Photo by Rido

Having children in my life has completely wrecked me!

I’m a constant pendulum swinging between tears of utter joy, experiencing life with my children, to tears of heartache when I think of all of the children who are alone, neglected, and abused. But it wasn’t always this way.

I was a stepmom first. I came into the lives of three very broken and hurt children- one of which was too young to know or remember what it is like to have her biological parents living together. Coming from a very sheltered upbringing, that hit me like a ton of bricks.

I loved them the best I could even though, in this tumultuous situation, unconditional love and acceptance was often hard to give. With each difficult situation we faced, my defenses and self-preservation instincts were building a wall between me and these children.

Then came Jameson Michael.

After about two years of step parenting, I had a brand new, completely perfect little baby. My perspectives on life and parenting began to shift. The first few weeks I was on a mission to let no one touch my little gift from heaven. It was us against the world (including those living in our home).

That ever-growing wall was my fortress.

But as I started to get the hang of parenting this newborn, my heart began to completely melt, not just with love for this little one, but for my other three children. And, for the children on our block, children in the news and all around the world.

I began to slowly understand and realize that the fatherhood nature and heart of God is much like that of a parent towards a child.

We are in need of His help, His guidance, and most of all His patient love and He always wants to respond to that need, even when it comes to us as parents.

If you find yourself struggling to let your guard down around the children who bring you the most heartache and difficulty- whether step, foster, adopted, or your own rebellious children- God has a place on His big, daddy lap for you. A tender place for you to receive wisdom and guidance from Him and learn how to parent from His heart to yours.

His many children range from those that have childlike adoring faith in Him, to hard-hearted haters and rejectors of His love, but His love still abounds to them all EVERY TIME!

He is so amazing, how does he do it?

I’ve read about God as a Father, I’ve heard countless sermons preached on Father God, yet there was still a gap in understanding my relationship with Him as a Father and how that correlated to my relationship with my children and stepchildren.

I wanted God to be proud of me- I wanted to give Him reasons to be near and from my own parenting experience with my step kids that meant being together and getting along well, trying to impress one another. But Jameson, with his sleepless nights, screaming car rides, teething fits- they all make me love him MORE.

They made me want to be closer to him to calm him and bring him back to a place of joy. The rough moments (ok, days and weeks) open my eyes to see his need for me and the giggles and smiles are just the cherries on top. Even, the rough times with my stepchildren are the windows to their need for love, stability, and consistency, while the giddy conversations and fun times together are the product of commitment during the hard times.

If I could use my imagination for just a moment, I would say that my shining moments as a Christ follower- the moments where people see Jesus in me- aren’t the moments that truly define my relationship with God as my Father. It is in those moments of rebellion, disobedience, and frustrations with blending, that my need for closeness with Him is revealed.

Those moments are the windows to my need for the Father’s love. Those moments don’t make Him love me any less than the moments when I am on my best Christian behavior and being the perfect mom and stepmom.  Just like a smile from my infant doesn’t make me love him more or a mountain of messy diapers would make me love him less; neither does gratitude nor disrespect from my teenage stepson change my commitment to caring for him.

The truth is, we are not called to be perfect parents or step-parents.

Even knowing all that I know about God as a Father, I still doubt God’s love for me and still struggle to invite him into specific areas of my life. But knowing that God’s love, compassion, and commitment to me as a child is even greater than what I have for my children, I am confident I can seek Him in the areas that I may struggle in, as His child and as a parent, because I can be confident in knowing that he can and will teach me everything that I need to learn in life and in blending because He is my Father and He cares.