Having A Hard Time Because Of Someone’s Actions?

Letting goDuring the service last Sunday, I was reminded of the story of Joseph and how his brothers sold him into slavery because they were jealous. But it wasn’t what they did that gripped my heart. It was his reaction when he was reunited with them years later!

Genesis 45:4-8 “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt.  But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. This famine that has ravaged the land for two years will last five more years, and there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors. So it was God who sent me here, not you! And he is the one who made me an adviser to Pharaoh—the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all Egypt.

Have you been going through a really hard time because of someone’s actions? Having trouble trying to see the good in something painful? I have had trouble, especially in the past, of forgiving and letting go. I’ve wanted them to know what it’s like to hurt as they had hurt me or mistreated my family.

I’ve had conversations in my head that went a little like this:

Me: “But Lord, they hurt me so deeply and those I care most about! They can’t get away with that!”

God whispers: “Forgive them.”

Me: “But why Lord? They don’t deserve it! If I forgive they will think I’m ok with what they did.”

God whispers: “Extend grace to them.”

Me: “But why Father when they have not shown it to me; to my loved ones.”

Again He whispers: “They hurt Me when they hurt you, but you must forgive them as I have forgiven you. You must extend grace to them as I have extended grace to you. With their actions and in the pain you may have lost little but as My child, you have and will be given much.”Letting go

Joseph had every right and opportunity to have his revenge but he saw through the pain and instead extended grace and forgiveness because he knew that God had a plan for his life and God most certainly has a plan for us. Lamentations 3:37 “Who can command things to happen without the Lord’s permission?”

If I am holding onto the pain and anger placed there by others then my hands are too full to take hold of the beautiful blessings that God is trying to give me. Sometimes, He allows things to happen to empty our hands of all that mess, all that pain, all that bitterness so that he can fill them to overflowing with His goodness!

Ephesians 3:20 “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.”
I encourage you to let go of the mess placed there by the ex. Let go of the mess placed there by a family member. Let go of the mess placed there by a friend. Drop it and embrace all the good things God has planned for you.

Letting go

 

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Dear Discouraged Stepmom

Dear Stepmom BlogI was thinking today how I have been a stepmom for nearly seven years. In some ways it has seemed that time has flown by and in other ways, it has been a slow meticulous process of blending our family. I have received so many blessings and moments filled with happy memories, sweet unexpected hugs, deep intimate connection with my husband, and wonderfully precious family time with our children.

However, I must admit that their have been times when I have also felt discouraged in this process. In one of my previous post for Family Fusion Community, I wrote “Stepmoms do not have an easy job. They are caught somewhere in the middle of all the emotion and tend to receive the brunt of negativity and spitefulness because they are not a biological parent. Often, they are a dumping ground for all the hurt, frustration, anger, confusion, and sadness that comes with divorce from all involved including the biological parents, children, and even extended families.”  (You can read the entire post here: http://familyfusioncommunity.com/2014/01/30/the-other-mothers/)

Stepmoms can also feel invisible, as if no one sees them for who they really are. They feel unseen for their choice to love anyway, for their good intentions, and for their kind hearts. Or, their love and kindness is twisted and turned into negativity through bad mouthing or false accusations. Does any of this sound familiar to you?

During my prayer time several months ago, I came across a very important prominent family in the bible that was not only blended, but dysfunctional as well. I am talking about Abraham. A little background of this story, found in Genesis 16 and Genesis 21, is Sarah, because she had not become pregnant, gave her servant Hagar to her husband Abraham so that he might have children. Hagar became pregnant and gave birth to a son named Ishmael. Thirteen years later, Sarah became pregnant and gave birth to Isaac. So now if you haven’t caught on, this is a blended family (maybe not traditional) but blended just the same. I look at Hagar as like a stepmom because she has no legal rights and is completely at the mercy of Abraham and Sarah. And feeling so overwhelmed, Hagar runs away.

