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

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

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?

My Ways Are Not

deep stormMy husband and I have had several big situations hit us one right after another in the past couple of months starting with a blown engine in our SUV that we had just paid off, that fit all 5 of us plus 2 friends. All of these issues have caused some stomach aches, headaches, worried/anxious thought spirals, and sleepless nights. Many nights, at some point, has ended with crawling out of bed, kneeling, and pouring our heart out to God either alone or together. 1Peter 5:7 “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

In the midst of these problems, through working in ministry, I have encountered others who are suffering with hurting hearts. My daughter and I both have a strong sense of empathy and compassion. When others hurt, we truly feel that hurt and try to help in any way we can.  Such empathy can also cause stomach and headaches, worried thought spirals, and sleepless nights spent praying for others. During this time, she found out that a classmate was really in trouble and she bravely stood up and went to the powers that be and told, getting them some help and facing a lot of ridicule for being a “snitch” and even losing a close friend in the process.

During these past months of difficulties, I have asked God why? That’s probably not the spiritual thing to do but it certainly is the most human. We all ask God why is this happening? Why won’t you fix this? I have asked that of Him, especially these last two months. Why did our vehicle blow up when we are working so hard to be debt free? Why did my brother’s house get robbed of so many valuable precious irreplaceable things such as baby photos that they will never get back? Why are there issues cropping up with our children and the other parents when we have worked so hard to build and raise our family to serve You? Why is Jack still being terrorized by an abusive father? Why was my friend’s son, who already has suffered severe trauma in his life, have to go to court over having his life threatened?  Why was he attacked at school by another student the next day and received several rib fractures?

Why?

And God answers!

Isaiah 55:8-11 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and My ways are not your ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.10 The rain and snow come down from heaven and do not return there without giving water to the earth. This makes plants grow on the earth, and gives seeds to the planter and bread to the eater. 11 So My Word which goes from My mouth will not return to Me empty. It will do what I want it to do, and will carry out My plan well.”

And what an answer!  I don’t think like God.  I can’t even fathom it.  His view, His perspective is “higher than the heavens”  while mine is barely visible from this pit I sometimes find myself in and peeking out over the edge of.

As I am thinking about God’s answer, I realize that I have received more blessings over these past two months than I can count. I have seen my family grow spiritually in their faith and walk in Christ. I have seen my children make that basket, bring up that grade, and make many new friends to replace the one that was lost. We now have a new car that is better for us than the old one. I could honestly go on and on.

But most of all, I have been tremendously blessed through ministry and serving others.  One of the biggest is my daughter and I helped with our church’s large special needs Easter egg hunt event. I signed up to be a hunt buddy and met an amazing family that had adopted 11 special needs children and brought 4 of them to the event. My 11 yr old bright energetic buddy and I had a blast running through all of the inflatables and games and finally went on to collect 4 bags of eggs!  (Actually I just ran around behind him toting his bags. Lol!)  His mom was able to be pampered that day in a makeshift spa our church had set up. She came back with a new hair style and a manicure. She seemed so refreshed and rejuvenated. His mom said that although he was affectionate he did not hug. At the end of the event as the family was leaving, the unprompted hug I received from my little buddy was beyond words for me. I went there that day to be a blessing but really I was the one that was truly blessed!

DSC_2854See, we don’t always have to preach Jesus at others in their face. We can lead them to Him simply by doing what He did through loving and serving. Giving them some time for themselves when they may not often have that luxury. Helping them by going into their community and washing their windows and changing light bulbs, etc….

I don’t understand. I cannot fathom the ways of God. But I have learned that when I don’t understand I need to show more compassion, love, and give more of myself. My ways are not His ways because His view is so much better of me than I have of myself. His ability to pour out His blessings is far greater than my own. My prayer is that He still uses me faults, difficulties, anxious thought spirals and all.

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!

I’ve Been Nominated for a Liebster Blog Award!!

liebsterI have been nominated for a Liebster Blog Award!  I am so excited for the nomination and want to thank Catalina for nominating me!  Check out her blog here: http://zamoracatalina.wordpress.com/  She writes about being 40 and single again.  Catalina, you rock girl!

Part of the process is I have to tell 11 things about myself and then answer 11 questions posted by the one who nominated me so here goes.

