If you would’ve told me 20 years ago that I would marry someone with a child from a previous relationship, I would have called you a liar and told you to “get behind me Satan.” That was one of my rules on my “husband list,” and that was to not marry someone with a child. But we have all heard the saying “if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” I know God was shaking His head at me chuckling at how I had the audacity to tell Him, the Creator and orchestrator of my life, my own plans.
How I met my husband is a long story but I will get straight to what happened after we said “I do.” I went from a 27-year-old woman, with a good career, free to travel and go as I pleased; to a wife and an instant stepmom to a 9-year-old who was with us every single weekend. If you’re a millennial like me you may need to read that last sentence again. My weekends and my life in general were no longer about my schedule, my wants, and my trips. Suddenly, they were about my handsome husband who I fell in love with, and a beautiful little girl who had a mom and dad and had no desire for another mom, let alone a stepmom.
It did not take long for me and my stepdaughter to bump heads. She liked me a lot when her father and I dated. However, it was when I moved in after her father and I got married and she saw another woman taking up time with her dad that it became a problem. I would love to say that I was patient and kind and loving during the beginning stage of my blended family, but I was not. I was consumed with myself, my wants, my comfort, my expectations, and my desires. I only liked my stepchild when she was not in our home because she wasn’t inconveniencing my schedule then. Before you think how horrible of a person I am; I want you to see how great of a God I serve.
If you desire to be married, you are saying to God “I am willing to die to myself.” But if you choose to marry someone who has a child or children you are saying two things. One I am willing to die to myself, and two, I am willing to love sacrificially even when it is not reciprocated. My stepdaughter is 13 years old now and we have come a long way. But one thing she knows is that her MJ (her nickname for me) will not only be there for her but repents when I sin against her and will also apologize to her. She knows that her MJ is a sinner in constant need of the Savior, Jesus Christ who will also ask the Lord for forgiveness and help. It is no praise to me, but to GOD.
It is no accident that I married the man that I married. It was in God’s sovereign plan because He loved me enough to kill off more of Jade and bring about more of Christ in me. He also knew adding a child in the mix whom I did not birth was just what I needed. A verse I have grown to cling to within the past year is 2 Corinthians 5:9 which says “So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.” If you love GOD the way you say you do, you will honor Him and His Word and fight for your marriage and your children whether you birthed them or not.
Believers are not to live by feelings, but according to the Word of God. What I have noticed in my soon to be 4 years of being a stepmom is the more I respond to her the way Christ would, the more my love for my stepdaughter grows. The goal is to kill off living for self and live for Christ. It doesn’t make the blended life easy, but it will make it easier, only because self is out of the way.
This article first appeared on The Stand.