As I looked at the bookshelf bursting with parenting and step parenting books, my mind went a different direction. How often do I turn to a book, instead of seeking the Source with the best answer? One of my favorite Scriptures reads, “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength” (I Corinthians 1:25).
Don’t get me wrong–I love books. But every book is written by an author with his or her opinion on that particular subject and there is never a one-size-fits-all when it comes to stepfamilies. Books can give us tools that make our step parenting journey smoother but they can’t cover every issue our stepfamily will encounter.
Here’s an example. When my stepson and stepdaughter lost their mother to cancer ten years ago, we faced an unusual custody battle. The kids had been living with their mom and stepdad and a younger half-brother in another state. My stepdaughter had started college and my stepson was just beginning high school. A few weeks following the funeral, as we were preparing to move my stepson into our home, my husband opened the door one week-end to a sheriff delivering custody papers. His son’s stepdad was filing for custody of his son!
After the initial shock wore off of why a stepdad would seek custody when the biological father is willing and capable of parenting his son, we began to question what steps to take next. We sought an attorney to help but we frequently found ourselves in the midst of questions that few had faced before. We were forced to turn to the one Source that would give us the best answer for our situation.
After much prayer, my husband nor I had a peace about fighting the custody battle. We had three other children in our home who would be drastically affected by CPS interrogation, back and forth court hearings in another state, ongoing legal expenses, and two stressed out parents! We chose to leave my husband’s son living with his stepdad, older sister, and half-brother as they grieved the loss of the mom and wife who was no longer there. It was a tough decision but we sensed that was the direction the Lord was leading.
We could have never predicted the series of events that transpired over the next year that eventually led to my stepson’s change of residence. We were blessed to have him willingly come back to our home without tension or animosity a year after his mom passed away. We knew we had made the right decision to allow him time to grieve his loss first with those family members going through the same emotions. But we would have never made that decision on our own accord.
I’m constantly reminded of God’s sovereignty and His ability to see the bigger picture. But we often neglect to turn to Him with our stepfamily challenges. I love Stormie Omartian’s words in The Power of Praying for Your Adult Children, “I have found that only God can give you the wisdom you need. And He will give it to you when you ask for it. But prayer is not telling God what to do. Prayer is partnering with God to see that His will is done.”
Have you experienced the power of praying for your stepfamily? Will you share it with us?
Photo by farconville.