About Me:

I love the Lord with all my heart.  I love being a mom and I’m good at it.  I am madly in love with my husband and we talk about how we both get butterflies when we are with each other.  I love bacon!!  I have a slight obsession with buying new flip flops but I work hard to not go crazy and keep it in check.  Some things that many may not know about me is that I have been playing the piano by ear since I was 3 1/2 years old (I had to reach up to reach the keys) and I have been writing songs since I was in the 4th grade.  Obviously I love to write.  I cannot draw, even my stick figures don’t look right.  My favorite color is red.  I have a small 8lb maltipoo named Brady that is our baby and we have taught him to wait for us to say the blessing before he eats and also to ring a bell when he needs to go outside. Now I will try to answer the questions.

1. How old were you when you had your first kiss?  I was 14.  (I did have a boy, a very close friend, give me a smack on the lips at the age of 5 but don’t think that counts.)
2. Did you grow up in a home with both parents? Yes and my parents have been married for 42 years.
3. Do you believe in reincarnation? No but I do believe in Salvation.
4. Do you believe in heaven and hell? Yes
5. What is your favorite cinema movie ever? I actually have a thing for old black & white movies like “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” and “Rebecca” and so many more, but a cinema movie would be “Pride & Prejudice”, “Return to Me” & “Signs”.
6. What song would you like played at your funeral? An old song written by Bill & Gloria Gaither called “Something Beautiful”
7. What one word describes you? Unselfish
8. What is your astrological sign? Sagittarius
9. What is the one quality that you want most in the opposite sex? Integrity
10. What is the one thing that you feel you should change about yourself? I procrastinate and I hate that!
11. What movie star do you resemble most (you have to answer this)? I have been told I look a little like Helen Hunt, Kate Hudson  or a young Barbara Mandrell, however I am going to say Smurfette.

Now I am supposed to nominate some blogs that I feel deserve this award.   Here are some that I think are definitely worth reading:

http://thebyrdhouseblog.wordpress.com

http://ournewpartyofsix.wordpress.com/

http://ablendx9.wordpress.com/

http://pastorbv.wordpress.com/

http://aliendad.wordpress.com/

Now these nominees need to tell 11 things about themselves, answer my questions and then nominate blogs with less than 200 followers that they feel deserve to be nominated as well as include a link to my blog for the nomination. (hey I don’t make the rules, I just follow them).

Here are my questions for the nominees:

  1. What is your favorite color?
  2. What is your favorite food?
  3. What is your inspiration for writing your blog?
  4. Who is your biggest supporter of your blog?
  5. What is your best character trait?
  6. What is your worst character trait?
  7. What do you feel is your greatest achievement/success so far in your life?
  8. What song would you like played at your funeral?
  9. Name the funniest movie you have ever seen?
  10. What is your favorite holiday and why?
  11. What is the one main thing you want readers to get from your blog?

It has been such an honor to be nominated.  I hope that my readers take from my blog a sense of empowerment and that you are not alone.

Amazing like God

So this past Sunday was Mother’s Day and as a mom and bonus mom, it was a great day.  My kids showered me with lots of hugs, kisses, and “I love yous”. My youngest son still holds a bit of a soft spot in my heart because he is still at that age where I don’t embarrass him.  He loves for me to hug him and hold his hand in public, say prayers and tuck him in at night, and write notes on his napkin in his lunch box.  He drew me a special card that spelled out the letters in my name and described me.  The very last letter of my name is ‘A’ and he wrote about me: “A is for amazing like God”.  Other things were “nice as a flower” and “cute as a dog” but wow! “Amazing like God”.  It got me thinking about the example I am to my son and my children.  Those are some really big shoes to fill!

Webster’s definition of amazing: amazement, great wonder and surprise.  The definition of God:  the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshiped as creator and ruler of the universe;  a person or thing of supreme value.  To me, my son thinks that as a mom, I bring wonder and amazement to his life as someone who is in authority with wisdom and goodness in his life. Proverbs 31: 28,29 NLT   “Her children stand and bless her.  Her husband praises her.  There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!”  

Heavenly Father, how do I ‘surpass them all’?   How do I set that example of how a Godly mother should be?  How can I truly be amazing as a mom?  And God seemed to speak to my heart.  It is by teaching him the commands of God about ‘loving thy neighbor’, ‘honoring thy father and mother’, and ‘putting God first in everything’.  It is by tucking him in at night and praying with him.  It is showing him my love with those hugs and kisses.  It is leaving those little notes on his napkin in his lunchbox.  It is by doing those things we do as moms that can make us amazing and wise and good in the eyes of our children. 

