Change is Inevitable. Can We Learn to Trust God and Adapt?

One phone call. That’s all it took to change our stepfamily forever.

“I just got the news. She passed away earlier today,” my husband said. The finality of the words stung.  I thought about my teenage stepchildren facing life without their mom. Saddened, my heart ached.

I knew it would affect all of us. Like the ripples after tossing a stone into a lake, the effects would soon make their way into our home.

We had weathered some rocky storms as a stepfamily in the nine years my husband and I had been married. We were finally settling into a comfortable relationship, finding what worked for our family. I felt blessed for our newfound harmony.

Losing their mom left a cavernous hole in the hearts of my stepchildren. My relationship with them suffered as they dealt with their grief.

It’s easy for me to trust God when things are going well. Yet, when I face circumstances I don’t understand and that I cannot change, my faith tends to waver. You too? My husband and I had been praying for his ex-wife to be healed. That was not God’s plan.

Change is inevitable. Can we learn to trust God & adapt? by Gayla Grace

My mind was bombarded with questions that had no answers.

  • Would the children move across state lines and come live with us?
  • Could our home accommodate two more?
  • How would they cope as they struggled to accept their mom was gone?
  • What could we do to help with their troubled emotions?

The path before me was unchartered and unknown. I would have to trust God with what lay ahead.

Solutions were not easily or quickly found.

Tension mounted in our home.

Tempers occasionally flared.

We waded through months of confusion and anxiety.

At times, my husband and I did not see eye to eye.

Yet, when we let go and surrendered to God’s plan, peace engulfed us.

Soon after her mother’s death, my stepdaughter began college and didn’t relocate. My stepson lived with his stepdad and younger half-brother for a while longer before moving in with us. For healing to begin, we had to give up control and trust God with the outcome. Then and ONLY THEN did we begin to experience peace and begin to see positive changes.

It’s been more than ten years since my stepchildren lost their mom. Now, as young adults, both of them live out of state and are thriving. I’m thankful for healthy, loving relationships with them.

These days my own mother’s health is waning as she struggles with late-stage dementia. My stepchildren understand the sadness that accompanies the loss of a parent and offer compassion toward me.

I still struggle with God’s plan at times, particularly as I watch Mom suffer.

I want it to be my way, and I have a hard time letting go of control. But I know His ways are sovereign.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.  “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

Trusting God’s plan is hard. Have you learned to trust His plan with your stepfamily? Will you share it with us? 

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2 replies
  1. Melissa Robinson
    Melissa Robinson says:

    I can only imagine the enormous life change this presented for all of you. Quick Question: can you share examples of how you maintain and connect with step children in a different state? I have a good relationship with my step daughters, but one is away at college, and the other leaves this fall. I send notes, text, and even pictures when something reminds me of them. But I would love ideas on ways to stay more in touch/connected. I’ve tried care packages, calls, books…perhaps they are too busy in their own lives during this season. I hope that I can say we continue to have good relationships in the years to come.

    • Gayla Grace
      Gayla Grace says:

      Hello Melissa,
      I applaud your efforts to stay in touch with your stepchildren that live away from home. It sounds like you’re doing a lot of the right things. Care packages, favorite foods that can be mailed (homemade goodies they like), books—any items that are related to their interests. Then just do things to let them know you’re thinking of them. Texts, comments on social media (but not excessive), and perhaps a call every now and then. But don’t expect too much in return. You’re right, they’re in a busy season and learning how to thrive on their own away from the family. I found that after my stepchildren left college, they were more receptive to coming back to the family and building relationships again. Don’t get discouraged if it seems they’re pushing away during this period. It’s normal—even with biological children. But doing little things to let them know you care will make a difference as they grow and mature. Hang in there and stay positive. BTW, I love the name of your blog! Gayla

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