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Shelby Abbott: Growing up in a Blender

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
June 30, 2022 10:00 pm

Shelby Abbott: Growing up in a Blender

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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June 30, 2022 10:00 pm

Sometimes in stepfamilies, we take things out on each other that really are about someone or something from the past. Listen to Ron Deal talk with Shelby Abbott on how to keep unresolved issues of the past from damaging relationships in the present.

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Growing Up in a Blender: FamilyLife Blended Original Podcast

Passport to Purity: Helping parents have the conversations that matter most.

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My father was interested in me until he wasn't and so that shapes you obviously in a number different ways. Iraq was a baby picture of me before my sister was born. My mom and my dad and Mike wonder what he was like that they seem happy and the picture. I wonder what it was like that if he was responsible if he was doing what it took to be a great father to be a great husband and care well for his family.

Welcome to family life today. We want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most and will and Dave Wilson and you can find us if we live or on our family life, family life today hasten one of my favorite episodes of recording was when Ron Diehl came into the studio.

When you surprise me with rodeo, and in the studio you guys didn't tell me it was counsel, Dave day, the day I was laying on the couch and we did end up there but you arrived at such good job walking me back through my life and the stepfamily.

It was powerful. I think I was trying half the time because I know if I've always realized how difficult that can be that he pulled out some things in me that you know Ron has a gift of doing that he's back with us today in the studio. Thankfully, it's not to investigate my life, but Ron welcome back for life today.

It's always a joy to be with you guys. Thanks for having me.

It wasn't a surprise today either. We knew your covenant and you can be talking to Shelby Abbott, we get the list of your favorite life blended podcast were you said there were shall be tells a little bit about Shelby and what you get your talk about yeah I'm excited Shelby is on staff with us here at family life. He is author campus ministry is something is very passionate about his conference speaker is written a number books, pressure points, doubtless wrote a book on cohabitation: what's the point, and he starting a new podcast on the family podcast network called real-life loading but we had to interview him about his family growing up. He to like you grew up in a blended family, and so on. One of our episodes.

I sit down with him and talked about his life growing up and I gotta tell you it's a beautiful story as our listeners listen to this. First, what you're going to be reflecting on your own childhood your own family will do this when we listen to Apple stores in Texas think about our life and what was good and some of the residue. That's not so good and how we deal with that and so to Shelby just is very vulnerable and open but you're going to hear how some of the pain in his life, but you're also going to hear about the grace that God brought to his life in the form of his stepdad.

It's really a beautiful story on this episode if your podcast is part of a series called growing up in a blender. Talk about what is that series about so really we do a deep dive into the childhood experience of somebody looking back at their life growing up in a blended family, and here's how it serves the listeners today. If you are in a blended family. Maybe your parenting a child step parenting a child, you're a grandparent in your step grandchildren. You're trying to figure out relationship with listen for the nuances of what it is to be a child what they need and what you can learn from this in your own family, but maybe you're not a part of a blended family still you can be listening, reflecting on your own childhood journey. The things you learned the things you want to do away with now that you're an adult and the things you want to keep looking back over your life. What did your parents divorce teach you about you.

My parents divorce. Tell me about me. It took a long time to probably discover more layers of that because God in his grace is been able to help me see that even though there is mistakes that were made. Sin happened on both sides, even on my own. That things were not a mistake and reading specific lien.

Jonah, you realize that Joan is disobedient.

Yet God uses his disobedience. For example, to bring the pagan sailors to himself. That was a direct result of Jonah's rebellion is sin. Yet it was something that God still orchestrated and worked out in the process of the messiness of rebellion has been a little bit of the picture of how I've been able to learn and understand who I am in light of the mistakes that were made from the past, both by my father. Mom both my stepparents myself.

My siblings and things like that and so the divorce and the subsequent remarriage that happened shape to. I am in a number different ways, and I found that even Maurice linked to through counseling just realizing that it set with like a lot of just anger when I was in my car was road raging and people coming off people when use their blinker that cut into whatever night beat, so Matt I was asking my wife Rachel gets so mad in the car she is.

