Kirk and Lori McGregor spent years straying from the Lord – paths that led to pain, destruction, and broken marriages. After surrendering their lives to Jesus, Kirk and Lori met each other and together pursued a Christ-centered marriage, which included a blending of families with their children from previous marriages. Their story is an encouragement of God’s faithfulness to bring redemption, healing, and purpose in lives surrendered to Him.
How did you come to know the Lord?
Kirk: “People-pleasing was at the core of my identity. Little did I know that the habits I was creating would wreak havoc on my relationships later in life. After graduation, I began to pursue what I defined as success: a large salary, nice house, beautiful family, and many possessions. Each factor of the equation was not making me happy. I began to self-soothe by spending time outside of my house, drinking, watching porn, and eventually having an extramarital affair with a woman from work.
“One day, my former spouse and I decided to go to church. Two things went through my mind; I did not deserve to walk through the doors, yet I needed to be there. I had no idea how to reconcile these two thoughts. I felt like a fraud for being in an affair and showing up to church, but I also felt a sense of peace. I also felt a conviction to change my life immediately. The very next day, I ended the affair. A few weeks after that, I confessed the affair during counseling which led to my former spouse pursuing a divorce. I felt as if I had hit rock-bottom.
“A few weeks later, I joined a Bible study. It was here that I first thought of having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This revolutionized my understanding of Jesus and how I practiced my faith. Jesus died for everyone’s sins and through our belief in Him as our Savior, we may have a relationship with God again. Though I had heard this multiple times before, I thought that I disqualified myself based on the terrible things I had done. This was a lie, and He has made me free indeed (John 8:36).”
Lori: “My world fell apart my senior year when my mom left. I dropped out of many things including church. I felt abandoned. Subsequently, I sought my worth first through inappropriate relationships with men then later through academic accomplishments. I didn't want to let anyone down. My marriage to an agnostic man kept me far from God for twenty years. We even took all references to God out of our marriage vows. I felt like the rug was pulled out from under me when he left me after ten years of marriage. Again, I felt abandoned, and turned to my usual coping mechanisms of seeking my worth in inappropriate relationships. There were many times when I knew what I was doing was wrong, but I didn't care. While it felt good briefly, the pleasure was fleeting. I felt lost, was not parenting my kids well, and was immersed in sin.
“A close friend opened my eyes when she told me that Satan was battling for my soul. She brought me to Watermark where I learned about biblical conflict resolution, and things started to make more sense. I knew that God sent His Son Jesus to die for my sins and that by believing in God and accepting this sacrifice, I would have eternal life with Him in heaven.
“God wanted me in all my mess and wasn't expecting me to clean up first. He met me in the middle of my sin, and for this I was so relieved. God used a sinful situation and turned it into good by drawing me back into a relationship with Him after twenty years. Twenty years is a long time, but He pursued me throughout. He was faithful to change my heart and my actions, and eventually my family.”
How have you seen the Lord’s faithfulness as a blended family?
L: “We’ve grown together so much as a couple; sharpening each other, raising our kids, praying together, and juggling our unique blended family. We lean on each other, God’s Word, our community, and wise counsel to guide us. This life is more than I ever imagined it would be. At times, we still struggle with custody, discipline, and coparenting; but it is comforting to know our identities are found in Christ, not the challenges we experience.”
K: “When we got married, we knew that life would be challenging as a blended family. We sought the help of other blended families at Watermark, and that has made a world of difference. One of the greatest gifts to our marriage has been connecting with other blended families, sharing our lives with them, and reminding them that God is for their marriage. Now, we help couples navigate the complexities of stepfamily life and find their identities in Christ.”
A blended family (or stepfamily) is created when two people come together in marriage and one (or both) of them has at least one child from a previous relationship. If your family is a blended family or if you know one, we would love to invite you to the upcoming equipping night, Thriving During the Holidays.