About two years ago, my husband lost his custody battle and was only granted partial custody of his three children. They now live with their mother 80% of the year. This decision was troubling to say the least.
It often seems that when the children are not with us, they tend to be exposed to challenging situations. Many times our weekend visits start off with us handling issues such as school, health or concerns at home. Some of these issues have caused me to question the decision of the court, as well as God about this.
God, why were these children taken from my care?
God, how can you let these things happen to them?
And the biggest question of all- God, how can you let these things continually happen to them?
You would think that by now, the powers that be would have realized the error of their ways or their decision and the children would have been back in our home, at least for majority of the time.
Sometimes, viewing your step kids as your own children can plant some nasty seeds in your heart.
Hatred, bitterness, malice, worry, jealousy, pride. Your parental expectations can create a stream of issues if you do not consider something very important which is,
Your step children are not your children. Your hurt, your anger, your bitterness… you’ve got it all wrong.
Whether or not I married their father, these children would still be in this situation.
They would still be in the same family, having the same life experience.
They were not taken from my care during that custody battle. Rather, God placed me (and numerous others) in their lives to help them along as they journey through life’s joys and sorrows. In those times that they come to us broken and in need, we are thankful and praise the Lord that they can come to us! Unless God had intervened, I wouldn’t be able to do anything!
I have learned that rather than continuing to be frustrated with my lack of control in these situations as as stepmom, God is asking me to see His faithfulness to these children by being an emotional, physical and mental place of peace and safety for them no matter what. This is a perfect example of the verse: ““For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.” (Isaiah 55:8 NIV)
The custody battle was tough and of course I would have had things work out quite differently, in fact, but my understanding God’s perfect plan in all this is as difficult as finding a specific grain of sand on the shores of eternity. I do understand one thing, since they are not biologically my children, it is an honor that God would allow me to be involved in the details of their lives. I know that God’s amazing way of orchestrating all of these circumstances allows me to get to be a light in their lives. He has allowed me to love and care for them in ways that only I can and be to them what only I can be.
And if I can be very open and honest, He dropped one last nugget into my soul- this one challenges my prideful mother heart. My involvement, which He is using to smooth the rough edges and quiet the waves of uncertainty in their lives, is giving a very lost and broken mother the opportunity to keep her children and try better each and every day. He’s changing my perspective of her parenting, her lifestyle, and her heart. It’s not an easy shift, by any means. I still find myself crying out in anger over the decisions made or situations allowed. But, how would I parent without His grace? How would I lead without His guidance. News flash- I am NOT all that and a bag of chips!! “For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.
Romans 7:18-19 NIV If this is my struggle as a believer, how much greater is the struggle for those that are lost?
With this shift in perspective also comes a daily need for the grace, perseverance, and forgiveness to live it out. He is working in ways I may never understand and He is using me to parent in ways only He makes possible. Now, I must begin to allow Him to soften my heart and humble my pride as I change my perspective from – this situation is unfair – to – thank you Jesus for this opportunity.
Every. Single. Day.
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