Dear Stepmom/Stepdad: You Made the Choice

I Chose You 1Sometimes when I’m reading or listening to a speaker, a phrase will leap up at me. I love this because many times it’s a new thought that will change my thinking or change my spirit. Or sometimes it’s a reminder of how far I’ve come or the choices I’ve made.

I was reading a book the other day and it had a scripture attached to the point the author was trying to make and the words in the verse seemed to leap off the page at me and wrap around my heart.

You did not choose me. I chose you. John 15:16a

The theological context is that Jesus is telling us that we were chosen to be a living testimony as we follow Him. And in the next verse, vs. 17, it tells us to love each other.

It got me to thinking. Doesn’t this describe the choice we make to become a stepparent? When I met my husband and his son, I had a choice to make. I could continue in a relationship with him leading to marriage and gaining a stepchild because they were a package deal or I could walk away.

In other words, we chose our stepchildren by choosing to continue a relationship with their mom or dad. But when you think about it, our stepkids didn’t get the same choice. They don’t get the choice of walking away. Sometimes this can be delicate territory and can sometimes create hostility between stepparents and stepkids. If you are experiencing some struggles right now, try to remember this and work to extend grace and love to them.

They say a marriage takes work by making the choice to love and to stay with that person each and every day. With blended families it is more intricate because we not only make the choice every day to love our spouse, but also to love their child or children as well, a commitment to stay and to love them each and every day.

I Chose You 2 Being a Stepmom or Stepdad is hard but so rewarding. I can imagine a conversation between a stepparent and stepchild like this: “I know it’s hard and you may even wish your mom and dad were still together. I know you didn’t choose me to be your stepmom/stepdad, but guess what, I chose you! I chose to love you both with all my heart and I’m so glad I did.”

You did not choose me. I chose you.

Yes I did! And I am so blessed and thankful every single day.

 

 

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4 Things to Curb Worry When the Kids are With the Other Parent

I remember years ago, sitting in my car at a neutral location, waiting for the visitation exchange with my daughter. I came to realize with time that we were not the only ones to use this particular parking lot. I saw others waiting in their cars. Oh we never acknowledged each other but still I felt connected to them. It was as if we were all proverbial ghosts drifting along at the same place but in our own little world, seeing yet not seeing each other.

Some of you reading this will know exactly what I’m talking about. Still other parents go and pick up their kids for their parenting time and drop them back off when it’s over like my husband does with my stepson. Or maybe you are the parent who gets your son or daughter ready and packed up to go when the other parent arrives like I do with my son.

No matter how you do it, this time, this situation seems to stir up worry. We sometimes worry about issues that may come back with our child. Or we worry if they will have a good time? Will they be upset? How long will it take for them to decompress and settle?

Let’s face it, honestly it is natural to worry when your children aren’t with you. Don’t beat yourself up. For me, the worrying went to another level after my son’s brain surgery, and even now my anxiety creeps up because of it. However, several months ago, during my prayer time, God spoke to me on 4 simple things that have helped me in overcoming my worry and anxiety when my children aren’t with me.

1. Remember the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal should be to make sure the children in the middle get time to cultivate a lasting healthy loving relationship by spending quality time with their other parent. When you keep your eyes focused on that end goal it makes it a little easier to not sweat the small stuff such as how they don’t do the same things you do in your home the way you think they should be done.

2. Focus on the positives and focus on you. Instead of letting your mind obsess over what might be going wrong, try to focus on memories they are making with their dad or mom. Also, this is a time you can be completely selfish. This is a time to go shopping and buy something just for you, or put your feet up and enjoy an UNINTERRUPTED movie (cause you know that don’t happen when the kids are there). If you are dipping your toes back in the dating pool, this time is a great time to go out on a date and get to know someone new.

3. Pray. It is simple but “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective”. We pray over so many things in our lives. Why not pray for our children and their dad that God will bless that relationship, give their mom wisdom, and a hedge of protection around them. Prayer is a wonderful thing because it isn’t a menial task or list of wishes. The attitude shouldn’t be well all I can do is pray. It should be an attitude of gratefulness that we have such a powerful tool, to go before the Creator of the universe on behalf of our children in the face of our worry.

4. Remember that they are never alone. This one truth is the most important and has brought so much comfort to me when I just could not shake the worry. God is always there and goes where you cannot! You never send them to the other house alone. There is nothing going on over there that God doesn’t know about.

