My husband worked out of town for a long season, driving home each weekend. My stepson (then 10 years old) and I were the only ones at home five nights a week, and the absence of his dad was taking a toll on us both. It finally came to a head one night when my stepson was extremely disrespectful about the meal I had prepared. In a fit of anger, I asked him why he continued to take out his dad’s absence on me…and we had the most (brutally) honest conversation since I’d joined the family.
In tears, my stepson explained that he didn’t understand why his dad was living somewhere else, and his mom was living somewhere else, and he was stuck there with me. Worse, when his dad was home on the weekends, it felt like he was competing with me for his dad’s time. It broke my heart, and not for the usual selfish stepmom reasons. For the first time, I saw our stepfamily (and that season of our lives) through fresh eyes – his eyes. We sat in the kitchen for a while that night, crying and talking and commiserating. It was both one of the hardest and best memories I have with my stepson to this day.
“God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7
God cares greatly about our hearts, about our motives. His greatest desire is to have a relationship with us. As a stepmom, it can be so easy to judge our stepkid(s) actions without considering the heart behind them. Know that I am not excusing disrespectful behavior, but instead pointing out that God modeled perfect parenting for us – and caring about our stepkid(s) hearts is a good place to start. I challenge you to ask the tough questions (and be ready for some tough answers)! It might be the breakthrough that your relationship desperately needs.