Will You Commit to Unwavering Effort and Prayers on Your Stepfamily Journey?

“Observe the ant,” the great oriental conquerorTamerlane told his friends. In relating a story from his early life, he said, “I once was forced to take shelter from my enemies in a dilapidated building,where I sat alone for many hours.

 

Wishing to divert my mind from my hopeless situation, I fixed my eyes on an ant carrying a kernel of corn larger than itself up a high wall. I counted its attempts to accomplish this feat. The corn fell sixty-nine times to the ground, but the insect persevered. The seventieth time it reached the top. The ant’s accomplishment gave me courage for the moment, and I never forgot the lesson.” (Quoted in Streams in the Desert devotional, from The King’s Business.)

Tamerlane was a Central Asian conqueror and a brilliant military leader in the late 1300s who fought without wavering and gained control of a vast region including Iraq, Armenia, Mesopotamia, Georgia, Russia, and parts of India. He died on an expedition to conquer China.

So how do we relate Tamerlane to our stepfamily journey? Stepparenting requires unwavering effort. And we may not accomplish all that we desire in our lifetime. But that doesn’t mean we quit.

We may not see the rewards that Tamerlane did either. We might see very few earthly rewards. But God recognizes our efforts and will reward us.

I’ve been praying for a precious two-year-old girl, Stella, who was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor. Her parents lost her sister, Charlotte, a few years ago to a different illness and were devastated when yet another child was handed a dismal prognosis. Yet, despite the overwhelming odds, their prayers for their daughter’s healing are unwavering.  

As I read the mom’s CaringBridge post this morning, her raw emotions tugged at my heart, but she doesn’t stop asking for a miracle for her baby. Here is an excerpt:

“So it seems the cancer cells are putting pressure on the brain causing Stella to have seizures. They currently have her heavily sedated while they attempt to control the seizures. As far as I am concerned nothing revealed on the current MRI will change that this is a setback and we have to push on. Dr Saylors confirms this and we are not quitting hoping and praying that our final result will be the complete healing of our Stella Rose.

We are battered but not broken. So many parts of this are reminiscent of watching our Charlotte and I can say this is difficult for everyone who sees her. She is hooked up to a lot of tubes right now, had many fluids and is swollen because of this. …

Pray for the seizures to get well controlled with medications, pray we get to start chemo as planned and pray we get our Stella back before the next step begins. As always ask God for a miracle.

Does your stepfamily need a miracle? Will you commit to unwavering effort and prayers on your stepfamily journey?
 

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Lessons Learned about Stepparenting from Tim Tebow

If you’re a football fan (or even if you’re not), you’ve likely heard the ongoing publicity surrounding Tim Tebow. Tebow is currently the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos and has made a name for himself with his unorthodox QB skill set and frequent display of religious devotion.

americanfreepress.net

   
He’s a guy that’s easy to like with his tenacious spirit and committed attitude toward living for the Lord. But in addition to being a good guy, his life demonstrates some takeaway thoughts related to stepparenting. Here’s a few:

1. Prayer can turn bad into good.  Tim Tebow’s mother contracted amoebic dysentry while a missionary with her husband in the Phillipines, and was treated with strong antibiotics before realizing she was pregnant. Her doctors advised her to abort, assuring her the baby would be severely disabled due to the drugs.

She refused to abort because of her faith and, instead, prayed for a healthy son. Tim Tebow was born August 14, 1987, reportedly malnourished, but healthy. Nothing is too big for God.

2. There’s more than one way to reach success. Tebow has been criticized for his awkward throwing motion, his inaccuracy in passing completions, and his unorthodox method of playing. But you can’t deny his quarterback success as his team heads to the AFC Divisional Round this Saturday night.

In similar fashion, stepparenting success is reached in different ways. There’s not only one way that works. Determine the techniques that will bond and strengthen relationships in your stepfamily and execute them.

3. Don’t give up, regardless of what others are saying. If Tebow had listened to his critics at the beginning of the season, he would have never won a football game. Instead, he continued to believe in himself and work toward his goals, despite the opposition.

Stepfamilies are given a bad rap. Statistics tell us that 60% of second marriages and 73% of third  marriages end in divorce. But those statistics don’t have to apply to us. Believe in yourself and your ability for long-term success in your stepparenting relationships and don’t look back. Refuse to quit even when it’s hard.

Tim Tebow is not perfect but his example gives some thoughts to ponder as we relate it to stepparenting challenges. 

Do you agree? What are your thoughts?

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Character that Counts

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When Stepparenting Isn’t What You Expected

Appreciate the Positives of Your Stepchildren

My stepson came by over the week-end to help with the yard and clean the gutters for me. Since my husband is now working out of state, he asked his son to help with stuff around the house that he normally does.

It was a blessing to have him here and offer a helping hand.

But my stepson and I don’t see eye to eye on a lot of issues. At 21-years-old, he has his own opinions and many of them are different from mine.

He was heavily influenced during his critical adolescent years at his mom’s house by a stepdad that walks a different path in life. My stepson experimented with drugs and had the freedom to make his own choices at an age when he didn’t have the maturity to make wise ones.

I’m thankful today he’s making better choices but it saddens me that he doesn’t desire a spiritual walk. It’s more convenient to live a life of selfish desires than surrender his life to the Lord Jesus, whom I love and serve.

