Around this time last year, my stepson had just gotten his driver’s license and was enjoying his new-found freedom. He had taken a friend home early on a Saturday morning, and his instructions were to come straight home – we had a full day of activities planned. Long after he should have arrived home, my stepson called my cell phone: he had stopped at the local doughnut shop and accidentally locked his keys in the car. Furious, I called our insurance company to request a locksmith. The wait was expected to be 1-2 hours!
At that moment, I had 3 choices:
- Let my stepson wait it out alone
- Wait with him and give him an earful
- Wait with him and take the opportunity to pour into him
Picking #3 at that moment was absolutely the work of the Holy Spirit in me. Without Him, my immediate response was to take my stepson’s disobedience personally. How easy is it, in a world driven by emotions and feelings, to make it about us – rather than pointing our stepkids back to Christ? Letting grace win in our families allows us to become less self-centered and more Christ-centered.
Each time [God] said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9
Grace is a choice – but it can be a hard choice sometimes! Just like Paul’s said above, when I struggle the most as a stepmom, God has the most opportunity to shine through me. To put it another way, when you are feeling angry, betrayed, or hurt, let God step in – and watch Him move your heart to compassion, mercy, and forgiveness. It’s at these times we can see God so clearly, and so can others.
Now, remember that grace operates within healthy boundaries – there were still consequences for my stepson’s actions. What my stepson did wasn’t any less wrong, but out of my own obedience to God, I didn’t add my “wrong” to it. When I arrived at the doughnut shop, he was wary of the lecture to come – but it never did. Instead, we talked about school, his friends, his dog, and even computer games. By the time the locksmith showed up, we were able to openly chat about the bad choice he’d made, what he should’ve done differently, and the consequences – which he owned and accepted.
Let me tell you, not all of these type of situations before and since have ended so well. My poor stepson has gotten an earful a time or seven. When this happens, remember to give yourself some grace, too – God has! That’s the thing about grace: you have to be able to receive it to give it out.