It’s been a tough week in Bossier City, Louisiana, where I live. Life-threatening storms swept through our community with 20 inches of rain over a two-day period and flooding that left many families homeless.
School dismissed for three days while displaced families from mandatory evacuations of heavily-populated neighborhoods sent families in 3500 homes away from the comfort of their usual surroundings.
As I thought about friends coping with the devastation this morning, I reflected on Robert Schuller’s book, Tough Times Never Last, but Tough People Do, that I read many years ago. It is a tough time for a lot of people right now.
But there is always hope for better days. Within a few hours of hearing about yet another young family who lost everything in the flood, I learned that Samaritan’s Purse was headed to LA for rescue relief. What a blessing to read their plans to help:
“Our teams bring in equipment and as soon as the water recedes, they roll up their sleeves to help flooded families get the mud out of their homes, sort through water-damaged personal belongings, and pull out damaged sheetrock, flooring, and insulation. Our Billy Graham Rapid Response Team Chaplains will be alongside to pray with and encourage flood victims.”
Sometimes in the midst of our challenges, it feels like there is no hope. But tough-minded people are created in the midst of tough circumstances if we don’t give up.
Maybe you’re in a tough season right now as a stepparent.
Perhaps you feel invisible in your role as a stepmom and no one notices the constant sacrifices you make.
Maybe you face another day of rejection from your stepson.
Maybe your spouse refuses to support your stepparenting efforts.
Perhaps the biological parent in the other home undermines the relationships you seek you build.
Regardless of the challenges you face, there is always hope. It starts with trusting God with our circumstances, even if we don’t understand or like what’s happening.
In his book mentioned above, Schuller gives additional thoughts on how to manage our circumstances during tough seasons. He says the secret lies in how we perceive our problems and that we must “look at problems realistically and practically.” Here are six principles he gives:
Accept that every living human being has problems. “To pursue a problem-free life is to run after an elusive fantasy; it is a waste of mental and physical energies,” says Schuller.
Every problem has a limited life span. Even problems with stepchildren. They eventually grow up, leave the nest, and create less conflict in our marriages and everyday life.
Every problem holds positive possibilities. If we focus on the “glass half full,” we find the blessings amidst the challenges.
Every problem will change you. Will you become better or bitter as a result of your problem?
You can choose what your problem will do to you. You may not have chosen the disharmony in your home or lack of relationship with your stepchildren, but you can choose how you will react to it.
There is a negative and a positive reaction to every problem. “The tough people who survive the tough times do so because they’ve chosen to react positively to their predicament,” adds Schuller.
That doesn’t mean it’s easy. It takes courage to keep trying to have a relationship with a stepchild who doesn’t want one. It takes perseverance to work through conflict when you and your spouse don’t agree on parenting. It takes self-control to manage your emotions when your teenage stepdaughter lashes out at you.
But with God’s help, nothing is impossible.
“With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.” (Psalm 18:29)
Are you going through a tough season? Can you give other encouraging Scripture that helps you? I’d love to hear it in the comments.
Would you like daily encouragement for your stepmom role? Check out my devotional book, Quiet Moments for the Stepmom Soul: Encouragement for the Journey
Photo: The Newstar