The Zookeeper Stepmom

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You know the story about the people sitting in the room with the elephant?  It goes something like this.  People were sitting all around the elephant.  Each with a different view.  Someone sitting in front of the elephant marveled at the beautiful head, the huge ears, and the magnificent trunk.   She began to talk about how beautiful it was as she described its features.  Then the person sitting behind the elephant exclaimed, “That’s not what the elephant looks like at all!  It has a large backside, and a tiny little tail.  That is what an elephant looks like.”  How interesting that to each person, the same elephant looked very different depending on where they were sitting.

I ponder my beautiful, ever slowly, but steadily, blending stepfamily.  At times I wonder if I am seeing a beautiful long trunk but someone else is staring at the big bu– and not enjoying the view as much.

As a stepmom, I have learned (with time) that in a blended family we don’t all share the same view.  Take for example, the joy that a newly married couple experiences when after a hard divorce they find a new love to spend the rest of their life with!  This overwhelming joy can be experienced by many stepmoms and dads when their marriage begins.  But at the same time, the stepkids can be experiencing mixed emotions.  They can experience confusion and deep sorrowfulness at the time their dad marries their stepmom.  For them, the focus might not be a joyful union, but the deeply sad end of their family as they knew it.

Romans 12:15 (NIV) says:  Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

Sometimes I feel like I’m a zookeeper stepmom, making sure each unique “animal” is ok and taken care of.  And I try to remember that someone might have the view of the elephant’s backside today, that it’s not pleasant, and they need all the extra grace and kindness they can get.  I am thankful for God’s direction to walk along side those who are rejoicing or mourning.

What are you thankful for today?

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The Empathic Stepmom

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My husband and I watched a movie tonight.  Not the kind with a happy ending.  This one told the story of a lady who was losing custody of her child.  It was heart wrenching to watch her lose custody. Yes, I cried my eyes out.  All while our “ours kids” and my stepkids lay soundly sleeping in their beds.  But then one of our “ours kids” woke up and called out for “Mommy.”  I will admit that I jumped out of bed, ran to her room and gladly cradled her and rocked her back to sleep, cherishing every moment.  Holding my babe was the perfect antidote to that sad movie!

It made me pause for a moment.  Many times I have wondered “What’s it like to be in her (the ex wife’s) shoes?”  Ok, not the stir-it-up, chaos-creating, interfering shoes.  But rather, the I-don’t-get-to-see-my-kids-everyday-anymore shoes.  After watching this movie maybe Hollywood provided me with a sliver of understanding, a sliver of empathy. Or maybe it’s that God has been softening my heart.

I Peter 3:8 (NLT) says:  “Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters.  Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.”

So today I am thankful that God shows us how to be empathic.  I’m thankful that God has been working on my heart.

What are you thankful for today?