Loving the unlovable (Being a stepmother)

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“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”

( 1 Corinthians 13:1-8, NKJV)

Whew! That passage of scriptures right there will end your life if you think that you are some great or mature woman in the Lord but hate your step children. You guys, I have been holding off on this post for SO long now because I know all about this struggle. I have a step daughter who lives with us and who honestly, gets on my ever lasting nerves. I have wished her away plenty of times. I have even tried to divorce my husband behind her. So trust me, the things that I am going to share are real, and a little hard to hear but necessary. And I can’t promise that by the end of this post that you’ll adore your stepchildren (because I’m still working on it!). But you will know how to endure your suffering and what is unacceptable on your part as a woman professing godliness.

So first things first, a quick “disclaimer”. I understand that not everyone is struggling as a step parent. This post is for those of us who are. Also, it takes a certain level of discernment and maturity to acknowledge that even children can be used by the devil. People typically think that the children are always innocent but we ALL were born into sin and shapen in iniquity.  HOWEVER, we can not try to blame others for our sin like Adam did. So in this post, we are going to just focus on ourselves and take accountability for our own thoughts and actions (or reactions!).

So anyway,  let’s begin with the marriage. If you believe that your marriage was a match made in heaven, then you definitely need to honor (and enjoy!) it and let NO ONE (not even yourself) destroy it. Like I said, I tried to leave in the beginning. Thank God my husband loves me like Christ loves church and understood that no one, not even our children should come before our spouses. Now just for the record, even if you know that God DIDN’T join you two together, you still have to honor that covenant. Concerning stepchildren in general, divorce is not an option.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk a little bit about love. Love is a term that has been really abused and misused. We live in a deceived world where we have been taught (ultimately by satan) that love is a feeling. Love is not a feeling or a “liking”, it is an attribute of God. It is an action or a deed, meaning a process of something selfless being done. Not knowing this can really hinder you in growing to love your step children. I remember being really discouraged because I thought that I would never love my stepdaughter because I didn’t like her or FEEL like I loved her. If you’re sitting around waiting on your feelings to line up with the commands of God, then you will be waiting forever or even worst, double minded. There will be times when we have to go directly against our feelings. And God will change our feelings when we learn to THINK and act differently. This is how we become sanctified. Our flesh will NEVER be willing to submit to the laws of God.

 “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.  And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:5-11, NKJV)

This is another lie I believed. I believed that I was being fake when I would force myself to act in loving ways. Hear me, we are never being fake (or even hypocrites) when we are trying to obey God in spite of our feelings. That is the whole point of crucifying our flesh and dying to self. We can love people whether we FEEL like it or not because true love is not a feeling it is the power of God. And if we claim to have His spirit then we can (and will!) love. Otherwise we are liars.

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.  All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first. If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers.” ( 1 John 4:7-21, NLT)

And I think its worth mentioning that we need to accept the scriptures as they are. We begin to deceive ourselves when we try to ignore what they say or try to justify ourselves. I remember being so wicked while reading this thinking that I was only commanded to love by brothers and sisters in Christ not bad kids or unbelievers. But guess what? That’s how people deceive themselves. By picking and choosing what they want instead of taking in the full counsel of the Word. Jesus told us to pray for those who persecute us and to bless our enemies. So when it comes to hating ANYBODY including our stepchildren there are NO excuses. Hatred is a murderous spirit. and we know that no murderer has eternal life within them.

• “You are of your father the devil, and it is your will to practice the desires [which are characteristic] of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks what is natural to him, for he is a liar and the father of lies and half-truths.” (John 8:44, AMP)

• “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” ( 1 John 3:14-16)

You see, we love by laying down our will (and satan’s will!) for the benefit of someone else. And as wives, it is our duty (which is a moral and legal obligation) to wholeheartedly assist our husbands in raising OUR (which includes theirs!) children up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. And speaking of passing from death to life, that is the resurrection! THAT IS THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL. We were dead in our sin but now we have been raised to life in the spirit. Now, in Christ, we have the power to overcome ALL spiritual wickedness. And how to we do this? We DO this by DOING what is good and right. Especially when doing what’s good and right is the hardest!

If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.  Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:18-21, NKJV)

Now it all seems simple but if you’re anything like me, you’ve let the situation (or in my case, circumstance) plague you with resentment and bitterness. This is a very dangerous place to be in. And I’m going to be honest, if you (or I!) die in this place we’re going straight to hell. So we have to climb out of this grave. And not just for ourselves, but for our husbands or for any other children in the situation because bitterness is contagious.

Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:  looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;” (Hebrews 12:14-15, NKJV)

So, if you have bitterness in your heart don’t throw in the towel. There is hope. Confess your sins to the Lord (acknowledge them as wrong and hate them) and consider these four tips that have TREMENDOUSLY helped me out.

1. Pray

Prayer is tried in true. And that’s all I have to say about that.

2. Remember the golden rule

One of the greatest commandments is loving others as yourself. If we do not care for our stepchildren as we would (or do) our own then we will be in BIG trouble. Another thing I do is imagine a step parent hating and even possibly mistreating my children. Now if you love your kids like I love mine, then trust me, those thought’ll get you right.

3. Cast down vain imaginations

Stepchildren (and babymamas and sometimes even grandmothers!) can make your life seem UNBEARABLE. But that is a lie. Not only are there other people in the same situation but some of them have overcome it! Besides, God will not suffer us to be tempted beyond what we can bear. Sinful thoughts are what make painful emotions (and annoyances) unbearable.

No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others. And God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it.” ( 1 Corinthians 10:13, NET)

So, we have to take every thought captive. We have to stop replaying events and conversations in our heads over and over again. We have to stop imagining things that haven’t even happened yet! THERE IS NO FAITH IN THAT.  So let’s allow God to transform us and eventually our situations by the renewing of our minds.

• “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.  For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,” ( 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, NKJV)

• “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” ( Philippians 4:8) 

4. Fear God (And of course, this is last but not least.)

Ultimately, we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling. We must believe that all of those scriptures concerning love and treating others right also applies to us. God is no respecter of persons. We will be judged righteously. It’s no surprise to God that your spouse had a child (or children). So, welcome this kind of circumstance if not as anything else, as discipline. It is better to suffer in doing what is right than to be punished by God for doing what is wrong ( 1 Peter 3:17). When we obey God instead of contending for what we want (or think we deserve), we become those living sacrifices that are pleasing and acceptable to Him. So, let us worship our God and be good stewards of everything (including EVERYONE) He has entrusted to us♥

I hope this post has encouraged you in your situation, and if you know a step mother who is struggling PLEASE share this post with her. The struggle is REAL. And more importantly this could be a matter of spiritual life and death. God bless you all. Please email me if you are compelled to and also keep me in your prayers as well.

Much love, Brandi Collins

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