I’ll bet there have been many times when you clench your fist, grit your teeth and wonder why some people just bring out the worst in you. They have nothing positive to say, their actions border on being malicious, and you can bet there is some kind of drama going on in their lives at any given time.
The dynamics of your blended family can easily lend themselves to being associated with people like this. Divorce is a nasty beast; dysfunction seems to grow bitterness, and now, you are in the middle of it. However, you have a choice; you can either throw gasoline on this already furious inferno, or you can step back and build people up.
I Corinthians 13:4b says “Love is kind.” I like the Phillips translation which says, “Love looks for a way of being constructive.” Romans 15:2 helps us a bit farther by saying, “We should consider the good of our neighbor and help build up his character.” In your blended family, sometimes this might mean saying nothing at all. Your relationships may be quite delicate now, but with time and consistency, your loving character will shine through.
So, how do you build up the members of your family? I believe people rise to our expectations. I have tried to tell my husband and children that I believe they can do whatever they set their minds on. I remember a talk I had with our youngest son when he was in junior high school. He was making mostly B’s on his report cards, so I sat him down and told him he was capable of making A’s. I believed he was a smart young man. The difference would be for him to decide he wanted to make A’s and then choose to spend an extra 15-30 minutes a week to be diligent and study. I didn’t harp on him and tell him I was disappointed with his report card; I just told him I believed he was a straight-A student. Well, he tucked that somewhere in his brain and as the high school years came, so did the A’s.
You have so many opportunities to challenge your family. You need to tell them you believe in them, and they have what it takes to do and be what they want. 1 Peter 4:10 in The Living Bible says, “God has given each of you some special abilities; be sure to use them to help each other, passing on to others God’s many kinds of blessings.” You have the tremendous power to help your husband and children find and use their own, special, God-given abilities.
This leads to helping them find their confidence. First Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Encourage one another and build each other up.” Encouragement can build up confidence when it is given sincerely, and when it is recognizable and regular. So be on the lookout to find ways to keep building up!
Another way of building up your family is through truth. I may not have done many things right when Dan and I first married, but I did my best to be honest. I shared with his children how some things were difficult for me. I told them I was going to be there for them – and I meant it. I apologized and took responsibility for the mistakes I made. As a stepmom, you don’t have to be perfect. Be truthful with kindness.
So hopefully, by challenging your family, building up their confidence, and giving them honest counsel, you will see amazing changes. God is good; He will be there to do the same for you. So get ready to be challenged, have your confidence boosted, and then receive God’s wise and truthful counsel.
Blessings in Your Blending!