My stepdaughter had a major doctor’s appointment last month; she’s 20 and lives about 2 hours away. After receiving the phone call, my husband and I made plans to drive down for a couple of days and be there for the next round of tests and the follow-up appointment with her doctor. Our relationship with her mom has always been strained at best – and explosive at worst – so I was naturally concerned that all four of us in close quarters would be uncomfortable. My prayers in the 24 hours leading up to the visit were for peace. I wanted so badly for my stepdaughter to feel loved and supported – not smack dab in the middle of family drama.
Can I tell you that God showed up in a mighty way?! Against all odds, our time together went really well. My stepdaughter’s mom was experiencing the same range of emotions her dad and I were (fear, worry, protectiveness), but instead of letting these divide us, we all recognized how important it was to be on the same team: my stepdaughter’s. It was a beautiful thing to watch my husband battle for her health and her mom not only trust him but empower him. All of this to say: there is hope, in Him. Never stop praying. Never stop asking for the very best God has for you.
Ask and it will be given you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. If you know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him! – Matthew 7:7,11
I truly believe the old saying that it takes a village to raise a child. For stepfamilies and blended families, this includes biological parents, stepparents, older siblings, grandparents, and extended family. When my stepdaughter was around 10 or 11, she sat in our bedroom and counted her grandparents. She even included my stepson’s grandparents (he has a different mom), because to her, his family is her family. Like 15 people later, she exclaimed, “We have so many people who love us!” Her perspective rocked me to the core: where the adults in her life saw brokenness and barriers, my stepdaughter saw love. I believe we could all learn something from her.
I imagine there are stepmoms reading this and thinking: there’s no way. My ex or my husband’s ex are too high-conflict. Too much has happened. It’s too late to forgive and forget. Maybe too much has been done to you or done by you. You could be right – making amends may not be in your family’s future right now. But did you know that within His perfect will, God is moved by your prayers?
Make the big ask. What do you want for your kids, for your family? Dream big! Maybe it’s open communication with an ex-spouse, or making joint decisions about the kids’ health or education. For custodial (step)moms, you could pray for the other parent to be a more active in their child’s life. Don’t let fear or doubt rob you of big prayers!
Be thankful for the small victories. The story I shared about my stepdaughter was over 9 years ago. God answers our prayers in His timing, and I have learned to celebrate the wins along the way. When my stepdaughter’s mom gave us tickets to her high school graduation, that was a victory! For you, it could mean a peaceful weekend transition or a more regular visitation schedule. Let your attitude be gratitude.
Keep praying. Don’t get discouraged or give up when His answers don’t look like you expected. They may take days, months or even years! Embrace the journey as an opportunity to go deep with God. Even if it seems like two steps forward and one step back at times, remember: He hears you, He loves you, and He will answer you.