Life in the Blender

I grew up in a home with my mom and my dad, and although it wasn’t perfect, they stayed committed to their marriage vows “until death did they part.” I grew up being taught that marriage was a commitment between one man and one woman for life. 

Deborah and I entered into our relationship wanting to honor God and thus didn’t live together prior to marriage. We saved our first kiss until the minister said, “you may now kiss your bride.” We encourage every young person to pursue God’s design for marriage and family for their lives. 

Over the last couple of decades blended families have become more and more commonplace, even among Christians. And while we know that blended families get formed in a variety of ways, many of them happen after a divorce and then remarriage. This saddens and confuses us, leaving us wondering how it became so commonplace.

But then a few years ago (15+ years into my own marriage), Deb told me, “Abe, you realize that you grew up in a blended family, right?” And she was right.

My mom was my father’s 2nd wife. He had 5 other kids in So. California from his first marriage. Because we were in Wa. state, my dad didn’t have a lot of interaction with his ex-wife or kids on a regular basis. But there were times when things that happened in his first family impacted the actions my family.

There are 100 million Americans who have either a step parent, step sibling, or step child. In fact, 40% of all families in the US are blended families. A few years ago FamilyLife launched a department dedicated to ministering to the needs of those 100 million people: FamilyLife Blended.

Deb and I are still strong advocates for God’s design of one man and one woman committed for life because the biological/nuclear home is the best environment for making disciples from one generation to the next. 

But having said that, I’ve learned from FamilyLife Blended Director Ron Deal this key principle:

Stepfamilies done poorly produce more generational and societal chaos, and faith shaping hazards. BUT…stepfamilies done well are a source of grace for couples & children, generationally redemptive, and a picture of what God has done with us bringing us into his family.

If you now find yourself in a blended family relationship, or you know someone who is, I’d love to share with you more about FamilyLife Blended and the resources that we offer. Give me a call. :)

Or you can visit FamilyLife Blended's website, or pick up a copy of one of their many resources.

find these resources and more on FamilyLife's website.

find these resources and more on FamilyLife's website.

deb and I recently hosted the "Blended and Blessed" Simulcast at our church for blended families.

deb and I recently hosted the "Blended and Blessed" Simulcast at our church for blended families.

The greater work

 "Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work." —Oswald Chambers

 "Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work."

—Oswald Chambers

There's been a number of messages, devotionals, and podcasts that I've listened to recently that have driven this message home to me in the last 3 months. 

Prayer over my wife, our kids, our ministry, our finances, our community, our nation, and for the spread of the gospel is much more important than any "work" I try to do in my own strength. 

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Lord, help me to focus on the greater work that you are calling me to. May I never confuse the details of the work I can do for the greater work you are wanting to do in me.   

Sweet 16

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Sixteen years ago, the journies God had us on intertwined, and we began the adventure of a lifetime. 

Little did we know back then:

what our lives would look like now…

(serving as missionaries with FamilyLife, 2,000+ miles away from most of our family)

where we've been…

(Renton, New Zealand, Yakima, Port Orchard, Prosser, Grandview, Little Rock…)

and the other Adventurers we've CREATED(!)/recruited to join us in God's adventure.

(Anna, Danielle, Julia, Rachel, Sarah, and Naomi, + 2 foster boys)

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But I do know that I would do it all over again, and can't wait to see what adventures God has in store for us together in the next 16 years and beyond. 

Happy Anniversary, Babe! 

 

2014 Lara's Christmas Gift Guide

For all those interested in getting the Lara's gifts for Christmas and/or birthdays. (I know this mostly applies to people we call Grandma, Aunt, or Uncle, and only a handful of others)

All links go to our Amazon wish lists.

Anna Lara - (14yrs, Birthday 9/28/00) - Wish List

Danielle Lara - (12yrs, Birthday 2/26/02) - Wish List

Julia Lara - (10yrs, Birthday 4/28/04) - Wish List

Rachel Lara - (8yrs, Birthday 10/19/06) - Wish List

Sarah Lara - (6yrs, Birthday 3/26/08) - Wish List

Naomi Lara - (6yrs, Birthday 3/26/08) - Wish List

Lil' Man - (younger foster boy, almost 5) - Wish List

Big Brother - (older foster boy, ~7.5) - Wish List

 

And just in case anyone is wondering…

Deborah - (Birthday 2/22) - Wish List

Abraham - (Birthday 12/17) - Wish List

 

Merry Christmas!

a safe place

Today (Sat, 5/18), we're sitting in another all day training for foster care.

Transient

It's gut wrenching at times to hear the stories/circumstances that causes some kids to enter the foster care system.

Like a child who had bruises on her body, a fractured skull and broken leg. These injuries happened at different times, yet she'd only been to the hospital once for them.

Oh…and by the way, she was only 5 months old! she was so traumatized when she first entered the system that she wouldn't cry when she was hungry, because she had learned that crying didn't get you anything anyways.

Please pray for us as we open our hearts and home to these kids. We know there will be difficult situations to navigate. But our hope and desire is to provide a safe and loving place for these children to grow and heal for as long as they're with us.