Merry Christmas wonderful stepmoms! You are no doubt busy preparing your home for the holiday festivities and are bustling around buying presents and wrapping packages. More than likely, if you’re anything like me, you’re also feeling a bit blue and perhaps a tad anxious about the upcoming week. Some stepfamilies have really been able to get in a rhythm with swapping kids over the holidays but for many, this is a big time of stress.
At our house, we alternate each year for who has the kiddos on Christmas Eve, but we usually try and split the day of Christmas. That’s not how it’s lined out the in the ever-changing parenting plan, so we are always wondering if we will actually see the kids on Christmas Day or not. Even now, at a week away we still don’t know what the plan is. I’m a planner and organizer so this “not knowing” is very frustrating to me and I can honestly say I get very stressed out this time of year and wonder when all this back and forth will stop.
I realized the other day it simply isn’t going to stop. We have two beautiful sons and they have two parents who love and want time with them. These two parents, no matter how hard they try, cannot get along. Even on a good day there will always be tension. My closest family members are beginning to notice changes in my behavior and have pointed out that something is stealing my joy. My once bubbly positive self has turned into a tired scrooge like woman, and I keep trying to find somewhere to lay my blame – my husband’s ex-wife is too naggy (everything must be her fault), my stepsons are too disrespectful (If I were their mother…), I’m not an important part of this family, I’m an outsider….These thoughts really begin to take a toll on the joy and peace that the Lord so freely gives.
My mom recently gave me a study called “Contagious Grace” and I’m only a few days in but I’m really grateful to have this book. Today I was reading in Isaiah 35. If you have a moment today, stop and read the whole chapter (It’s not very long!). As I was reading it, I was reminded that all these trials are in the Lord’s hands and He has me here for a specific time and purpose. He will take the tears and broken hearts and transform them. He will replace our mourning with rejoicing.
As a stepmom, it’s really easy to get caught up in the negative aspects of my family life. We don’t experience all the firsts together, traditions are hard to establish, and sometimes I don’t even feel like I’m part of the family. When I try and make myself happy by reminding myself how much I love my husband and the kids, I still don’t experience the joy and peace that passes all understanding. The only way I can really find my center is to keep talking to the Lord – to have continual communication with Him and let Him fill me up.
Imagine for a moment you’re a missionary in a deserted place without any of the comforts you’ve come to take for granted. You get up every morning and say, “I’m going to make it a good day” but you never once talk to the Lord. You’re so busy on doing His work that you forget to let Him cleanse out your heart. How long do you think you could maintain your own joy without the help of the Lord? Stepmoms, this Christmas I urge you to give your family the biggest gift of all – you. Give them a whole and joyful you and start by having a daily talk with the Lord and sharing all your hopes and fears with Him. Don’t ever forget that part of your ministry is to be a woman who partners with her husband to bring the Light of the World into a home of brokeness. You are missionary – let the Lord fill you and restore you.
I pray you each have a very Merry Christmas and know we’re here to talk if you need someone to listen.