A Devotional Thought for the Stepmom Dealing With Some Difficult Feelings

a-new-heartAre you a stepmom that is having a hard time right now because of some difficulties you are facing? We have all been there. I wrote this short devotional post three years ago but feel it is still a hot topic for struggling stepmoms.

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. ~Ezekiel 36:26

During my engagement to my husband, I scoured the internet reading posts, forums, articles, etc….about blended families and being a stepmom. The relationship with my little 6 year old stepson was very important to me and I wanted to do things right. I remember reading forums, posts and articles about stepfamilies and stepmoms.

I was surprised at how many stepmoms are struggling. There were numerous posts about how the stepmom can’t stand the stepkids, or how the stepchild tries to manipulate to get more attention from their father, or that the husband doesn’t understand.

The thing is, the father and his kids are a package deal.

Maybe you are one of those moms. You may feel hopeless in your family situation but prayer changes things. Maybe it’s not the stepchildren, but your relationship with your husband that needs mending. God doesn’t want your family to fail. God wants your family to be strong, compassionate, and loving. And I truly believe it starts inside our own heart first.

I encourage you to pray for your husband and your children no matter how you “feel”. Ask Him to help you see them through His eyes and ask Him to change your heart. Ezekiel 36:26 is a promise that God will change your heart if you are willing and open. Don’t think for one second that because your family was a product of divorce or brokenness that God thinks less of you or doesn’t want your family to succeed! Remember that Jesus lived in a blended family…

Let God work healing in your marriage and family. Let Him start by giving you a new heart and renewed spirit.

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Hey Stepmom, You Are Not Alone!

SOS blog post

We all need people. That need for fellowship with another has been placed there by the Creator since our beginning. For me, that has always been true. In fact, after my second divorce (yes you read that right), I remember praying in earnest and begging God to please take that desire away from me.

It wasn’t that I just wanted to be IN a relationship, I craved relationship. I felt so lonely. I wanted companionship and friendship, and to be able to connect and talk with others who understood. And satan was there to remind me constantly of how unworthy I was, of how I had failed miserably in not one but two marriages, and how I had dragged two children through the whole gauntlet of my messed up life. One day I confided in a church leader and he reminded me that “It’s not good for man to be alone.”  He told me to stop asking for something that God Himself had placed in my heart.

It helped me realize that it was okay for me to long for relationship and companionship but to seek only those that would bring me closer to Him, not farther away. And I have been blessed to have a husband who does just that. But I have continued to long for friendship and connection with other moms like me that are trying to navigate the difficulties of a blended family.

SOS blog 2

The SOS retreat I attended was held at the beautiful Winshape Retreat center.

Recently, God gave me the opportunity to connect and begin lasting friendships with many wonderful ladies who all share a common bond. We are all stepmoms. I did so by attending a Sisterhood of Stepmoms weekend retreat. I honestly was worried at first that I would not find others who were in the same situation but I could not have been more wrong. There were moms of all situations such as blendermoms, childless stepmoms, stepmoms because they had married a widower, etc… We spent the weekend being ministered to, prayed over, and listening to messages of hope, encouragement and wisdom.

If loneliness and yearning for fellowship is something that you have struggled with or are currently struggling with, you are not alone! There is a sisterhood out there. Sisters that know what stepfamily daily life is like. Sisters who are riding the roller coaster of hills and valleys. Sisters who understand the sheer joy from a stepchild’s smile and the deep hurt of being unappreciated or misunderstood.

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

I encourage you to check out the links to the Sisterhood of Stepmoms and sign up for their upcoming SOS retreat this fall!

 

 

Help For The Chronic Worrier and Some Updates

IMG_20150113_090049163Just over a week ago, I found myself spending a quiet evening at home with just me and my two kids. My husband was working and my stepson (my sweet bonus son) was at his mom’s. It was a very cold night and it seemed the heat was heaving and sighing, moaning and hissing trying to keep our house warm. So I lit a fire in the fireplace and we settled down to play a game of Sorry.

