When I lived with my first stepmom, I attended an inner-city school where I was the new kid on the block. I had a hard time making friends and was even bullied by some girls on one particularly hard day. I remember being chased into the bathroom by these four girls who were trying to hit me with yardsticks.
I ran into the stall and locked the door. They kept trying to hit me over the top of the doors and walls and also down below on my feet. I remember standing up on the toilet seat so they wouldn’t hit my feet and dodging the ones trying to hit my head.
Finally, the girls left me alone. I went home to my dad being gone on an extended two-week deep sea fishing trip and no one to talk to about my hard day.
I was pretty much alone in that house while my dad was gone. My stepmom stayed in her room a lot watching television. I made my own meals and ate alone.
The next day before leaving for school, I took a bunch of prescription pills to try to end it all. I remember getting into the shower after I had swallowed the last pill and I cried out to God. I told Him I was sorry and asked Him to help me.
I went to school on the bus and felt like I needed to come clean and tell my counselor what I had done. The ambulance came to school to take me to the hospital to get my stomach pumped. I was alive, but so very broken.
My stepmom contacted my dad via the Coast Guard and he came home right away. My stepmom promptly divorced my dad. I think I was too much for her to handle. I really don’t think she wanted to help me.
So I write this to you sweet bonus moms today to encourage you in your Christian ministry to your bonus kids. Your time, concern, and love are super important to your bonus kids, even if they don’t appreciate it or act like they care. They do care, and most of all, God cares. You may never know what your love does for your stepkids until you get to heaven, but rest assured, your love will matter to them and help them to feel that someone cares, during a season of vulnerability in their lives.
Here are some easy ideas to help you build a relationship with your bonus kids and show you care:
- Cook dinners and eat together. A crockpot is a wonderful tool for a busy mom like you. During dinner, go around the table and ask everyone to share the “Highlight” and “Lowlight” of their day. It’s healing to talk about the good and not-so-good things that happen in our lives with people who care about us.
- During the day, hang around. Don’t stay in your room or watch television or be on your computer or phone when your kids are around. Make yourself available to chat or play a game together. Bake cookies and hot cocoa or tea and share your time with these bonus kids of yours. It is a worthwhile investment of your time.
- Make sure your stepkids know they matter to you as your birth kids do. Have a talk with your birth kids about how important it is to be a family together. No one will ever replace your birth kids, but God has put you all together to love one another as He loves you.
- Invest in your relationship with your bonus kids by taking them out on one-on-one dates. Go shopping, to the movies, to a park to play ball, or grab coffee with them if they are teens. Have no agenda and expect nothing in return from them. Just show them your love and let them know you enjoy the time spent with them.
- Invite their friends over and order pizza. Show them you care about what matters to them.
- Go to their games, recitals, and performances. Even volunteering in their classroom from time to time will show them that you care.
- And most of all, pray for your bonus kids and trust that God hears your prayers and sees how hard you are working. Remember, dear one, as you serve your stepkids, it is actually the Lord Christ you are serving.
Be encouraged Mama, God is so pleased with the way you are loving these bonus kids. You have a great reward coming when you get to heaven someday; you are investing in the heart of a child who will be on this earth long after you’re gone. They will be so happy they had you for their bonus mama. Your love is such a blessing to them.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24
Deb and the Help Club for Moms Team