Gift Guide

The Journey


Jeff and Judi Parziale are the directors of InStep Ministries—a ministry to single, divorced, and remarried individuals in the Christian community and their children. In addition to support services and printed materials, Jeff and Judi are available for workshops and seminars in local churches or Christian organizations.
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Jeff and Judi Parziale are the directors of InStep Ministries—a ministry to single, divorced, and remarried individuals in the Christian community and their children. In addition to support services and printed materials, Jeff and Judi are available for workshops and seminars in local churches or Christian organizations.
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What People Are Saying

As their pastor, I have watched Jeff and Judi Parziale hammer the principles of this book out in their own blended family for almost twelve years now... They are the first blended couple I've known who have been able to articulate the huge difficulties of the stepfamily journey... They are showing us the way.
— Senior Pastor, Pantano Christian Church, Tucson, Arizona
Paul Simpson
With an insightful and compassionate style, Drs. Jeff and Judi have created a powerful, easy-reading resource to bring blended families together... The Journey is a must read for every blended family traveling towards the unity that God has intended for them to experience.
— author of Second Thoughts and founder of the family mediation program, Project Middle Ground
Randy Carlson
Drs. Jeff and Judi Parziale have created for you a very helpful and practical guide for thriving in your Christian stepfamily. It's an A to Z guide to the unique challenges each stepfamily faces. The Journey will help to keep you on the right track.
— host of Parent Talk OnCall and President of Family Life Communications
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781587361210
  • Publisher: Wheatmark, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/1/2002
  • Pages: 268
  • Product dimensions: 0.56 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 11.00 (d)

Table of Contents

The Journey: Egypt to the Promised Land
Your Journey: So You Want to Blend a Family?
Part One: Blended Family Beginnings
Leaving Egypt and Entering the Desert
Beginning the Journey
Worksheet #1 Blended Family Questions
Worksheet #2 Personal Issues
Worksheet #3 Child Survey
Worksheet #4 Family Questions
Blended Family Myths
Expectations in Blended Families: I Think We Should Go This Way
The Role of Emotional Wounds: Can I Endure the Journey?
Part Two: Maps for the Journey
Understanding the Terrain: Characteristics of Blended Families
Stepfamily Realities: Journey Truths
A Few Rules for the Road
A Map of the Journey: How a Blended Family Develops
Part Three: Traveling Companions
Leading the Journey: The Husband-Wife Team
The Journey Needs of Children
The Role of the Stepparent
Part Four: Survival Skills for the Journey
Communication Skills
Communication Processes in Relationships
Decision-Making Skills
Setting Healthy Boundaries
Solving Problems on the Journey
Part Five: Giants in the Land
Challenges of the Journey
Journey Conflicts: Confronting Giants
Giant #1 Making Visitation Work
Giant #2 Dealing with a Former Spouse
Giant #3 Disciplining the Children
Handling Conflicts on the Journey
Part Six: Becoming a Blended Family
The Journey: Becoming Family
Key Tasks for the Journey
Traits of Highly Nurturing Blended Families
What Can We Learn from the Journey?
Developing a Vision for Your Blended Family
Bibliography and Suggested Reading
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Blending a family may be one of the most difficult, yet most rewarding, challenges you ever encounter. Unfortunately, most families take this journey alone, with little support from their family or the church. That is where InStep Ministries can help. We provide support to current and prospective stepfamilies through counseling and educational materials. InStep Ministries and materials like this workbook are the results of both our professional and our personal journey as a blended family. Jeff has counseled families for over 25 years, and Judi is a research psychologist. We have struggled with most of the issues you will read about in this workbook. So, dear blended couple, you are not alone on your journey.

On our journey we discovered that there was little practical information published on how to blend a family, and that very few pastors were well informed on the unique challenges of stepfamilies. We wrote this workbook to provide stepfamilies with practical, biblical solutions to the many challenges they face and to acknowledge and affirm the courage of those willing to take the challenge. Blending a family is a journey one should not take alone. Along with support from family, friends and your church, this workbook can be a useful tool. This workbook is by no means comprehensive and should never take the place of professional counseling or pastoral care. The enclosed material, however, will provide you with a working knowledge of the unique characteristics of blended families and guidelines for effectively building a stepfamily that will survive and thrive.

There are many terms used for stepfamilies: blended, binuclear, integrated, complicated, merged, reconstituted or combined family. Combined family is becoming popular in the literature. We will use several of these terms interchangeably. There are simple stepfamilies in which only one parent brings children into the new marriage and complex stepfamilies where both parents have children. Stepfamilies, however, are rarely ever simple. The most common form of blended family is comprised of a single mom and her children marrying a man with children in another household.

Nearly 40% of our population consists of blended families. In the next few years, blended families will outnumber all other forms of families. On days when you feel all alone, take comfort in the fact that thousands of families are attempting to do what you are doing, making a blended family work. Many blended families struggle with pain and shame; some feel like second-class citizens. Be assured however, that God loves stepfamilies. Look through the Bible—you will not find any perfect families. You will find a holy God reaching out through our brokenness to love, heal and redeem. The Lord, in Jeremiah 29:11-13, reminds us that He knows the plans He has for us—plans to prosper us and not harm us, plans to give us hope and a future. Our prayer is that on your journey you will discover the hope and future that God has for your blended family.

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