As we sat there playing, giggling and taking turns sending each other back to start the thought came to me that this is what family to me is all about. My daughter wasn’t worrying about her end of semester exams coming up the following week. My son wasn’t worrying about his frequent headaches and upcoming surgery. I wasn’t worried about getting to work the next day or what was going to be happening in the coming weeks. No. We were all in the present; in the moment. It was warm there. It was peaceful and relaxing there. It was happy there in that moment.

I can be a chronic worrier. When you worry, you tend to be inside of your head. A lot. That means that you may be sitting in the present but in your head, you are in the future of “what if” and “what might”. Your mind is caught in a vicious cycle of worry and what might happen if what if happens. I have learned that the best way to combat this is to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is where you bring yourself out of the worry and out of your head and look around. You literally start pointing out things that surround you and switch your focus on them. For example, my drive to work is where I really worry. I worry about whatever is going on with my kids, my job, what some one said, etc. When I practice mindfulness, I stop worrying and think about how bright the sun is at that moment or how blue the sky is, etc…

I use the term “practice” because it sounds simple but it is something I have to work at over and over again because the worry keeps trying to take over. Being mindful helps us to stay focused on the present; focus on the moment you are living in not what’s to come and especially what has been. In His word, God tells us to not worry about tomorrow. 34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:34

IMG_20150113_090049163Here is something that we all need to honestly take hold of and remember:  God actually wants us to be happy and enjoy the life He has given us. He doesn’t want us to waste it on our past or worry. (Who would ever want to know Him if we are walking around worried and sad all the time.) Being mindful and staying in the present allows us to live out our potential, to be the best we can be-who we were created to be, moment to moment.

“18 Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life. 19 And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God. 20 God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.” Ecclesiastes 5:18-20

Now on to some other things that are happening. I was so excited to share that I was approached by Pigeonhole Books to do a blog interview for their resource page several months ago. They chose my blog to kick off the new year! Here is a link to that interview about me, my site and where I want to be in all of this. Check it out and show them some love! http://pigeonholebooks.com/2015/01/05/blogger-interview-donna-mott/

We also celebrated a big birthday in our family recently! Our beautiful girl, my oldest, turned sixteen! Where has the time gone?!

I would like to thank you all and ask that you please continue to pray for our son, my youngest, Luke. His chiari surgery is scheduled for February 2. Our family has a lot coming up but God has been so amazing and faithful. I will be sharing more about that later……

 

From the Blendermom Archives: Words, Words, Words

Verbal affirmation: That is my love language. I don’t really remember when words became so important to me. I remember writing my first song when I was in the 4th grade. I wrote songs and poetry in high school and even had a poem published in a creative writing publication through the school.

I do remember, however, when words started to hurt, when words felt like fists, when words changed me for the rest of my life. That is what verbal abuse will do to you. It leaves you in deep pain, beaten, and defeated. “I love you, so I’m going to tell you all that is wrong with you! Everyone else, your friends and co-workers, they think the same things about you that I’m saying. They just don’t love you enough to tell you.” I heard that day after day. Words and more words just chipping away at my lonely soul. Oh if only I had really known by heart Proverbs 18:2 “Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions.” (That’s a good one and pretty much describes a verbal abuser.)

Here is one small example. When he would get angry he would (what I call) rage at me for hours. He would go on and on about what I had done wrong, twisting and turning it making me wish I was smarter or could have known how to say or do whatever it was I had not done right. I remember one night he was angry at something I don’t recall what it was. He had been raging and angry for a couple hours and I was exhausted. I was exhausted from defending myself and the long day and needed to go to work the next morning. I turned the light off and told him lets just try to calm down and go to bed. I got into bed and he flipped the light on in my face and said he was not finished with me yet but that he would after his shower. While he was in the shower I went and made a bed on the floor of the baby’s room thinking he would leave me alone and let me sleep if I was in there because he would not want the little one to wake up. Exhausted, I drifted off to sleep until I was awakened suddenly feeling breath on my face and in the darkness I was able to make out his eyes a few inches from my face. My heart began pounding. He coldly whispered that he was not finished with me and if I wouldn’t come back into our room he would drag me back in there. I started whispering/begging to let me sleep and finish it the next day but he grabbed the corners of the blanket and proceeded to drag me out of the room. He got about half way and I heard the baby stir. I did not want the little one to wake up! So I got up, head hanging and followed him back into the room. I don’t remember what happened after that. I just remember my deeply broken and bruised spirit as I walked out of that room. I remember the fear, shame, and humiliation.

