day for a very specific purpose.”  I spoke those words for the first time about 25 years ago and have repeated them many times since.  But it was not until 2013 that God revealed to me exactly how He wanted to use what I had learned the first 60 years of my life to help others.

I had known for a long time that God was calling me to a helping ministry.  Christian counseling seemed to be the obvious profession, but just two courses into the master’s level program I knew counseling was not where the Lord wanted me.  I withdrew from the program, concentrated on other goals, and waited.  Several years later I learned about Christian life coaching, and I knew immediately this was the helping profession God had chosen for me.

I established a practice and used my skills to advance intentional Christian living in my church.  Eventually, my desire to have a broader understanding of clients led me to enroll in a Christian counseling training program.  It was there I came face-to-face with matters of my own past.

One of the topics that kept coming to my consciousness was issues step families confront.  At the peak of my preoccupation with the subject my phone rang.  On the other end of the line was a couple who was planning to marry.  They were trying to work through step-family issues in preparation for marriage.  I found myself remarkably prepared to help them.  I had experienced firsthand the challenges they described.

The decade of my twenties had been one of major events.  By the time I was 28 years old I knew how it felt to have a miscarriage, give birth to a healthy daughter and son, give birth of a son with a congenital birth defect who died at the age of two months, live through a marital separation, and grieve the accidental death of a spouse.  Eager to put my broken life back together, I too-quickly married a man who also had two children from his first marriage.  Together we had a son.  That marriage ended after six years.

It was then that I learned that though it takes two people to create a marriage, it only took one to end it.  I was devastated and swore off romantic relationships for life.  Divorce had been an inconceivable concept to me, yet it had become my reality.  I was done with the institution of marriage being a part of my life.  God was not.  Several years later I married Mike.  When we married we created a step-family of five children ranging in ages from nine to 20 years old.  We celebrated our twentieth anniversary in April 2014.

What I did not appreciate until many years later is that while my husbands and I chose to be step-parents, our kids did not choose to be step-children or have step-siblings or step-anythings for that matter.  Our parents did not choose to have step-grandchildren.  And, the same can be said for every familial relationship there is – aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, cousin, and in-laws of all of those, and even friendships.  So many lives are affected when a couple establishes a step-family, yet culturally we still tend to think of step relationships as the exception and not the norm.

My heart is to provoke people, Christian coaches in particular, to acknowledge and address the pervasive impact step-relationships have on people.  I challenge you to rethink your beliefs, attitudes, and understanding of step-relationships.  I promise.  You will be a more well-rounded coach when you raise your sensitivity to this common reality in daily living.

Finally, I want you to know that I am in no way suggesting we need to rewrite or diminish scripture to accommodate sin.  God hates divorce and His word is very clear on the issue.  His “Plan A” will always be that one man and one woman be united in marriage for a lifetime unless there are Biblical grounds for divorce.  It is because of human failings we live under “Plan B.”  Plan B requires confession, forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration.  After years of rationalization, I finally found peace following confession, accepting God’s forgiveness, being reconciled with Him, and restoring relationships I had damaged.

Perhaps your story is similar to mine.  You found yourself having to choose between two bad options, and divorce was the better of the two.  You may be surprised as you read through this book at how the Holy Spirit prompts you to revisit that pain.  When that happens, let Him work in you so you will ultimately be available for His perfect calling on your life.  It is time to move forward in God’s grace so we can be His ambassadors in a world desperate for Him!

Mosaic(c) Family Coaching is a ministry of Light My Path Ministries(c).

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Debbie Lee Stankovich, MCLC

Certifications

Christian Life Coach

Master Christian Life Coach

Joy Restoration Coach

Church Business Administrator

Christian Counseling

Education

Washington State University

B.A. Social Sciences

(Psychology, Management, and Human Relations)

Trinity Lutheran College

Biblical Studies

Experience

Over 30 years non profit management experience, including nearly 14 years as a church administrator