Crocuses are in full bloom in the state of AR and it is a beautiful sight. Although the temperature is still cool outside, it’s a great reminder that Spring is around the corner and the harsh days of winter will be behind us.
As I gazed at our crocuses with a heavy heart this week-end, I was reminded that there’s beauty following the pain of my husband’s job loss. I know there are better days ahead and that hope sustains me during our period of uncertainty.
I’ve also seen the beauty that follows the pain of stepfamily trials. As my youngest son turned ten years old this month, I was reminded of the challenges we faced with my stepson at this age. As he headed toward his adolescent years, my stepson became rebellious and aggressive toward me. I could do nothing right in his eyes and I was constantly criticized and berated.
My husband and I sought counseling with my stepson to determine the root of his anger but simply uncovered selfish and defiant behavior. He refused to acknowledge his part of the relationship and how he was contributing to the volatile situation. After two years of unresolved conflict, he looked for greener grass by moving to live with his mom in another state.
Unfortunately, his mom was diagnosed with colon cancer the year he moved there and she valiantly fought the disease a little more than a year before passing on. The loss contributed to my stepson’s anger but through counseling with hospice services after his mom’s death, he began to sort through some of his hurt and anger.
My stepson returned to live with us and complete his last three years of  high school. Our relationship was mended as he grew and matured, allowing me a place in his heart. He still struggles with loyalty feelings toward his mom that prevent him from completing embracing a relationship with me, but the rebellious, aggressive behavior is no longer part of our interaction.
It’s easy to focus on the struggles in the midst of a trial and think they will never end, but just as we see the beauty of the crocus after a long, hard winter, we will also see the beauty of refreshment after hardship.  

Are you experiencing stepfamily heartache? Will you look toward the beauty that will follow the pain?
                                                                                                Photo by Jaqui Brooks
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