So, I am one month out of graduating from college and I’m just now figuring out how to cope with my free time. Does that sound funny? For the past two and half years, I have used school as my “escape” and “me” time. Most women go and get massages or pedicures, but not me, I find my escape doing homework and writing papers. My husband pointed that out about a week after my last final exam when I was in a complete funk and twiddling my thumbs bored to tears – literally. I started to feel the conviction that, more than anything else, the Lord wants to be the place I run to and escape to. He invites us to cast all our cares on Him, and I so seldom take advantage of that. So, I made a commitment to spending more time in His word. Using the YouVersion app on my phone I found a through the Bible in 6 months reading plan and have been working my way through both the Old and New Testaments little by little each day. I have grown up reading bible stories since I was a child and committed my life to Christ at a ripe old age of eight. I am familiar with the new testament stories, can quote 1 Corinthians 13 by heart, and I know the major stories like Jonah and the whale, and David and Goliath, but never have a read the Old Testament with a heart to see Christ on every page or to allow the Holy Spirit to minister to me through reading things like the Levitical law passed onto Moses. Last Sunday, I was a little behind on my reading and so I left my husband and stepson to watch Star Wars while I went to a local coffee shop to spend time in the Word.
I was sitting there reading the end of Leviticus and working my way through the book of Numbers trying desperately to stay focused through the commands of the Lord and naming of the tribes of Israel. I kept asking the Lord, “What do you want to teach me through this? Discipline for just getting through reading this or is there something more?” That’s when I found myself reading Numbers 11. I went from scanning the page to laughing and crying at the same time and repenting for the hardness of my heart. If you’re unfamiliar with Numbers 11, I would encourage you to use the link and go read it now, but I’ll give you a brief synopsis here. To set the scene, the Israelites have been in the wilderness for awhile and are beginning to complain about the manna the Lord has provided and how much they miss the meat and choice foods they ate in Egypt. They long for Egypt even though they are able to travel now with the presence of God. That beginning passage hit me like a ton of bricks. I too have been complaining (a lot) lately. I complain about how much I miss the home we moved out of three months ago and instead of focusing on what the Lord has continued to provide day after day I have lamented my lack of comfort more. Immediately I felt a sense of conviction.
The next major part of Numbers 11 brought tears to my eyes and really hit my heart as a stepmom. Again, I won’t quote the whole passage here, but in this section Moses begins his complaint to the Lord about the people he has been entrusted with. In verse 12 he says to the Lord, “Was it I who conceived all this people? Was it I who brought them forth, that You should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom as a nurse carries a nursing infant, to the land which You swore to their fathers?'” I laughed when I first read this verse and then I cried when I read it again. We have had a hard week here at the Carson household. I find myself so tired and burnt out lately of the children’s complaints and their mother’s complaints that we don’t do enough to support them financially or emotionally. No matter how much we (well, really my husband) support extra activities, attend events, help with homework, it is never enough – especially when we have differing ideas than the ex-wife on what the children should and should not do or the freedom they should or should not have. It seems when there is a disagreement, all the hardwork we put in to being there for the kids turns to complaining in one fashion or another. I have completely tired myself over the last five years trying to to help bring healing to a broken situation, and I really thought I could fix this, but lately I have been feeling the same questions in my heart that Moses was asking the Lord in Numbers 11. Out of complete exhaustion and lack of gratitude and affirmation, I found myself saying to the Lord, “I didn’t conceive these kids Lord, but I’m being expected to act like they are mine in one respect and not act like their mine in other respects, and I see my husband constantly being put down by people in his life and I am so tired. Why have you placed me in their lives in this role that is so heavy if I can’t make a difference? What do you want me to do?”
The next passage of Numbers 11 brought me great hope and made me think of all the step-moms that come to this blog and share their journey in the comments. The Lord doesn’t get angry with Moses for asking these questions or expressing his need for help. Instead the Lord appoints seventy elders on whom he places His spirit in order that they might bear the burden of the people with Moses so that he will not bear it alone. When I read those words I immediately thought of my sisters in Christ here at ChristianStepmom.com. You have been placed in your family through the will of God, and He will be faithful to see you through the trying days, but we can call on Him for help. I pray that this site becomes a gathering place for women to seek refuge and lift one another up in prayer so that we might bear the burden of this ever-challenging role together. I want you to know you are not alone, and knowing you come to this blog and find strength helps me know I am not alone either.
I firmly believe the best place to find strength is in a quiet place with the Lord reading His word and letting it minister to you. The Lord will make known to you the hard places in your heart and He will start to soften them and help you stand strong as woman of Christ in your family. In the Old Testament law, the priests were required to keep a fire on the altar burning at both ends of the day. Spending time in the Word of God kindles that fire on the altar of your heart – don’t let the fire go out.
I urge you to comment on the blog or email firstname.lastname@example.org any prayer requests you might have or any other words of encouragement you would like other step-moms to know. Blessings to you and your family this week!