For several years, my identity was single mom, working mom, strong mom, fit mom. These were things that I felt defined me; they were who I was. I worked full time, exercised regularly with a personal trainer at the gym, worked my Beachbody coaching business, parented two children (with the help of my village) and life was good. Then, I got remarried, and the world I knew was turned upside down and inside out. I had no idea that I would go through an identity crisis after getting married. I mean, getting married was a great change! Why was I struggling?
I now had new labels: stepmom, wife, partner, teammate. Again, not bad things! However, I felt like I was failing at all of these new things! Being a stepmom is HARD! Being a wife is HARD! Working with a partner as a teammate is HARD when you’ve been making decisions on your own for five years! As a perfectionist, it has been challenging, to say the least, to be “ok” with the learning curve associated with these new roles.
I’m trying to shift my focus from the labels that the world might apply to me and look at the labels that God applies to me. At the end of the day, other people’s opinions of me don’t mean anything. It’s what GOD thinks that is going to matter, and He already tells me what He thinks of me!
Child… First and foremost, I am a CHILD of God. As a child, I am STILL learning, and that is OK! He is the ultimate Teacher. That means I need to spend time in the Word, learning more about who He is and who I am in Him. I’m going to make mistakes, and that’s ok too! That is part of how we learn, right? When my children do something wrong, it’s my job as their parent to teach them the right way to do it. I can’t expect them to be perfect all the time, and I don’t believe that God expects us to be perfect all the time either.
Redeemed… I am far from perfect, but God has redeemed me. What does that mean? According to Webster’s Dictionary, one of the definitions is:
Definition of redeem
2 : to free from what distresses or harms:
I can be FREE from what distresses or harms me – I just have to turn things over to God. That is hard for me at times, and even harder not to pick them back up when things aren’t going the way that I think they should. I’ve made many mistakes in my past, and I’ve no doubt that I’ll make more in the future. He makes all things right. Something that was said at church tonight struck home with us – just when you think your world is falling apart, that’s when God says it’s falling into place.
Loved… Being a stepmom doesn’t automatically mean you feel loved. Remember, you and your spouse chose each other, and hopefully, you few like your spouse loves you. The kids didn’t have a choice in the matter, though, and they might not like you, much less love you. It takes time for that relationship to be built, especially when your spouse is the non-custodial parent. God loved us SO much, that He sent His Son to die so that we could be saved (John 3:16). We can rest in that, even when we aren’t feeling loved by our stepchildren.
Refined… To be refined is to be free from impurities. I have definitely felt like I’ve been thrown into God’s refining fire…
“I will bring that group through the fire and make them pure. I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘These are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.’””
Zechariah 13:9 NLT
I know that He is working on my weaknesses – patience, peace, joy… I’m learning a lot about myself, but even more about Him.
Strong… In my weakness, He makes me strong. Through my darkest days and longest nights, God has always been there with me and for me. Those are the times when I have grown closer to Him. We believe that God is working on us, and working through us.
“Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NLT
Joyful… It is easy to get caught up and bothered by the stresses of life. Kids fighting; bills to pay; having to coordinate with former spouses… we went to church tonight for a Christmas performance. The kids were fussing about having to scootch down as space was limited (and there are 8 of us). Then they were fussing because they couldn’t see. Then questions about how much longer until it starts, how long will it last… I was getting aggravated. But then the performance began and my heart turned towards what God was trying to tell me…to enjoy the moment and to take JOY in being in His presence. I was reminded of the reason for this Christmas season, and I chose to be joyful.
Called… We felt called to start this ministry last year through small groups, and expanded to reaching people through this blog and through our bakery. We are feeling called to do more… When God speaks to you through dreams, sometimes those can be scary dreams!! We feel God is leading us down a path that frankly scares the bejeebies out of me. But I have faith that He will equip me, He will equip US for the journey that He is taking us on. We would certainly appreciate any and all prayers for us personally to follow where God is leading us and for our ministry to grow and blended families to be reached and encouraged.
Until next time, my prayers are with those who are on this same journey of blending families. Be joyful this season.