Untamed & Unbroken
Welcome to our blended family! We may look like the Brady Bunch on the outside, but I would say that our family can be described more like an untamed and unbroken colt at times!
Let me just say that I am completely in love with, and thankful for, my wonderful husband and the beautiful children that we share between us, but when Chad and I got married, I was thinking that it was going to be quite a bit easier. You know, not having to raise 3 kids on my own, my kids having a godly father figure, my step-son and husband blending right in, and things like that. And, although some of these things are true, it has still been a challenging road at times.
Chad and I met in May of 2010. My children and I were living in a transitional housing shelter. We were dealing with the effects of drug addiction in the family, rejection, divorce, emotional pain, etc. We had been emotionally and financially broken, but were in a season of healing and restoration.
Chad and his son were also dealing with the effects of addiction, a life-altering car-accident that resulted in his son’s mother having years of major health problems (eventually leading to her death in 2014), divorce, and his son’s loss of 2 infant siblings, as well as his struggle with ADHD.
Chad’s parents were the worship leaders at the church I attended. Chad played the drums for them while I sang on the worship team. It didn't take long for me to notice how “anointed” Chad was when he sat down at the piano and began to worship one Sunday morning; it was love at first song! It also didn't take long for us to find out how much we had in common--including both of our boys being named Israel--and our dreams for the future and ministry. We started dating one month after we started “talking,” and were married 4 months later. It was happily-ever-after from there! Well, not exactly.
We quickly found out that blended families take a lot of patience and hard work. Blending together all of the past issues, along with step-sibling rivalry, parenting/step-parenting, emotional meltdowns, temper-tantrums, legal issues with biological parents, and differences of opinions and parenting styles, can be overwhelming, frustrating, and discouraging at times. There are days that Chad and I have felt inadequate and unequipped to handle some of the issues that we have had to face as a family. The Lord is constantly teaching us that through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, He brings hope and healing, and can use any situation for His glory.
Untamed and Unbroken
If I am completely honest, I would say that one of the hardest issues I have had to face, in having a blended family, has been step-parenting. I thought it would be easy and that I would be the “best” stepmom ever! I imagined everyone blending together beautifully and everyone getting along with little-to-no problems; however, it has not been that simple.
As I mentioned before, my step-son’s mother passed away in 2014, at which point he moved in with us permanently. It’s already difficult to deal with the normal struggles of a family, but having a child that has lost a parent has been another level of difficulty I could have never anticipated; there is a constant battle with working through feelings of anger, rejection, and behavioral issues--just to name a few.
Over the years, we have had to seek counseling for my step-son, work with school officials to ensure educational and social success, as well as keep him involved with sports to help him channel behavioral issues in positive ways. There have been really good days and there have been really difficult days. I'm not sure why, but I have found it to be really easy to magnify the difficult ones over the good ones, especially when you feel like nothing is working.
The Lord recently revealed to me that I had begun to put up a wall of bitterness in my heart, due to my own feelings of frustration, rejection, aggravation, and anger. When I realized this, I began to pray, asking God to soften my heart and give me His unconditional love for my step-son. To my frustration, it felt like that wall would not break down. The second he would wake up in the morning, I felt like I had to brace myself for the day.
Each day I continued to ask the Lord to help me. Finally one day, I told the Lord, ”I don't want to feel like this anymore! I want to love him how you love him, unconditionally, without bitterness.”
The Lord began to speak to me out of Jeremiah 22:3-4,16. This passage was a warning to the kings who were governing unfairly. It reads,”This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of his oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the alien, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place. For if you are careful to carry out these commands then kings who sit on David's throne will come through the gates of this palace, riding on chariots and on horses, accompanied by their officials and their people.” Verse 16 says,”He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?” I knew that God was speaking to me about how to govern our home.
