I don’t know how old I was in this dream, but I felt young. However it could be late 20s to recent history. A young man who looked to be anywhere from 25 to mid-thirties lived in my house. He was either a roommate or lived with me and my family. I did not recognize the house. I did however know in my dreams that he lived with me and was a friend. I did not feel a romantic attachment to him but one of great concern for him as a person.
I would describe the man as very tall with shoulder-length curly dark hair. He was very handsome and healthy looking. He had bright eyes, beautiful skin, and charisma.
My dream interaction with him was brief but one I never will forget. I walked into the hallway to check on him (or maybe he had called me to his door). When I got to the hallway and looked in his room he was in the process of removing his white bedsheets from the bed. My eyes immediately noticed a shocking sight. His sheets were askew and they were covered in fresh, bright blood. I was so worried for my friend. What had happened to him? As he was shuffling with the sheets I noticed another overwhelming and distressing sight. His back was covered in deep crimson wounds. They looked bloody to the touch and painful beyond comprehension. The gashes were long and they cris-crossed each other. It looked like he had been beaten with a whip or belt containing a nail as the striking point. My poor friend had bled all over his sheets and he clearly needed some medicine or something to soothe the pain.
As I stood there in shock, he approached the doorway where I was standing. He had a look of urgency in his eyes yet seemed to be unusually calm to have such intense lacerations.
(At this moment in my dream, I realized who this man was. It was Jesus Christ. Remember it’s a dream and dreams can be odd with all kinds of interpretations. But realizing that Jesus himself is your roommate must be very exciting whether in REM sleep or not.)
I wanted to help Him so very much.
“Jesus, my friend, please let me wash your sheets. You have bled all over them!” I asked Him as tears welled up in my eyes.
“No Lynnette, it’s ok. I can clean them up for you.” Jesus said.
I pleaded with Him to let me help Him. He shook his head with a bit of exasperation and then looked at me with so much urgency. He then placed both His hands firmly on my shoulders and looked right into my eyes.
“No Lynnette, I’ve got this part. I’ll be ok.”
He looked even deeper into my eyes and I could tell He had something else to say. I will never forget this next sentence.
“But I need your help.”
The dream ended with that simple sentence and Jesus’ intense gaze. Jesus needed my help.
But with what? What could I possibly do for Him? Does he need help with a particular mission? A person? Why did He ask me?
Almost a year has passed since I had that dream. I don’t know if I’ve “helped” Jesus with what He requested. I hope I’m at least making an effort in His holy eyes. Maybe, hopefully, I am.
I could list here dozens of blessings, trials, births, deaths, unimaginable joy, and indescribable grief over the last year. I can think of many examples of light and love, darkness and a deep valley. We’ve come through it all with the love of Jesus, and I know that EVERYTHING works together for His good.
But back to my dream, I’ve yet to have such a vivid dream again. It’s my most memorable to date. Someday Jesus will reveal the meaning, the why, and the result. For now I will get back to helping Him and all the while trusting that He’s got the rest.
- We have a tribe.
- We model the mate we want our child to have and to be.
- We exemplify forgiveness
- We speak words of life
- We let our stepchildren catch us reading the Bible
- We never say disparaging words to them about their biological parent
- We take good care of ourselves
I believe all of these are important habits, but I have to categorize my own list somehow. I will end my list with the habit I think is most important, but none of them are truly “least”. The order is truly a matter of opinion.
7 We need to find our “tribe”! I have a network in the community and online of about 50 stepmoms. If I count all of the social media followers, church friends, family, and co-workers who support my effort as a stepmom, the number would in the thousands. But there are only so many hours in the day and I only have time for so many quality relationships. There are about 40-50 of us who stay in regular touch with each other, comment on each others pleas for advice, and share recommended books and ideas. I have been building this wonderful network of stepmoms for about 11 years.
6 We take care of our minds and bodies in addition to our souls. It is so important that we fill our own buckets. We spend so much time filling the emotional buckets of others that we sometimes forget our own bucket is dry. This is a common theme with stepparents. Whether it’s taking even 15 minutes a day to read, a warm shower or soothing bubble bath, a trip to the salon or a walk while listening to our favorite music, we need to nourish our own hearts with joyful things.
5 We don’t hide our spirituality from our stepchildren. I remember seeing my grandmother read the Bible each morning. I knew it made me feel good to see her immersed in God’s Word, but I didn’t know why it made feel good. As an adult I understand now. Seeing her filling her “spiritual” bucket each morning made me feel loved, protected, and peaceful. She was equipping herself with God’s armor of perseverance and mercy. This not only affected her life but it encouraged generations after her to follow her gentle example of grace.
4 We exemplify forgiveness. Oh my sisters and brothers of Step, we collectively have SO VERY MUCH in common. The struggles seem to come in roaring, crashing waves. We are treated “less than” by many in society and even by well-meaning people. Our motives often times are questioned by a high-conflict biological parent (if that’s what you deal with like we do). Our spouses sometimes expect us to react to trying situations with perfect grace. We know the painful depths of all these emotions, yet we FORGIVE. Successful stepparents know that forgiving is as good for the giver as the receiver. We leave all of the bitterness at the foot of the cross. When forgiving is especially hard, we know that it might be necessary for some quality time reading the Word, taking care of ourselves with some time alone, or telling our frustrations to a Christian confidant.
3 We don’t speak unkind words about the biological mom or dad to the step-kids. Ever. If you want to ostracize the young minds in your blended family and create a distance for days or decades, badmouth their Momma. However if you want to create an accepting and peaceful environment, allow them to talk about their other home and share the other half of their lives as well. Be their safe zone. Don’t cringe at names. Don’t roll your eyes when they bring up “Mom”. Don’t snicker under your breath when they bring up “Dad”. My stepson recently informed me he never was allowed to mention my name to his Mom. He had to refer to me as “her”. We never imposed such Godless, silly rules. He felt free to mention his mother and places they went, shows they watched, etc. The end result? He is appreciative that we respected his Mom and we have a deep level of trust and respect as a stepfamily. Nobody can take that away from us!
2 We speak words of encouragement and love. Hate and bitterness has no place in my home. I’m going to be blunt here. If your step-kids hear you being hateful about their Mom, their Dad, their dog, etc. you will face some hardships with them. Vitriolic words don’t accomplish anything but confusion. If you are a bio mom or dad reading this and you speak ill of the stepmom or stedad to the child, see No. 3 again and seek some counseling.
1 We exemplify a loving and Godly wife. I speak words of life to my stepson, treat him with respect, and gently correct him when he needs it because that’s what he deserves. He deserves kindness, warmth, and understanding. Hopefully he will seek out a spouse who treats him the same. His life has meaning and value, and I want him to seek out a LADY who loves the Lord first and him next as her partner for all of life.
God Bless You all today! I hope this list is helpful. Please feel free to send me YOUR list as well. I love new ideas and perspectives.
Much love –