But rather than force my spiritual beliefs down his throat, I simply love and accept him where he is today. 

My prayer is that my stepson will someday embrace the spiritual journey that makes my life complete. But I can love him for who he is today, even if it’s vastly different from me.

I can be thankful for the relationship we share, even if it’s not perfect. I can appreciate his willingness to offer a helping hand when my husband isn’t available.

What positive thought can you embrace about your stepchildren?

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Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Overcoming Difficult Feelings as a Stepparent

 

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

What’s stressing you today? Have the little things of life become big things because you’re having trouble letting go? Is your stepchild relationship experiencing a small leak that’s about to lead to a blowout?

How we react to what happens around us determines a hostile or peaceful outcome. If my stepson shoots a glaring look my way, I can choose to ignore it or I can let it ruin my day. If my stepdaughter challenges my thinking on something I believe in, I can spout off a defensive remark or I can stand firm in my position while shrugging my shoulders.

There are a multitude of things that happen every day in our stepfamily relationships that are not worth getting stressed about. When we identify which battles we want to fight, and leave the rest alone, we find more serentiy for our journey. 

My good friend and stepfamily authority, Ron L. Deal, says his whole perspective on life changed after he lost his son from a brief illness. He says he doesn’t stress anymore about a spilled drink in the living room or whether every paper gets put in the recycling bin. Life is simply too short to spend our days bothered over trivial matters.

In his book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff… and it’s all small stuff, Dr. Richard Carlson says he plays a game with himself called the “time warp.” He says, “I made it up in response to my consistent, erroneous belief that what I was all worked up about was really important. To play “time warp,” all you have to do is imagine that whatever circumstance you are dealing with isn’t happening right now but a year from now. Then simply ask yourself, ‘Is this situation really as important as I’m making it out to be? Will this matter a year from now?’ Once in a great while it may be — but a vast majority of the time, it simply isn’t.”

So, next time your stepchild leaves his laundry in the washing machine and goes to school, leaving it for you to finish, remind yourself that it won’t matter a year from now. That doesn’t mean you don’t address the issue when he comes in from school and seek to correct it from happening again, but it does mean you choose not to stew over it the rest of the day.

Are you sweating the small stuff in your stepfamily relationships?

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Holiday Tips for Stepfamilies – Face Your Challenges: Lessons from Elizabeth Edwards

In the wake of Elizabeth Edward’s death this week, I’m reminded of a resiliency few people possess. With unending optimism toward life’s challenges, she faced her struggles head on, refusing to hide behind the curtain of her political husband.

Despite her public image as an attorney, best-selling author and health care activist, her most prized possesions were her children.  Ms. Edwards leaves behind two young children: 12-year-old Emma Claire and 10-year-old Jack along with 28-year-old Cate. Her oldest son, Wade, was killed in an auto accident at 16 years of age.

I’ve watched Ms. Edwards in the public light and admired her gracious and dignified attitude toward life’s challenges. She courageously grieved the loss of her oldest son after a sudden accident. She fought a valiant battle with breast cancer, remaining optimistic to the end that she would beat it.

She endured a public scandal for several years when it was revealed that her husband, John Edwards, had been unfaithful and fathered a child out of wedlock. Then, at the beginning of this year, she separated from John Edwards after 33 years of marriage and filed for divorce, choosing to live the end of her life alone with her children.

Her courage resonated in every interview and I admired her attitude toward hardship: “It’s easy to get through the good days. What’s most important is that when bad things happen, you have the strength to face it.”

Life is hard. No one gets to escape difficult times. But it is our choice as to how we will respond when bad things happen.

Will you garner the strength you need to face your stepparenting challenges this holiday season?

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Creating a Stable Stepfamily: Commit to the Long Run 

Stepparenting Inspiration

Offering a Gift of Kindness

The little things in life can make the most difference. My daughter helping me carry in groceries on a day I’m overwhelmed with chores. A stranger offering me thanks at church for playing the piano each week. My husband putting air in my tires when he notices the dashboard light.

Acts of kindness are simple reminders that show others we care about them. They may take a few moments of our day or an entire afternoon. But they speak volumes to the one on the receiving end.

My stepson is without a car for an indefinite period of time because of his recent car wreck. I knew he was concerned about getting back and forth to school and work from his apartment. So, I sent him a text message Monday morning offering to help with rides when I could.

He responded with an appreciative message back. It wasn’t a big deal on my part but it communicated to him that I care and want to help him during this stressful period.

I wish I could say I’m always willing to help and come armed with a considerate attitude. But I’m not. I’m selfish with my time and like to consider my needs first. But I realize the value of a Christ-like attitude in doing for others, especially my children.

Stepparenting takes time and sacrifice. The needs of our stepchildren while they are in our home (whether part-time or full-time) last only a season. But the rewards of a willing heart toward unselfish acts of kindness can be seen for many years as a meaningful relationship ensues.

We may not receive the appreciation we deserve for serving our stepchildren. But we will be blessed in knowing we have done our part in offering Christ-like love and kindness.

“Clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience…” (Colossians 3:12)

How will you show kindness today?

Related Posts:

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Expressing Kindness to Your Family