Hope for a Troubled World

There are so many problems in the world today, it’s hard to stay focused on what’s important. Then again, I guess some things that I think are important, others may not and vice versa. I believe everyone has the right to their opinion, but I also believe there is a time and place for everything. With that being said, I’m not hear to argue politics or freedom of speech or racism or boycotting the NFL. I’m just going to tell you what’s on my mind.

suntrust

 

I celebrated my birthday on Tuesday of last week. My husband and some close friends took a trip to Tennessee. We were able to relax, sight see, go to Dollywood, and even catch a Braves game on the way back home. It was almost, yes almost, a perfect trip. There was something that happened on our way to Dollywood and I can’t seem to get it off of my mind.

As we’re driving down Chapman Highway, in Seymour, TN; we hear sirens and see lights. There are several accident vehicles, ambulances and police cars and fire trucks, flying by us. Another couple of miles down the road, we reach their destination. Apparently, there was a thirteen month old child that was involved in a hit and run. My husband noticed the toddler lying on the road while a police officer was administering CPR. My friend, who was sitting in the back seat with me, turned and saw the child’s face. That image haunted her for the remainder of the day and for a few days after. We were determined to find out what happened and planned to stop at a nearby business, on the way back, but the business was closed. Again, we just had to know what happened. We were hoping that the child survived and was recovering. Later that evening, we learned the terrible facts of what happened. The little baby died. A thirteen month old little girl was hit by a car and died at the scene.

accident

In the last few days, I have read many disturbing news articles and I just keep asking myself ‘why?’ I read about a female employee, at McDonalds, who gave birth in the restroom at work. A couple of her co-workers went to check on her and found her trying to flush her newborn baby down the toilet. Another article was about a man who strangled his two year old and newborn sons, before setting his house on fire, killing himself while his wife slept.

What is wrong with people? I will never understand and I’d probably drive myself crazy trying to figure it out! This is a lost and dying world that needs Jesus. Since I cannot control other peoples actions, let alone understand them, I will choose to pray for them. I will pray for the lost that commit such heinous acts and I will pray for the innocent that are affected by their actions. I would ask that you do the same. We must live in this crazy world for now, but it’s a comfort knowing that this is only our temporary home. Our true home is in Heaven. While we are on this earth, John 16:33 is also a great comfort. It states “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

 

 

a letter to the mother of my children

There are so many things I want to say to you, I’m really not sure where to start.  Maybe I should start with I’m sorry, but I’m not.  It was never my intention to take your place, however, you left me no choice.  The decisions you made and the way  you chose to live your life, left our children wanting and needing.  They were craving attention, stability and security.  What you left them with was a fear of abandonment and wondering.  They wondered what they did wrong, why you didn’t want them, why you chose your wants above their needs.  That leads me to the next thing I want to say to you.  I was angry.  I spent years trying to understand, to no avail.  I watched our kids struggle with their mixed feelings for you and it made me angry.  I held them while they cried, knowing there was no explanation I could give that could soothe them.  The only thing I could say was “It’s not your fault” and “your momma loves you.”  It was very difficult, but I finally got past the anger.

The more time that went by and the older our children grew, it seemed to get easier.  Life was busy and although I know they never forgot about you, they put you aside.  They made the decision to focus on what they considered more important things, the things that made a difference in their lives.  That doesn’t mean they didn’t care, it just means they matured enough to realize the things they could and could not control.  It definitely wasn’t easy and we had our ups and downs, but despite it all, they began to thrive.  They realized that the situation they were in, regarding their relationship with you, was not their fault.  Although they used to question whether or not you loved them, they realized that you did love them, but you weren’t capable of showing it.  They always wanted you to put them first and they realized that wasn’t something you were ready to do.  They have hope that one day you will be able to do just that.  Although they have hope, they also have fear.  They know if they open up again, they’re opening up their hearts to the possibility of more hurt and unfortunately, they are not quite ready to take that risk.  I pray that one day, they will be ready and that when they are, you will not hurt them. 

