A New Heart

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So here is a short devotional thought for the blendermom/stepmom….

Ezekiel 36:26 “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.”

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 that God thinks less of you! Remember that Jesus lived in a blended family…

1 Peter 5:7 “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

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

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What’s So Great About 4?

Earlier this summer, I was driving down the road on the way to the grocery store, listening to the radio when the overly zealous radio DJ announces that if you are the 10th caller your name will be entered in a drawing to win a family 4-pack of tickets to go see an upcoming show at the local coliseum. I get to the store and begin my grocery shopping.  I head for the meat department to check out the sales.  I notice that there are packs of fresh ground meat hamburgers all conveniently made into large patties in packs of 4.  I chug home after finishing the task of grocery shopping, put things away and finally sit down and grab my laptop.  Although we had already had an amazing beach vacation at the beginning of the summer, I wanted to look up some prices for a possible trip toward the end of the summer.  I go to the various websites and search the packages and specials.  There is countless, and I do mean countless deals on theme park tickets, food, and  lodging for (you guessed it) a family of 4. Deciding that we did not have enough money I started looking into alternative options for the summer.  A local  water park at a lake 20 minutes from our home was running a special for a summer pass at an amazing deal for a FAMILY OF 4!  After this happened for the 4th time (pun intended) that day I started to ask myself, is society trying to tell us something?  There are so many deals and so many specials geared toward the family and every single one of them for family is limited to 4!  It seems there are so many differences of opinion out there about families and the ones that society seems to want to force upon us is referred to as being politically correct.  Is it that perhaps if you are a family of 4 you are politically correct and the ones that have less than or in my case, more than 4 are politically incorrect?  I can’t help but ask the obvious question here;  what’s so great about 4?  Is that society’s way of reminding us at every turn “ok you have 2 children, you’re done now”?!  Maybe, if you are a family of 3, well I guess it might not be too bad, you can bring a friend.DSC_2164

I asked my husband how he felt about the subject with all the family deals, coupons, or specials are geared toward families of 4.  He said that society certainly seems to be biased toward families that have 2 kids.  He says he feels like it is inconsiderate to the larger families and I am going to have to agree.  Wouldn’t it seem that if you have more than 2 kids would you not need the discount and specials that much more because you have more mouths to feed?  Seriously what are these companies thinking?  “sorry but we only have 4 passes kids so pick a number between 1 and 10  to see which one of you has to sit this one out”!  It seems that we are seeing more and more blended and expanded families these days.  I think it’s time we changed the standard! Who’s with me?? 

Psalms 127:3-5a “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him.  Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.  Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.”

Purposefully Made

“We are a product of our past but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.”  -Rick Warren  The Purpose Driven Life.

My daughter came home one day from school very upset and crying.  For several months another girl at school seemed to love to gossip and talk about her which she would just let roll off her back.  I know for a fact she had tried to make peace with this gal more than once and I was really proud of her for it because I know that with her being so much like me, it really bothered her to be talked about like that when she had tried to be decent and cordial to the girl.  However, on this particular occasion she was extremely hurt and affected by her words.  She shared with me that this gossip girl had been saying nasty things about me and the fact I had been married three times.  I knew that this day would eventually come.  I knew that at some point, my children would suffer the consequences of my mistakes and being teased or put down for it was to be expected.   This is not a situation that every child will face.  This is a situation exclusive to the families that are not considered “normal”.  This is what children face from broken homes and it breaks my heart because the situation is not their fault but they still have to suffer the consequences.  I’ve talked before about the best we can do for our kids in a blender is be as stable as we can in this “not-so-stable” situation. I talked with her and told her how sorry I was that she had to be hurt like that, that our situation, our family is what it is.  We absolutely cannot change the past but we can definitely look to God to shape our future.  I told her that I am secure in who I am today and have grown and learned so much more about who I was created to be through all the heartache and pain.  All I can do is be the best mom, wife, and christian woman I can be from here on out.  I have been honest with her about my mistakes and talked with her about making better choices when it comes to marriage and relationships.  I told her that she should never let them make her feel less or that something was wrong with her because,  most importantly,  I reminded her that God created her with a purpose in mind and she should try and strive to fulfill His purpose.  (Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”)

I was able to really talk to her about these things also, I too, have been made to feel that way.  I have been excluded, looked down on, and made to feel ashamed and less than others.  I felt like that up until I realized that not only had God forgiven me but I had to learn to forgive myself.  Please read a previous blog post about forgiveness if this is an issue you are struggling with about your past entitled “New Year Old Past”…    Don’t ever forget that God made you for a purpose too!

The Control Monster

If you are re-married and have kids from a previous relationship then you have fought the control monster at one time or another!  Let’s take a moment for honesty here and say you have fought the control monster and you have also been the control monster! (There! That didn’t hurt so bad, did it?)  If you are currently going through a divorce right now and kids are involved then you are either fighting the control monster or being a control monster right now! I had a friend confide in me the other day about some problems they are having while going through a separation.  The friend was basically driven out of the house.  Whenever they try to see the kids they are magically busy and the ex denies any time with them.  Whenever the friend tries to call the children, the ex will not let them talk and starts an argument about other issues.  It is so bad that the children have tried to sneak calls to the friend while at neighbors houses!  I would go into more detail but am afraid that I will infringe on privacy, but you get the picture.  Clearly that friend’s ex has become the control monster!  Another friend of mine has been fighting his ex for a few years now.  He is only allowed to his children very little and the children are being brainwashed by the mom against him all in the name of control!

