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To My Daughter’s New Stepmom

ABURKE2014 (11)I always knew this day would come.  I mean, I didn’t expect my ex-husband to stay single forever.  Nor do I want him to stay single forever.  I really don’t have a problem with him getting married.  So in that way, I am happy that he met you.  But to say that I’m happy for you would not exactly be telling the truth.  You see, you aren’t exactly the woman I pictured being the stepmom to my baby girl.  But, if I’m being honest, no woman probably would have measured up to that. I would want that woman to be just like me.  Someone to love her just like me, and I know realistically that’s not going to happen.  

I haven’t actually met you yet, so I don’t know what you think of me, but I want you to know I don’t hate you.  I do hate the fact that by marrying you he is leaving our daughter and moving across the country.  Because, you see, our daughter adores her father, and it’s going to crush her when he leaves.  It’s hard enough on her now that she only sees him twice a week – what is she going to do only seeing him a few times a year?  I don’t know if you have a father, but if you do, maybe you can imagine just a little bit how much my daughter loves her dad and how much she’s going to miss him.

I know that you don’t have any children of your own.  I have already been down this path of stepmom-hood, and I can tell you that it’s hard – really hard.  I know it’s not going to be any easier just because the child is mine.  But when the going gets tough, please just try to remember a few things:

  • When she cries because she misses me, it’s not because she doesn’t like you or even because you’re doing anything wrong.  It’s because she’s six and she doesn’t adjust to change very well.
  • Sometimes she gets scared and emotional at night and needs someone to lay down with her a little extra longer before bed, but then she’s usually fine.
  • She’s not there to come between you and your husband, but she needs some time one-on-one with daddy too.
  • She loves to bake.  Any time you spend with her in the kitchen will really help her bond with you.
  • Too much TV, ipad, sugar, or dye makes her CRAZY – save yourself!
  • She likes to have a nightlight and a drink of water by her bed.
  • If she decides one day to call you “mom” that’s ok with me – I hope it will be with you too.

I know you won’t love her just like me, and that’s ok. Unconditional love doesn’t just come overnight. She can be frustrating and sassy and too talkative – but she can be SO loving and funny and caring and she’ll be your best little friend, if you’ll just give her the chance.

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Avoid the Valentine’s Day Trap

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Valentine’s Day really snuck up on me this year.  I just finished hurriedly rushing Daughter P. through writing her name on the back of Princess Sofia cards for her homeschool party tomorrow, which is the equivalent of a major written exam for a six-year-old.
I’m sure it’s no news to you that Valentine’s Day has become this huge high-pressure holiday – especially for men.  I went to the jewelry store the other day to get my ring checked for insurance and the sales lady kept pressuring me to fill out a “wish list” for my husband to fulfill for me for Valentine’s Day.  She just couldn’t believe I didn’t want any more jewelry.
Sure, I appreciate nice gifts – what woman doesn’t – but I don’t get putting pressure on our husbands to fulfill this perfect romantic image society has put on them on this day every single year. And don’t even get me started on this 50 Shades of Gray business.
Last year we had an amazingly romantic Valentine’s Day in Chicago seeing Phantom of the Opera and eating at Twin Anchors, the restaurant from the movie “Return to Me.” It was perfect.
Other years we’ve celebrated with all of our kids and had a “fancy” dinner all together in our kitchen with tapered candles.
This year I’m hanging out with this guy
bigbirdThat’s right – Valentine’s Day is all about Andy this year, and heaven help me, I’m going to Comic Con.  Andy is a big Jim Henson fan and we are going to meet Carol Spinney who is the man behind Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch.  If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.  But it will be perfect, because the man I love will love it.  Isn’t that what the day is supposed to be about – loving each other? Since when did it just become about the women?
I guess it’s really hit home for me this year because Daughter P’s dad is choosing not to spend the evening with her so he and his girlfriend can go out – even though they have the whole weekend together.  That’s hard, because I am going to have a hurt little girl on my hands Saturday night.  So, after Big Bird, Andy and I have reservations at our local Chick-fil-A where they are having a fancy plated dinner and carriage rides, so her evening will be special no matter what.
Don’t fall into the Valentine’s Day trap ladies – don’t ruin the day over a gift (or lack of one). YOU set the tone for your home.  Even if you’re
surrounded by kids, make the day special.
Check out The Dating Divas website for some great ideas or look for The Second Chance Wife on Pinterest to see what I’ve found!
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It’s Giveaway Time! Win a Set of Personalized Scripture Cards!

