When Beauty Follows Pain on the Stepparenting Journey on Stepparenting with Grace

When Beauty Follows Pain on the Stepparenting Journey

The handwritten note that fell out of the envelope surprised me. My stepson didn’t mention he sent a note with my Mother’s day gift. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I read words that took me back in time. I began to reminisce about a very rocky season that I wasn’t sure I would get through.


When Beauty Follows Pain on the Stepparenting Journey on Stepparenting with Grace

It was 2004. My stepson was 14 years old and had just lost his mom from a difficult battle with cancer. He had been living with her and his stepdad over 300 miles away. My husband naturally assumed he would bring his son home to live with us following the funeral. But my stepson and his stepdad had different ideas.

The custody papers presented to my husband by the sheriff’s department came as a complete surprise. His son’s stepdad had applied for custody. It made no sense. We were prepared and willing to take him into our home.

The battle

The battle began with a preliminary custody hearing that included my stepson on the witness stand. We were in another room, but our attorney outlined the setting to us. I had been presented as the evil stepmother. Despite my efforts to be a caring stepmom who tried to fulfill a maternal role when my stepson was in our home, I was painted as someone quite different. The hurt I experienced that day took a long time to work through.

When Beauty Follows Pain on the Stepparenting Journey on Stepparenting with Grace

The Beauty

That’s in the past now. My stepson did eventually come live with us and in time, with God’s help, we mended our ways. We worked to rebuild a relationship that included a steady flow of grace and forgiveness. Slowly, he began to let me into his life. I never wanted to replace his Mom. I simply tried to play a maternal role to a boy who didn’t have a mom.

That was 13 years ago. At 27 years old, my stepson now lives out of state.

I’ve often wondered if my tireless efforts as his stepmom even mattered.

The letter I received this year on Mother’s Day told me they did.

Although my stepson never called me Mom, the letter started with:

“MOM!! Happy Mother’s Day!! I wanted to take time and express my
appreciation to you as my mother!! You have been there through
everything. My first love, my first heartbreak, high school and college.
You’ve literally been there for it all. Thank you. For giving me advice
and good examples over the years. Even though I know I pushed back
for many years, I now realize I had a great MOM all along. Thank you
for always being there for me. Love you, Gayla. Your son.”

If you need some hope and encouragement on your stepmom journey, please consider joining us at our upcoming Sisterhood of Stepmoms retreat. You’ll find all the details here: http://sisterhoodofstepmoms.com/dallas-texas-2017/

Will you share some highs or lows of your stepparenting journey?
How are you celebrating them?


Get posts delivered to your inbox --

Subscribe to the blog!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

2 replies
  1. Mae
    Mae says:

    Beautiful tribute! Right now, I’m dealing with my husband accusing me of being the evil stepmother. We are having a host of a big marital problems and, being in our first years of marriage (1st marriage for both of us), it has proven to be a very rocky time. To hear my husband level criticism towards me concerning his daughter stings to the core of me. I have not been perfect but, I’ve tried to wade through stepmom waters the best way I know how, and I’ve aimed to also be a present and genuine mom figure for my stepdaughter. I go back and forth between inclinations to simply retreat and the nudges to press forward in love. Reading your post encourages my heart. Please pray for me because this is one of the hardest places I’ve ever been relationally.

  2. Gayla Grace
    Gayla Grace says:

    Mae, thank you for your comment. I’m thankful the post was encouraging. I’m sorry to hear of your struggles. The stepmom journey can be very difficult. It’s not unusual to have some disharmony in the home. But I hope your husband can see your heart and efforts toward being a genuine mom figure for his stepdaughter. I’ll be praying for your family. Gayla

Comments are closed.