dating and singlehood · faith · family · parenting · womens issues

commitments to my stepkids, reflections for mothers’ day

Because of the truths I have come to know, and I am still learning more and more to be sure, I make these promises to you:

1. I will love your dad.

If there is one thing I have learned, that is as true as all true things, it’s this: marriage is the most important interpersonal relationship you will ever have. There is no other person in your life from now until the day you kick the bucket who should ever trump your spouse. Not one person ever. That’s what marriage means. That’s what it was designed for. The entire reason for marriage even being a thing is to bind together forever and ever and ever two souls in the most unique, mystical, magical, beautiful, glorious way you could ever imagine. And through that mystical union, your spouse becomes the most important before all other people. When the relationship with your spouse is not right, you are actually risking damage to every other relationship you have, with friends, other family, everyone else. You may not even realize it’s happening but I guarantee it will.

You won’t get this right now. Probably not. I mean how could you? What you have seen and experienced firsthand of marriage so far has been dubious at best, and crushingly destructive at worst. It’s been painful to watch for outsiders, let alone those who love you most. But I can promise you this: I can promise you that marriage is better than that and it’s worth the effort. I can promise you that when the time is right and when you have your head on straight about what it means to get married, it will be the most amazing and thrilling adventure you will ever go on.

And I can promise that I am committed to loving your dad forever. I will love your dad for all my days and we both will strive to show you what a godly marriage looks like. I will never leave him alone. As long as I have breath in my lungs, I will be by his side and nothing will ever come between us. I will always respect him and honor his heart. I will always look for the best in him, considering his intentions before his actions, and will keep no records of his wrongs. I will always listen to his side and give him the benefit of the doubt. I know these are easy enough words to blog about. I know that you think you’ve heard it before. But all I can do now is just prove it. And I plan to, so help me, God.

2. I will never be your mother, nor would I ever try to be.

Our relationship will always be a unique one that may change over time, and I will do all I can to make it better with every passing year. I will always be here for you and make time for you should you need me. I will do my best to give you advice and guidance, and only when you ask for it. I will use whatever resources I have to help you in your life, to make wise decisions, to find opportunities to grow and learn and explore. I will always consider your opinions, your personal preferences, your fears, and all the wonderful things that make up “you” and will never make choices to purposely, knowingly hurt your feelings or harm you. I will watch every YouTube you show me, every cat pic, every HISHE animation, willingly, cheerfully as long as you want to share what makes you smile with me. I will consider it a privilege to know you and get to be in your life, to watch you grow up and have amazing adventures, to see you achieve your goals and work on your dreams. I get a unique spot in your life and one that I will never take lightly or for granted. Maybe it’s because I learned from an early age that family is not just flesh and blood, because I’m adopted, and that sometimes it’s the people who choose to love you with no strings attached who are the ones you want to keep for life.

3. I will grow up.

Most people tend to think of adulthood as an age range. But that’s just on a demographic form. Being an adult means acting like one. It means being mature and caring about other people, not being self-absorbed and always wanting your own way. Being an adult means seeing what is most important in life and making choices according to that, not just what’s easy and convenient, or what doesn’t upset you or make your life harder. Because sometimes life is hard no matter what you do and rising above that is what makes us adults.

And most of all growing up means learning to love other people, even when it hurts. I will, by the power and prompting of the Holy Spirit, try to model grace and love to you. I will, when I fail to love you well, repent to you and ask for forgiveness. I will not make excuses for my selfishness and sinful behavior, but I will point you to the cross which covers all my sins and ask you to love me in spite of me. I will also love you no matter what you do or don’t do for all your days. My love will not change according to your behavior and I will strive to never make you feel that you have to earn my approval or affection. I will treat you with respect and kindness, and never try to control you or make you feel guilty or ashamed. I will remain humble and approachable. I won’t argue with you or demand that you see me as smarter or better than you. I know I’m not. We’re all in this together and we are all learning together. I ask that you remember this when I fail you, and I will remember it when you fail me. It’s through our failings that we learn more about ourselves and each other. We learn how to forgive and how to better communicate in the future. We learn what love really looks like and how powerful it can be.

4. I will pray for you daily, sometimes hourly.

I could be the greatest stepmother ever through all of history by anyone’s standards. I could do all kinds of awesome things for you and you can sing my praises every other day. But I know that no matter what I do or don’t do, the only thing that really matters in the end is that you have learned to love God, with or without me. I am convinced of this. I want YOU to be convinced of this. God loves you. He wants to have a relationship with you that will blow your mind. He wants everything in your life to have purpose and He wants to show you more and more of His heart every day so that you will truly come to love and honor Him all your days.

None of that can happen without you inviting Him to do it. And you won’t invite Him in unless His Spirit moves you to. That’s where I start. I pray that you will see how important your relationship with Jesus is. I pray that all the hurts and failures of people in your life, especially those who call themselves Christians, will not keep you from seeing Jesus the way He really is and not just what He looks like through other people’s lives. I pray that you will come to know the reality and truth of the gospel, not because your dad says it or because I say it, but because your heart will tell you it is true and good.

And I will pray for myself and your dad just as much to ask God to help us. I will rely, depend on, lean on, fully trust in God, come what may, that He is sovereign and good and will give us all we need daily. I will pray that He will use us in whatever way He sees fit to help you see Jesus more clearly and that you will give your life to Him in due time, that you will see how good it is to know Him and serve Him with all your heart. We pray this daily for you kids as you grow up and face the world, making your own decisions and learning to see the world with your own eyes. We will pray for you for the rest of your lives that you will see God’s love and care for you for all your days.

5. You will understand it all better.

Some day, it is my prayer, you will look back and understand what has happened and why, how it all has purpose to make you a stronger person and just how important it is that I have come into your dad’s life and loved him well. You will look back on these past five years of your life and though it has had more than its share of hurt, pain, sorrow, anger and frustration, you will also see the rainbow through the clouds. The rainbow is not only God’s grace for you, but it also is seen so clearly in how God has given your dad to me. He gave us each other in a most beautiful way to show us and all around us who dare to look that God’s way  is always best. He blessed us with the kind of marriage we all are supposed to have and He brought you two into my life. I can only pray that one day you will see how good life can be through us and our love for each other and our love for you. One day you will realize that you understand more than you used to and it will make your heart glad. I pray that day is not far off.

To the glory of God.

With all my heart, God as my witness,

Your Asian Stepmother

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