Acceptance of our struggles bring serenity. Gayla Grace

Acceptance Provides Serenity for Stepfamily Struggles

Today I’m including an excerpt from my new book, Stepparenting With Grace: A Devotional for Blended Families

The book releases August 7th with Worthy Publishing and is currently available for pre-order!

Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?  Job 2:10

Thought for the Day: Acceptance of our struggles brings serenity.

“Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult—once we truly understand and accept it—then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”

Psychiatrist M. Scott Peck penned those words at the start of his book The Road Less Traveled forty years ago. The book made publishing history with more than ten years on the New York Times bestseller list and sales of more than seven million copies. Its simple but profound introduction offers a perspective worth pondering, Life is difficult. In John 16:33 Jesus tells us, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Acceptance provides the key to contentment and an anchor of stability in the midst of trouble. We find serenity when we stop fighting the challenges of life and accept adversity without grumbling.

What are you struggling to accept in your stepfamily? Disharmony? Lack of unity with your mate? Uncomfortable feelings? Loyalty bonds to the other home?

Acceptance recognizes the reality of our situation without demanding control of the variables. It allows us to quit insisting others change. We let go of our need to have everything our way. Acceptance doesn’t mean we give up on our hopes and dreams, but it maintains a perspective of the present that offers a better understanding for the future.

We find a story of acceptance in the book of Job.

The author introduces Job as a “blameless and upright” man (1:1), and we would say that Job doesn’t deserve the difficulties he’s about to experience. Within the period of one day, messengers report to him the loss of his livestock, his servants, and his ten children. His response amazes me, “He fell to the ground in worship and said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.’ In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing” (Job 1:20-22).

Job went straight to acceptance. I’m certain my response would have been different. Too often, I complain. I question. I search for answers.

Acceptance of our struggles bring serenity. Gayla Grace

Acceptance means we name our problems and embrace our struggles. We no longer insist on immediate solutions or demand complete understanding. Instead, we take our problems to God and lean on Him as we wait for answers. That’s when we’ll discover contentment in the midst of our difficulties.

I don’t like the struggles of stepfamily life, Lord. I need Your help to accept they’re part of the journey I’m on.

Do you struggle with acceptance? How have you learned to embrace your struggles and take them to God? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Stepmoms: Find your tribe at our upcoming stepmom retreat! You’ll experience a day of renewal and refreshment with those who understand your journey! Details and registration here: http://sisterhoodofstepmoms.com/upcoming-retreats/dallas-texas-2018/

 

 

Sisterhood of Stepmoms Retreat

Refreshment and Renewal for Stepmoms

Dear Stepmom,

Are you looking to refresh your soul? Would you like truth and love spoken over you?

Are you hungry to connect with other women on the stepfamily journey?

I lead a non-profit organization, Sisterhood of Stepmoms, and we’re excited to announce our upcoming day of refreshment and renewal: September 15th, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. This day is an opportunity for you to hear words of wisdom, support, and hope. An opportunity to meet other stepmoms and find a community, YOUR community.

Registration includes a complimentary copy of my upcoming book, Stepparenting With Grace: A Devotional for Blended Families that Worthy Publishing releases August 7th.

Enjoy food, fellowship, and connection with other stepmoms.

Learn how to:

  • Lean on God during times of drama, fear, frustration, and anger.
  • Overcome feelings of isolation, loneliness and being the “outsider”.
  • Respect your husband even when he isn’t stepping up.
  • Recognize when a stepmom should step back.
  • See the situation through the eyes of your stepchild.
  • Pray without ceasing for your stepfamily.

Space is limited so register today.

Details and registration can be found here.

What past attendees say about the retreat:

  • “I really appreciate how the presenters shared their own hurts. They gave us practical tools and they understood my pain because they have lived it too!”
  • “This retreat lifted a weight from my shoulders.”
  • “My husband was worried the retreat was going to be a big complaint session. NOTHING could be further from that. Women shared their struggles. Even the speakers shared struggles. But everyone was encouraging. It wasn’t complaining. I left feeling understood, encouraged and knowing what I struggle with is normal. I gained friends and tools to help me on this journey.”
  • “I learned that I’m not alone; this is worth it in the long haul. Plus I can see things through the eyes of my stepchild a little better.”
  • Read more testimonials here.