I don't know. I next started to manifest itself in other different ways and so I went to a counselor eventually and just said I'm just angry and is really coming out in my car a lot and he was able to like link some stuff over time. Tell me discover that the divorce that happened when I was 3 1/2 I believe is when my folks got divorced and then my mom remarried my stepdad who I call my dad when I was six and just discovering that my kids at the time were around my age when I was struggling with this anger.

Some like my kids are like 345 right now and that's what was kind of triggering some stuff for me of just knowing that there was an abandonment there. There was some hurt and anger some wounding that happened at that particular time in my life and I was seeing that kind of in my children at the time just because of their age. Close in proximity to where I was at the time. Yeah I got imagine that you as a dad wanted to protect your children see them at that age. CM is as vulnerable as they are at that age, and then going that was me who is looking after me exactly and that's that's what the counselor was able to help draw out of me and help me to see so there's always personality test. The people do, but any grams got more popular and for better or worse, whatever that is one of the things about my anagram personality is I'm an eight and therefore my protector and I will confront people as well. In the spirit of protection which usually according to the tests, link back to childhood trauma and I discover that over time that I'm very fiercely protective of my kids and I think senior exactly right. Seeing them in this moment, wanting to protect them and knowing the injury that did happen to me.

As a result of my parents getting divorced and subsequent you know pop around my mom had custody of me and my sister we would have summer visitation with my dad. My father and so that because like a number of different key issues in my life that that shaped me into who I am today.

Of course, again, that didn't come out until I was in my late 30s early 40s were discovered of this anger that's been here. It's been here for a long time.

As a result, going back all the way to when I was three, four years old right you only saw the vulnerability of yourself when you are finally looking at your own children. I'm so glad to hear you say and I believe it's true of the right understanding of God helps us cope with things that have happened to us in our life on our journey to getting that right understanding of God. We often feel lost and confused and don't know how to cope with some of the things that have happened to us you wrote at one point in a very real sense, my stepdad has been my dad ever since I was six and I praise God that he's been a stable presence in my life from such a young age, as I think back. However, I can't help but wonder what would be altered today if things are gone differently if my father had never cheated. My parents had never divorced Lisette about that part of you that can't help but wonder what life would've been like had none of that ever happened. The deep question so it's a hard question because I don't really know my father.

My father was interested in me until he wasn't and he's shown some more recent interest in me again after I went to that funeral and that's been difficult for me from the from the time I was about 15 onward until my early 40s.

He just hasn't really been interested in me is that shapes you obviously in a number different ways so it's difficult for me to look back and go. What if my father he wouldn't of cheated on my mom if you wouldn't of been selfish.

It would have been a child in many ways.

As an adult is difficult for medium process that because that that person doesn't exist in my mind and my heart.

I'm sure there were times when he was great in looking back on that when I was like a baby. I ran across a baby picture of me for my sister was even born. My mom and my dad and Mike wonder what he was like that yes they seem happy and the picture. I wonder what it was like that if he was responsible if he was doing what it took to be a great father to be a great husband and to care well for his family. Unfortunately, this is never been a part of my memory that incorporates my dad so I wonder back and does your sin to find you well when you're in Jesus. Now it doesn't define you, but in many ways the sinful decisions that my father made shaped who he is as a person and I wouldn't want that guy as my every day, dad. I'm thankful for the gift of grace that God gave me in my stepdad, who again I call my dad so he is the one who taught me table manners. He's the one who taught me how to drive a stick shift.

He's the one who made fun of me when I I like girls. He was the one who you know when drop me off. He did this by sophomore year he would drop me my sister off at school and every single time in front of the school he would honk the horn and wave by kids.

Have a great day. I love you so much. But looking back on it I love that I love you did that and so he in many ways has been the gift of the stability that I needed not only with me and my sister but with my mom. He loves my mom and he always has love my mom and I praise God for who he is, in my life and he shaped not just my relationship with him, but my relationship with my my mom with my sister and those been gifts of of goodness of grace. Yes, absolutely. You know it seems to me we should ask the same question. I started with what I asked what did your parents divorce teach you about you.

Terms of your identity and your belonging and you know how much you mattered to people think we should ask about her stepdad to because it seems like his involvement is been a gift of grace. What has his involvement in your life taught you about you. How is that help shape your identity today. Well that I have value. I think that he never ever ever treated me like a stepson, and that that typical what you hear that that negative connotation of step child.

