“Make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:2-5
“All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” Abraham Lincoln—of his stepmother, Sarah.
Mothers are important; we mold the hearts and minds of the next generation. The importance is not only true of birth and adoptive moms but also stepmoms.
My parents divorced when I was young, and my dad remarried. Daddy had full custody of me, so I lived with him and my stepmom full-time. These short years became one of the most difficult seasons of my life. My parents’ recent divorce left me feeling wounded and broken. Furthermore, my stepmom didn’t want me, so I never felt loved and accepted living in her home. They divorced a short time later, and I felt relieved.
After their divorce, my dad dated a delightful woman named Sharon. Though they never married and were only together a short time, I will always remember Sharon for the way she loved me like a daughter and taught me much about life. She helped me learn all about how to apply cosmetics and hosted my friends for sleepovers. Sharon was a delightful cook and loved to decorate. She was a beautiful example of a sweet mother-figure who chose to invest her life into a defeated young girl.
My dad later married a kind woman named Jean. My children know Jean as Nanny, and she loves them like her own grandchildren. Jean was just what I needed as an adult stepchild. She loved my dad well and took care of him until the end of his life. I will always be thankful for my sweet stepmom, Jean.
As a stepmom, you have the God-given potential to make an enormous difference in the lives of your stepchildren. I fervently believe this is a ministry given to you by God to show His love to your potentially wounded stepchildren and teens.
I don’t know your situation. The children’s birth mom may be fantastic, and if so, the children are blessed to have her. Much of the time, however, the mom may have deep wounds, which makes it hard for her to be the mother her children need. In any case, don’t ever underestimate the power of your ministry to your stepchildren. You will never replace their mom, but you can be a positive role model and someone who is always there for them and shows them the love of Jesus.
While praying over this article, I thought about the things I needed from my stepmoms when I was living with them. I felt the Lord impressing on me to discuss five practical ways you can love your stepchildren during this season with your blended family in your home:
- Pray! Prayer is your greatest work in your home. Pray for your husband and stepchildren to feel the love of Jesus in your home through you. Don’t forget to pray for the children’s birth mom and for healing to take place in her heart as well. Prayer changes everything!
- Be patient and keep loving, no matter what. The children may resent you, but know they are hurting during this difficult season. Ask God to help you love supernaturally with the love of Christ.
- Cook as much as possible! Break out your Crock-Pot and make sure the children have delicious smells in the kitchen when they come home. Have dinners together as much as you can, even if you are all busy!
- Be present, be available, and listen. Be there! Try to be home when the children are home. Take the time to ask about their day and listen. Give lots of sweet hugs. Go to their sporting practices and events. Host their friends in your home for special dinners and sleepovers. Your relationship will take a significant investment of time, but it’s worth it!
- Stay positive as much as possible. Don’t ever vent about their mom, your husband, or any situation to the children. Let them be children. They most likely have gone through a lot of difficulties with their parents’ divorce and have wounds of their own. I lost my childhood and had to grow up fast because of my parents’ divorce; they probably have too. They need time and prayers to heal. The Lord will help them!
Faith Filled Idea: Make Time for Table Talk
Prayerfully plan time this week for meals together around the table at home. Make a weekend night special by making dinner together. Click here to try our “Homemade Pizza Dough” recipe at our website.
Be intentional about really listening to your stepkids as they talk during dinner. Ask the question, “What’s the best thing that happened to you today?” or “High/Low?” (What’s your highlight for the day, and what is one challenging situation?). These dinner conversations will help you to stay connected with your kids and know what is going on in their hearts.