I would also like to say thank you.  Thank you for giving me three of the most amazing children.  Any woman would be proud to call them her own.  Thank you for allowing me to be their mother, to raise them, to educate them, to love them.  Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. 

Lastly, I’d like to say that I wish you nothing but the best.  I want you to know that we all make mistakes and God forgives us.  I know that the kids have forgiven you as well.  Just know, that although they forgive you, that doesn’t mean they are ready to accept you as the person you are.  I pray that one day, you will be the mother that they know you can be.  You’ve missed so much and as a mother, I can’t imagine not being with my children.  I know you cannot get back the years you’ve lost, but I pray that one day, you will be able to have a happy, healthy relationship with all three of your babies.  Until that day, I will be here.  I will be standing by them, along with their father, to make sure they are happy, healthy and loved.   

May God be with you Always.

 

 

 

a letter to my daughter as she heads off to college

Dear Baby Girl,

It’s finally here…  the day we’ve been preparing you for and the day I knew I’d never be ready for.  Don’t get me wrong, I know you’re going to be just fine.  I just know how much I’m going to miss seeing your beautiful face and hearing your infectious laugh every day.  I know you’re not that far away, but knowing that you’re not in our home where, I can tuck you in every night and make sure you’re safe…  well, that’s going to be a little difficult for me.  So, I want to apologize, in advance, if at first I am one of those overbearing mothers that checks on you constantly.  I don’t want you to think I don’t trust you, it’s the world we live in that gives me pause.  I pray that God keeps a hedge of protection around you always.

I need you to know that you have always brought joy and happiness to my heart.  From the first day I met you, a shy little seven year old with stars in her eyes, to the outspoken, independent young lady you are now… with even brighter stars in your eyes.  I never realized just how proud of someone I could be.  You have accomplished so much over the last ten years.  You have such an amazing work ethic and have always conquered whatever task you put your mind to.  I have no doubt that you will continue to work hard and achieve even greater success in the future.

I also need you to know that everything is not always going to be rainbows and glitter.  You are going to face difficulties, you are going to struggle and you may fail.  It’s important to know that when this happens, it’s part of God’s plan.  He teaches us to rely on Him and grow stronger in our faith through trials and struggles.  Remember to always seek Him first in all you do and you will be just fine.  Praise Him when things are good, praise Him when things aren’t going your way, cry out to Him when you’re struggling and He will sustain you.  We may not always understand His plan for our lives, but you must always remember that His ways are so much better than ours and He works all things for the good of those who love Him.  I can’t wait to see the plans He has for your life.

I’ll end by saying just this…  my heart is full.  Full of pride for the things you’ve already done, full of hope for the things you’ll do in the future, and full of love for the child you were, the woman you are, and the daughter that I never imagined I would have.  I will be here for you always!  I love you my sweet, baby girl.  Now go out and conquer the world!

Love Always,

Momma

 

mom vs. stepmom

Sad, but true…  the mom and the step mom rarely get along.  Why?  Insecurities, anger, jealousy and fear.  On both sides.  Unfortunately, the two usually don’t take the time to talk or get to know each other, so they have no idea how the other one feels and most likely don’t care. Instead, they co-exist in misery rather than co-parent in harmony.

Often times, these feelings tend to bring forth bad behavior or actions.  The results of which cause negative effects on all parties involved.  The kids suffer, mom and dad suffer and step mom and step dad suffer.  If mom and step mom knew they were bringing all this unhappiness on themselves, would they be able to stop?

First, they need to understand why they feel the way they do.  I’m no psychologist, but I can give you my personal perspective.  I have a little insight from both sides.  I am legally a step mom, but my situation is a little different.  I consider myself a mom because my three kids have lived with their father and me for the last ten years and their bio mom was only involved for the first four of those years.  I gained a lot of wisdom and made a lot of mistakes in the first few years.  That’s what I want to share with you.  A few of these things may sound familiar.

