The Ex-Spouse · Uncategorized

Jesus Loves Her, Too

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Today I’m just going to go there.  I need to go there for you, but mainly for me.  What you won’t get from me is finger-pointing.  What you WILL get from me is humility and the pointed finger right back at myself.  I’m going to address the bright pink and polka-dotted elephant in the room.  Here goes –

Jesus. Love. The ex.

I will start out by saying I don’t want to assume that all or even a majority of my readers have a bitter relationship with the biological mom (or dad) of their stepchildren.  I also don’t want to assume that you met her for coffee this morning.  However,  I will assume that the relationship you have with the biological mom (or dad) has been a rocky path at times.  Unless there are EXTREME levels of maturity, understanding, and kindness, the relationship between bio parent and step-parent is like navigating a minefield.

For our purposes here, I’m going to come to the conclusion that your relationship with the biological parent has difficult moments. Speaking for myself, the relationship with my stepson’s mom has been complex (and practically non-existent) for 16 years.  That’s a long time to build resentments, make wayward assumptions, and just feel confused or hurt.

I’m not making excuses for an absentee parent, an alienator, a gas-lighter, or any form of child abuse or neglect that goes on in a given situation.  We can discuss those topics much more in the future.  Today I want to address something that’s been heavy on my heart for a long time.

We are upon Good Friday and the celebration of a Risen Savior.  As a Christian, I can’t help but think often about the meaning of the cross and then the stone rolled away from the tomb.  I think about it nearly every day as I’ve grown deeper in my faith.  I can’t think  about one without the other – the price paid for my sin and then the promises Jesus made to his followers when he appeared to them outside his empty grave.

I am reminded that I am not perfect, but Jesus loves me anyway.  Had I been the only person alive that dark day on the hill of Golgotha, he still would have taken on the sin of the world for ME.  (The depths of that adoration truly go beyond my human comprehension.)  He was thinking of ME the night before he was crucified.  His anguished prayers to God the Father turned his sweat to blood as he knelt in the Garden of Gethsemane.  He knew what he had to do for me to save my soul, and he did it for ME.  He thought of me when he victoriously overcame ALL of the perils, battles, and sufferings of this world and hell below.  For ME.

And – he did it, as well, for HER.  Jesus gave his life for your husband’s (or wife’s) ex spouse.

Let that sink in for a moment.  How does that make you feel?  Be honest with yourself and let yourself feel the full range of emotion.  Really allow yourself to absorb those words.

Jesus loved her so much that he died for her.

I will only speak for myself, but it truly humbled me to think  about this.  I look at my husband’s ex-wife and the mother of his child through a different set of eyes when the sacrifice of Christ enters the picture.

Our hearts can get stoney and cold during and after a bitter divorce and during the perils of a trying blended family dynamic.  The world sometimes tells us to be competitive in the most petty of ways with the ex or to be outright hateful.  Well-meaning but misguided friends prod us to “win” battles and to exert unnecessary gruffness.

But Jesus commands us to love one another.  There is not a first or second place in the eyes of God.  We are all winners in the eyes of the LORD.  The sad reality is, our mired earthly actions can create losing situations, though.  The pain and consequence of strife with a biological parent or stepparent will be felt by the children, and oh the heavy burden they carry on their young shoulders if we don’t grow up emotionally and act like adults.

Granted, “peace  in the valley” of my situation will take a lot more time and prayer.  But I never will stop praying for peace.  I never will stop asking Jesus to destroy the walls of misunderstanding.  I never will stop, because Jesus certainly didn’t give up on you and I.

 

What Jesus says:

“And whoever wants to be first must be slave to all.  For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:44-45 NIV

 

Moment of Prayer:

“Heavenly Father, I ask that you continue to heal the hearts of our blended family.  I ask that you touch each life with your grace, mercy, and love.  Live in my heart, Lord, take up permanent residence.  Keep showing me the ways of forgiveness.  Place your healing, nail-scarred hands on our lives.  Make us great examples for our children.  Make us more like you.  May we love one another just as you love and forgive us.  Amen.”