Right after my ex left he decided that what we had agreed on was not good enough.  He started talking to others and decided that we were going to trade off our son every seven days.  He was still in pull ups and just over a year and half old!  I felt like that would be way too difficult for him at such a young age.  I told him that he could spend as much time with him during the week that he wanted but that it would be best for him to sleep in the same bed he had slept in since birth as much as possible.  My ex took him and withheld him from me for 5 days.  He would not let me see him or talk to him (I would typically call and sing nursery rhymes and songs to him over the phone even though he was so young. I just wanted him to hear my voice so he would know I had not left him.) Anyway, the ex also enrolled him in another daycare as well.  Those were the longest five days of my life!  I was forced to get an emergency court order granting me custody until our case could be heard.  I remember it was Saturday when he was withheld and it was Wednesday afternoon when I got him back.  When I showed up to pick him up, he jumped out the door.  I scooped him up in my arms and he wrapped his chubby little arms around me and kept patting my back saying mama over and over.  He literally would not let me put him down for two hours!  It was like he was afraid I would leave him and not come back again.  When we got to court instead of hanging my ex out to dry before a judge I decided to settle.  I ended up giving him 4 nights every other weekend instead of the standard two.  I decided it was best for my son to not have his parents in an all out war! I felt that revenge and hurting my ex was far less important than what was best for my son. That’s just one example of fighting the control monster.

There were also times when I was the control monster.  I had my daughter’s time decreased with her father when she started school but for the longest time I would not deviate from our court order.  I would not give extra time because I wanted to stay in control.  Now she is old enough to say when she wants to go and so we listen to her, both of us.  We work hard to communicate with each other on what’s going on with her and if she says she needs time with the other parent, we now work hard to make that happen.

So, why does the control monster come in and take over in some form or another in most cases? I think the number one reason is the ex wants to hit you where it hurts!  They don’t want you to be happy or move on with someone else. If they feel they “hold the cards” then they can do whatever they want and what they want is to hurt you but what they don’t realize is they hurt those children FAR more than they hurt you!  In a game of tug of war the rope in the middle is able to withstand the tugging.  But if you were to tug on it constantly back and forth over a long period of time the tugged part of the rope becomes weaker, frayed and worn out.  Your children are that part of the rope!  They will become frayed, weak and eventually broken! If you are in this situation and the monster is trying to take over, stop and ask yourself is this the best thing for my child? Or is this just a way I can get back at the ex?  Pray for wisdom to see through to the heart of the situation.  Pray for peace and wisdom in this very difficult situation and then let God take care of it and give any revenge to them if needed. 

Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

2 Corinthians 13:11 “Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.”

Blended Families ..becoming the new norm

The numbers are very surprising but it seems that blended families are becoming the new norm these days and rates are on the rise.  If that is true then why isn’t there more help and guidance for us blendermoms.  Yes there are some books and things but this is the very reason that prompted me to start this blog and share my life.  The bottom line is blended families have less chance of making it and being successful because they are blended.  This breaks my heart!  The children involved have had their world torn apart and have had to deal with more than they should ever have to deal with in their young lives already.  We owe it to them to do every thing we possibly can to be strong and stable for them.  My blog is about being in a blender but as you’ve noticed I have talked alot about marriage.  That is because if your marriage is not strong it will not last and the children will once again pay.  My husband had a boy tell him one day that he would be able to build  stairs to the sky with all the step fathers he had.  His mom was on her third marriage and it was on the rocks at the time and he was feeling scared and anxious.  Let me state clearly and concisely it was not one of our boys but it could be if my husband and I haven’t made our marriage and each other a priority.  One of the major difficulties in blenders is the issue of discipline.  You have to talk about it and decide first how you want to discipline the kids.  Like I have said before we sat down and came up with house rules for our children and what the consequences would be.  I have never felt comfortable with spanking my bonus son so I don’t do it.  My husband is the main disciplinarian for his son and I am his supporter.  My husband’s role is the same for me and my children.  That works for us really well.  Let’s have a very “get really real” moment, shall we? There is a big potential for a step parent to be harder on the step child than their own bioligical children!  Yes I said it!  I didn’t say every step parent but I think the potential is greater there because there isn’t an emotional bond there as strong especially at the beginning.  The bond comes as your family grows closer in love and grows in stability.  I feel personally that just supporting the bio parent as they try to discipline their child is a win win situation.  It makes the two of you act as one, strong for each other and it cuts down on resentment from the child.  This is a video of a Dr. Phil interview on the Early Show.  He gives some very good guidelines for blended families.  It’s basic and straight forward.  Let me state I am not being paid by Dr. Phil or The Early Show for placing this video on my blog.  (But boy wouldn’t it be nice haha)