I’ve talked to several stepmoms recently who are fearful of what lies ahead. For some, it’s concern about custody battles and child support payments. For others, it’s fear of summer days with changing schedules and difficult exes.
Regardless of what you’re facing as a stepmom that’s creating fear for you, here are a few steps to take to help.
1. Live one day at a time.
I’m a huge believer in taking each day as it comes. We find ourselves in trouble when we live with regrets of the past or project problems of the future. God will give us what we need to cope with the issues of today.
“Live one day at a time” is an AA slogan that alcoholics rely on during recovery. An alcoholic once told me if he focused on the fact that he can never have another drink, he wouldn’t be able to stay sober. But focusing on getting through one day without a drink is manageable.
It’s the same for us. If we focus on how we’re going to survive with our stepkid challenges for the next ten years, we’ll never make it. But if we choose to look at what we can do today to make it manageable in our home, we can cope with the day. What step do you need to take today? Ask your spouse for his support of your stepmom role, set some boundaries with your stepchildren, escape with a girlfriend for a relaxing evening?
2. Choose to stay positive in not-so-positive circumstances.
If you’re living in circumstances that feel overwhelming or oppressive, it’s especially important to make an intentional effort to stay positive. We CAN control what we choose to think about. In Jan Silvious’ book, Big Girls Don’t Whine, Silvious writes, “Big Girls control what their minds dwell on. If you can’t control anything else in your life, you can control what you think about.”
I read an interview recently with popular speaker Patsy Clairmont, where she discussed her challenge with agoraphobia–a fear of open spaces and large groups of people. Clairmont talks about how her release from the prison of agoraphobia began when she began to change the way she was thinking. She says she focused specifically on Philipians 4:8 that says, “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Clairmont says her thoughts began to improve by consciously “thinking on good things,” and “believing maybe I could be well.”
We can do the same by meeting our fear with thoughts that are of good repute, such as only the encouraging aspects of our situation, or perhaps thoughts that are worthy of praise, such as concentrating on the positive characteristics of our stepchild. What we think about matters!
3. Give up control and submit to God’s plan. In other words, let go and let God.
Here’s a poem I read recently on this topic in Courage to Change:
“As children bring their broken toys, with tears for us to mend,
I brought my broken dreams to God, because He was my friend.
But then, instead of leaving Him in peace to work alone,
I hung around and tried to help, with ways that were my own.
At last, I snatched them back and cried, ‘How can you be so slow?’
‘My child,’ He said, ‘What could I do? You never did let go.’”
We want to fix and control instead of giving to God. I often remind myself that “His ways are higher than my ways and His thoughts than my thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8).
What steps do you need to take to walk through your stepmom fears confidently? Can you share others?
Pic By artur84
For additional stepmom support, join us at our next Stepmom Retreat in Dallas Sept 25-27. It will be a great week-end where you will be encouraged, find tools for your journey, and enjoy camaraderie with others walking a similar path. Details here: http://sisterhoodofstepmoms.com/?page_id=23