There are some verses that create a picture of this blended family, especially in chapter 21 where I found 3 very interesting facts. First, the two sons had conflict between each other. Second, there was conflict between the two moms, and third, the father was caught in the middle. And I will be writing on each of these. However, I am only focusing on Hagar’s story to say this directly to you, discouraged Stepmom. God hears you, He hears the deep cries of your heart and most importantly God sees you. You are not invisible.

Genesis 16:9-11; Genesis 16:13-14

Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” 10 The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.”

11 The angel of the Lord also said to her: “You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son. You shall name him Ishmael,  for the Lord has HEARD of your misery.

13 She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” 14 That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered.”

What a beautiful picture of a God whose love is so compassionate that He would seek out a servant girl and let her know He hears her; He sees her and is going to bless her. She is so deeply moved that she gives God the name, “El Roi” which translates “The God Who sees me.” I encourage you dear Stepmom;  the next time you are feeling discouraged, disheartened, and overlooked to call out the name of God. Because those verses have been such a comfort to me and during those times of discouragement I have prayed and called the name of God “El Roi” because I am not discounted. I am not invisible. I am loved. I am blessed. God hears. God lovingly and graciously sees me!

Dear Stepmom Blog

How Do You Tell Your Son He’s Going to Have Brain Surgery Without Exploding Into a Million Pieces?

Luke meeting his baby cousin last year.

Luke meeting his baby cousin last year.

The house is quiet, really quiet. Every one is sleeping in on this rainy Saturday morning….everyone except me. I don’t feel like I’ve really slept since October. Since my son, Luke (I affectionately call him buddy) was diagnosed with chiari malformation. Words like “incurable”, “brain surgery”, and “severe pain” seem to be bouncing around as soon as my head hits the pillow, along with slight shock and disbelief. Wow! How did we get here?

I keep thinking back to the day when we learned Luke was going to have brain surgery….I got the call while Luke and I were riding home from another appointment. I remember we were singing and laughing when the neurosurgeon’s office called and told me that his test showed a significant flow reduction and we needed to come in and get him scheduled for decompression surgery.
My mind began to reel. My breath caught in my throat. I guess the shock of it all kept me from bursting into tears. I robotically went through the motions of scheduling the appointment but my knuckles were white from gripping the steering wheel so tightly. I turned to my handsome little man next to me. How do you tell your child that they need brain surgery without exploding into a million pieces? I sent a prayer for words of wisdom and began to calmly explain to him what was happening.

“Luke, do you remember how we have prayed and prayed that the surgeon would have God’s wisdom in knowing what is best for you? Well, God has answered our prayers Buddy.” He looked at me briefly as I saw understanding creep into his blue eyes. “He thinks I need surgery, right?” “Yes buddy.” He immediately burst into tears as that understanding was replaced by fear. “Luke, it’s ok to be scared and worried and cry. You might see mommy cry too, but we are also going to thank God for answering our prayers. It may not be the answer we want but I know He is going to take care of you and guide that surgeon’s hand. We are going to get you through it one step at a time and then we are going to praise and thank God and give Him the glory for answering our prayers and being with you through it all.” He slowly nodded as I watched him brush the back of his hand over his eyes trying to fight back the fear and the tears.

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When we got home, instead of turning on the TV, he ran straight for his room. Trailing behind him, I walked in to see him drop to his knees by his bed, clasping his hands in prayer crying. He was saying something over and over but I couldn’t understand so I went closer and sat next to him. “Thank you. Thank you.” He was whispering between gasps and tears. He then reached around to the back of his head with his small hands and began to pray and beg God to give him strength to make it through. It was one of the most precious and heartbreaking moments I have ever known. I let the tears fall quietly down my face as I prayed beside him and let him pour out his heart to his Heavenly Father. Oh!! The strength and faith in that little boy was astounding! I briefly thought of the verse in Matthew 18:4, “So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.

I gently pulled him up and into my arms. Drawing all my strength I said, “Luke, like I said before it’s ok to be scared and cry, but let’s wait until it’s time. You are not having surgery today or next week. We are going to enjoy the holidays and spending time together with family and we are going to pray until then. He has been with us so far and He will continue with us every step of the way. Let’s worry when the time comes.”

