First of all I am sorry if I am reposting an old problem here but I could not find a post that discuss a solution to this problem.
When using sketches, building pads and pockets and then going back to edit the first sketch, things can get really bad and everything gets re-mapped to other faces and external references can break.
I am thinking the root cause of this is naming of edges and planes. For instance if you edit a sketch, all edges are named from Edge1..n. If you delete Edge1 the earlier Edge2 now becomes Edge1. This will also cause later pads and pockets to have their faces renamed.
What if instead edge names are never reused AND pockets and pads uses its base edge names as foundation for naming the faces. For pads, bottom and top faces could have fixed names. Then modifying sketches would not break mappings to faces in later stages.
Just a thought.