He never treat me like that.

I never felt like I was the second rate child to his biological children never felt like that he always cared for me.

Well, love me, Tommy, responsibility, discipline me where I needed to be disciplined course.

He has his flaws to but you know, tracing things back to that original event and how it shaped me for all the bad things there are all the good things that happened as a result, and were still works in progress, but he in many ways I feel more comfortable with him is apparent that even sometimes with my mom. He's a lot more than easy-going personality, and he's easy to talk to Greg we have some the same similar interests in the event that as a direct result of him. I have a deep respect for the military have a deep respect for a hierarchy of authority because of who I saw him to be very very hard worker. He graduated from high school and enlisted in the military and the Air Force made enough money to be able to pay for his own college went to college, graduating in 2 1/2 years and then went back in as an officer and retired as a full colonel which he was offered at the time of retirement to become a Brig. Gen. and he just wanted to get out and so he works very very hard he's not lazy at all and I learned my work ethic from him in a lot of ways I learned like a said respect for authority, he's help me to appreciate, even fun things, like the NFL a lot more because he's way more into the NFL than I am and I'm into the NFL, but he's really into it and so I love talking football with him.

He taught me a golf when I was really young when I was like 12 hours like it's just really been a big and he's been a huge influence in my life and in many ways I don't consider him anything other than my dad. He's not my stepdad never called my stepdad I never called him Dave by his first name was always dead. This is their life today were actually listen to a podcast called family life blended were Ron deal said that was Shelby and talked about life in his blended family that's I was a just so beautiful that something I managed.

This gives you an idea what it can look like right Ron, yes it does. And you know for all the grief we give stepparent some time in the grief they take from the negative stereotypes that society lays on them.

Here's a picture of a stepdad who came in and made a difference.

You know, stepped up. Love Don Shelby and Grace comes in various forms and sometimes it comes in a person that you would have never chosen or never expected to come in your life. Yes, let's go back to the conversation where you asked Shelby a pretty pointed question. In other words, should a parent tell his child about the divorce. So it's your everyone's well a run across apparent who says to me okay my former spouse had an affair that's within it are marriage.

My children don't know should I tell them. Do you happen to have an opinion about the independent children's age.

They can be a delicate way of putting that when they're younger, but I mean we've done up in intentional job to talk to our kids.

My kids are nine and seven. Now we done in intentional job to talk to them about what sex is why that's a holy thing. An important thing, and why it's not to be kind of frivolously thought about or tossed around as you get older and so I think if you're talking to your kids about those things and they understand what they they mean and why they're important within the context of a marriage and whether not to be shared with anyone else yet. I think you should talk to kids about the can stuff I mean if your kids said hey dad, why is your father living here and why does grandma live here with you at some point feel the need to tell them. Yeah, this is originally what happened in the beginning I think.

So if you're if you don't have an agenda. If you're willing not to spin things in a way that makes you look better and makes the other parent look poor in the eyes of your kids because I think you have a responsibility to care well for your kids by not demonizing your your ex now that's hard to do and I I don't pretend to know what those things are like personally because I've never been divorced and I don't know what it's like. It's difficult to do, but we are asked, probably to do that in a way that shows grace to other people and forgiveness as Christ calls us to do, but at the same time it's not just you on the line you talk about your kids and your shaping their opinions and thoughts, and feelings of their other parent, where the real recognize and are not, you know I was thinking as you were just talking know you don't know what that's like from an adult standpoint, but you kinda know what it's like from a child's standpoint that the little comments made here there that your mom dropped her the things that your dad said do cast a shadow on the other parent and to shape your heart and mind of an even to the point where you call your mom and say hey we want to stay and live here with our father that obviously grew out of what you felt like that needed you to do. Somehow, that he was you were drawn into that. That opinion was his, and the same thing is true when mom in an angry moment would say. While your father plug a lot and essentially blame him for the whole divorce process.