Well that time is now fast approaching and in a week my little guy will be going in for surgery. I am having a hard time with it. As a Christian mother I know that God is honestly truly with us. I have never felt His presence more than I have since all of this started; felt a peace in my spirit that I can’t explain. (Philippians 4:7 “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”)

But as Luke’s mommy, I am heartsick and terrified. My worries and fear seem to sit on my shoulder and threaten to drown me. I honestly do not know what I would do if I didn’t have the Lord giving me strength. My emotions are all over the place. And my sweet little Luke;  I can’t hug him enough. I can’t kiss his head enough. I can’t thank God enough for giving me the unspeakable honor of being that little guy’s mom. Of having the honor of comforting him, holding him and guiding him through this life.

There is that peace again, stirring up in soul, creeping up into my spirit and touching every corner of my heart. I will allow God to continue to guide me because He is allowing me to guide Luke. And I whisper just like he did between gasps and tears, “Thank you! Thank you!”

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It Is Well: How God is Teaching Me About His Glory Through My Son

It is Well My family and I have been going through a very scary time with my youngest son. He has had some medical symptoms that have seemed to get worse. We were told a year ago he needed rest and hydration when he would wake up so weak he could barely lift a cup or spoon. The “spells” would only last a day or so and then he would go months without another. In between these times he has had headaches and dizziness but these too have been sporadic.

His most recent spell was just over a month ago. The pediatrician did a full blood panel workup. All of his tests came back normal so she referred him to a neurologist, who ordered an MRI. The next thing I know, I get a call that my 10 year old is being referred to a pediatric neurosurgeon for evaluation of possible brain surgery. The diagnosis is chiari malformation I. Here is a link with info about this abnormality to save you the trouble of googling it: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/chiari/detail_chiari.htm . He saw the neurosurgeon this past week and I will get to that later in this post.

The myriad of emotions that we all experienced during the days of waiting for that appointment are nearly indescribable. My little guy was actually relieved that there was an explanation for the way he had been feeling. For me, I was terrified of what he might have to endure and so unbelievably grateful that it was found early all at the same time! I posted, shared, text, and emailed asking; begging for prayer for my son! God created my son and my prayers was that He would press His divine knowledge into that surgeon to know what was best for him.

Everyone kept saying “I’ll be praying for him and your family”. Every time I heard that reply I would nod gratefully or post thank yous and please dos, seemingly calm but inside I was screaming! YES PRAY PRAY PRAY FOR MY SON! Don’t just say it because it is a challenging difficult time for us and you don’t know what to say. This is my son; this is my baby. This is something that has no cure. This is something he will have to live with; an invisible illness that to the outside world may seem completely made up. This is an absolute significant diagnosis that breaks my heart for him! So please please please do not carelessly fling out the most overused religious phrase known today “I’ll be praying for him” THIS IS MY LIFE, THIS IS MY SON AND I’M BEGGING YOU TO MEAN IT! PRAY WITHOUT CEASING!

During this time I would go to work and alternate between inward anxious thought spirals and outward quiet tears. I love the fact that I can listen to music while working. I would play songs of comfort and one song kept showing up in my mind, in my heart, and deeply in my spirit…. “It Is Well With My Soul” by Horatio Spafford. (The story behind this song is astounding.) The words began to minister to me. I added a new prayer to my initial prayerful cries to God for my son. I began praying that I would bring glory to Him even during this overwhelming, frightening experience, praying that even my fear would still bring Him glory. I Corinthians 10:31 “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

It is Well

It started to have an effect on me. I began to feel more at peace in the midst of fear and calm in the midst of confusion as I slowly began to accept whatever we would face with this deeply heartfelt knowledge that God really loved my sweet boy and no matter what it would be okay.

Wednesday came and I found myself staring into the kind, wise eyes of the surgeon. He said that surgery is to only restore cerebral flow if it is impeded by this condition. Based on the MRI, there seemed to be enough space for cerebral flow and surgery most likely will not be needed at this time. He ordered a spinal MRI and flow studies to be done next week to confirm this. This is so incredibly reassuring and solidifies that those prayers from all of us have already begun to work in my son. And I will say this without any hesitation what so ever and scream it: TO GOD BE THE GLORY! And yes please please please keep those prayers coming!

