When my husband and I married, he accepted my daughter as his own. It took nearly a year for her to accept him as a father, but once she did it was wonderful. They were very close and our life was almost perfect. I say almost because my husband had a daughter from his previous marriage that came to stay with us once weekend a month. Being a stepmother to a preteen that didn’t want a stepmother was hard, especially when I had a daughter of my own the same age.
I had no idea how to be a stepmother and failed miserably. My stepdaughter, Amy didn’t like me or my daughter, and I didn’t want to make her feel like I was pushing myself on her. She had a great mother that I honestly liked and respected, whereas my daughters father had died. After several years of trying too hard and getting rebuffed, I just let it alone. Surely time would mend this.
When our daughters grew up and had lives of their own, they seem to have a good relationship with each other and I breathed a sigh of relief. It would all be fine, and we would finally be a close nit family. And then my first granddaughter, Linsey, was born. She was a blonde haired blue eyed bundle of joy and she stole our hearts. The problem was that Amy hated her. I know that jealousy played a part in this, and I tried to make allowances. How can you not like a sweet little kid?
Five years later, my step daughter had Sarah. A sweet little girl with the cutest little chubby cheeks that you just ache to pinch. You can only have one mother, I thought, but you can have several grandmothers! I wouldn’t have to tread on eggshells with this child, I could relax and enjoy her.
Naïve as I am, it was two years before I realized that this wasn’t going to be allowed. Amy rarely visited but I assumed it was because they lived across town and just led busy lives. I didn’t know it was because of me!
When Amy’s husband lost his job, they moved next door to us in our mobile home that we had bought while our house was being built. Now, I thought, things will be different. We will build a relationship at last and Sarah would be around more. I was wrong, I saw them even less than I did when they lived across town. Amy would send my husband photo text messages of Sarah and she would arrange to be at his mother’s when she knew he would be there. I was excluded and it hurt so I made the decision to leave it alone and give it time. History was repeating itself, I was making the same mistake I had made with Amy.
As Sarah started to talk, I assumed she would call me Nana just as Linsey did. But that was shot down quick because she already had a Nana. I was told that she would call me by my first name because I was just a step grandmother, no one important. These words felt like a punch to the stomach and brought instant tears.
Sarah loved me from the beginning, she ran to me as soon as she saw me and I loved her. So, what was I to do? Amy was hateful to Linsey and before long Linsey was afraid of her, but the children got along great. Sarah and Linsey became close even though there was an age difference. I began to feel extremely protective of Linsey and limited the girls time together to keep her away from Amy’s animosity. This upset both children, they could not understand why they were being kept apart.
I decided to do what I should have done at the beginning, take this problem to God. If God can speak the universe into being, He could handle this! Why had I ever believed I could handle this on my own?
Jesus was hated and yet He treated everyone the same. We are to love by choice, not by emotion, so how someone feels about us should not affect our ability to love. 1 John 4:19-20 tells us that “We love because God first loved us. Whoever says, “I love God,” but hates his brother is a liar. The one who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love the God whom he has not seen”. I must choose to love Amy even if she despises me. What if God only loved those who loved Him first? Jesus loved us so much that He died to take on our sins. He does not ask me to lay down my life for others, He wants me to lay down my hurts and seek forgiveness for my sins. I sin a lot!
I am a pretty honest person; I don’t lie or cheat or steal. But I sin. I sin when I doubt Gods ability to soften Amy’s heart, when I allow hurt and anger to affect my behavior, and when I don’t extend forgiveness to her. Jesus forgives me for much worse sins than not liking my step mother.
Now I pray and I make a new commitment each day to show Jesus to my step daughter. I wasn’t doing a very good job of that before, but thankfully I get new mercies daily and that is a start. One day, I have faith that we will look back on these trying times and see how far we have come. In the meantime, I have two granddaughters to be an example to and to love with all the love God gives me.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.Love is a choice, not an emotion. I choose to love.