 

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog! I don’t take your attention for granted.  I am not a psychologist or a counselor.  I am, however, very passionate about helping other stepparents with prayer, inspiration, and hope.  I care about you! Please leave me a prayer request and I will pray for you.  YOU ARE NOT ALONE!  I hope to be resourceful to your stepparent journey.  God Bless You!

 

 

Time With Stepchildren · Uncategorized

The Vaporized Dash

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“Teach us to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Psalms 90:12 ESV

Do you remember some phrases your parents or grandparents said that seemed to stick with you well into adulthood? I remember Mom saying throughout my youth, “Our lives are only a vapor.”  It never made a lot of sense to me back then.  When you are young you feel as if you could live forever.  Your shoulder doesn’t creak and pop when you extend your arm. You can eat a fistful of peanuts, jalapeños and cheddar cheese without your stomach revolting.  You can rise early and stay up late without suffering too much the next day.  A “vapor”?  Life felt like it always was just beginning when I was a child, teen, and young adult.

I’m 44 now, and it has dawned on me that I could be at my life’s half-way mark (or already lived beyond it). Mortality feels different now.  Life can be random and cruel with its brevity.  Yes Mom, you win.  My first 44 years went by with lightning speed.

I also remember a lesson or sermon about “the dash”.  This particular dash referred to is the dash on your tombstone or obituary, say 1974 – 20XX.  Pastor asked, “What are you doing with your dash?”  That stuck with me, too.  A vapor.  A dash.  Both of these things sound so fleeting, fast…and short.

So what does a vapor and a dash have to do with being a stepparent?  It has EVERYTHING to do with it.  We already have a truncated period of time with our stepchildren since we have not known them since birth.  Unless they live with us full time, we also have limited influence with them during the formative years.

We know in our blended family and co-parenting community that our role as a stepparent takes a lot of mental, emotional, and sometimes physical energy.  Are we using that energy wisely?  Executive Mentor and Coach Kelly Talamo teaches his audience, “There is an energy drain in everything you do. Choose wisely. ” Think about that for a minute.  Everything we choose to direct our attention to saps a bit of our daily allotment of energy.

In this short amount of time that we are given to guide our stepchildren, are we focused on positive energy suppliers?  For example:

  • Are we hung up on a title?  Just because you aren’t “the” mom or dad does not mean you aren’t “a” mom or dad.  Don’t get hung up on how your stepchildren address you.  Let them call you what is comfortable for them.  Anything forced only will cause resentment.

 

  • Are you LISTENING to your stepchildren during the valuable time you have with them? Allow them to SHARE stories about school, their new puppy, the vacation they took with mom or dad, their grandma’s awesome cookies, or ANYTHING they want to share.  It is important that they feel comfortable talking about their life with the other parent without judgment.  To discourage such conversations is destructive to their well-being, and is quite simply, parental alienation.

 

  • Is your precious time being wasted by the woes of online negativity? Be mindful of what you post on social media.  My husband and I have a love-hate with Facebook.  It is a great way to catalog pictures and share experiences with those who have the best interest of your family at heart.  However, social media has become a tool of destruction to many, the blended family included.  NEVER bad-mouth the other parent, even if you think you’re being “safe” and not using his or her name.  Kids are smarter than we sometimes give them credit for being, and they know what you are doing.  JUST DON’T GO THERE.  Vent to others you trust in private, but don’t air your grievances on social media.  (This can apply to other topics as well.  Be a classy human being!)

There are MANY others, but I will leave you with these important three tips for now.

Allow Jesus to be magnified through you today.  Use your dash wisely.  We have this one earthly existence, these few seasons of life.  Make it count!

