Scripture says in Proverbs. 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
In other words, we live our lives from our hearts. What ever is in our hearts is what we shall bring forth in our lives. Luke 6:45 says “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. “ Evil is not just murder and stealing; evil can be jealousy, sarcasm with intent to hurt, unruly anger, bitterness and revenge.
Betty loves her husband; he is everything she had ever hoped for in a man. They have been married six months now and everything is perfect except that he has a daughter from his previous marriage and Betty just can’t seem to accept his little, as she puts it, “Obnoxious six year old. If we didn’t have her in our lives interrupting our home every other week, our life together would be perfect”.
Problem is, his daughter is in their lives. Unless Betty decides, chooses, to love his daughter, their problems have only just begun.
As the adult, Betty needs to take a good look at her own heart and determine why she does not like and accept her stepdaughter. If she doesn’t do it now and soon, the seeds of unacceptance will only grow and will begin to spread like a cancer in her family. Her stepdaughter will eventually (if she hasn’t already) realize her step mom doesn’t accept her and the feeling will become mutual at some point. And her husband will be caught in the middle of two people he loves very much.
If we are in Christ, we are called to love. We can choose to love because Christ first loved us. I know there are people that just rub us the wrong way and we don’t want to be around them. But this stepdaughter is going to be in this step mom’s life for a long time. She can’t avoid her without causing further trouble in her own family and marriage. So as the adult, she can make a conscience decision to accept her stepdaughter even though she may not like her much. Emotions can follow actions. If she decides she will love her, and engage in her life, her emotions will eventually follow.
And she needs to try for longer than a few months. This is a lifetime commitment. When we married our spouses, they came with kids and we knew it, so we got a package deal. Jesus Christ went to the cross and died for our sins so that we can become a part of God’s family. He died for us, and took our filthy sins to the cross so that we can live victorious lives. Now, if we just really can’t stand our spouses child, what is going on in our own hearts? After we have received forgiveness and been adopted into the family of God, can we not do that for someone else? For our spouses child? Can we adopt our stepchild into our heart?
I know some kids are harder to love than others but sometimes the one’s who are the hardest to love, need love the most. What if we could make a huge difference in our stepchild’s life? There are plenty of stories about adults who have taken someone else’s child under their wing and have made an incredible difference in that child’s life. Can we become one of those people?
I can tell you that whatever we do in the name of the Lord, He notices and helps us and He rewards us. He doesn’t leave us to ourselves to figure it out. But He does ask us to love. And when we just can’t, He asks us to try. Now like and love are two different things. You don’t have to like your stepchild but you are called to love them. Love is commitment, it is an act of your will, it is sacrificial. Jesus didn’t enjoy hanging on that ol’ rugged cross for our sins but He chose to anyway.
Guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life. Do you want jealousy, unforgiveness, resentment or bitterness living in your heart? I don’t. And if we are in Christ and He lives in us, we don’t have to allow these things to stay. We can repent and choose a better way of living, we can choose to love. I can assure you that your spouse will notice that you love their child and your spouse will love you all the more for it. It’s a win-win situation.
At first, when you decide to just love that child, you may feel like a failure. You try to engage them or be interested or take them on a date and it just seems to flop. It’s not working. It can seem the harder you try, the worse the relationship gets. But don’t give up. Eventually, as your stepchild sees your effort and interest, they will come around. Be the bigger person and set the example. And you know, if you do what is right in the Lord’s eyes, you will have a sense of satisfaction even if your stepchild doesn’t give you a lot of love back. You’ll know you have done what is right.
For further help, my book Blended But Not Broken Hope & Encouragement for Blended Families can be purchased at my website or at Amazon. This book is an excellent resource for stepfamilies whether they are just starting out or have been married for quite some time.
May our Lord bless you as you Blend Your Stepfamily.