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.

Stepmoms and Biomoms and Jealousy

As a biomom or stepmom, do you ever struggle with jealousy or envy. I have gotten numerous emails from struggling moms that are needing help with this issue. Some have had issues with jealousy and envy over the biomom who seemed to have it all. Others have shared with me how they struggle with jealousy over the stepchild or time that their husbands spend with their child. This is causing a lot of chaos and disorder in their homes and within the family. It causes tension between the husband and wife and it causes tension between the mom and child.

One way to deal with this issue is to seek God’s wisdom. For me, that is asking God  to allow me to have discernment to see the situation through His eyes.

James 3:16-18, “16 For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. 17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. 18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.”

If we seek God’s wisdom then it releases us from the need to compare ourselves to others and desiring what they have. It brings peace and order to chaos when we are not looking over the fence at what others are doing or obtaining. And if we seek to see the situation outside of ourselves and ask to see it through God’s eyes then we will plant seeds of peace to those around us starting with our family. Envy, selfishness, and jealousy leads to dysfunction and disorder but true wisdom that only comes from God leads to peace and goodness and helps to develop integrity.

“True wisdom can be measured by the depth of one’s character.” ~ Dr. James L. Hayes II

What Honey Maid Got Wrong. What Honey Maid Got Right.

blog pic I had posted a photo of our family taken over our recent vacation on my instagram. Honey Maid snacks liked the photo and commented on what a beautiful family I had. (This is not the part they got  wrong.) I commented back of course with a big thank you. What adoring mom doesn’t want someone to complement her beautiful family? They proceeded to ask me if I knew about their latest mini documentary of their #NotBroken #Thisiswholesome campaign in which they were honoring blended/stepfamilies. I was directed to a link of this ad:

Another link to access ad documentary: http://mashable.com/2014/09/08/honey-maid-not-broken/

I have read the blogs and articles that have come out in reply to their ad and the opinions seem to be similar to mine. We all feel that the ad does not exemplify a realistic blended family.  Here are some thoughts that I am glad for when I see this ad. I am really glad that the boy in the ad named, Isaac, has such a wonderful understanding biomom that embraces and encourages her son to call his stepmom “mom”. I am really glad that she also allows the dad to play a very important equal role in his upbringing. I am glad that she hasn’t lied, manipulated or forced his dad to go to court to beg for more time with Isaac especially at Christmas and during the summer. I’m glad that his dad and stepmom did not force him to call his stepmom “mom” and spank him or punish him when he did not. I’m glad that his dad, although religious, doesn’t try to take away precious child hood memories such as Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, and the Easter bunny. I’m glad that both families along with Isaac can sit around the camp fire singing Kum Ba Yah. No seriously, I really am glad!

In all honesty, I appreciate Honey Maid snacks at their attempt at bringing awareness to families like mine. With the statistics indicated that over 40% of families are blended that means that blended families are the new norm. Yet, rarely is any advertising directed at us and is little talked about in media. That is why I honestly applaud this attempt at shining light on this type of family dynamic which is still considered in main stream as taboo.I also applaud the fact that they included another major taboo in mainstream media and society today:  Christianity/religion. Yes they did!

They included Isaac, his dad and step family saying grace to God. This part in the ad actually means more to me than the stepfamily subject. Not only are blended families/stepfamilies looked down upon but try being a Christian stepfamily. There are a lot of prejudices within the Christian community regarding divorce and remarriage. Don’t believe me? Try visiting the church that this lonely single mom and her young daughter tried out only to learn they don’t accept divorced people in the choir. Just ask the neighbor I got behind in the carpool line this morning. The one who was the first to invite us to church when we moved in and who is now the one that no longer speaks to us including my children because of our blended family issues.