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:13

And let’s just go there for a minute. You may be reading this and saying how he or she treats the kids when they are there or how they bad mouth you or all the bad stuff that I honestly know goes on in some homes sometimes. GOD. SEES. THAT. TOO.

Is there any place I can go to avoid your Spirit? to be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you’re there! If I go underground, you’re there!
If I flew on morning’s wings to the far western horizon, You’d find me in a minute—you’re already there waiting! Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark! At night I’m immersed in the light!” It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you; night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you. Psalm 139:7-12 (MSG)

Being divorced with kids is very hard and yes we are going to worry like crazy sometimes. But it’s important to remember that just because you are no longer together you still have the same end in mind as when you first had children and that is they grow up to be happy, healthy, productive individuals. So do what you can and let God handle the rest.

Hands Are For Holding

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Our hands are never empty if we are holding on to each other.

One year ago yesterday my son’s life changed after having decompression brain surgery for Chiari malformation. Well that is not exactly true. My life changed as well with so many blessings sprinkled with set backs and difficulties. One year ago hardly seems real. It feels like it really was just yesterday.

Just yesterday that I sat by his bed, holding his boyish hand in mine, while a heaviness of

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Holding my son’s hand after brain surgery a year ago.

worry and the faith that God the Father would take care of him wrestled for first place in my heart.  Thinking over how God had given me the honor of being his mom and the privilege of being there for so many moments in his life from the very first time he wrapped his tiny hand around my finger.

Then there really was yesterday. Yesterday I was actually sitting next to a hospital bed with the heaviness of worry once again wrestling with my faith. This time, it was my sweet dad. And I found myself holding his hand in mine thinking over how God blessed me with the privilege of being his daughter and how he has been there for me since

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Holding my dad’s yesterday before surgery.

the very first time I wrapped my tiny hand around his finger.

And it made me realize that in my family our hands are never empty because we hold onto each other. And in them I have learned how to encourage, support, and walk beside those that I love so much. Most importantly of all, I learned to place my whole life in the hand of the Lord Jesus.

It doesn’t matter what your family looks like or whether it’s considered normal, whether it’s blended or not, whether you have the word “step” in front of mom or not. What matters is holding onto each other. Making memories every chance you get and deciding that no matter what you’ll never let go.

Thank you daddy for teaching me how to hold on to the gift of family with one hand and our Heavenly Father with the other.

Stepfamilies and The Dad

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I have written numerous posts about stepfamilies, stepmoms, and biomoms. However recently, I have been thinking about the dads and how they feel in this whole blended/stepfamily thing. When I was a new stepmom, I scoured the internet for posts, articles, etc on stepfamilies and being a stepmom. During that time, I saw comments and posts from stepmoms who complained about how their stepchildren created so much conflict in their marriage. Some shared how they felt alone and isolated while their husband seemed oblivious. Some shared that their husband’s children could do no wrong in his eyes. Does any of this sound familiar?

I know that as a mom in a blended family, it can be filled with emotion. You can feel alone and invisible which is why I wrote about Hagar, in this post Dear Discouraged Stepmom and her role in the story of Abraham and his dysfunctional blended family.

But have you ever stopped and wondered, how does the dad really feel in all of this? Genesis 21:10-11,”and she said to Abraham, ‘Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.’  The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son.

The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son.” Abraham was in agony because he was caught in the middle over his son. His heart was burdened. His wife wanted no part in sharing with a son that he fathered with another woman, whom nowadays would be considered his ex. He wanted his wife happy but he also felt, naturally, a strong loving and loyal bond towards his other son.

I know when we are hurt and frustrated it is hard to see past our own emotions, but are we truly treating our husbands with kindness? OR do you harbor resentment and allow it to bubble up and spill over in the relationship you have with his children?

I recently did an interview The Stepmom Series with Our Blended Home about being a stepmom. I shared that I made the commitment to love my stepson when I made the commitment to love and marry my husband. God has richly blessed us and just as I feel for my own children, I miss him when he is at his other home. Just as my own, I talk about him with my husband and we laugh about the cute funny things he says and does. I worry about him. I pray for him.

We work so hard as moms and stepmoms to love and care for every one around us but sometimes we fall short in extending grace to the closest person here on earth that we have:  our husbands. I know that I have the power to hurt my husband very deeply through not only, of course, how I treat him but how I treat his son.

Proverbs 31:12, “She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”   That means loving him and loving his family!

