Today’s OtherSpeak post is submitted by a woman whose entire family I love and respect. Danette Martin is a gifted writer (see also Dani’s Discoveries), but she thinks of herself as “an ordinary person serving an extraordinary God.” I needed to hear what she shared here for my own situations and relationships. If you are in her shoes, or not, you’ll want to hear it too. ❤
Dear Friend Whose Dad (or Mom) is Getting Remarried,
You’ve been on my mind ever since I heard the news of your dad’s engagement. Twenty-four years ago, I was in your shoes and today I’m here to say you’re not alone.
You’re not alone in experiencing intense emotions. Like disappointment. (Oh, Dad, how could you so quickly abandon your love of Mom and direct it toward another woman?)
Or fear. I feared that maybe Dad hadn’t fully loved Mom if he could switch affections mere months after her death, I feared that I wouldn’t have the time I needed to grieve Mom’s death properly, and that the new mom would be too sloppy, gossipy, timid, trendy, or just, in general, too different than Mom.
I experienced anger. Aimed at God, who could’ve prevented Mom’s death and didn’t, at Dad, for loving again too soon, at the ones in my family who were even less okay with Dad’s dating than I was, and at the people who seemed to make it their business to ensure all of us were handling things fine.
And sorrow. Over the loss of Mom, who was gone forever, as well as the loss of Dad as we used to know him, and the deaths by miscarriage that seemed to abound in our family that year, one of them being our own wee child. I lamented living in a broken world. How I longed for things to be perfect. I knew God makes beautiful results of broken things, but I wondered why He had to break things in the first place.
You are also not alone in your honesty. I found it helpful to be honest with myself and others about what I was dealing with. It is hard to have a parent die, and it is hard to have the remaining parent love someone else. That is fact. Acceptance of the facts is one of the steps along the healing journey.
You are not alone in your courage. I dare you to believe that your future holds joy. The lady my dad added to our family circle has unique strengths and gifts to offer that I had no way of fully knowing back then. Today I honestly don’t know what we’d do without her. Don’t resist or abandon the surprise package that is yours.
You are not alone in your belief that attitude is huge. Choosing to accept our circumstances and the people in them affects our life experiences positively. Finding things for which to thank God in any situation is the best life exercise ever. Some very helpful advice for me, though, has been to build an altar of lament and an altar of praise simultaneously. God accepts a sincere offering of sorrow alongside a sincere offering of praise. Make Him your Focus, your Joy, your All; the Receiver of your worship.
You’re going to make it, honey.
In the meantime, here’s a hug. I packed it full of hope.
This made me cry. Thank-you for sharing these vulnerable words of hope with your world.
This is beautiful, Danette. Especially so because I know your parents. Thank you.
This is so good. And if you can lay aside your own feelings and truly see the joy in your parents’ eyes as they are finding companionship and love again, it is a beautiful thing. I know.
Amen Danette. It’s a unique grief. Then a wistful joy as you choose to accept the new, never forgetting the one you have lost. ????
We didn’t have it happen “too soon”…it was several years, but I can honestly say our stepmom made “home” seem like home again. It was a cold barren place with no woman’s touch, and our new stepmom, Orpha, did an amazing job of becoming Grandma and wife and mom all at once. She was such a blessing and we miss her and Dad so much since they were killed.
This is good. I have long admired the way this family has blended and it was good to see behind the scenes a bit. I am so blessed to have Dan and Ruthie in our community.
I like that… “Build an altar of lament snd an altar of praise simultaneously.”
Thanks for sharing your perspective, Dani! As the youngest daughter-in-law in this very same blended family, I find it hard to imagine our tribe any other way. So thank you to you and the other members of the family who allowed God to use your very difficult circumstances to make something beautiful, even though I can see it wasn’t always easy to accept. I feel richer for being part of the family!