It’s not an easy role to fill. It’s not the natural way of things, it’s not always the ideal situation. However, life is rarely considered ideal. It sure wasn’t ideal for the little girl I once was. I lost my mom to cancer and then the worst thing that could have happened, happened. My dad met someone new.
Turns out it wasn’t the worst thing that could happen, but when you’re little things don’t always make sense.
My stepmom didn’t have it easy when it came to me. As an adult, I can look back and see that it had to be so difficult for her. But with God’s grace and patience, she soon became more than a mother to me. She was made of tough stuff and, truthfully, she had to be. She was dealing with a little girl whose world seemed to be crumbling apart. Here are a few things she taught me either directly or indirectly:
1. A genuine smile goes a long way. Whether a family splits because of death or a divorce, there’s enough to be blue about. Learning to smile and keeping your smile helps to lighten life up and helps the healing process.
2. Respect and honor the birth parents. Whatever the grownups are going through, the children will always love their mom and dad in a way that can never and should never be tampered with. It’s a pure, honest-to-goodness love. Give those relationships space and respect.
3. Never give up. As a step parent, there’s a lot of backdraft aimed at you–but don’t ever give up. Even if the child seems to be pushing you away–don’t give up. My stepmom never gave up on me. We went through many difficult adjustments, but she has never given up on me. I have never called her mom, but she has always signed cards and letters, “mom”. I think she knows that in my heart of hearts, it’s what I want. I love her for that, unconditional love.
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged … love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
If you grew up with a stepparent, what are some things you can look back on and learn from? Or if you are a stepparent, what are some ways you can reach out to your stepchildren?