Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Life as a "Steppie!!"

I subscribe to a daily online devotional. As soon as I get to work every morning I boot up my computer and check my email account, hoping that the devotional has beat me to work! I find that the days I read the devotional, are the best days I have. Today totally hit home and warmed my heart. As most of you may know, my fiance has a 4 year old son named Christian. And you also might know that I am not the most patient person! So at times, having Christian around is a very difficult thing for me to deal with. It causes a lot of fights and arguments between Aaron and I, and at times I just wanted to say forget it and give up! But then there are the little moments. The moments where I walk in the door from work and Christian is there to greet me with a huge grin on his face! He runs over to me, lifts his hands up for me to bend down and pick him up, and then gives me a big wet kiss! Then there are the times when he is in his room playing and he runs out of the room and comes up to me and says, "I love you" and then runs back into his room...those are the moments that melt my heart and let me know that it is worth it. Now, Aaron and I have to learn how to get on the same page on the "raising children" aspect. I am a young 24 year old, who really has no clue what and how I am supposed to be doing as a soon-to-be step-parent. I am more of the disciplinary and Aaron is more of the care-free fun one. I always look like the wicked witch! I want to instill rules, morals, and stability in Christian but Aaron says that all Christian needs is to have fun....I just don't know who is right! At times it is hard for me because I feel like when Aaron and I decide to have children together, it wont be special for him like it will be for me, since it is not his first child. I get really sad about that. I am also confused about where I should be on his priority list. Should his loyalty be with me or with his son....can you love someone more than you love your own child? I sometimes feel so down about this because I have no children so Aaron is my number one love. I love him more than anything in this world. I just desire that same kind of love. Well I want to share the devotional with all of you. It really encouraged me and I hope that I will leave the same lasting effect on Christian as the narrarator did on her step children.

A Blessed Steppie
Shari Braendel

“Her children arise and call her blessed”
Proverbs 31:28 (NIV)

“Life’s good with a Steppie!” my stepdaughter Carly added to the conversation we were having with her college roommate. As I heard her words, deep warmth came over me. Carly and her two sisters are my stepdaughters and “Steppie” is their term of endearment for me.

I love my stepdaughters dearly, but that doesn’t mean life as a “Steppie” has been easy. At times, step-parenting is the hardest thing I do. “What did I sign up for?” I’ve asked myself multiple times during the past eleven years. Establishing relationships with each of my daughters has required a lot of patience and hard work. We’ve had many good times of love and laughter, but other times I have struggled and agonized as I strived to “get it right” and be their “Steppie.”

Despite the challenges, I realize each phone conversation we have, each meal we share, or each e-mail I type to my daughters is an opportunity to honor my calling as their “Steppie.” I am not a replacement for their mom - I can’t be. What I can be, though, is their cheerleader, encourager, disciplinarian, friend and spiritual mentor … and through these challenges, God has grown me.

Somehow, in the last dozen or so years of being “Steppie,” God has been teaching me to be “bigger” than I ever wanted to be. For instance, instead of giving in to yelling when things have been tense, He’s helped me find the grace to bite my tongue and be gentle. He’s taught me that being quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry (James 1:19) is a prerequisite for Proverbs 31:28 which says, “Her children arise and call her blessed.”

Although my stepdaughters are out of the nest now, I know that my step-parenting role continues. Even today, life as a step-mom is difficult at times, but it is good because God continues to work in our lives and in our relationships with each other. What a wonderful affirmation it was to hear Carly arise and bless me the day she exclaimed, “Life is good with a Steppie!”

Dear Lord, please help me remember You gave me these precious children because You trusted me with them. May I draw closer to You each day and know they are looking to me for an example of Your love. Help me be a mother You and they are proud of, and help me to love them as much as You do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

This past Sunday was Mother's Day. As we spent the day with Aaron's family, I was sort of the odd man out because I was the only non-mother. Then to my suprise Aaron hands me over a $100 gift card to my favorite clothing store. I was in shock! I was like, um, what is this for? He said that he loves how I am a great mother to his son and he appreciates all that I do for the both of them. It really made me feel good, like maybe I was doing something right. It felt good to get my first Mother's Day present! If any of you have any helpful hints that could assist our blended family, I think we would all appreciate it!!


Anonymous said...

oh how i just love wordy people... i myself can't seem to shut up when my fingers do the talking. i find your blog very touching. you seem to be finding your place and it's hard. if it helps, it's hard whether your children come from your womb or are born in your heart. the love is all the same. it's never easy, and it will continue to challenge you and you'll find that you will bend but most certainly will not break. especially when you have the love of your family. i find that with me, my love for sadie is completely different than my love for jeff. so you can't compare the two. aaron loves you by choice, you make him happy and make him complete. you can't pick your children, sometimes you might wish for it, but they are born into your world as free spirits. you love them like crazy and i think you become part of each other, it's magical. they inspire and bring new things to your eyes. enjoy the differences. enjoy the similarities... just enjoy each other. i remember reading about motherhood as having your heart running around on the outside of your body... that is motherhood. it's funny that you think you are bad cop and he takes the role of the fun one... that is just something most men are blessed with... i think women tend to take on too much at times. we have many many roles to fill where men can enjoy the simple things. i myself tend to try to hold it all together, but i know how to enjoy the laughter that jeff brings out of my little bug. i love watching how they communicate and love each other so playfully. it's a gift to experience. besides, maybe you are just a big meanie... ha ha... just kidding. but know when things are worth the argument. so often i think people get grumpy over nonsense. pick your battles carefully. just stay true to yourself and your beliefs. because that's the best kind of mom you can be... yourself. you'll find that you all blend together very well. and when you have kids together you'll find that you were never even apart to begin with. as for the mothers day gift... that's awesome... and you deserve it. aaron is a good guy. MUAH!!! Nikki

Renee said...

Hi Brittany, you don't know me;) But I found your blog through Mish's. I cannot relate on the daily level as a steppie (we have four children of our own), but I can relate on the bigger picture of wanting to do God's best. At one point my husband and I were looking into becoming foster parents (now we think we are just going to adopt more;), and we sat with a wise couple of 10 children, 8 of who were rescued from the foster system. I asked her how she let some of them *go* back into the system knowing that there was no way to adopt them, or knowing they weren't *the* parents to them. She said, while they were in our home, we through God's grace attempted to send them back into the world with a little piece of eternity. WOW. Her whole goal was to instill GOD to them for as long as they had time, so that they left a little more whole themselves. I think that is such a worthy goal for ANY parent, but especially your situation when your not *the* mom but he is becoming part of your heart and a part of your HOME. What a gift you can be to him from an eternal perspective. Doesn't make it easier (no type of parenting EVER is!) but WORTH it.
Hope you don't mind me sharing! I hate keeping wise gems from other people to myself;)
Blessings to you and Aaron!
Renee Steitz

Renee said...

AND, is that Sals resturaunt you are at?!?! WE MISS THAT PLACE! No good Mexican food in Michigan;)
Renee again, but now a little jealous...