We were at the RREACH banquet last weekend and we were blessed to see what Ramesh Richard and his organization is doing by equipping pastors and sending them out. It was truly a blessing to be there again.
One of the personal highlights for me was to see my friend, Ed Yates. Ed wrestled with me at the very beginning as we talked through the founding of Blended Together Forever. Ed is the one the Lord used to speak to my heart when he said, “Well Craig, it sounds like what you’re trying to do is make the family whole again.“
The tagline we use in our ministry is because of those PROPHETIC WORDS spoken by Ed.
On another note, we are meeting regularly with our friend, Christine Clark from Stonebriar Community Church who helped us write our Couples Workbook. We are currently expanding the content to a 16 week curriculum. Keep praying for us – this is going to be gold.
An additional note, we have really ramped up our social media campaign. We are laying a strong foundation on Instagram and have high hopes it will take off. As well as a new, edited/updated plan to grow on Facebook. We are watching God bring us people who love Blended Together and our mission to reach the masses.
Lastly, we are grateful to Family Life and Ron Deal who desire to reach this huge segment of the population. The Summit will be held in Little Rock in October. This link you can pass on to your friends and family.
A writer for Family Life recently said, “Disappointed love can occur at any point in your marriage, even after times of peak romance and unusual oneness. When love disappointed, as it does for all of us, don’t give up.”
Has love disappointed you?
Been disillusioned with marriage?
Doubt your “family” expectations won’t happen?
Take heart from our friend, Kirk McGregor and his story.
I had the privilege of meeting you and your wife at the Hope Fellowship Blended Family (live via satellite) event in April 2017.
My wife (Lori) and I have been married for 6 years and 3 months. We have 4 children (hers & his). Lori has twins (Sarah and Matthew – 18 years) and I have two children (Alex – 11 ½ years and Abby – 10 years).
We met on eHarmony in July 2011 and were married 7 months later. We currently live in the Lake Highlands area of Dallas and attend Watermark Community Church. Lori is an OB/GYN practicing at Medical City Dallas and I am a part-time stay-at-home dad as well as seminary student at Dallas Theological Seminary. I am about ½ to my Masters Degree in Christian Leadership and plan on using my education and experience to further develop a Blended Family ministry at Watermark. Currently, I am (acting) as one of the main ministry contacts, along with four other leader couples.
I’ve been reaching out to a few Blended Family contacts to partner with them in creating ministry supports nation-wide. Ron L. Deal has been a tremendous help to Watermark as the curriculum is based on his The Smart Step-Family book. In addition, I have had a conference call with Willie Scott (Better Than Blended) and am looking to connect with other Blended Family groups across the country.
I am grateful for what you have done with your ministry and am blessed that you’re local.
Thank you for your continued prayers for Craig & Gina and Blended Together Forever. We are grateful and love you all. Our events page lists all our Fall Events. You are helping us make the family WHOLE again!
Have you gotten your tickets?
In Theaters May 1 and 3
Did you know that over 800 theaters across the US are signed up to show Like Arrows on May 1 and 3? Get your tickets now, and while you’re at it, this is a great time to pick up tickets for friends or family members who may be inspired by this great story of faith, parenting and legacy!
See Matt Hammitt's official music video for #LikeArrows! Parenting is a journey, and it's one to be made with intentionality. From FamilyLife, Pro-Family Films, and executive producers The Kendrick Brothers, this film hits theaters on May 1 & 3! Find a theater near you at likearrowsmovie.com/tickets
Author Erin Weidemann knows that today, the girls who are the loudest are the ones who are noticed. To combat this, Erin created The Bible Belles, an extraordinary series of books that make a different kind of noise! The Bible Belles tell the stories of Biblical superheroes: Hannah, Esther, Abigail, Ruth and Deborah. The names of these five women represent a journey that every girl can take to become someone who uses their voice to make a unique impression on the world: her own journey to be HEARD!
Bible Belles has a message for women of all ages, as Erin is also the host of the Heroes for Her podcast, where she interviews positive role models who are working hard, loving others, and inspiring women to serve their unique purpose. Make sure you check out the Heroes for Her podcast where Erin interviews our own Bob Lepine.
