Why I’m Thankful for an Imperfect Stepfamily

“I always look perfect. I never have a bad hair day.”

Really?? I wanted to ask the teen girl as I heard her talking to her friends. Did she believe that? Was that the standard she was seeking to meet?

That’s a hard way to live. For anyone. It results in heartache, disappointment, and frustration. Because it’s not possible!

God doesn’t call us to be perfect. He doesn’t expect that we will have perfect relationships. But He does use our imperfections and imperfections of those around us to teach us, if we let Him.


thankful for stepfamily

I recently began to think about where our stepfamily was ten years ago. My stepchildren, ages 14 and 19,  had just lost their mother to cancer. We were in the midst of an ugly custody battle with my stepson’s stepdad (Yes, it still seems crazy that my stepson’s stepdad was seeking custody when my husband was fully capable of taking care of his son).  It was a difficult time with hurt, anger, and confusion surrounding our home. I wanted to run away but had nowhere to go.

I didn’t find a lot to be thankful for that Thanksgiving because all I could see was an imperfect stepfamily with little hope of what lie ahead.

Fast forward ten years. My stepchildren are now 24 and 29, both living out of state, happy and content with the lives they’re building for themselves. We’re still an imperfect stepfamily with relationships that need healing, grace and redemption every day. However, I’m no longer focused on what’s wrong with my stepfamily  because through our imperfections, I’m now thankful for what I’ve learned.

  • I have power over my mind and emotions. I can choose what I think about and how I react.
  • I don’t have to judge you if you’re different than me. I can accept your differentness and love you anyway.
  • Relationships are constantly evolving. If I’m dissatisfied with where my stepfamily relationships are today, I don’t have to assume we’re stuck. I can do my part to get us unstuck.
  • I have my share of shortcomings that need to be worked on. I’m a better wife, mom, and stepmom when I seek healing for my hang ups.
  • Life is too short to live mad, hurt, or offended. I have a choice as to whether I will allow your behavior to affect my disposition.
  • True contentment is found only when I let God lead my life and trust His plan for my stepfamily, even when I don’t see or understand what lies ahead.
  • My marriage is worth investing in. Every day.
  • Life is a gift. We’re not guaranteed tomorrow. I can choose to make the best of today.
  • Thankfulness is a perspective. I have a lot to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

How have the imperfections of your stepfamily made you thankful? Will you share them?

 For additional holiday tips, check out our holiday e-book, Unwrapping the Gift of Stepfamily Peace, co-authored with Heather Hetchler of CafeSmom.  Packed with proven tools and tips, personal stories and a list of recipes and new holiday traditions you can create with your stepfamily, it’s a great way to help you find peace at the holidays.

Unwrapping the Gift of Stepfamily Peace










Pic by debspoons

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8 replies
  1. Tabitha
    Tabitha says:

    Gayla, thank you for your insights. I really like the part about feeling as if you are stuck…find a way to get unstuck. You always inspire me to keep moving forward in a positive direction. I am so thankful for you and your friendship! Hope you and your family had a blessed HappyThanksgiving…much love to all of you!

    • Gayla Grace
      Gayla Grace says:

      Thank you for your sweet comment Tabitha. You and Jim have done a lot of things right to get unstuck in your relationships! So proud of you guys and the investment in your family! We need to get together sometime soon! God bless you and Happy Thanksgiving! Gayla

  2. Amy
    Amy says:

    Thank you for your posts, Gayla. Your experience has been so helpful to me in dealing with my own step-family. Any words of wisdom on getting “unstuck”? I’m the only one doing the work right now, but if my husband and his kids see me doing the work, maybe they will too?

  3. Gayla Grace
    Gayla Grace says:

    Thank you for your comment Amy. It’s hard to give much insight on how to get unstuck without knowing some details about your situation. Yes, our behavior can often motivate others to make changes also if they like what they see. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for one party to be willing to make changes while the other one isn’t. If you’d like help for your situation through stepfamily coaching, let me know. Blessings to you and your family. Gayla

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