Then the Lord began to speak to me out of Luke 19:28-38. This is the well-known Bible story of the Triumphal Entry. It talks about how Jesus sent his disciples to bring him a colt that no one had ever ridden. He told them to go untie the colt and bring it to him, and said that if anyone asks them why they were untying it, they should tell them that it was because the Lord needed it.
As I read this story, so many previously unnoticed things began to jump out at me.. The first thing is that Jesus had asked his followers to bring him a donkey colt that had never been ridden before. I thought about that for a moment and started to imagine what that colt was like. If it had never been ridden, it was untamed and unbroken.
I began to study about “unbroken” equine animals, and found out some pretty amazing information! As I was reading on The Lucky Three Ranch Website and some Training Facts I realized that donkeys are a lot like children! The first thing that pops into my mind about donkeys is that they are known to be stubborn and aggressive. I found out that this “stubborness” is actually just a mixture of their smartness and their natural instinct to protect themselves.
I found out that some donkeys need to have their own space; some cause injury to other animals their own age or size. The behavior of these animals is affected by their environment. Bad or aggressive behavior happens when the equine experiences fear, which results from a loss of mental or physical balance. Mental balance is affected by whether the handler is aggravated, or kind and patient. It is also affected by the amount of praise the animal receives. Physical balance is created by helping the animal develop all of its muscles, tendons, and ligaments, equally, over its entire body. If the handler only develops one area specifically, it throws the balance of the animal off. The trainer must take into consideration that each area takes time to develop, which eventually causes these animals to feel better all over. When the equine animal feels good mentally and physically, it begins to trust the handler.
I realized that the fact that Jesus picked that particular colt was surprising and a miracle! He wanted the untamed and unbroken one, and he said that he needed it. He was going to use the one that was most unlikely to succeed in the task, the one most stubborn, the one that may not have had patient trainers, the one that everyone was aggravated by, the one with bad behavior from fear or an unbalanced life. But, when the colt sensed the love, peace, patience, kindness, and all the other fruits of the Spirit that Jesus showed him, he became broken, tame, and usable. Then Jesus received praise and glory because of this amazing miracle!
This revelation completely blew my mind! I thought to myself, “I've been a lot like the impatient handler.” I get easily aggravated, want things done my way, when I want it done, and I’ve wanted to see immediate results, without looking at the long-term picture. I began to re-assess the handler (myself), and the gradual progress all of our kids have made. Then the Lord spoke to me, “Lisa, if you govern your house in the fruit of the Spirit, (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control), then your children will have the balance they need and will behave better. It will take time, but you will see things coming into order. Then, I will get the glory because you allowed Me to be your strength where you felt weak, or felt like a failure.”
Have you been at a similar place in your blended family journey? Are you frustrated by slow progress? Are you at the point where your perspective is increasingly negative? Maybe you are having a hard time as a step-parent, feeling rejected by your step-children. Know that you are not alone. I want to encourage you that God may have chosen you to handle the colts, but it's because he trusts that you will display His fruit. Over time, peace, healing, and wholeness will come to you and your house, and He will get all the praise and glory! Let the Lord be your strength where you feel weak today.
Thank you for choosing me and my family to display your goodness and power. Help me to govern my house in a way that pleases you. Help me to consistently display the fruit of your Holy Spirit to my family, so that over time, they will also grow and display those fruit as well. Help me to love unconditionally without restraint as you have done for me. In Jesus name I pray. Amen
Lisa and Chad Davis are the Family Pastors at Medart Assembly of God in Crawfordville, FL where they oversee the children’s department, as well as pastor the youth ministry. They have been a blended family for 8 years and share 4 children between them. Lisa has an A.A.S. degree in Human Services from Daytona State College and has experience working in the Health and Human Service fields. Chad attended ministry school at Master’s Commission in Orlando, FL. Chad and Lisa are ordained with Destiny Churches and Ministries International Apostolic Network and are a part of the Roar Apostolic Network. Their passion is ministering to youth and families. For questions and comments, email them at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find them on IG @thechad_d