It’s easy to trust God’s plan when the journey is easy and comfortable. But it’s much harder when the days are long and the circumstances don’t make sense.
That’s the journey my husband and I found ourselves on several years ago. The events of our stepfamily didn’t make sense. I wanted to understand it. But I learned to live by faith, trusting God on the journey.
I included this story in our e-book, Stepping with Purpose. Feel free to download the book for more encouraging stepmom stories.
Trusting God’s Plan
by Gayla Grace
During his sophomore year of high school, my stepson, Payton, suffered a back injury at an end of season football game that sent him to the hospital. As he was leaving the Emergency Room with my husband, Randy, he confided to his dad with tears in his eyes, “I’m thankful to be living here and be given the care I need.” Unfortunately, that had not always been the case.
Two years prior, Payton stood by his stepfather in a custody hearing against his dad and boldly stated his desire to continue living with his stepfather and older sister. His mother had passed away after a year-long battle with cancer, and his stepfather sought legal custody. We lived more than 300 miles away, but longed to provide the stability and support Payton needed.
Fighting a custody battle came as a complete surprise after Payton’s mom died. But as his biological father, Randy felt certain he would be awarded custody of his son. However, we were unprepared for the accusations and false representation of our family. After hours of testimony at the pre-trial hearing, the judge ruled in favor of Payton residing with his stepfather until a complete custody trial could be scheduled.
We were baffled. We didn’t understand the judge’s decision. But we knew God was in control and sought His divine plan for Payton. I trusted in the words of Isaiah 55:8-9: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
In the upcoming weeks Randy and I agonized over the reality of fighting this battle. We had three other children at home and knew they would be exposed to negative and stressful surroundings. We didn’t want to alienate Payton and finally opted to give up our right to a custody trial, focusing on our long-term relationship with Payton rather than a short-term fix. We sensed God’s hand at work and wanted to surrender to His plan.
The following year was harder than we expected as we strove to support Payton through his grief while living hundreds of miles away. We were confused, anxious, and discouraged as we watched Payton live in a neglectful environment with unhealthy choices. The journey was hard, but we remained committed to draw closer to Payton and support him through the healing process.
As the months marched on, we noticed subtle changes. Payton began asking to spend more time with us. He seemed to enjoy hanging with his siblings and it appeared that healing and growth were taking place.
And then one day, a turn of events led to an unexpected call from Payton. He confided in his dad about some drug-dealing activity his step-dad was involved in. Payton had temporarily retreated to his aunt’s house and didn’t know what to do. Randy determined he had to remove Payton from his step-dad’s home immediately. Surprisingly, without opposition or legal proceedings, Payton came to live with us the next week. It was truly a miracle that only God could orchestrate.
It had been 18 months since his mother died, and Payton seemed relieved to come into our home. It was a smooth transition because he had been given the time he needed to grieve the loss of his mom with his sister and half-brother. He had worked through much of his anger and bitterness with a hospice counselor and could now allow others to reach out to him to further the healing process. He settled in easily, making new friends and comfortably starting a new school.
Surrendering to God’s plan for Payton was humbling and disappointing at times. I wanted to offer my support as his stepmom through the early stages of his grieving process, but wasn’t given the opportunity. I came to understand that he couldn’t have accepted my help in the beginning. God had a better plan that allowed Payton to grieve and heal with his stepfather and biological siblings who had suffered the same loss.
By trusting God’s sovereignty, our family gained renewed relationships with one another. I learned to seek God’s guidance and cling to His Word for direction. And although God’s plan might include a difficult journey that I don’t like or understand, I know I can trust it and commit to follow it.
How are you trusting God through a difficult journey? Will you share it with us?