Prayers for Stepmoms
From the Introduction
Praying anyway, the only way...
But I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice.
Stepmothering is the ultimate learning experience, full of insights and discoveries, pain and joy. The role is always surprising and often exasperating. The realization of all you’ve gotten yourself into is sometimes overwhelming. The most important thing a stepmom learns is the most basic and sometimes the hardest to admit: I can’t do this alone.
No one ever enters a remarriage with little plans. That would be too easy! We always have big ideals and bigger expectations. The world we never knew we’d live gets in the way, though, and almost everyone, including us, will fall short of those expectations. Very little happens the way we envision, and we often deal with thoughts and emotions and fears that shock and consume us.
The faith we claimed and felt before we became stepmoms is tested. Sometimes it’s broken. The past depresses us, the present exhausts us, and the future terrifies us. We’re tempted to give up, to let the pain win, to abandon our hopes for happiness. Sadly, many stepmoms do.
As many as two-thirds of all remarriages with children involved end, often before the fourth anniversary. Before I became a stepmom, that statistic would probably have surprised me, because you think that people who remarry must be truly happy, so thankful to have been given a second chance at the kind of love everybody wants. How could those couples ever fail?
Then when I became a stepmom and walked through my own hell, I was surprised that the percentage was only two-thirds. I’ll bet that all of us have wondered—maybe even just once in the most private of moments—if we could make it, if we would ever get through the pain and confusion that threatened our marriages, and even more, our faith. That’s when it’s time to stop questioning your faith and start relying on it instead. That’s when you cry out, "Help me!" and the Lord responds.
For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.
In this book, we’ll go through four stages of a stepmom’s life and faith: Beginning, Struggling, Coping and Growing. While we’re all different, we are all very much the same: helping to raise another woman’s children, trying to keep a burdened marriage together, having to learn when we fit in our unexpected lives. May these prayers help and comfort you and bring you joy and peace.
Stop. Pray. Go.
A Stepmom’s Prayer for Honesty
The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them.
For many reasons, honesty can be one of the hardest concepts to find in a stepfamily. Everyone’s feelings are raw and fluid, and the wide range of emotions can lead to dishonesty. Sometimes, the kids aren’t honest about how they feel or the things they do. You may find that your husband isn’t being honest about his feelings, or you may be tormented by lies from your stepkids’ mom. All of that kind of dishonesty can put you under a terrible strain.
Sadly, magically remedying any of the dishonesty you may be facing is not within your control. But the honesty that you can control is more important. And it’s more than just telling the truth: it’s the way you live your life—as a stepmom, as a woman, as an example to all those around you and a testament to your Lord.
If that kind of honesty seems hard to grasp amid the challenges of your life, don’t worry. The Lord has given you the perfect example and instruction.
If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Abiding When we abide in the Lord’s word, we can’t help but understand and reflect Him in an honest way. He will never lie or misrepresent Himself to us, and in that indisputable truth, we know all we need to know. We know about His love and compassion and character. We have the basis we need to become free to be honest in our lives.
With the comfort and joy that comes from a deepening relationship with the Lord, you will feel the pull to honesty in everything you do and say. When we let Him into our broken and complicated lives and bare our true souls, we are free and inspired to live His ways in all of our earthly relationships, even the difficult stepfamily ones. There is no fear.
We can and will find the strength to be honest in every single part of our lives. Sometimes, that’s scary for a stepmom, but it doesn’t have to be. When things are tough, you can remain honest and enjoy the benefits of that choice. Here’s how.
Living Honest When you abide in the Lord’s word, you learn Who He is, and you learn that He never changes. When you claim this sweet fact, you can apply it to your life and use Him as a model for everything you do.
Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.
Because God is always the same, you don’t ever have to doubt Him. That knowledge supports everything else that you think about Him. Let it be the same with you. If you tell your stepkids the truth and apply discipline consistently, even if they won’t like it, they will learn to use your honesty as a frame of reference. If you react in the same way every time you have an encounter with their mom, she will learn that you can’t be influenced by her antics, because of your strong determination to remain true to yourself and your convictions.
When you rely on God as your example, you can live your life honestly even in the difficult situations. When you make it your goal to reflect the Lord, He will generously supply you with the grace to meet your challenges every day.
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone
Just as salt is a compliment to our food, our honest reflection of Christ through our words will compliment our stepmom role. The better and more effectively we communicate with those around us, the easier our job will be. When we live our lives in a way that is honest and sincere and based on God’s example, we eliminate a lot of problems just like that, in a snap, regardless of what everyone else around us does.Honest blessings.
When you make the conscious choice to live your life in an honest way, you’ll find all kinds of blessings. Let’s look at just two.
Building integrity. Everyone has a lot to learn about everyone else in a stepfamily. People without the benefit of history or blood have to come together in another way and try to form a family. Suspicions may run high while everyone assesses the motives of everyone else, and getting to know one another takes time. You help that process along when you honestly present yourself to your family members.
When you tell the truth every time, when your actions match your words, when you make choices that are right and pure—when you are honest with everyone about who you are and what you stand for—it won’t take long for everyone to know you well. When your integrity is your compass and your example is God, you are a stepmom with great strength and power. And once your family recognizes that integrity in you, it only makes you stronger.
Moving forward. One of the most unfortunate by-products of a dishonest life is the inability to move forward and enjoy all of the wonderful blessings God has planned for you. If your time and energy is tied up in trying to cover lies or be something you’re not, you can’t be the kind of stepmom you want to be. Living dishonestly means living in the past because you can’t go forward without a clear conscious and a clear vision of what you want out of your stepmom role. And you can only have a clear conscious and a clear vision when you make the choice for honesty.
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
Once you’ve established a habit and a pattern of honesty, you can base the future on that as well. You can look forward to exciting plans that are true to who you are and to continued instruction and companionship with God through any trials you face. You can go forward with complete confidence in yourself to handle whatever happens because the truth of who you are and Who God is, is enough. You are free to pursue your dreams and reach great heights in stepmotherhood when you have only an honest foundation on which to build. There is no other way.
To Think About: Have you been dishonest in the way you’ve played your stepmom role? What are the hardest parts about living honestly in your stepfamily? How will you begin to build your integrity today? Go to God with your concerns and follow His lead in all situations to come.
To God in Prayer: Lord, please help me to abide in You, to take Your truth and apply it to my life. Please help me to speak honestly, to behave honestly, and to choose honesty in every opportunity so that I may reflect You in everything I do. Help me to show my character and integrity to my family every day. Guide me in my choices, and remind me constantly that Your truth leads to my truth, and only in a safe haven of honesty can we have the greatest freedom to live a bountiful life. Thank You for Your example. Amen.
A Stepmom’s Prayer for Overcoming Doubt
Praying anyway, the only way…
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
Few things can destroy your confidence and make you question your future like becoming a stepmom. Every day brings a new problem that you never thought you’d be thinking about. How could you have prepared, and now, how can you respond to everything that’s going on around you? When you need a strong heart and belief in your abilities, that’s exactly when you can’t feel it. And where is God to help you with all this? How can you deal with the doubt that’s overtaking your every thought?
You may have been surprised at how quickly your confidence has eroded—in everything. And it’s particularly unsettling when you begin to doubt God, when you feel so lost and alone that you wonder if perhaps you’ve been abandoned. Where is the help and comfort that you’re needing now?
And where is the hope and promise that you began this life with? Your faith in your husband may be tested, your patience with your stepkids may vanish, and your decision to marry may look like less than a great idea. The troubling doubts that creep into every thought can derail you quickly from your path. Knowing where the doubts come from is part of the answer. Choosing to defeat them is the other part.
Doubts understood: Whether the doubts are about your feelings for your life now, your abilities, or your worries about God’s presence in your life, the answer is the same: restore your confidence and the doubts go away. Restoring your confidence won’t be quick, but you can take it one step at a time and build on your successes. Every time you replace a doubt with a truth, you push every other doubt farther away.
Let’s look at your doubts about your feelings first. It’s easy to be overwhelmed with anger, worry and sadness—even to the point of feeling only those negative emotions and not feeling any positive ones. That’s when you can start doubting the very basis of your life now, your love and devotion to your husband. If you’re not careful, the anger, worry and sadness will win. You have to have something stronger to beat them.
Go to the source of your pain and see if you can identify exactly what is creating the doubt in your mind. Is it a nagging feeling you have, a single episode that’s bothering you? Has someone said or done something to make you question your own feelings? Look deep into your doubt. Write down in one sentence what it is and why you feel that way, maybe: I wonder if I’ve made a mistake with this marriage because I’ve given up so much and receive so little in return.
Doubts defeated: Then you can choose to defeat that doubt with a truth—you respond with a force that can beat it. You find something just as powerful right away and do it: Have some alone time with your husband, write about an especially comforting time, plan a family outing, take a break so that you can recharge and get a better perspective on things—anything positive that reconnects you with your true heart. Resolve to put your doubt away for at least 24 hours and look for only reaffirming truths during that time. I know that you can find at least one truth that will give a boost to your confidence in yourself and your choices.
Do you doubt your ability to handle the life of a stepmom? Please don’t. You can manage this role just like you do all your other roles: with God’s help and a clear plan. Again, write down your doubts most prevalent. Maybe it’s a doubt that you’ll ever love your stepchildren, that they’ll ever accept you, that you’ll ever bond with them given their mom’s opinion of you. All of that baggage is real, but it’s not more powerful than your strength and will to be the stepmom you want to be.
Trust yourself to learn this role, ask God to direct you, and do one positive thing today that restores a little confidence, even if it’s as simple as having a calm conversation with your stepdaughter. One step at a time is enough.
The more damaging doubt: Now let’s look at your doubts about finding God in your pain. Do you feel that He’s forsaken you to deal with this mess yourself? That’s easy to do, especially in the raw worry of a new stepfamily. Write that down, too: I don’t know where God is now that I need Him so. Why doesn’t He answer my prayers?
Then you choose to defeat that painful doubt with a truth, too. When has He ever abandoned you? When has He not given you the wisdom or courage or strength that you needed when you asked Him sincerely? When has He ever been unfaithful to you? How strong is your side of this argument?
Now is just another part of your journey. The scenery changes, but the Guide is the same. God is there with you always, because He can’t be anywhere else. Trust Him, and you learn to trust yourself even more.
I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.
To Think About: What are your most frightening doubts, about yourself, others or God? Why have you let them into your heart, and how much are they controlling your life? Ask God to help you defeat your doubts and find the truths you need to exile them from your heart and feel a renewed devotion to your family.
To God in Prayer: Lord, please remove all of these hurtful doubts from my heart. I need to feel You close and strong, eager to help me overcome all these questions in my mind. Please speak Your timeless truths to my spirit and guide me confidently through my role as stepmom and wife. Amen.
Karon and her husband began their stepparenting journey in September, 1996, bringing themselves, her son and his two together to form a family. They made a lot of mistakes along the way, but by the grace of God, they never lost sight of their goal. Today, their family that came late — their family of "yours" and "mine" — is a family of choice and love.
Karon writes about stepfamily life for several publications, publishes a monthly online newsletter, and has published a number of books for stepmoms.