So you fell in love with this man and married him. Perfect. Except it’s not all perfect. Now you have to figure out how to fall in love with his children. How do you not feel jealous when your husband has this connection with them you don’t share? How do you not let this jealousy turn into bitterness that ends up spewing onto your marriage? Don’t worry; this is pretty normal. I lived through it. I’m sure my husband lived through it since we both came into our marriage with two children each. As I look back and reflect on how God grew us through that time, I want to pass on a tip that just might help you on your journey.
First of all, it’s okay to feel uncertain about your new stepchildren. This takes time. After all, it took me awhile to fall in love with Dan; why would I expect to fall immediately in like or in love with his children? But, we were forming a family and I needed some help to overcome my “hard-hearted Hannah” feelings.
Feelings … let’s start here. So many times we cannot trust our feelings; they are based on inward perceptions or outward influences. So let’s try to stuff those feelings in an old pillowcase. Now just a side note: in a psychological sense, stuffing your feelings is a bad thing, but for now we are going to just place them temporarily out of reach!
Now, we are going to think about an action we can take to show respect, caring, and community – vital components within a home. One of the easiest ways to take an action to move closer to someone is to pray for them. Philippians 4:6 tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Jeremiah 29:11-12 says, “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”
Through the years, as I have prayed for my stepchildren, I have voiced to God their challenges and struggles. Just by sharing those things, He somehow softened my heart toward those kids. God started showing me how tough the past had been on them, how they had to endure and survive decisions and environments that were not their choice. Somewhere in my little “black heart,” this awareness and awakening of their circumstances made me want to be more compassionate toward them. I tried to engage with them in a friendlier manner. Yes, you could almost hear the little droplets of water that were melting from my frozen heart.
It is amazing what God will do when you pray to Him. It is amazing how He doesn’t always change a situation in your life when you pray for it, but instead, He changes your heart and attitude about the situation. So I guess in many aspects, that old cliché is true: “act and the feeling will follow.”
Take action today by praying for your kiddos. Tell God the good, bad and the ugly about them. As you share with Him, I believe He is going to shed light on their pasts and also give you the compassion to see them in that light. Then you will be able to love them like they need to be loved – with action and by feeling.
Blessings in Your Blending!