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Head on over to The Second Wife Chance Wife on Facebook to win your own set of personalized Scripture Cards.

Contest ends on February 6, 2015.

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Mishaps, Mistakes, and Misery

“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”  – Genesis 2:18 (ESV)

A few weeks ago, I was having lunch with my sister downtown, when I had a little accident.  I am a terrible parallel parker, and in trying to park, I hit another car.  This has never happened to me before, and although the damage was minimal, I was afraid to tell Andy.  We have only been married for 4 months, and he’s still traveling out of town each week, so I wasn’t sure what the best way would be to tell him.  With my heart beating fast, I called him on the phone and spilled the story.  And you know what his reaction was?  “It’s no big deal, I’m just glad you’re ok.”  That was it.  Once he got home and actually saw the car, we had a little chuckle about my parking skills, and we moved on.  The End.

Fast forward to this past weekend.  Although I won’t go into the details, Andy did something that I thought was incredibly stupid.  (I’m not proud to say that, but I’m being honest here).  As the time progressed, and we dealt with the consequences of his decision, I got madder and madder, until finally, I blew up and snapped at him.  A much different reaction than the one he gave me after my bad parking experience.

As I have been studying Eve, I have been more and more convicted about my role as a wife, and how often I fail to meet the requirements.  In his book Twelve Extraordinary Women, John MacArthur explains the roles this way,

 “Adam was created first; then Eve was made to fill a void in his existence.  Adam was the head; Eve was his helper.  Adam was designed to be a father, provider, protector, and leader.  Eve was designed to be a mother, comforter, nurturer, and helper.”

As I look on this list of “job roles,” I couldn’t help but think about all of the ways Andy meets his requirements.  He is a wonderful father.  He works long hours and far away (for now) to be a good provider.  We have a lovely home, no debt, and I get to fulfill my dream of being a stay at home mom.  He would do anything to protect us, and even though I don’t always agree with his decisions, he is always focused on making decisions the way he believes God is leading him.

So, why do I find it so hard to fulfill my roles? Although I love being a mom, I can’t say that I am always great at comforting and nurturing my kids (or husband), and I certainly am not always a happy helper.  When the situation arose this past weekend, instead of pointing out the discomfort I was facing, I should have stood behind my husband the same way he did me.  My attitude should have been, “It’s no big deal.  I’m glad we’re all ok.”  Because we were.  No harm was done, and one day in the future, I know we will look back on that time and chuckle.

May God continue to point out ways in which I fail my family, so that in the future when mistakes and mishaps occur, instead of following it up with misery, I can show our family mercy and create a merry atmosphere.

Dawn

(Originally Written in 2013)

 

 

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My Husband Doesn’t Expect Perfection…Why Do I???

When Will I Learn to Trust that my Husband Means What He Says?

I admittedly have a problem with perfection.  I have spent my adult life trying to attain and keep standards that are physically impossible.  Although I’d like to think that I’m getting better, these past few weeks have laid open another area of sin in my life.  My obsession with perfection. 

For me, this obsession with perfection centers around my desire to be the best wife and mom that I can be.  Although these are noble goals, they often take my focus off the Lord and put it on earthly things.  My biggest desire in marrying Andy was to become his help-meet in every sense of the word.  I wanted to completely take over his stress and problems and frustrations, and leave him surrounded in calm and peace.  I feel accomplished when I am able to get home from work, get the kids off the bus, get homework done, and dinner on the table before Andy comes home from work.  I guess it’s how I gauge myself on if I’m being a good wife or not.  Andy has told me several times that things don’t need to be perfect, and that I need to give myself some rest, but I secretly believe he is disappointed if the house is untidy in any way, if all the laundry isn’t done, or if I haven’t made a homemade dinner. 

Well for the past two weeks, I have had a migraine headache nonstop.  I have been bedridden, to the Dr. and the hospital, all with very little relief.  I have been unable to keep up with the kids or the housework – it has all fallen on Andy, and he has done an amazing job.  One night he was apologizing for not getting something done, and I told him, “I really don’t care at all.  You’re doing the best you can.  You’re doing a great job.”  And I meant it.  It occurred to me then that he probably feels the same way when he’s telling me that I’m doing a great job.  I have just chosen to not believe him. 

The Bible says in Deuteronomy 5:32 “You shall be careful therefore to do as the LORD your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.” (ESV). 

