Most Monday and Thursday mornings I would be driving my stepsons to school at 6:45. They would be half-asleep and I would feel groggy, but there was always a strange sort of satisfaction of getting up, making their breakfasts, and taking them to school. I don’t have kids of my own, but these actions just seem to come naturally and bring a strange sort of satisfaction. Today, however, marks the beginning of a new era in the Carson Cabin. Thankfully, my husband started a new job a few weeks ago and it is just a few minutes from the children’s school. So now he is able to take his kids to school and enjoy some extra time with them. Part of me is thrilled that he gets that time with his children, and part of me is sad.
As a stepmom, I have come into this family with my sleeves rolled up and ready to work. When something is needed – say pack lunches or buy bandaids or send canned food to pay library fines – I’m all over it. I come from a long line of women who sacrifice themselves for their family. But my situation is a bit different. Sometimes it calls for a backing away and releasing some of those responsibilities to someone else. Sure, this morning I got to go back to bed and drink my coffee while my husband took the kids, but I also felt like I wasn’t needed. I know that is a lie from Satan, but I still hear it and fight constantly to rebuke it. As I have stated in most of my other posts, we can’t let our roles define us, but instead we must define the role as we look to Christ to center and tell us who we are.
Growing up almost every adult in my life told me I was “patient” or was an “old-soul.” Something inside me believed them, but most of the time I found myself wishing I was like other kids. Now, I feel like I understand why I wasn’t. The Lord was preparing me for this – being a stepmom. And being a stepmom, at least in my case, is a waiting game. I wait at band concerts for my stepsons solos,. I wait at baseball games for my younger stepson to hit a grand slam. I wait at home while my husband and the children are at counseling sessions. I wait in the school parking lot after school and play practices. I wait for my oldest stepson to gel his hair every morning. I wait to feel like a true part of this family. I wait to have children of my own. I wait for my husband to feel like himself again and to feel like he is a good father despite what his ex-wife may say. I wait for healing and forgiveness to wash over a broken family. I wait to feel like I have a handle on this stepmom thing. I would be lying to you if I told you this waiting was easy. It’s not. It sometimes brings frustration and doubt that must be overcome. Sometimes it feels futile. But among all this waiting, one thought continually comes to mind. Although it is important to speak up and tell my husband when I am overwhelmed or I am in need of some refreshing, it is also important to remain a lady while I wait.
In our society, women tend to be marginalized as the ones who make the world go round. They do so by being cold, fierce, and strong in a very masculine way. They push to get their way and if their man does not comply, he is not a good husband. These thoughts make my heart sick. I don’t think that’s what the Lord had in mind. If we look at Proverbs 31, we see a woman who is busy for the sake of her household – not her own gain. She is bringing joy and honor to her husband. She has strength that comes not from puffing up, but instead from the Lord working inside of her. As stepmoms, it is easy to feel like you can’t be the woman of your own home without making it known in a very harsh and blatant way, but again, I don’t think that’s what the Lord really desires. That may be how most stepmoms react, but what about Christian women who find themselves in this role? Should we abandon what the Lord has asked of us simply because we are not in a traditional marriage or role? I don’t think so. Yes, we wait and wait and wait, but I encourage you to be a lady while you wait – clothed with strength and dignity.
Proverbs 31: 10-31, NLT
10 Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies.
11 Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.
12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
13 She finds wool and flax and busily spins it.
14 She is like a merchant’s ship, bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household
and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.
16 She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She is energetic and strong, a hard worker.
18 She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night.
19 Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber.
20 She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy.
21 She has no fear of winter for her household, for everyone has warm clothes.
22 She makes her own bedspreads.
She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.
23 Her husband is well known at the city gates, where he sits with the other civic leaders.
24 She makes belted linen garments and sashes to sell to the merchants.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.
26 When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.
27 She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness.
28 Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her:
29 “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world but you surpass them all!”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised.
31 Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.
Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.