Here are some video testimonials. If you can’t see the video, please click here.

 Come join us!

Details and registration can be found here.

 

Guilt? Dear Stepparent, Let it Go!

“At the end of the day, I’m exhausted and still worried I’m not doing it right or even good enough,” said my stepmom friend, Cindy. “I struggle with guilt constantly and don’t know how to change that.”

It’s easy to assume feelings of guilt surrounding our stepparenting journey. We struggle to accept we’re imperfect. We insist we must do everything right or our stepchildren will never love or accept us.

Perhaps society dictates perfection, particularly for stepmoms. We don’t have to accept that attitude. Striving for perfection sets us up to experience guilt—a powerful emotion.

As long as you choose to feel guilty for the things you’ve done wrong, God cannot use the things you’ve done right for His glory.

Gayla Grace on Letting Go of Guilt

In his book, Boundaries with TeensDr. John Townsend offers some wise words on guilt-centered parenting: “Guilt is a feeling of self-condemnation over doing something that hurts your child. However, guilt is not a helpful emotion. Guilt is more about the parent because guilt centers on the parent’s failures and badness rather than on the teen’s difficulty and hurt. Guilt does nothing to help the teen’s situation.”

Townsend goes on to say that we should learn to experience remorse instead. “Remorse, the healthy alternative to guilt, centers on the other person,” he says. “It is solution oriented. When you feel remorse toward your teen, you free yourself to be sad about what you have done and to repair the effects.”

Sometimes, we don’t get it right.

We let our sinful nature take over. We don’t work hard enough to love our stepchildren and overlook their annoying tendencies. We highlight their mistakes instead of praising their successes. And then we feel bad for our behavior.

We can face our feelings of guilt and accept that we will sometimes let our stepchildren down. But we shouldn’t stop there. If we do something that hurts our stepchild, we can change our focus from guilt to remorse—an attitude of how our behavior affected them. Then we can take action to make it right. Perhaps we need to offer an apology. Maybe we need to claim God’s help to change our behavior next time. We likely need to accept God’s grace and His mercy to move past our guilt.

We won’t always get it right as a stepparent.

But we don’t need to get stuck wallowing in guilt.

God wants to do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20).

But we must do our part also. Let go of your guilt, experience remorse, ask for forgiveness, and then accept God’s grace to start again.

 

Where do you struggle with guilt and how have you overcome it? Will you share it with us?

God's Amazing Grace Show Up in Stepfamilies

God’s Amazing Grace Shows Up in Stepfamilies

As stepparents, we often feel defeated in our circumstances. We play out our role the best we can, but it doesn’t seem good enough.

Relationships stagnate.

Disharmony rules.

Tempers flare.

Guilt follows.

Grace God's Amazing Gift Shows Up in Stepfamilies by Gayla Grace

We beat ourselves up for the discord in our home.

We allow Satan to bombard our minds with negativity.

We convince ourselves that, as stepparents, it’s all our fault when our stepchildren don’t love (or even like) us.

Perhaps we do contribute to the strife. The role of a stepparent is hard.

We don’t always get it right. But we can’t wallow in our mistakes. God offers grace to try again.

We don’t deserve the grace God offers us—nor can we earn it—but He wants us to receive it anyway.

Ephesians 2:8–9 says: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”

We find examples of grace throughout the Old and the New Testament.

Adam and Eve deserved eternal separation from God after disobeying His commands but experienced God’s grace instead.

King David committed adultery and murder yet earned the label of a “man after God’s own heart.”

Peter denied Jesus three times but experienced grace and redemption afterward.