The Lord (nor my husband) seeks perfection from me.  All I am asked to do is follow what I know the Lord has commanded me to do.  While that certainly includes being a focused and committed wife and mother, it does not mean that my toilets have to always be clean and that the kids can’t ever have their toys on the floor.  More than that, I need to believe what my husband says, and trust that he is on my side working with me, and not let my own insecurities shake my faith in his word.

Dawn

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When Plans Fail…

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;” (2 Corinthinans 4:8 ESV)

This past weekend was hard.  I mean, really hard.  It seems like we’re being bombarded on all fronts.  It began with my car breaking down in the rain on Friday, continued with Andy and I both struggling with medical issues, and ended with hateful emails and disobedient children. To say it left us feeling overwhelmed would be a massive understatement.

But do you know what upset me most of all? That I didn’t get to do what I wanted to do.  Yes, my thoughts were that selfish.

You see, I had spent a lot of time planning two surprise dates for our weekend.  On Saturday, we were supposed to drop Daughter P off at my aunt’s, then head to dinner at Outback and go to a corn maze in the dark.  I had even made up this cute invitation for Andy from The Dating Divas.

But because of the car breaking down, and Daughter P getting sick, and our other various ailments rearing their ugly heads, we didn’t get to go.  I knew Andy felt that it was all his fault, and the last thing I wanted was to make him feel guilty about it.  My flesh though, wanted to throw a fit about it.  I held off, but it was only because of my love for Andy and my concern for his well-being.  Had the situation been a little less serious, I can’t honestly say that I would have been as gracious about it. I was very convicted over my selfishness and the potential problems that it could create in our future. 

But as we were going to bed last night,  Andy reminded me that God is in the process of growing us.  As I thought over the events of the weekend, I saw many areas in which God was teaching us to work together as a couple, and strengthening our bond, and I have to say, I do feel much closer to him than I did before.

The biggest lesson though was mine, and as I pondered the ways things went versus the way they could have gone, I was thankful to the Lord for challenging me and providing me a chance to grow as a wife.  I only hope that the next time it will be easier for me to disregard the selfish route and put my family first without thought.

Dawn

(Originally Written in 2012)

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How Did I Get Here?

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11 (ESV)

I had my life plans mapped out at a very young age: I wanted to be a wife and mother.  Even in college, while I studied education and “prepared” to be a teacher, I knew all I really wanted was to have a family and devote my life to serving them.  During my homeschooling years, I even followed a curriculum based on the Proverbs 31 woman that focused on taking care of a household and family.  So, if you would have told me at the age of 30 that I would find myself a divorced, single mother, I never would have believed you.

But….here I am.  I spent a good deal of time wondering, “How did I get here?”  My life has turned out nothing like I had planned.  I did everything “right.”  I saved myself for marriage, I went to church weekly, and followed Christ with everything in me.  I led and participated in women’s Bible studies.  I worked in the church nursery.  I was devoted.  My faith and family were the number one priorities in my life.  I never even considered divorce as an option for my marriage, yet, that’s exactly where I found myself.

It was without a doubt the darkest period of my life.  Not only was I mourning the loss of my marriage and family, but I was shunned by my church and my church “friends.”  I lost my home and most of my possessions.  It was devastating.  I was hurt, ashamed, and confused.  But, God had a different plan for me.

All during my separation and divorce my mom encouraged me by saying, “You don’t know how God wants to take care of you.”  She was right.  Never could I have imagined what the Lord had in store for me.  I had planned on focusing on taking care of my daughter and making the best life possible for her.  In my mind, this did not include ever marrying again.  But shortly after my divorce, the Lord brought an amazing man into my life.  He too had gone through a painful divorce and was trying his best to parent school-age triplets.  Although we tried to focus on being friends, the connection we had, and our similar Bible-based goals for our lives and our children was undeniable.  After a short courtship and receiving the blessing of our families, we were married on September 14, 2012.

My one hope through everything that I’ve been through is that I would be able to help other women struggling with similar circumstances.  As I was praying last night, and thanking the Lord for the amazing new life He’s given me, He laid the name of this blog on my heart.  The Second Chance Wife.  For that’s truly how I see myself.  I’ve been given an amazing second chance to be the godly wife and mom that I’ve always dreamed of.

I invite you to follow me as I learn how to practically apply those things I’m learning, struggle and grow with us as we attempt to raise a godly blended family, and share your stories of overcoming heartache and disappointment.  Most of all, I aim to serve and praise God through my new circumstances.  I hope you can relate.

Dawn