Dad blog

Top Step Parenting Blogs Please Vote For Me


I was floored that my blog was nominated as one of the top 50 step parenting blogs of 2014 on voiceboks.com!!  I am so completely honored to be nominated.  It would mean the world to me if you could click the link and scroll down to #8 “Blendermom” and click the “like” heart to vote for me.  There are no words for the amazing comments and encouragement you have given me so far.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Merry CHRISTmas

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Merry Christmas Eve!  Have you ever noticed how much more accepted it is to mention God in society today but you mention the name of Jesus and the mood quickly changes?  In a book I read written by a celebrity, she kept saying “I pray to the god of my understanding”.  That is what is so sad! It’s an accepted new age belief that “god is everything and everything is god”.  Society has become so focused on not offending others that, to me, they have nothing to believe in or stand for.  I feel that this has caused so many to try so hard to take Christ out of Christmas in so many ways. To me though, the joke is on them because the harder they try the more they are brought back to Jesus.  It’s like the old saying that the more you try not to think about something the more you think about it.  Christmas is all about the birth of Jesus.  The two have become ingrainded over centuries.   You can’t think Christmas without thinking about Christ, even if you are trying to leave Him out.  I encourage you this Christmas to seek Jesus.  If you are unsure or doubting who He is start with More than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell.  He was an atheist who set out to prove that Jesus was just a man. You will seek me and

find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13.  Seek Him! He will give you something to believe in, something to stand for…

Also something interesting..Jesus was in a blended family…please read my previous blog post http://blendermom.me/jesus-was-from-a-blended-family a msg I copied from Jeremiah Wright Jr.

Merry Christmas blessings from my family to yours.

TRADITIONS

Christmas is so close it’s freakin scary!  If you are like most families (blended or not) finances are tight and this can be a stressful time.  If you throw in parenting times over the Holidays and money trouble you have a “Lord help me just make it til New Years” stressful time!  In thinking about Christmas in our blender I thought I would share how important I think traditions are and especially in a blended family.  The other parents of 2 of our children were on board with dividing time fairly between us and them every other Christmas.  We felt that both parents deserved the right to be able to have their child at Christmas.  One of them, however felt that they had a right to have their child every Christmas.  Unfortunately, we had to go to court and ask a judge for every other Christmas.  During the hearing, we were asked what traditions do we have in celebrating.  It was sad because we had not as of yet had the chance to really form any because of the “control monster” that had stepped in and limited our Holiday time. (click here for previous post about this monster: http://blendermom.me/the-control-monster )  It got me to thinking though how traditions really help to ground and solidify blended families.  It doesn’t have to be big expensive things.  It can be as simple as doing an advent candle wreath or read a specific story or watch a specific movie while stringing popcorn.  Doing these things give the kids something to look forward to and something they can count on which gives them stability.  Some examples for us is that we always decorate a gingerbread house and place it on our dining room table for display.  We always go pick out a tree together and we always decorate it as a family.  We have special ornaments that each child loves or made and they get to always hang those on the tree first. We have a white column in our dining area that I always wrap red ribbon around and we all call it the candy cane north pole.  The key word is “always”.  The kids can count on what you are going to do.  Even though it seems small that can make them feel more safe and secure, to always be able to count on those traditions.  You should also think about more traditions that you can do throughout the year.  We always have pizza or fastfood on Friday nights and eat it in front of the TV while watching a movie.  We do a devotional reading with the kids and talk about it as a family. ( http://www.amazon.com/dp/1475155050/?ref=cm_sw_r_pi_dp_9E2uqb177D1BM Proverbs For Kids is a great book and what we are currently reading.)  We always put the boys to bed at the same time and have them say goodnight prayers every time.  What I am saying is traditions do not have to be some complicated ritual!  Make Sunday night taco night every week.  By the way, the judge did rule in our favor and we now have all three children every other Christmas.  We miss them during the off years but that’s what we as parents do, we make sacrifices.  Remember, it’s not their fault their parents got divorced.  They have just as much right to love and form traditions with the other parent as they do with you.  I personally do not ever want my kids to look at me and say “I don’t have a relationship with my father/mother because of you!” If you are dealing with the other parent who really is being mean and spiteful you can look at it as giving them the rope and let them hang themselves if they want to. 

Traditions are important in families and what better time to start one is at Christmas!  Remember,  “Christmas began in the heart of God. It is complete only when it reaches the heart of man.”  Try to reach your child’s heart this Christmas.