God has taught me much in being a stepmom. I’ve wrestled tremendously with what to share. I seriously didn’t know what bravery was until I chose this role. It’s been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It’s been full of heartache. It’s also been full of joy.
Co-parenting has been a rocky road. (19 years and counting!) How do I best support my husband in this journey? Jump in or step back? At the beginning, I fully engaged thinking that my involvement would benefit my stepson. Perhaps it did, but there were definitely times throughout the years when I had to disengage for my own sanity and health.
The complexities of our relationships in this parenting quadrant is enough to support the filming of a soap opera. No joke. I think with all the disagreements over the years, we would at least agree on that. Honestly, when it comes down to it though, we have all muddled through. We’ve dug deep. We’ve been vulnerable. We’ve been hurt. Wounds happened and scars are visible. Sifting through the hard parts are worth it. Because at the end of the day, there is a child – a young adult now- who didn’t ask for any the heartache this life has handed him as a result of being born into a blended family. We all love him.
Recently, as his big blended family gathered to celebrate his 20th birthday, his mom and I had a moment to sit and catch up. I shared something with her that I probably wouldn’t have years ago. We’ve come a long way in our relationship. It’s far from perfect and we still stumble as we navigate this ever winding road. But that day, we agreed that even through the hard stuff, we come together to love and support our son. Why?
“Because we are family. That’s what we do.”
I smiled. Yes. Family is messy, but God can cover us all with His love and grace. He can smooth out the rough edges. He’s brought this family together and we choose to love.
I choose to love. Bravery shows up when you love a child who doesn’t have to love you back. Bravery shows up when you choose to love the people your stepson loves.
What is love? I Corinthians 13:4-7 says:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
My prayer is that we all keep persevering.