Tuesday, November 14, 2017

30 Days of Thanks: My People, Day 9

I am a step-mom.
Times three.
Bonus children are different than children.
Don't get me wrong,
I adore my bonus children!
Love them passionately and deeply and wholly!
No matter what!
But it wasn't always that way.

If you read my day four post,
you know that I loved my children instantly!
I grew to like them,
but I loved them instantly.
That is not the case with bonus children.
With bonus children,
you like them immediately -
or maybe you don't -
but you grow to love them.

When I met the first one,
my Lanny Love and I
had only been dating a little while.
I thought I was falling in love with him
and he with me.
But we had not said those three little words yet.
I was sure they were coming soon,
(Five days later, as it turned out)
but there was still no commitment
or likelihood of one.

It so happened that
Aleisha and her boyfriend, Blu,
went to the same performance of a play
that we did one evening.
And so, we met.
We sized one another up -
as women do -
and I liked her and her Blu,
But I did not love her.

As my Lanny Love and I grew in our love,
I began to love his children because he loved them.
By the time I met Zach,
I loved Aleisha because I loved her.
We had developed a friendship,
had enjoyed lunch together a few times.
She had become my cherished new friend and
I had begun to look at her as a daughter.

It took longer with Zach.
While I liked him
and his sweet wife, Jamie,
and I loved him as my Lanny Love's
and knew that it was likely
he would become my bonus child,
He did not live here
and he was a boy!
We didn't lunch, or text.
But the more I knew him through his dad,
and the more often he came to visit in the ensuing months,
the more I loved him.
And, can I be honest here?
He was extra special to me because he was a boy.
The son I craved!

My third bonus child,
my sweet Tiffany,
I did not meet until the night of our wedding.
I liked her immediately
and she very quickly became my friend.
But can I tell you that
I also loved her immediately?
Like my children,
she was mine the moment I laid eyes on her!

You see, the night Lanny and I married,
we became one in the eyes of God.
My children and grandchildren had just become his.
His children and grandchild had just become mine.
And something magic happened.
I loved them as mine!
No matter what.
No matter what they might have done,
or said,
or how they might have acted,
just as with the flesh of my flesh,
blood of my blood children,
none of it would have mattered!
They were mine!
Just like my own are mine,
that night, they became mine as well!
And I loved them all!!!
The Bible says little about stepchildren. Most of what it says is about half siblings, brothers or sisters that share one parent. The only thing that it specifically says about stepchildren is that a man may not have sex with a stepdaughter for that would be incest, even though she is not of his own blood. The passages are Leviticus 18:17, Leviticus 20:17, and Ezekiel 22:11. 

Beyond that, it seems to be understood that a parent's responsibilities are the same whether a natural parent, adoptive parent, or stepparent. No distinction is made, anyway, between the three. When you consider what God has done for us, saving us from our sins, and that the scriptures say those who are saved are adopted by God (Romans 8; Galatians 4; Ephesians 1:5), then it is clear that God treats the adopted children (and one would presume stepchildren if it were possible) the same as the natural son. If God treats us that way, then we ought to treat children who are not our birth-children the same as if they were.
How amazing that God granted me
that love for my bonus children
the moment He joined me to their daddy!

Bonus families are not always easy.
Especially with adults.
Blending children who are grieving loss,
who were raised in different households,
with different styles,
adult children with differing personalities
and lifestyles,
is challenging.
Sometimes I laugh -  a lot.
Sometimes I cry - a lot.

But it and they are always worth the time and effort!
It has recently occurred to me
that Jesus was a step-child
and Joseph a step-parent.
We are in good company!

In my list of people for whom I am grateful,
my bonus children are a great blessing!
Thank you, Lord!
Thank you for
my Tiffany,

my Aleisha and Blu,

my Zach and Jamie!

You are a good, good, God!

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