Act and the feeling will follow. Love this saying! I love even more that it is Biblically based. I John 3:18 says, “Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”
So how many of you blended moms married into your new family and automatically fell head over heels with your newly added children? I’m hoping many of you did. Unfortunately, that was not my story. Dan and I really dated wrong. We spent quite a bit of time together but we didn’t spend time allowing our children to get to know each other. So we had a situation where Dan and I married and then the next day or two we all moved into a new home and started the ‘get to know’ you process. I don’t recommend this. We lived through it. God was good. I was slow to figure things out, though.
Let me give you a brief history: I was raised an only child. I had a brother who was 15 when my parents adopted me. I was raised to be independent with a side of stubbornness! LOL. Add those traits to living as a widow for 7 years and raising two children on my own. In short – I took care of my life, my kids’ lives and my home and job. I knew family and friends that I could count on. I didn’t have to ‘work’ to love them. It came naturally. Then August 21st, 2004, happened. Dan’s kids had both been in a new marriage situation before… twice. They were not so open to accepting this new little happy family. I’m sure they were both waging how long our marriage would last. Tragic but true. My expectations for them to open up their hearts to me and just meld into my life were so unrealistic. This was tough for me. After all, I’m a very optimistic person. I can be fun and loving. I’m willing to help out and work hard. Just love me back! LOL. Well here is where I hit the wall. Dan’s son has Asperger’s Syndrome. He tended to be a loner and didn’t do very well in groups and new situations. Dan’s daughter had been in a marriage. Divorced. Had a child and one on the way. Moved to small town Abilene and left behind friends and college and ‘normalcy’. She was battling all sorts of emotions on her own. So, as you can see, there was so much that could go wrong with the blending of this family.
But God … I also love those two words. Whatever hardship you are in … whatever loss you have suffered … those words remind me that NOTHING is outside of what God can bring you through or get you out of.
All of that to say, Cookies! Yep! Through all my weeping and gnashing of teeth to get Dan’s kids to open up and embrace our new family, I forgot to love with actions. As an adult, I was willing to love them just because they were Dan’s kids. They didn’t automatically get that transfer of my feelings. It would take action. It would take cookies! I once arranged cookies on a paper plate in the shape of a smiley face for Dan’s son as a “thank you” for his help with a project. He gave me the biggest bear hug! Imagine my shock and surprise. The power of cookies! LOL. Funny how God uses so many things to help us through our journey.
Please take the time to understand your step children’s past journey. It has more than likely been pretty bumpy and rocky – especially since your new family came about from a previously broken family. Love with actions. Take the time to nurture these precious ones that God has given you responsibility over. You may not “be the real mom,” but you have been entrusted to love and care and train up these kiddos. So, what are their favorite cookies?