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.