At the end of the movie, Labyrinth, is another very good example of what emotional and verbal abuse looks like. The goblin king originally plays the victim making the object of his affection, the girl feel like she is ungrateful for all he’s done even though the things he’s done have actually been against her and have been meant to harm her. Next is the big part of the contradiction of abuse. He says to let him rule her. He says to do as he says and he will be her slave. That can not happen it is the opposite. You can not have both because one will always be in control and dominate the other. Also, more importantly, when comparing it to spousal abuse is how he says to fear him and love him! Take a look at this verse! 1 John 4:18 NIV “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” You can’t have fear of that person and receive love! That’s not love.

Because verbal affirmation is my love language, I honestly think that is why that kind of abuse had such a profound impact on me. Words, good and bad, hit right to my heart. My husband can clean and do laundry (which I’m not hatin) however if he doesn’t verbalize his love to me, I wonder what ulterior motive might he have. Sounds crazy but that is me.

This post was also published on familyfusioncommunity.com and here is the link: http://familyfusioncommunity.com/2013/11/04/words-words-words/. My email is me@blendermom.me if you need someone to pray with you if you are in this kind of relationship.

Time Is Ticking Away

pool blog picWe are on a two week vacation at the home of my husband’s family. I’ve never been on vacation for more than a week before but I am loving it…for the most part. “For the most part” because even though we have a week left I can’t help but dread the moment when our time here will run out and we will have to say goodbye and head home. I just know these seven days will fly by so quickly that I can’t even relax and enjoy this time as much as I should, giving adage to the saying “time flies when you’re having fun”.

I’m watching mpool boysy boys giggle and laugh as they play and splash in the pool while the last drops of sun mingle with the twilight that is creeping into the corners of the yard. They have been in the water more than they have been out since our arrival. I’m enjoying their playing now but will not when I hear their groans and protests as I tell them it’s time to come in and settle down for the night.

 

Time is ticking away. It is not just time with family we haven’t been able to visit since 2010. It’s time off from work. It’s time with my husband. But most of all, it’s extended time with our children. Summer for blended families is, well, different, for lack of a better word. In our situation this particular summer, it can be a very precious gift of extra quality time before school starts. For other stepfamilies, it is a fight for extra time or a big ordeal of working with the other parent to organize time. My heart breaks for the latter.

All this planning and worrying over time has got me to thinking how we have so many opportunities of precious time such as weekend time, summer time, night time, afternoon and so on with our kids, our spouse, our families but let other things excuse away that time. My husband and I work very hard to spend one on one quality time with our kids. There have been times where that priority took a back seat because of work etc… So as it has gotten more difficult we have tried to be more deliberate in our efforts. I found this quote and it really does remind me that time is precious. It’s also time for me to wrap this up and time for my boys to get out of the pool.

“My family is the most important part of my life; I could not imagine my life without any of them, yet too often I find myself saying, ‘Not now,’ and then realizing much too much later that later is too late.” ~Marie Leslie

Soulmates and Soda Cans

Song of Solomon 3:4a “Scarcely had I left them when I found him whom my soul loves; I held on to him and would not let him go.”

The other day, I came home from work unusually stressed and tired. Trying to scramble to get dinner ready and snapping at my husband who was trying to help me as he often does. As I was getting the plates and silverware, my husband gingerly came up to me holding a can of soda. I looked up and it was one of the new “share a Coke” cans and on the side it had the word “Soulmate”. Eagerly he said, “I want to share this with you over dinner.” Immediately I felt all the tension of the day leave my spirit. Isn’t it amazing how one act, one word can change everything?

I was convicted as I lovingly rinsed out that soda can and placed it among my special treasures. How often does my husband get the back seat in our life or after our children for that matter? How often does he get my leftovers? I would never treat others, such as my boss with disrespect. I know the answer is because at home, I am most comfortable. I feel safe among my precious loved ones enough to let my guard down. But does that make it more excusable?

