Glory Gals and Stepmoms weekend

2014 Glory Gals Jan_dori

2014 Glory Gals Jan_dori1

This past weekend was an inspirational God wink for me. I finally met Jen Theisen, editor of 5ive for Women, a syndicated magazine. I had done two articles for her and up to this weekend, had not met her personally. She is a complete joy and a beautiful spirit in love with God. The other gift to me was the realization that almost half of the participants of the weekend were either stepmoms or stepwives (living as a stepfamily with her bio children). My book “Everything Changed When I Said ‘I Do’-Preparing For and Living as a God-First Stepfamily” had been delivered the morning I left for the retreat and sold more copies than I dreamed.

These stepmoms had the same heartaches and difficulties that we all do. The difference I realized was when God is in the picture, when women who are wounded or hurting are with other godly women, the camaraderie benefits everyone with love and compassion rather than bitterness. When we choose to stay in the realm of angst, anger, criticism, condemnation and blame, these negative emotions are Satan’s tools. He will do everything he can to cause them to take root and grow. The other choice is to seek out godly women or resources to help us, renew us, and strengthen us so that we may have a more helpful, loving, and serene presence.

I spoke to the group Friday evening of the choices we have regarding what our face reflects: FACE – Forgiveness, Acceptance, Compassion, Empathy. These attributes are critical in any relationship, marriage, or stepfamily. People who are close to us are drawn to us when our hearts and face invite rather than invade. Sadly, and too often, when our hearts are rooted in bitterness, anger, or fear, our faces reflect these emotions to our husbands, our children, our stepchildren, our families, our little world.

Being a stepmom is arduous, often wrenching work. The demands made on us can wreak havoc on our minds and hearts unless we can take refuge in Scripture, talk to God, and get hugs and understanding from a godly friend. The women whose eyes I looked into this weekend were soft, seeking. The hearts of several hurting. I pray that our new bonds and friendships provided them as much hope and love as I felt. I pray that each woman that was at the retreat embraced a renewed spirit, a calm countenance, and a strengthened attitude. God bless each and every one.

Divorce and Drama in the Movies

I love to go to movies. Unfortunately I don’t enjoy many of them today, the visual staccato flash-blasts in action movies are too much for my eyes and brain. I will not pay to get myself scared silly. I do not enjoy movies with continual foul language and nudity. So, yes, I know…that doesn’t leave me a whole lot of entertainment to watch. I rent dvds of movies I have not seen on the big screen and movies that look interesting with their description of the film on the dvd back cover. And still I run the risk of an “R” rated movie being relatively mild in word or flesh or to the point I have to shut it off.

Two movies I recently rented were “Thanks for Sharing” and “Enough Said”. Movie stars also have a pretty big weight in my desire to see the movie. I enjoy Mark Ruffalo, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Timothy Robbins and pretty much chose this movie based on them being in it. The unfolding of the story was shocking and yet drew me into the world of addictions. In my collegiate study as well as some exposure in my personal life, I have knowledge of alcohol and drug addictions. I do not have any direct knowledge of sex addiction, but it is not a surprise to me with the onslaught of the internet and all the availability to pornography. The one theme in the film’s recovery scenes that made complete sense to me as a requirement… was “full disclosure”. Especially in love and/or marriage relationships. Part of healing and recovery is admitting the truth of who we are, what our weaknesses are. True transformation and change can take place only when we deal directly with our issues. Ruffalo’s character experienced the heartbreak and tragedy of secrecy and deception until he repented. Although some scenes in the movie were a bit much for me, I did understand that what transpired was part of the story. I admit…it is difficult to be a Christian woman seeking to serve Christ and yet be exposed to “real life”. My point is coming…

The second film “Enough Said” starred Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini (one of his last films). The movie dealt directly with divorce, relationships, and “full disclosure” which was the “elephant in the room”. Innocently, Julia’s character and Gandolfini’s character met at a party. Unbeknownst to Julia’s character she also met Gandolfini’s ex-wife at the same party and the ex-wife became Julia’s masseuse. As the movie progressed, Julia’s character became aware of the connection of her new love and her new massage provider. She opted to find out as much as she could from the ex-wife, thinking she was going to protect herself from falling in love with a “loser”.

I was deeply touched by both films. The message spoke to me of the importance of truth..full disclosure of one’s life to another when you are involving that person in an intimate relationship. Anything less is deceptive and terribly unfair. As I coach women and couples in relationships and marriage and stepfamilies, I embrace the beauty even more so of truth. Plain, simple truth. It is one of the easiest things to do. I don’t have to remember strange details, don’t feel guilt, don’t feel like a cheat. 

I understand that it’s not always easy to speak the truth. Sometimes there can be difficult repercussions and consequences. But if I am to live my life modeling it after Christ who is… “…the way, the truth, and the life…” (John 14:6), then I am not going to worry about repercussions, I will rejoice that my family and friends and anyone who knows me can depend on me for the truth. I encourage you to know and live truth. God bless you.