I’m not going to sugarcoat anything. These last six years of marriage have been tough. But what could be so difficult about being married to your best friend?
Terrell and I grew up a block away from each other but didn’t know each other. We even worked at the same job at one point, but on different shifts. Our paths eventually crossed, and we became easy friends and shared many of the same interests. I was not looking for a relationship and was content with being Terrell’s friend as I really enjoyed talking to him.
However, our friendship turned into more. In December 2014 while sitting in the car after completing a fast together, Terrell informed me that God told him that I was going to be his wife and asked me to marry him.
It felt like it was us against the world. We both had children from our previous relationships – I had a son, and Terrell had three daughters and two sons, with three different women. Our exes did not support the relationship and it felt like every day was a fight for us to be together. We ended up attending marital counseling twice, and each time was beneficial to specific things we were experiencing during those times.
As our wedding day approached, we wanted to include all the kids in our special day, and we gave each of them a specific role. I bought wedding clothes for each of them, excited to grow my family, but unfortunately, two of the children were not permitted to attend. It still makes me sad to this day. I really wanted it to be the perfect first day with my new blended family. Every time I look at our family wedding pictures, it breaks my heart.
Our wedding took place on a beautiful January day in 2016, which was also Terrell’s birthday.
I joke that he will never forget our anniversary date! Soon, we welcomed our son, Gabe. As we started our new life together, my joy soon turned to heartache.
From Day 1, all I wanted to do was love my new stepchildren, in partnership and with their moms’ blessings. I never wanted to take anyone’s role, I just wanted to be a bonus mom for each of them. And many times, in our desire to have one big, happy family, we try to be everything – all the time – to the children and that’s just not possible. I thought it was my job to be a blender and mix us all into a picture-perfect blended family.
My first lesson was that everyone may not be open to having a new family member or additional parent right away. I remember watching a sermon and it illustrated that a blended family is much like cooking beef stew, although all the ingredients are thrown into the pot, they will not all be ready at the same time. So even though we wish our stepchildren would soften to us like potatoes, the reality is they may be more like carrots and take longer to come around. The key is to keep the heat on low, being patient until everyone is ready at their own time, while trusting God during the wait.
As a result of that principle, the once tense relationship I had with my oldest daughter is now so strong. Looking back on the path of our healing, I can see when God started to move only after I released her to him. I remember my mentor advising, “More is caught than taught.” Once I was able to restrain my mouth, God honored my discipline, and we now enjoy a wonderful relationship. I’m really hoping that one day I will have strong relationships with all the children.
Keeping quiet is hard when you feel like someone is intentionally hurting you. I remember when I did one of my daughter’s hair – a simple wash and ponytail. I honestly thought I was doing a good thing by helping her mom out. Well, I was wrong…her mom went OFF on me after we dropped her back home. To this day I have never touched her hair again. I never want to make the same mistake again, even though her mother has now given me permission.
The strain of trying to build relationships with three different women has caused opposition so strong that I often contemplated leaving my husband because I thought it would be better for everyone if I would just remove myself. But I had to remind myself that God brought us together, so why on earth would I allow confusion from the enemy to separate us? If anything, I needed to grow closer and partner with the Holy Spirit in our marriage to make things go as He planned, not just what I thought would make things better.
Two scriptures stuck with me during these times that I would audibly hear God say to me, loud and clear!
Above all, love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins.
1 Peter 4:8
Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.
I found that I could love others that were causing me so much pain by just following God’s direction. There’s so much I have to offer and want to share with and teach my children, but sometimes I feel restricted by the nature of our relationships.
Despite the strained relationships, we have seen God at work. I remember when one of our daughters was rushed to the hospital, her mother called us to come to the hospital and pray with her. We get called frequently to pray for specific situations for both the children and their mothers, so I know that we have a purpose in impacting each of their lives.
Terrell and I are focused on supporting and bringing up the children to understand their purpose, to know God. We want them to love themselves, and to know that God loves them and that we love them.
My relationship with God is so much stronger because of everything I’ve been through. He has given me the strength to make it through all the tough times. He has provided the support I needed to help me when I wanted to give up. I have an amazing mentor, and my husband and I have marriage accountability partners through our church. No one has ever co-signed when I wanted to give up.
It’s important for me to use wisdom when talking about my situation. I know not to tell personal things to certain family members and friends as their advice would not lead me on the best path. Sometimes I find myself easily getting enraged, and sometimes I want to feed that fire, but Terrell is my peace in the storm.
Although I thought something was wrong with my blended family, I realized that I wasn’t supposed to be the blender, but God was. And we just had stay plugged into Him.
To other stepmoms who may find themselves in a difficult situation and feeling hopeless, I encourage you to seek God to reveal why you were placed in your family, why those children are in your life, and what you’re supposed to be doing to impact their lives. That’s how I encourage myself on days when it is really tough. And God always responds so I live to parent one more day.
As I look to the future, I’m thankful that I co-parent with one of the moms very well and the second relationship is improving. And I have placed the final relationship with the deepest strain in God’s hand.
I’m believing that all my children will understand who they are in Christ and will come to know Him in a personal way. That who we are and what we’ve planted in them will never leave them. That I will have made a real and true impact on their lives. And maybe one day they will even come back and thank me for it.
Thank you for being consistent in my life. Please give me the strength to do the same in my family’s lives. Help me to grow, seek, and partner with you to be who and what you’ve called me to be in my stepchildren’s lives. As I trust you, please continue to strengthen my heart, my marriage, my husband’s ability to lead, and always cover my family and children especially when we have no idea how to do so.
In Jesus Name, Amen
My Moms Night In Conversation with Jasmine:
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