We asked several of the creators of Like Arrows to tell us a “Proud Parent” story. Today, Stephen Kendrick, Executive Producer of Like Arrows, shares the story of a lunch with his teenage son:
“When any of my six kids becomes another year older, they know that I will be picking them up and taking them out on a “birthday lunch date with dad” at a restaurant of their choice. Afterwards, we usually visit a store for a reasonably priced gift and then lastly land somewhere for some great ice cream. One year, while riding alone with my teenage son on his birthday, he smiled and turned to me and said, “Dad, I’m fifteen years old today and am so grateful that I have never looked at pornography.” I was not expected this to be his birthday conversation of choice, but was truly blessed to hear it. Knowing that so many young men struggle in this area, I was so proud that my son was celebrating his avoidance of it as a badge of honor. I am grateful to the Lord for my son and for so many answered prayers in his life.May we all continue to pray that God would deliver us and our families from evil.”
Bring a Group
PARENTING IS A JOURNEY, and often it’s a challenging journey. Every parent (and grandparent!) is aware of that fact! So why not link arms with other parents and take on the challenge together. DON’T GO TO IT ALONE! Group tickets to see Like Arrows are available at a discounted rate – so grab some friends and join together in raising the next generation!
“A blended family and a prodigal typically go hand in hand.”
–Matt Thiessen, CRU
“And she shall bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus; for it is he that shall save his people from their sins.” — Matthew 1:21
Is it Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas?
Oh, I know the politically correct term – “Happy Holidays.”
But there’s another twist on that phrase – are your holidays “Merry” and “Happy”?
I used to hate Christmas in the 90’s, because it reminded me of pain. The pain of divorce.
This year I feel for many of my friends & family, because they’ve lost loved ones to cancer, heart attacks, and pneumonia.
Add to that, our children and grandchildren experience developmental grief, and mixed family traditions when you’re blended.
Diane Fromme, author of Step-Parenting the Grieving Child wrote,
“The holidays are upon us once again. It’s the time of year when families come together to celebrate the fact they are just that, family. But what is meant to be a time of thankfulness and celebration for many is also a time of pain and hopelessness for many others. The feelings of grief and loss are magnified during the holiday season. The void of an absent loved one is felt with every opening of a door and every pass of a holiday dish. The death of a parent or significant person can turn what would be reasons for celebration into reminders of heartache. This is a time marked by feelings of loneliness for many grieving children.”
So how do you get through the holidays?
How do you help your children get through too?
How can you rejoice and make them “Merry” and “Happy”?
That’s why he came!
That’s how I get through – I remember Emmanuel, God is with me.
Focusing on the real gift of Christmas can be more difficult when a blended family gets together.
But look for ways to help the family focus on Jesus. FamilyLife, for example, offers some creative questions to do just that.
As I got ready to depart to Chattanooga, I strongly felt the nudge of just being with the Lord, not planning to do all these things in 2018. I sent an individual text to 4-5 buddies and asked them to pray for me while I was gone. On Tuesday morning around 7AM, I felt an incredibly strong nudge that these guys were praying for me right then.
Change the pattern
Monday was great just hanging out with the Lord. Worshipping, praying, praising Him all until about 12 noon. Then around noon I thought, Lord don’t I need to be “doing“ something?! Not just hanging out. I started to get a little nervous because this was not my normal pattern. Around 2 PM that afternoon, I felt led to go out and minister. I drove around downtown Chattanooga just looking for people to connect with and minister. It was His agenda, not mine. And if I took time to tell you the stories of the people I met, this email would be too long.
Wrestling with margin.
I hate the word busy. because I used to be busy. I’m still growing in that area. Do I want to be productive, fruitful, sure but busy, no. Learning to say no has been and still is a growth step for me. Changing the pattern 3 days per week and adding margin will be great, but only then I will see fruit when this new habit is truly developed. The verse that encourages me is God prunes all of us so that we can bear more fruit.
One victory builds upon another.
All of us in a blended family understand winning and losing. Initially, blended families are formed out of a loss. And if you’re not careful, you can compare your marriage and family to others that you witness. But take heart, God has overcome our losses! And like our victory in Jesus, our victory in family is coming!
Just “be” while God “does”
Samuel Rodriguez was on TBN talking about his new book, “be light”. He said, “It’s not what you do, it’s what God does for you.” I hear that and I immediately go out on the balcony to pray. God brought to my mind many people and many leaders. I just wrote in my diary. In other words, God was about the “doing“ while I was about the “being.“ And I praised Him for what he was doing for me.
Get away and reflect and just be with the Lord. You don’t have to go away on a trip, you don’t have to spend a lot of money. But you must quiet yourself, and be still. Be still before the Lord and in His presence. He wants to talk with you. You’ll be glad you did.