I have also become disgusted with how mass media tends to portray husbands as stupid, bumbling idiots with the wife being smart, powerful, and controlling. There is no partnership in that. There is no companionship or mutual respect when one is controlling or dominating the other. Yet a lot of ladies grow up thinking that is how it should be and they set up house with that kind of dynamic. It is the world’s way, the world’s view but it is not God’s way. Romans 12:2 “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

It has been a long and difficult journey finding my way to my husband and the same for him. I want to be his true mate; his partner in life, not his boss. My prayer is that God will continue to remind me of this. Remind me that showing my husband everyday in some small way that he truly is the one that my soul loves.

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Flavorful Friday: Bourbon Chicken….A Family Favorite

DSC_2555We are so busy all the time and when my husband has to work the night shift, I am exceptionally rushed to get home from work and get dinner on the table early.

This chicken recipe is quick, easy and delicious!  I decided to share it in a post on familyfusioncommunity.com.

Here is the article and recipe.

http://familyfusioncommunity.com/2014/05/29/bourbon-chicken-a-family-favorite/

What is a great go to recipe for you and your family?

The grass really isn’t always greener!

Bloom

It’s fall and it’s beautiful out there!  We are fortunate enough to live fairly close to beautiful fall color so we took the kids to a state park for a picnic and hiking for the day recently.  In today’s world, on today’s income, money is very tight so we have always tried to do day trips and things that are low cost or my personal favorite, free.  The kids love it.  When I was first divorced and when we first got married, it would really bother me because the other parent would buy so much and take the kids on expensive trips.  (Ouch! I know I just hit a nerve!)  Yes admit it!  You have probably even been more than bothered, you may have even been a little jealous of some of the things the ex was doing and buying!  (Ouch! I said jealous, haha!) After my little “moments”, however I would realize there is not a thing I could do about it other than be the best parent I could be.  I would think of ideas that I or we could do with the kids to make memories.  When I was a single mom with my two kids, I took my kids in the middle of February to the beach for the night.  During the winter, alot of hotels offer very low rates at the beach so I was able to get a room with a queen bed and bunk beds as well as an indoor pool!  At the time teen was 8 and lil man was 3.  They were in awe!  I took them swimming that evening and to the aquarium the next day before going home.  Do you know my kids to this day still talk about that trip!  Another time the same year my husband and I were married we took the kids about 4 hours away to a theme park and stayed for one night.  I had gotten discounts on the room and the tickets.  My husband was just starting college and we again did not have much money but wanted to do something fun before school started back.  We had an amazing time, the five of us!  All the kids, again to this day, still talk about it and beg to go back.  Between my single mom days up until now, a couple of our kids have been given costly gifts and taken on expensive trips with the other parent, but here is something that surprised me…..they never really talked about it that much, or seemed to be as impressed as I thought they would be!  They talk more about the little things that we have done than anything else.  So here is the absolute best advice I could ever give from one blendermom to another: If you really want to impress your kids give them your TIME.  I know you have heard that before but I can’t emphasize enough just how true it is.  When you find yourself focusing on what the other parent or ex is doing, spending, etc….stop right there and start thinking about what you can do to give of yourself, your time to your kids.  It’s not about what the other parent is doing or buying its about you loving the kids and making memories.  We have watched the movie “Flubber” and then made flubber.  We made pudding art with painting chocolate pudding all over waxed paper.  We have got the kids up to watch a meteor shower or see a gigantic full moon rising while singing the moon song.  We have been to countless parks and tried new walking trails.  We have turned off all the lights, especially in the summer evenings, opened all the blinds, and watched a lightening storm.  We have on numerous occasions when the weather was bad, gone to a local bookstore and had coffee (for us) and hot chocolate.  Then the kids would each get a new book and we would come home and read them to the kids.  The list goes on and on but you get the idea.  It doesn’t have to be expensive.  It doesn’t have to be grand.  Whenever you think the grass is greener, that’s when you need to water your own.  For other ideas, read my blog http://blendermom.me/153194395.  I would love to get comments and messages on what you have done to water your own grass and make memories. info@blendermom.me