“By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ I appeal to all of you, my brothers and sisters, to agree in what you say, so that there will be no divisions among you. Be completely united, with only one thought and one purpose.” 1 Corinthians 1:10 GNB
It must be human nature to keep track of the wrong things done to us. A friend of mine takes this so seriously that he vows to ALWAYS return a wrong for a wrong. I couldn’t help but think that takes a whole lot of effort and eventually creates a calloused heart.
All of us have a “history”.
We either have an ex boyfriend/girlfriend, wife/husband, former place of employment that wasn’t a good fit, a sibling we don’t always get along with, or a friend who betrayed us. We could fill restaurants, bars, or coffee shop conversations will long and descriptive tales of all the woes we’ve experienced at the hands of other imperfect people.
But remember, we are ALL guilty of causing our fair share of pain.
As a second wife and stepmother, my mind is prone to wander off to the “How I’ve Been Wronged” thought soap opera. The characters excitedly display their prowess and abilities right before my eyes, dazzling me with their cunning smiles and malicious sideways glances. They LOVE to perform for me when I replay their dramatic scenes.
I started recalling one of those “scenes” while I was folding laundry on Father’s Day. In 2013 my husband Steve, my stepson and I were coming back from a weekend getaway when Steve and I were informed of a very hateful post on social media by his ex-wife. It was unkind, untrue, and malicious. I felt my heart pounding in my neck and I became angry all over again. I started thinking about all the lies said about my husband and I through the years. She said things about us that attacked our characters and questioned our ability as parents. Many of these things were posted while my stepson was WITH us, which brought on a whole new level of fury.
Meanwhile, Satan was doing a jig. He had taken my eyes away from the beautiful sun streaming into the window. He had taken my senses away from the pancakes my husband was so graciously making for my stepson and I. He had planted these thoughts of bitterness and I dwelled on them. I reveled in them. How dare anyone attack my family? Satan sought out to create strife in my mind, and he succeeded.
As I’ve grown closer to God, I can catch the devil in his tracks.
I more easily can identity his attacks of mental destruction. What I did next was unthinkable, unimaginable in my former thought pattern.
I started praying for her.
Yes, praying for her.
Another fellow stepmom blogger talks about praying for the parents of your stepchildren. At first I thought it was a nice thing to say, and she must not have the patterns of parental alienation we face. I was oh so wrong. When I read her bio I became aware of her struggles. She faces everything we do, and them some more. But she finds peace in her heart and CREATES peace and love within her household by replacing damaging words and actions with prayer. I was apprehensive but very intrigued.
I turned off my wayward thoughts and intentionally prayed for my husband’s ex-wife and mother of my stepson. I asked God to give her a good day and for Him to fill her mind with peace. I didn’t melt. I didn’t recoil at the words. I, in contrast, felt the tension leave my body. I even will admit it felt good to pray for her.
Sometimes we don’t feel like those who wrong us deserve our prayers. Well, news for ALL of us, we didn’t deserve the gift of salvation either. None of us deserve forgiveness paid in full by a loving God. But, He loves ALL of us that much. ALL of us.
Praying for others doesn’t excuse harmful words or actions, but it releases us from being judge and jury of perceived wrongs.
Prayer places all that heavy stuff at the foot of the cross and back into the capable hands of God. We also start to look at circumstances not selfishly, but selflessly.
To dive into this a bit further, check out my blog post, Jesus Loves Her, Too.
Need a prayer partner for your blended family? I would love to pray for you. My personal email is email@example.com
God Bless you all!