I’ve always heard you should write what you know about and this is life as I know it. I find it somewhat sad that although I feel eternally blessed with these three beautiful children and my amazing husband, my content, my muse is derived from broken homes. Don’t mistake my words. We are a living example of what Divine healing and the gathering up of those broken pieces and diligently day in and day out molding them into a work of art. But the nights laying awake worrying about how we can make this situation or that situation work or how are we going to attend this event for one child in one school and a basketball game with another child in another school and still represent family are not on display for all to see. Honey Maid tried. They tackled issues that are considered taboo to speak of. They boldly went where no snack has gone before! The problem is that in there advertising think tank, their executives lost a little reality.

The Other Mothers

https://i0.wp.com/familyfusioncommunity.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/motherhood.jpg

I don’t typically write about the “other mothers”. I feel strongly about sharing things about our blended family but there is a fine line between sharing my heart and gossip/slander. Yes there has been times where I have wanted to vent out my frustrations in my posts but other than making me feel better, how would that truly help the situation? However, I am going to share some thoughts on the subject and maybe give advice to other “blendermoms” who are stepmoms, biomoms, or like me, both. Be mindful that I am only speaking from a place where both parents are active in all 3 of my children’s lives.

1. Respect the biomom for who she is regardless of what you may personally think of her.

I know this may hit a nerve with some stepmoms because stepmoms are often not treated with kindness, courtesy, or respect. However, if the biomom is in the child’s life there is no one that can or should take her place.

I do not have a relationship with my son’s stepmom. When she was first introduced to my son, he was told to call her “Miss” and by her first name but 5 months later when his dad married her, they immediately started on a campaign to force him to call her mom because she was pregnant.

To read the rest of this article go to http://familyfusioncommunity.com/2014/01/30/the-other-mothers/ and let me know your thoughts on the “other mothers” in your life.

Our Blended Life..The Musical

DSC_2377I have many drafts of posts for my blog but not any that I feel God leading me to publish just yet.  I haven’t posted in a really long time because I’ve been busy writing for other family publications.  I wanted to share an experience I had with my son tonight.

I have been playing the piano “by ear” since I was around four and had to reach up to reach the keys.  I bought a used piano recently and it’s good therapy for me just to sit and play and sing some of the old songs I loved as a kid such as “Sweet Hour of Prayer”, “Rise Again”, and “He Was There all the Time”. 

After dinner tonight I sat down and started playing.  My youngest son who is nine came up and sat down beside me.  After a few times of singing the song he chimed in with his sweet boy voice.  Ya know, the sweet voice that doesn’t know all the perfect notes of the song and hits every few off key but catches back on quickly.

After that, I started playing an old song my parents used to sing called “Remind Me Dear Lord”, a song I have sung to him since he was very little.  A song he loves.  He suddenly said, “Mama I want to play that song!”  It never occurred to him that it might take a lot of time for me just to teach him the chords.  Any way, I told him that we should start by learning a C chord.  He quickly picked up on that and I showed him the key progression of C which the C, F, and G chords.  After trying, however, he because frustrated that he could not play the music like I played so I started playing a song I learned as a child:  “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”.  A very simple song to play in the key of C.  He caught on quickly and was soon playing a long with me, so I showed him how to put a little more into the rhythm by using his left hand.  That proved to be too difficult for him and becoming quite agitated our music lesson came to a frustrated end.

Later I started thinking about that sweet moment and how thankful I was that God had given me the ability to play so if nothing else I could teach my son about Him through playing and music and to make lasting memories.  How often do we have those precious opportunities with our children in our lives;  to share our gifts and talents at unexpected moments.  It wasn’t a perfect moment.  It wasn’t flawless.  However, that’s life and that’s how life is, isn’t it?  It is our blended family heartsong; those everyday teaching moments that shape us and make us who we are.  Sometimes it’s spontaneous.  Sometimes it’s off-key.  Sometimes it’s difficult, but it is in those precious God-given moments that gives our heartsong a melody!

