Alimony.  Child support.  Family court. Custody issues.  Shared holidays.  Messy relationships. Boundaries.  Division.  Are you reaching for the antacid yet?  Sorry. I’ll stop there. None of this is what I had in mind as I lovingly said, “I do” over 16 years ago.

We came to know Christ individually after we were married.  I am my husband’s second wife and I have an adult step-son.  I thought it would be so easy because I love kids and I sure loved this four year old little boy and his dad.  Nevertheless, we have experienced significant pain in the very real and complicated details of being a blended family. We can tell you that this is not God’s plan for a marriage or the precious children in them.  If you are someone considering divorce, we would implore you to cry out to God for help (Psalm 145:19).  Seek support through your church, pastor or you can start with eMentoring by clicking here.

Nineteen years later, I can tell you that we have survived only by the grace of God.  He has intervened in our lives, but there are scars and wounds for this now young man. God has helped me as a step-mom to love him, his mom and their family. Growing in Christ has allowed me to see that I can love them all because He first loved me (1 John 4:19).  He has taught me so much about laying down my life and joining in His suffering.  He has helped me to see the sins of selfishness and jealousy in my own life.  God has taught us to push past social standards and fight our fleshly desires to hate and divide, but to love instead.  I can look back and remember times we have reached out to help during funerals or difficult times.  He has directed us to simple acts of kindness and sometimes gifts at holidays.  I really care about their salvation and I want them all to know that Jesus loves them very much.  He has plans for their lives.

You won’t find this advice in any woman’s magazine today, but if you find yourself down the very difficult road of step-parenting, I would encourage you to seek God with everything in you.  Ask Him to search your heart and use this for good in each of your lives (Romans 8:28).  Beg Him to help you see things through His eyes. Invite Him to help you love with His love.  Let Him reveal His love to this wounded child through you.  Let Him bring unity to your marriage.  Make His glory more important than your rights, your expectations and your plans. Let Him guide you through the very murky waters of boundary lines and worldly division.  Drop to your knees in praise as He begins to bring healing and hope to each of your lives.

Being a step-mom has been hard, painful and gut-wrenching at times, but I never cease to be amazed that His ways and His thoughts are not my ways and my thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).  God has brought so much beauty from these circumstances.  He has grown and strengthened our marriage. He has blessed us with more children who bring great joy to our lives. We continue to work diligently on our relationship with this young man and his entire family as we pray for them. We trust that God is at work and wait with hopeful expectation. I look forward to the day I can share again that this young man and his entire family have come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior.