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Hope for the Struggling Stepparent





          Growing up, my daydreams of the fairytale wedding never included a Prince Charming who had a child.  Nor did the list of goals I made at 18 include trying to raise someone else’s child alone.  But that’s exactly where I found myself three years ago-scared and alone. 

          I could give lengthy explanations and logical guesses as to why life unfolded as I did, but in the end only God will know.  After our honeymoon my husband took jobs out of town and all prior babysitters refused to care for his child anymore.  I found myself alone, in a new house, with a child who hated me.  Hours on end the precious five year old would scream.  No amount of love or comfort could soothe her. 

          Too frightened to admit the urgency of my situation to close friends or family,   I turned to a pastor at our small church.  Unfortunately he was ill trained in the nature of blended families and blamed me for the position I found myself in.  His blame could not compare to the guilt I was heaping on myself.  Depression set in as I tried to juggle my job and endless childcare duties-meetings with teachers and principals over bad behavior, practice schedules and torturous bedtimes. 

          Only seeing her father on the weekends, the poor little kindergarten girl was a mixture of raw feelings of anger, jealousy, sadness and fear of abandonment.  I wanted desperately to have peace for her, feeling loved and secure.  My human efforts were to no avail. 

          It was only in turning the situation over to God that I finally found the personal peace I craved in such a tumultuous home.  His word reminded me that I was not put on earth to be cared for or comforted by mere mortal man.  When I felt abandoned by my husband who seemed to come into town only long enough to disrupt whatever progress or schedules I’d made, I had to remind myself that God is my true husband.  He promised in Hebrews 13:5 that He will never leave me nor forsake me. 

          As I felt used, walked–on, and lied to, I had to cling to the words of our Savior Jesus Christ who did not come to be served but to serve and give his life a ransom for many.  I read aloud Psalm 113:9 every day, He maketh the barren woman to keep house and to be a joyful mother of children.  Even when I was every emotion but joyful and tears were flowing down my face, God would speak to me and remind me to continue to praise Him. 

          Day after day I struggled with wondering what would have been if I had chosen a different path, but I had to surrender that struggle at the cross of Jesus.  Our God is not a God of remorse.  He is a God who has our future in the palm of his hand.  He has a good plan for each of us, Jeremiah 29:11.  He knows exactly what he is doing, and he causes all things to work together for good to those who love God.  Romans 8:28

          Can God use my pain for His good?  Absolutely.  He has already worked in my personal life to file off the rough edges of pain, insecurity, jealousy, and selfishness.  And I know if He can work such miraculous works in my life, He can do it in yours too!



* Article submitted anonymously to HomeLife magazine (Smart Stepfamilies section) with permission to use for ministry purposes.


Comments ( 2 )
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#2: by Anita on 08.13.2008 @ 01:06pm CDT

I never really realized how difficult it would be to be a step-parent. My husband has 3 children and I have 2. My husband's oldest is a teenager, ready to turn 16. She was so sweet when my husband and I were dating and when we were married was sweet untill her mother took my husband and I to court for more money. Ever since then my husband's daughter has completely turned around with her attitude. She is rude, disrespectful and treats the other kids terribly. This has caused so much turmoil in our house. I have also turned to God to comfort me and pray that I do and say the right things.
#1: by Juli Reeves on 08.04.2008 @ 06:44pm CDT

WOW!!! It is as if I had written the letter myself! there of course were some differences in family dynamics and my husband doesn't work out of town, but he does own his own business and plays softball long hours into the evening. Our kids often go days w/out seeing him. I know exactly what this woman is talking about with raising a child that hates me for simply caring for her when both her father and mother are not!! Conferences, babysitters not wanting to babysit, temper tantrums...Oh i feel this womans pain in raising a "step-daughter"!
I to have turned to God for help and am comforted knowing that Jesus too was raised by a step parent.
I love the Lord,

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