Kids are easily swayed by all and they take on the opinions of their parents and of course you agree with your mom or course you agree with your father. That's your parent like my sister disagree like unless you have reason to sit back and go no, you know, somehow, this is your fault, which that was happening with your biological father. But still, there's this desire to keep them close to agree with them about how they see the world and that naturally pitch you between the other parents you talk to run out a little bit already, but I just want to flush that a little bit more for our listeners even visitation in a group moving between homes. It wasn't like for you in terms of what flowed well what did your parents do well what were the things that made that really awkward and difficult for it went well because the we operated on a schedule so that was people were young, both sides agreed to the schedule set a Intel until my father didn't but most mostly up until that summer. There is schedule and like we followed the rules. There the visitation that was bad is stuff that I mentioned before, it was just constantly like where to my allegiances lie where my loyalties yell.

Looking back is dealt like should I have had to ask those questions a kid now. You should never had asked us questions and so that was more confusing than anything because my father talked about my mother in a certain way when we were there over the summer and was not great language not positive at all in any way even like accusatory of what he/she used child support for Mike which use that money for little derogatory, yeah, like that without which I got a later on he was even paying it to the degree that he should event and then note for a long time also is one of the things that that I had to relearn when I got married. The term habits which is my last name was always a negative connotation in my family habits were always like the bad part of the family and so when I got married and my wife Rachel and I were known as the Abbotts there was some like intentional relearning that I had to do about my own last name plural because it was the Abbotts were always the bad element and they always did the bad things said the bad things behaved in a bad way this is such an important story because we tell our listeners on this podcast on a regular basis. When you say something negative about your child's other parent. You are in effect saying that to the child because they know they are 50% that out of the parent and this note literally puts it into the last name you know oh when you're in the habit we all know that's a bad thing and so you know you as an adult have to unlearn that free think that again it speaks to identity, but that is a part of me that is my last name that is who I am and yet I don't want to be associated with that strategy to justify or rectify that in your own mind part. It was is not a godly legacy that was left by the Abbott family no matter how much lipservice they would pay to that and so part of me was like I want to redeem the Abbott family name and make it a godly home. Make it a godly family. I want people when they hear the Abbotts to think godliness so there was like excitement with that and Anna wanting to like bring renewal and yeah a great opportunity for me.

My wife and my kids but now it's like it's been redeemed because of Jesus. And, oh, I'm a part of his story. Now this is not about trying to redeem my name per se is about adding my name to the greater plan of the gospel and then just being thankful for the grace that God is given me because if it wasn't for his grace. I would have no redeemable qualities. It also yes it was kind of a reorienting of my priorities were listening to family life blended with brown dealing shall be added on family life today and this is a powerful ending.

It's our story yeah is not identical.

I mean I remember Joshua 2415. As for me and my house we will serve the Lord so it became a foundational mantra of the Wilson name as well. So there shall be it's like here in the say you know angst in his soul. That's better than ours in man.

When God redeems your family name. It's a beautiful thing and that Ron it sure is guys you know this.

The meta-story of Scripture is not that we finally get perfect and bring our perfection to God for his acceptance and approval, but that instead we bring our imperfection and he let his perfection on it in the form of Jesus Christ on the cross and our narrative changes, you know, we sale the time our little slogan at family blended our unofficial slogan is you can't change your past or your story but you can change the story you tell about your story. This is the woman at the well, she comes to the will and shame she's hiding, she's embarrassed she can't change that family narrative of her life and relationships. But Jesus enters the picture changes what it means. Now all of a sudden she is an instrument of God redeemed by him and now she's using her story to tell other people to come meet Jesus. She couldn't change her past, but she change the story she told about her past. It's a redemptive story and Shelby's doing that for his family and the Abbott family name and it's a beautiful picture of God's grace.

What a great reminder for all of us that God, that's what he does and you could hear the rest of his conversation on our family life blended podcast which is part of our family life podcast network. I'm telling you it's can inspire you to allow God to redeem your name. I'm shall be Abbott and you've been listening to Damon and with Ron deal on family life today. We been listening to clips from episode 63 of the family life blended podcast. You can hear the rest of my conversation with Ron in the full episode. Just search for family life blended where ever you get your podcast or click the link in today show now next week. Given a Wilson organ to be joined by several guests including Jen Oshman. Jen is going to unpack outward beauty, purpose, meaning, body image, and gender. It will not be boring. That's next week on behalf of David and Wilson. I'm shall be added. See back next time for another edition of family life. Family life is a production of family accrued ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most

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