Take it a step further and extend that to your bonus sons and daughters.  Try to show them love, affection, wisdom and goodness.  Be an example of what a Godly christian woman, wife, and mother should be in your home so that you can strive to be “Amazing like God” to your hand-picked God-given precious family!  Deuteronomy 6:6,7 NLT “And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands I am giving you today.  Repeat them again and again to your children.  Talk about them when you are at home and on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.”Image


Small Words Big Meaning

Have you ever noticed how the smallest words seem to have the biggest meaning?  Words such as “love”, “care”, “hate”, “hurt”,  and “kind”.  God has shown me in the last 5 years just how much those words can impact your life! As a pastor’s kid, growing up, we would go from church to church helping rebuild them and a lot of the churches were filled with “hurt” and “hate” from the division they had already gone through. At one point, we had moved to Florida when I was in the 5th grade.  The church members were very loving but it was still difficult being away from our home state.  I don’t remember a lot about school during that time, but I would come to remember a girl named April very well.  April sat next to me and she was different from the rest of the students.  She dressed a little differently and wore her hair in braids which some thought was not really in style at the time.  She had very thick glasses that made her eyes look very large and later I learned that she was legally blind.  I didn’t talk to her very much but I would some times chat with her while waiting for class to start.  We would exchange paper or a pencil if needed and that was about the extent of it.  After living there for six months we left Florida and went back to my home state. In 2008 I received an email on a social website from April. “Hi we were together for a while in 5th grade.  I am the one with the deformed eyes but you were nice to me anyway.”  “Nice”. I was so humbled in that moment by that word! I had to wonder that in the small interactions I had with her for her to say that I was nice, just how very hard it must have been for her growing up!  Kids can be so cruel.  (In blended families teaching your children to be “nice” and “kind” is especially important.  When you are not all related by blood and with all the difficult issues that come with it, being kind to one another can make an enormous impact.)  April and I exchanged a few more emails.  I shared with her my desire to tell women about my past, the abuse, and what God had done for me.  She replied   : “Many women have been beaten down by society’s unrealistic expectations reguarding sexual beauty and the ability to do it all: work full time, raise kids, look sexy everynight for the hubby.  Also too many women have been in domestic violence situations and too many women have been sexually abused. It’s my hope that God opens up an opportunity to witness to those who have been abused. I just prayed for you.”  Now there is a small word with big meaning: “Pray”.  When we pray, things happen.  In any situation that you feel there is not a thing you can do, you can pray.  “Positive praying is much more powerful than positive thinking. People may resist our help, spurn our appeals, and reject our suggestions, but they are powerless against our prayers.” ~Rick Warren, Daily Hope.  When you have been told by someone you love that you’re a failure, pray!  When you are worried about how the bills are going to get paid, pray!  When your marriage is in trouble, pray!  When you are caught in the middle between stepchildren, children, your spouse and the other parent, pray!  When you don’t know what to do, always pray!  “I just prayed for you.”  It was as if right in the middle of everything she stopped to pray for me.  That was the last email I ever got from her.  I sent a few more with no response so I made some inquiries and received a msg from her best friend Betty telling me that April had been battling cancer and on Sept 23, 2009 she had gone to be with the Lord.  “Thank” is another word, isn’t it?  I never got to really thank her for what her prayers and encouragement meant to me. Don’t forget to thank those who mean so much to you and most importantly don’t forget to thank God for the work he is doing in your life.  And last, another small word is “do”.  Get up and “do”. You only get one chance in this one life to do all you can do! Don’t wait to thank someone, pray for them, or show kindness to others, especially your blended family.  God hand picked them from other families and situations, no matter the circumstances, and blended them into your family for a reason.  It is not by accident but Divine purpose that you are in that family so don’t underestimate that.  Thank you so much April for showing me that even the smallest things can have the biggest impact!

Redone_saying

 

Forgiveness

This was my very first post on this blog back in June 2012.  It was on my heart today and I felt it needed to be re-written and re-posted.  Thanks so much to all my readers and comments.  It has meant so much to me!