Colossians 3:16 ESV “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

Knowing, Learning, and Life-Changing

This summer has been very busy for all of us so I have not posted as often.  We have had trips, sports, work, and different parenting schedules.  It’s great because we really do get more extended time together with the kids as a family but it is also more chaotic because we have to figure out who is going where with which parent on this vacation or this trip or that conference.  In June, we had the most amazing vacation with my husband’s family but it was over way too quickly.  We have had a summer filled with swimming, playing, working on multiplication tables, running, volunteering, piano playing, and praying.  We have also had some unexpected conflict changes.  One of the other parents has strayed away from the court order and allowed the child to go back and forth this summer whenever they want (which has been wonderful and less stressful) and we have had another parent to take very precious time away from us causing more stress.  I am actually looking a little bit forward to school starting just to get back in a normal & hopefully stable routine which is good for all of us.  Blended family life is not easy.  It is constantly evolving.  It is hard work.  It is dedicated consistency.  It is at times disappointing.  It is at times overwhelming.  However, to me as a biomom and bonus mom it is the most life-changing love I could have ever known.  First, it is a life-changing love for my husband.  He has shown the deepest compassion and care for me like I have never had before.  He has loved my children with a quiet strength and patience that even they have noticed and responded to with equal love and respect toward him.  Watching him work hard to be a very involved loving father to his son.  Teaching him to grow into the man God created him to be and life changing for me as I support him in every way I can as he does that.  Second, it has been a life-changing love for my bonus son.  Loving him like my own and being patient to let him “catch up” and not pushing him to be part of a family that he was not born in to but to grow in to.  Loving him as he finds his place in this family as well as know that he is just as equally important as me, his dad, or the other two kids.  Third, I have this life-changing love for my children.  I have overcome the guilt of the previous destruction of my relationships to be able to forgive their fathers and forgive myself so that I let go of the “control monster” and encourage a deep loving relationship between my children and their dads.  I am of the mind that the more I encourage time and a closeness with their dad the more they develop a life-changing love for me because they don’t have to choose.  They are free to love us equally.

I have saved the best for last.  Most of all I have developed a deeper life-changing love for my Heavenly Father! He has cultivated all this life-changing love in me after putting this little family together.  Through all of the craziness of this past year I have grown closer to Him each and every day.  Having to depend on Him both emotionally and spiritually, but also physically as well.  I haven’t really shared a lot but a year ago my life was turned upside down when it was invaded with episodes of vertigo.  This spinning vertigo was short lived however it was replaced with severe motion sensitivity and MAV which basically translates to 24/7 rocking swaying dizziness that waxed and waned up numerous times a day until a few months ago.  I had to take a medical leave from my fantastic job because I had to stop driving and take balance/motion therapy to re-train my brain to compensate.  The neuro therapist explained that after the few initial attacks of spinning vertigo, my system did not re-set as most would do because of my long history of migraines.  Instead it made me super sensitive to motion pretty much making me feel like I am on a boat all the time.  With therapy I have slowly regained my balance and now the rocking is very minimal and only noticed occasionally during the day.  I also have migraine medication as well as dizzy medication to take in case of an emergency as needed.  All of this really put me in an unknown place because I have had to completely depend on others. compassion and God I have always been so independent and free spirited and that was all taken away for a long while.  I have prayed and cried out to God and through all of this I have come to know Him better.  I have come to a better understanding that beyond religion God wants me to know Him and that to know him is to love selflessly and to love selflessly is to be compassionate!  Jeremiah 22:16 NLT “He gave justice and help to the poor and needy, and everything went well for him.  Isn’t that what it means to know me? says the Lord.”  I have been studying and loving the book of Hosea right now.  Hosea 6:6 NLT ” I want you to show love not offer sacrifices.  I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.”  God wants my heart, not my religion!  The more I have come to really know God the more I have experienced life-changing love for Him!  The more I have experienced this life-changing love the more compassion He has given me for others far beyond what I have ever known.  Showing compassion to others is completely selfless because it is me doing for others with nothing expected in return other than experiencing joy in being compassionate and it has also helped me get the focus off of me.  This is why I am sharing all of this in this post.  Life is difficult, it is messy and especially so in blended family life and especially if you are also dealing with physical sickness like I have.  It is easy to get trapped in yourself, and in your circumstances.  If you are struggling with these things too I encourage you to start asking yourself how you can be compassionate and how you can demonstrate it to others.