How to Cope as an Outsider in Your Stepfamily

Today I’m including a devotion I wrote recently that will be included in a new stepmom devotional book Laura Petherbridge, Heather Hetchler and myself are working on. Enjoy!

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“…We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts” (1 Thessalonians 2:4).

“I feel invisible in my own home.” I could see the pain in my friend’s eyes. “My husband and stepchildren know how to do life without me and I often feel excluded. I don’t know how to break into the inner circle that surrounds them.”

Nodding in agreement, I reflected on my own feelings as an outsider in our early years. I remember my heart aching when my family told jokes I didn’t understand, reminisced about past experiences I wasn’t part of, or left me out of their activity.

Feeling Like an Outsider in my Stepfamily

Finally, I decided I would accept that some days I had to cope with the outsider role. I couldn’t force my stepchildren to let me into their insider circle. But I could take care of myself when the familiar feeling of loneliness set in. On those days, I would call a friend to go to coffee, catch up on my Bible study, or hit the gym for a workout with my buddies. By engaging in activities outside the home, places where I had my own identity, I better coped with the loneliness I felt at home.

I’m thankful to call myself an insider in God’s family. I’m unconditionally loved and accepted into God’s kingdom. I’m also an insider as part of a couple relationship with my husband, my family of origin, my biological kids, and my profession as a writer. If I recognize my insider status in other areas, I cope better when I’m left out of the circle at home.

Thought of the day: I can’t force my stepchildren to let me into their inner circle. But I can be content in the role I play, finding gratitude in other places of acceptance.

Dear Lord, thank You for accepting me into Your kingdom as Your child. Help me focus on You when I feel displaced in my home.

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