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog! I don’t take your attention for granted.  This is a work in progress and I hope to share something with you every day.  I am not a psychologist or a counselor.  I am, however, very passionate about helping other stepparents with prayer, inspiration, and hope.  I care about you! Please leave me a prayer request and I will pray for you.  YOU ARE NOT ALONE!  I hope to be resourceful to your stepparent journey.  God Bless You!

Moment of Prayer:
“Lord, please don’t let my valuable time on this earth be wasted on regret!  I don’t want to waste a breath.  None of us know how much time we have left to touch the lives of others and be an example of your love.  Please don’t let a day or an opportunity to shine your light to others slip away.  May I learn quickly from the lessons of strife. Help me to seek wisdom in all I do!”

 

 

 

 

 

My Husband · Uncategorized

Our Husbands

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“Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times.” Romans 12:12 GNB

My husband (Steve) looked so tired at breakfast this morning.  We try to keep somewhat of a schedule in our home, sleep time included.  But this morning, he looked like an extra few hours would do him a world of good.  It wasn’t just a physical tired with baggy eyes and pale skin.  It was a deeper kind of tired.  A soul tired.

So much is expected of him.  He’s the breadwinner in our home while I help care for my elderly and sick father a state away.  He balances so much on his weary shoulders, and he balances it all with a grace unlike any I’ve seen before.  Granted, I take care of the home while I’m not working full-time, but much of what he balances can’t be checked off a list at the end of the day.

Steve juggles the needs of employees who call him at various hours of the day.  He helps me with the perils of homeownership like a faulty power switch or a failing appliance.  He notices my gas tank is near empty and he fills it up, also surprising me with my favorite soda.  He loves couple time with me and surprises me with concert tickets on a random Tuesday afternoon.  He makes our personal projects a priority.  He’s planned in exquisite detail how our basement should be finished.

He does many selfless and thoughtful things for his son.  My stepson is juggling the balance between adulthood and leaving the teen years.  He’s doing pretty darn good working and growing up in this jungle of a world, but he still needs guidance.  Steve makes breakfast for him in the morning, asks him about his work day with sincere interest (usually after working a full day of his own) and he spends lots of time throughout the week talking with him and teaching him much about finances, car maintenance and repair, what tie matches what shirt, etc. etc.

Steve makes it all look so easy, but some days it’s not.

He balances my emotional see-saw of knowing my father is dying.  Some days I’m ok, some days I cry a lot.  He is quick to offer guidance and help when our son needs new tires for his truck or needs deeper insight like which retirement plan would be best suited for him.  He responds with civility when his ex sends a terse text asking for money.  He is a Christian confidant to many in our family and friend circle.  When called upon he will give of his evening to counsel someone in need.  Sometimes all of this happens in the same day, and he handles it all with a positive, Godly attitude.

Have you looked at your husband today, I mean really looked at him? Have you looked in his eyes and told him how much you appreciate all he balances and gives of himself?  In a world that wants to get rid of the word “man” from the dictionary, in a world that devalues Fathers Rights, in a world that wants to vilify a gender, it’s no wonder our good men and husbands of the world feel beat down.

Now, I know that there are exceptions to everything.  I know many strong women.  I know amazing, self-sacrificing single mothers.  I know so many wonderful people of all ages. But for this moment I want to say…

Thank you, my incredible and remarkable husband.

Moment of Prayer:

“Lord, thank you for the gift of such a wonderful husband and father!  I ask for you to fill his heart with hope, joy, and peace today.  He means so much to our family.  Please bless his life in continuous ways.  May he feel your presence today in everything he does.  I am so grateful for him.” 

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog! I don’t take your attention for granted.  This is a work in progress and I hope to share something with you every day.  I am not a psychologist or a counselor.  I am, however, very passionate about helping other stepparents with prayer, inspiration, and hope.  I care about you!  I have added a prayer request section.  Please feel free to ask for prayer! YOU ARE NOT ALONE!  I hope to be resourceful to your stepparent journey.  God Bless You!