James 1:2-4, 12 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. Blessed is the man who remains steadfast (or perseveres) under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”

Have you ever noticed how things of great value usually come at a great price – such as time, labor, finances, and sacrifices?

I was reminded of my priceless relationship with my step daughter just the other day. She called to reach out – she said she needed me – needed to hear encouragement. Yes, she is more than 30 years old. Yes, she has a mother. But my heart soared to know that our relationship was at a place where she loved and trusted me and needed me.

That didn’t just happen overnight … it has taken about 10 years. Also, let me clue you in on something – our relationship didn’t become wonderful because she finally matured or grew to trust me … it took God doing a work in me as well.

You see, I wasn’t so keen on all this step mom business in the beginning. I had my two children and my husband, Dan’s children were older. I figured that his children were old enough to just rely on Dan and their mom. I figured that they didn’t really need another parental figure. I figured that I had enough on my plate just trying to parent my own two children and now focus on being a wife again after being a widow for seven years. It’s funny how I figure so many things wrong!

Yet, through my stubbornness, through my mistakes, God gave me a sense to remain steadfast – to just persevere – day by day, minute by minute. I let Dan’s children know that I was going to be here for them always. Divorce was not an option for me and I certainly didn’t want to contribute any more pain and hurt to our fragile, newly-founded family.

So you may not be ‘feeling’ your new family dynamics today. Let me encourage you to trust in God and remain steadfast. Through this simple decision, day by day and minute by minute, God has blessed me with a precious jewel in my crown of life – Emily – Dan’s daughter. Again, God didn’t just change her to make our relationship special – He did a work in me. He showed me that through perseverance, in areas of time, labor, finances and sacrifices – He blesses richly!

Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Let that sink into your head and heart today. Do not give up.

You are not expected to make this blended family thing work – God is. God wants your dedication and perseverance – He will show you what His power and love can do. You will one day look back over the years and be filled with joy knowing that you are reaping a harvest because you were steadfast. So today, remember to count it all joy because that crown of life is going to be amazing!

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