Hey Stepmom, You Are Not Alone!

SOS blog post

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

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

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

SOS blog 2

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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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.

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.

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


Broken & Blessed

I can’t believe that this week I will be celebrating 5 years of marriage with my wonderful husband.  It seems like it was only yesterday we were married and yet we have been through so incredibly much!  I remember in a previous marriage I was married for 7 years and yet it felt more like 20 years.  I’ve written about that experience in a few previous blogs but you can read this one  to get an idea https://blendermom3.wordpress.com/2012/10/05/abuse-is-abuse/.   Obviously it was a very dark time for me.  I learned so much about myself as a Christian woman, mother, and wife after I got away from that situation and started to heal.  I felt like I had fallen into a deep dark hole.  I felt like I was made wrong.  I felt inadequate.  I felt broken in my soul.  I could say that it was all in God’s plan but I honestly do not think it was His Will for me to marry that man.  However, guess what?  God takes our mistakes and what little we give him and uses them for His purpose anyway!  I heard this in a sermon by Bishop T. D. Jakes.  In Mark 6:41 NLT  “Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. He also divided the fish for everyone to share.” Rev. Jakes revealed in that scripture that God broke it.  Then, God blessed what was less than enough.  Lastly, God multiplied what was broken.  Wow!! Take a minute to let the Reverend’s words sink in!  God broke it.  God blessed it.  God multiplied it.  Through all the pain and brokenness God took what little I gave him and blessed me and gave me a heart to share these experiences in hopes it might touch others.  He gave me  three beautiful children to teach them about God’s amazing love and he gave me a sweet loving husband that I can serve right along side and together to try and be an example of that amazing love is to our children.  Read that scripture and think on those words.  Try and think on even in those darkest times when it’s hard to see it that there is a blessing waiting.  When you feel like you are broken in your soul like I did, God will still bless what is not enough and make it more than enough.

Merry CHRISTmas

Nativity

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.