We hosted a housewarming party over Memorial Day weekend, and along with the food and drinks, I picked up a bouquet of sunflowers at the grocery store. Now, my husband is a romantic…but flowers really aren’t his love language. When he saw them in a jar on the kitchen table, he literally asked, “What are those for?” A few days later, my stepson wandered into the kitchen before work and the flowers caught his eye: “Those are really pretty!” He shyly asked if he could take one, and I realized that he intended to take it to one of the girls he worked with. We exchanged a grin before he ran out the door, this mama’s heart nearly bursting at her little boy becoming a young man. (In case you need a visual, imagine Andrew Garfield in The Amazing Spiderman. I couldn’t say no to him some days if I wanted to.)
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6
I’ve said before that every little thing you do as a stepmom matters to God. It does – but where’s your heart? Let me put it another way: what’s your end game? Are you counting down the days until your stepson or stepdaughter turns 18? I hate to burst your stepmom bubble, but if you’re just waiting around until the custody order or child support ends, you’re missing out.
Being an engaged stepmom is hard work. I put the time (and tears!) in for years, and I believe I’m reaping the reward in the strong relationships I now have with both stepkids. Does your heart doubt, stepmomma? There are no guarantees, and I may not know your story, but what I do know is that God honors a humble heart (Psalm 51:17). Does it feel like your stepkids hate you? My stepdaughter did. Think their mom is alienating you? There’s a good chance she is, consciously or not. Does it feel like your marriage is on the back burner to your stepkids? I’ve lived that season.
Today, I’m standing in the gap for you. Praying that although your journey may have it’s ups and downs, you understand the impact you can have on your stepkids. Your words aren’t falling on deaf ears. Your care and kindness does not go unnoticed. Prioritizing your marriage isn’t scarring them for life.
You are teaching your stepson how to respect authority, how to love his wife more than himself, and how to be present with his kids. You are teaching your stepdaughter how to be a good friend, how to partner with her husband, and how to navigate the roles of wife and mother with grace. It is a beautiful thing when the authority given to us by God intersects with our obedience to His call.