My biggest fear, when I first became the step mom, was that the kids wouldn’t love me because they didn’t have to.  It sounds awful saying that I was more afraid of that than afraid of doing something wrong in raising them (that was number two).  So how do you make the kids love you?  You need to realize that you can’t.  It’s also important to realize that, from a mom’s point of view, you can’t make your kids NOT love the step mom either.  Because there is such animosity between the two, they don’t realize that the kids have enough love for both of them.  They also can’t respect the love that each of them have for the kids.  It’s so sad that something as great as LOVE can be the cause of such harsh feelings.

It’s also important to grow a thick skin.  Kids will say things that will hurt your feelings.  Kids will do things that will hurt your feelings.  You have to know that they don’t do it intentionally.  I can remember, when my youngest son was eight years old, he made a clay hand print in school.  It was in the shape of a plate and about six inches round.  On the front, it said “MOM” and on the back, he had put his name.  It had a little red ribbon attached to the top so you could hang it on the wall.  That year, on Mother’s Day, he presented me with this beautiful, hand-made gift.  I was ecstatic, it was one of the first instances where I realized I WAS MOM.  I hung up this beautiful gift, a sign of my new role in the family, displayed for everyone to see.  It hung proudly on our wall for only two months.  That was the next time his “real” mom came to visit.  MY son came to me and asked me if he could take MY gift off the wall and give it to her.  As you can imagine, I was devastated.  Of course, I said yes and took it down and gave it to him and watched as he presented it to his mother.  I then walked into my bedroom and bawled my eyes out. It was probably one of the most hurtful things I had ever been through, but it wasn’t his fault.  He didn’t try to hurt me on purpose.  He just loved his mom and wanted her to have this gift.  Grow a thick skin and know that you can’t take it personally.  Don’t be angry with your kids or step kids for wanting to express their feelings to their other parent if they are being sincere.  Unfortunately, there are those kids that know which buttons to push.  It’s also important to make sure the kids have limits, that they are respectful and honor all parents.

As a step mom, you made the choice to marry your husband and love his kids as if they are your own.  That also means that you accept that his ex, their biological mom, will be in your life FOREVER.  You should make every effort to have a decent relationship with her for the sake of your step kids and your marriage.  Your relationship with this woman will affect your relationship with your husband, no matter how you try to avoid it.  If his ex does something you don’t agree with,  You think your husband should “do something about it.” You cannot make your husband feel what you feel or react the way you think he should.  That doesn’t mean you can’t tell him how you feel, but know that he will  handle things the way he sees fit.  It’s important to talk things out and explain your points to each other, but ultimately you need to respect each other’s decisions.  You may both agree to talk to mom together.

As far as moms go, be thankful that you have another woman who loves your kids as much as you do.  Try not to project the hurt, anger or ill will you feel towards your ex husband onto his new wife.  If she wants what is best for your children, she takes care of them when they are with her, she makes decisions that are in their best interest and she shows them the love that they deserve, be happy.  If she over steps her bounds, have the kind of relationship with her where you can talk to her about it.

We are all human.  Again, there are many feelings involved in divorces, parents getting remarried, becoming step parents.  Where children are involved, we need to learn to overcome those feelings.  We need to always remember that the children’s well-being needs to be the biggest priority.  If everyone agrees with this, it may not be easy to put hard feelings aside, but you would all be willing to try.

My advice to moms and step moms…  be nice to each other.  Try your best to accept and respect each other’s role in the family dynamic.  Remember that the same insecurities, fears and other feelings that you have, she is most likely experiencing the same feelings. Be sympathetic and empathetic to one another.  If you can do this, I can guarantee that although things will not always be perfect, they will be manageable and you will have a better chance of raising healthy, happy children.  Children that will be a blessing to you and will become productive members of society.

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. – Psalm 127:3