When I first joined the family, my stepdaughter shared with me that she was “an accident.” As a believer, I am acutely aware that our words have the power of life and death (Proverbs 18:21). I realized that she must have overheard an adult conversation, and it hurt to know that these words were spoken over her. Her mom and my husband were never married, and over the years, I’ve become very aware that her story differs from my stepson’s (his mom and my husband are divorced). As stepmommas, I believe we are called to bridge the gap between two homes and two parents, and one of the best ways we can do that is by validating the person God has created them to be. Do you have a stepchild whose parents were never married? Will you join me in speaking life over him or her?
“You were not an accident or a mistake.” – I vividly remember trying to explain to my sweet girl that although she may have been a surprise to her parents, God knew the exact time and place of her birth. It can be such a comfort and a reassurance to children that the God we serve is all-knowing. In fact, babies are a gift from Him! (Psalm 127:3)
“I will honor your mom, no matter what her relationship with your dad was.” – I cringe when I hear stepmoms call their husband’s ex a baby mama or egg donor. As stepmoms, we often (consciously or not) make a habit of discounting the influence of our stepkid’s mom, including how we refer to her. Derogatory terms like these can tell a child that their mom isn’t worthy of honor and respect – and they must not be either. Can we agree to watch our words? We never know when our stepkids are listening…
“I understand that because your parents were never married, it can make you and your mom feel vulnerable.” – Children, and (in my opinion) especially stepchildren, need reassured that they have a place in their dad’s home and heart. Even if they were never married, you may see your stepkid’s mom become protective about her relationship with your husband. To put it bluntly, your position as his wife, and any children you have together, seemingly undermines their stake on your husband. This may seem a bit antiquated, but instead of reacting defensively, we have the opportunity to reassure them that there’s enough love to go around.
“You are an equally loved and equally valued member of our home.”- I learned from extended family that after my husband married and had a child with my stepson’s mom, my stepdaughter was made to feel like a second-class citizen and an inconvenience by her new stepmom. This happened again with her stepdad’s mom – her grandma – after her mom had a new baby. Can you imagine how that would make any child feel? Although we acknowledge their differences and praise their individuality, my husband and I are always very clear that his relationship with their moms and their visitation schedules have no bearing on how much we love them or their importance in the family – and we make a point of showing it.
Stepmommas, we have the privilege to speak straight to the hearts of our stepkids – creating emotional security and reinforcing the people that God created them to be. Let’s remember the power of our words and how a change in perspective can make all the difference in our blended families.