My 2nd marriage lasted just over 2 years.  We were having problems, particularly spiritual issues.
I begged him to get pastoral counseling with me but he didn’t(and still doesn’t) think counseling is scriptural. We were still managing to stay together, however, in spite of our problems until we were told by a family member that our pastor at the time was talking about me behind my back.  He said that my husband had a “tiger by the tail when he married me”.  I was hurt and totally offended. I wanted my husband to defend me and be upset with me but he seemed to defend the pastor.  We called the pastor immediately but he would not return our calls for a week and finally he did call.  He apoligized, but tried to justify that what he meant was I wear the pants in the family by that statement.  (Was that really supposed to make me feel better?) He honestly didn’t know the workings of our marriage and had not right to give his opinion to others.  I was still very hurt and offended but tried to make peace with the situation.  My marriage after that was never the same and 5 months later we were separated.  I felt that my husband didn’t go to bat for me and placed the pastor as more important, so to speak.  Why am I writing this today?  I think that the dynamics of a successful blended family are somewhat different then other marriages.  It is very hard to put your marriage first above your children, especially when half is your own flesh and blood but not the other half but it is all the more important that you do!  You have to learn and practice loving your spouse more.  Do not misinterpret what I’m saying.  This does not mean your blended children get less love and “sloppy seconds”.  It just means your marriage to your spouse takes higher priority.  Think about it:  the stronger and together your marriage is the stronger you are able to be FOR your children.  If you and him are divided then it filters down to the children and does not help them in any way feel safe in this blended family. They have already been through the horrors of divorce and you can bet that they are very scared that they will have to go through another!  Being strong together shows them what a healthy relationship is and gives them comfort that everything is going to be ok. 

This brings me to the above example of my second marriage and the topic of forgiveness.  As I sat down for my quiet time with God this morning it felt that God was saying I need to forgive.  Now obviously we need to work on forgiving our ex’s, but I’m talking about forgiving that pastor. You see, all these years, I have blamed him for the downfall of my second marriage.  Matthew 11:6 KJV says “Blessed are those who are not easily offended”.  Another verse and a favorite is Eph 4:31-32 “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.”  So in thinking about your precious blended family today, think about forgiveness. Is there a person (other than the ex) that you feel played a role in the downfall of your marriage or relationship?  Open your heart up to forgiveness and letting that go.  I promise it will lighten the load and make you feel more refreshed and able to give your focus and energy to your family who deserve it way more than that person who offended you! 

Love Him/Love Him Not

Heart

Today’s topic is about how we love our husbands.  It pertains to normal relationships.  This does not apply to abusive or cheating men. 

My husband is a very good man.  He is good to me and very importantly, he is good to my kids.  He is my best friend (we love being together).  He is my lover. (woot woot!!)  Now, if you are reading this, you are probably thinking about your husband in comparison and how he is or is not like my husband, or if single, thinking how you wish you had someone like him or how your ex was certainly NOT like him!  However, what you probably did not think about is the kind of wife you are or were and how that has shaped the kind of husband you have or want.  It is only natural to look away from ourselves to the outside influences especially if we are not in the best place in our relationship.  We tend to not stop and say to ourselves “how did I contribute to us getting to this point?”  No, if you are unhappy in your relationship you tend to use alot of finger pointing the other way.  I know that I am so guilty of this, especially in previous relationships. How often do we women fall into a pattern of thinking how he does not do this or does not do that or does not say this etc…  We become so obsessed with standards that he is not living up to that we discount our own behaviour. Don’t get me wrong, it takes both of you to make or break a relationship, but let’s face it ladies, the only thing you can change in this thing is yourself! I see alot on social media, the ladies posting actors, musicians, etc… pics talking about how gorgeous that man is or talking about the latest “colorful” book they have read that is nothing short of soft porn and all the while they are married.  I can’t help but feel how utterly disrespectful that is to your man.  What is sad is that I see it coming from the ladies way more than I see it coming from the men.  I think that if your man turned around and did the same thing you would be so angry with him and upset.  I think that you would feel inadequate and unattractive.  My husband takes care of himself and likes to be healthy by working out. In a previous relationship, my husband’s ex would see body builders on TV and say things like “why can’t you look like that”.  Now I don’t know if she said it often or only once or twice but it tore him down and has affected him more than I can put into words.  One of my ex’s loved to look at women.  Every where we would go he would comment on some woman.  I always felt that he was looking at every woman in the room but me no matter how hard I tried to look good and it cut deep and hurt me deep in my spirit.  It taught me that I do not ever want to treat the one that I love in that way!!  I don’t ever want my husband to feel the way I felt! 

In today’s blended family marriage is the upmost importance but can also be very fragile!  You have so much working against you but it is so important to be strong and together for your kids so that they don’t have to go through yet another divorce.  Stop and think right now about how you have been loving your husband and think about how you have not.  Ask God to show you how to love your husband the way He wants you to love him.

Song of Solomon 8:6
Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. (NIV)