The Joyful Stepmom
Posted on January 1st, 2018

I am excited to announce that The Joyful Stepmom has been added to the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid! We have joined the ranks of writers like Sally Clarkson, Bible Love Notes, and The M.O.M. Initiative. It's a thrill to join the Blogger Grid with other writers professing faith through the written word. 

Throughout the year, we will highlight a few features of Bible Gateway that can enhance our study and quiet time. 

As the year begins, we are all looking for ways to bring the Bible into our daily lives. There are many apps available, we can scroll social media. However, I enjoy email subscriptions. Devotionals and emails are delivered right to your inbox and put directly in front of your face. 

Bible Gateway will deliver a beautiful Verse of the Day to your inbox. What a wonderful to get started with 2018 and ensure the Bible is part of your day this year!  

Posted on December 7th, 2017

By Emily

The Joyful Stepmom began as a small group of praying stepmoms. Over the past several years, we have seen growth in our number, purpose and as a mission field. 

Personally, I have long struggled to find that balance of being "more than just a spot on Facebook." And while our beloved Facebook group is our source of connection and family with stepmoms, we now connect via blogs, multiple social media outlets and growing leadership. Our reach has made it clear we are truly a mission field not just to the hurt stepmom, but to the lost returning home to Christ. 

To embrace all the Lord has called us to with The Joyful Stepmom, we have updated our Mission Statement and pray it is a reflection of the mission and ministry ahead: 

Posted on November 28th, 2017

"Fill your mind with God's Word and you will have no room for Satan's lies." - Toby Mac

Hey Stepmoms, what are you filling your heart and mind with? What's in your newsfeed when you scroll social media? 

I don't know about you, but my social media feed is full of ranting posts, weird jokes, and upsetting news.  I have enough going on in my personal life without a constant bombardment from the unfiltered world.  

The Joyful Stepmom is available on Instagram. Our Ministry Team member, Jenny, shares posts and devotionals to fill your social media feed with the good stuff! We understand that with privacy concerns, many stepmoms won't share in an open context. But you can follow us freely so when you scroll, TJSM still brings you encouragement. 
Why does it matter? 
We care deeply for the hearts of stepmoms. Our team is committed to your families and marriages. There are over 4,000 stepmoms in our Closed Facebook Group sharing deep hurt and concern. Instagram is one more way we can reach out with hope in faith. Next to Facebook, Instagram is ranked as the top social media network for women. Follow for yourself and share with your friends.  


Posted on November 8th, 2017

By Emily

I am not a baker. I can handle chocolate chip cookies because that is just a necessary life skill. But anything beyond that is just not in my resume. I don't know what the problem is! I think my level of patience just does not extend to the measuring and timing and tender care it takes to bake. 

 
My husband's favorite dish for Thanksgiving is Pecan Pie! When we got married, I had never made a pie! He made it the first year. And I made it (poor dear man!!) the next. Pecan Pie has become a tradition at our Thanksgiving table wherever we are celebrating. 

But here's where we have compromised: we do not always bake it ourselves. 

I know! The bakers and traditionalists are leaving in shock and horror right now! The rest of you, keep reading. 

Marriage and blending a family is about bringing together not just people but each other's traditions as well. The annual Pecan Pie may seem small but makes family members feel welcome and included. Intentional gestures like remembering the pie can bring a new meaning to your own holidays and go a long way in blending your family. 

One thing we learn early in blended families is flexibility! Holidays are complicated. Things get messy, we don't always celebrate on the "right" day on the calendar, and things never go as planned. Stepmoms often wear themselves out trying to arrange the perfect holiday and create memories. 

This is why we buy the pie. We keep to the tradition, but we ease up on ourselves. We have learned to be flexible and give ourselves grace during the holidays. 

A beautiful example of this is the story of Mary and Martha. I'm sure you are familiar but can read here.  Jesus went to visit his dear friends. Mary took the time to sit at the feet of Jesus and just be present in the moment. Martha was busy with her work and preparations, she couldn't slow down. There is great value in our work and prep! Stepmoms, we have a lot on our plate! But there is also a time to just buy the pie and be present with our families. 

If you'd like to try baking your own Pecan Pie, here is the recipe from Pioneer Woman. I love her relaxed style and easy to follow pictures. 

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Posted on October 2nd, 2017

​Expectations, Faith, Hope and a Smidgeon of Reality
By Sarah Weintraub

Expectations have been the killer of moments that I should have just taken the time to enjoy.  The moments where I expected others to act a certain way, feel a certain way, behave a certain way.  My expectations robbed me of just being in the moment.  An expectation according to the World Wide Web is “a belief that someone will or should achieve something” or “a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future”.  The big issue with my earthly expectations is the human factor or reality.
 

Often, as a stepmom, my expectations hindered my relationships with my stepkiddos because the way I expected things to go wasn't how they wanted things. 

Even in the early years of marriage, how I expected my life to be with a husband, 2 young stepkiddos, one on the way, and hubby’s ex-wife was far from the reality of blended family life. 

Holidays were the worst!  First there was the stress of plane reservations and who was paying for the tickets.   Going back and forth over what times worked best for both homes.  How long were they staying?  What do we get them?  Does it stay here or go back?  Do we celebrate once or twice?  Do we do a big family gathering or just us? 

Next, came figuring out entertainment during the visit.   What do we do when they’re here?  How do we act?  Do we parent?  Do we have fun?  Do we do both?  Are they going to be bored?  Can we take vacation the whole time they are here?  Do we need to rob a bank to pull this off?  You know, typical blended family musings.

All the while in the planning, I had established expectations about how the visits would go, what we would do, how fun it would be and that nothing, absolutely nothing was going to ruin the Weintraub family traditions and holiday memory making time.  WRONG!!!!  My expectations were those of a Type A personality that wanted the perfect Pinteresty social-media perfection.  Good thing most of these “moments” were pre-social media and the Pinterest fad.  Some of our holidays would have landed on YouTube similar to the Walmart People videos – They did WHAT!?!?

Thankfully I've learned, although perhaps too late in some instances, to take a breath.
Turn it over to God and just live in the now. 

I still make plans and have expectations; however, I’m learning to let God direct my path (expectations).  When I choose not to, He graciously reminds me that my ways are not His ways. 

One of my favorite passages in the Bible is Hebrews 11:1-3 – “1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.  3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”

Hope as used in this passage is “To trust in, wait for, look for, or desire something or someone; or to expect something beneficial in the future.”  I have hope that even when I’m drowning in my own earthly expectation failures, God is not failing me.  I can expect God to show up in a big way.  Without my faith, I lose my hope, and without hope, my expectations are focused on earthly Pinteresty social media dreams instead of the bigger picture of my God given future. 

The best self-care ever is to let go of those Pinteresty social-media family expectations – your family is your family, Pinterest epic failures and all.  Who cares if that picture is not perfect or social media worthy!  Does it make you smile at the awkwardness of the moment or cry because it didn’t meet your expectations?  Hopefully laugh!  Learn to laugh again, love unconditionally, and most importantly activate your faith to find the evidence of things yet unseen.  Your Pinteresty social media picture perfect moment is now. 

~Stepmomhood Musings