God showed me the beauty of His grace years ago in a way I’ll always cherish. Married for eleven years with two young girls, I chose to walk away from my vows. Addiction had overtaken our home despite the recovery efforts of my then-husband. Following my divorce, I experienced feelings of defeat, failure, and guilt. My Christian beliefs and parents’ long-term marriage had taught me that marriage was forever. How could I go down the road of divorce? Yet I did.

I never saw God’s grace more clearly, however, than when He brought a new husband into my life with the last name of Grace. Randy graciously accepted my daughters as part of the package when we joined families with Randy’s two kids. Humbled, and forever thankful, my last name is a constant reminder of what God offers His children.

Grace. Second chances. New beginnings. An opportunity for a better ending.

 

Where have you experienced God’s grace in your stepfamily?

Will you share it with us in the comments?

 

 

 

 

Finding Postive Ways to Deal with Toxic People by Gayla Grace

Finding Positive Ways to Cope with Toxic People

Toxic people can invade our lives and create havoc on relationships. But we can find positive ways to respond to them.

I experienced a toxic person last year who wrote an unkind comment on my blog after I posted about National Stepfamily Day. I had highlighted what being a stepparent is all about and affirmed stepparents for the important role they play. The comment came from a mom I didn’t know who was offended by my terminology. This mantra immediately came to mind:

I considered how to reply to her comment:

Being a stepparent involves knowing your role and not over stepping your boundaries!!!! Being a stepparent does not involve calling the REAL PARENT BIO. I would be very disgusted if my child came back calling me BIO MOM. You need to stop that. You’re a stepparent. It’s not your place to give the Parents names other than MOM or DAD.”

I read the comment again, wondering why she had capitalized momdad, bio, and real parent. Perhaps she wanted to emphasize the importance of being a “real parent” over a stepparent. It’s not the first time I’d seen unkind comments on my blog toward a stepparent. I don’t like them. But I can choose whether I’m offended by it. And I can do my part to promote peace in the midst of it.

When confronted by toxic people, remember:

You don’t have to give another person power over your emotions.

Mahatma Gandhi reportedly said it this way: “Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”

Finding Postive Ways to Deal with Toxic People by Gayla Grace

Stepfamilies often foster tense relationships as a result of unhealed hurts. If we spend our time trying to change our stepchildren or fretting over an ex-spouse’s behavior, we end up frustrated. With intentional effort, however, we can promote positive attitudes and behavior with unreasonable people.

Romans 12:18 says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” If our spouse’s ex learns we’re not going to fight back when he/she invokes drama, the game ends. If we don’t react to our stepchild’s unreasonable behavior, it’s more likely to stop.

Our peace of mind is too valuable for us to allow a toxic person’s words to offend or anger us. Someone needs to be the reasonable one in an unreasonable person’s life. I’m not saying taking on that role will come naturally or that any of us would get it right every time. But with God’s help, we can take the high road.

Remember the apostle Paul’s words: “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” Philippians 4:13.

 

If you would like a free 8×10 printable of the “I am in control of my emotions” image, you may download it by clicking here.

Blended & Blessed a livestream event

Event for Blended Family Couples—April 21st: Join us!

Are you looking for a few tools that might make your blended family journey a little easier? Would you like to hear how other stepfamily couples have found success along the way?

Join stepfamily authority Ron Deal and other trusted experts in the field on Saturday, April 21st, for a livestream event, Blended and Blessed, in your home or at a host church. Blended and Blessed will challenge, inspire, and encourage you as you learn key strategies that are crucial for stepfamily success.

If you cannot see the video below, then please click here.

See all the details about the event here: www.blendedandblessed.com.

If you live in the Bossier/Shreveport area, join us at First Baptist Church, Bossier City. We’ll be hosting the event from 9:00-4:30 pm and it includes lunch. The event is free for attendees!  To register or for more information contact sam@firstbossier.com; 318-752-6120.

I hope you won’t miss this opportunity to gain valuable tools and be encouraged as a stepfamily couple!

 

Blended & Blessed a Livestream Event for Blended Families