The Joyful Stepmom
Posted on March 8th, 2018

By Emily

I'm a visual planner. I don't think I was always this way. But as I get older (or life more complex- you can pick!) I prefer to see things mapped out in front of me. 

I love paper and pens. I usually have a journal in my purse, near my laptop, in the kitchen...you get the idea. I have the need to write my ideas down! Everything from little stories, ministry ideas to just my grocery list. It all just flows out of my fingers and I need to see it on paper. 

To plan for ministry, I use big sketch books or oversized journals. I need the space to write and brainstorm. When The Joyful Stepmom started to grow, I needed somewhere to map it all out. 

This big whiteboard was in my parents' basement. It's old, mostly used by children. It has a little ripple at the bottom and the metal frame is starting to show a little wear. I saw it and brought it home. At first, I just sat it against a wall and sat on the floor next to it. I mapped out where The Joyful Stepmom started. I wrote down all the ideas stepmoms had given me. I wrote down what the Lord had put on my heart. 

Over time, the whiteboard was moved to our office and given a permanent place on the wall. And the brainstorming continued. More plans with the Lord, all marked and scribbled with dry erase marker. 
 
We're making arrangements to sell our home. And with that whiteboard bolted to the wall, I had prepared to just give it up. Maybe I didn't need it. I can use paper. 

Would you believe, out of everything in the house, that whiteboard is the one thing our realtor suggested we change. It's one item we had to discuss what to do about it. I was so surprised! 

But then...why should I be? 

"For I know the plans I have for You, declares the Lord." Jeremiah 29:11. We have so much more planning to do for The Joyful Stepmom. Looks like the Whiteboard comes with me. We're not done yet. 

Posted on March 1st, 2018

We are so excited 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. 

​One thing I really struggled with as a parent with a child who is only home on weekends is making sure he is learning about the Lord. A child who goes between homes does not experience the consistency of attending church regularly, doing daily family devotions and all the other faith building exercises many of us rely on. 

When a child is home, we need to pour into them everything we can. We need to grab their attention, at their level. We need to use the limited amount of time we have to our advantage. 

Bible Gateway has several family devotionals available. I really like the Adventure Bible devotional. It gives a short devotional moment, highlights a verse and time in the Bible. It's great to read at bedtime or around the dinner table. Check it out! 

Posted on February 27th, 2018

Quick Tip for family bonding and lifting your spirits: 

"And you shall rejoice in all the good that the Lord your God has given to you and to your house." ​Deuteronomy  26:11

Have you read the book One Thousand Gifts? A very short summary- the author kept a simple notebook of things she was grateful for, things that made her happy or her heart smile.

Try it! Sometimes I put a piece of paper on the fridge and start listing. It's in a common area so everyone in the family can add to it.

Posted on February 6th, 2018

By Emily

It has long been on my heart to somehow address one of the most difficult topics of divorced families- Parental Alienation Syndrome. This is a heartbreaking topic and family situation that makes you feel completely helpless. How, as Christians, can we handle this with our children? I am often asked this question or for resources. 

Information on Parental Alienation Syndrome: "​The late author and child psychiatrist Richard A. Gardner coined the term Parental Alienation Syndrome more than 20 years ago to characterize the breakdown of previously normal, healthy parent-child relationships during divorce and child custody cases. The definition of parental alienation is heartbreakingly simple—one parent deliberately damages, and in some cases destroys, the previously healthy loving relationship between the child and the child’s other parent."  From A Family's Heartbreak. Read more here. 
Image: Sweet to the Soul

In the Spring of 2017, this verse was shared with me.  I saved it to my phone and have been soaking it in ever since. I often bring the image up and turn it over and over in my mind.  The New Living Translation of this verse says "I will give back what you lost."  The New American Standard translates to "I will make it up to you." 

I currently live in a small, rural town. My subdivision was built on old farm land and there is still a working corn field next to us.  I've learned just a little bit about land by reading local news. The fields have to be well tended. Weather and bug life are outside forces that have a tremendous effect on the crops.  When the crop is eaten away or flooded out in one season, it is devastating! And it is something the farmer has no control over. 

But hope is not lost. 

Through dedication and care of his fields, the farmer rebuilds. It takes time! But the crop is restored. 

I cannot help but see a correlation, and a promise of hope, to those of us facing Parental Alienation. 

I don't know what this will look like for your family. But I believe this promise from the Lord. I believe if we remain faithful, if we plant the seeds and put in the work, the Lord will restore what is lost. 

Parental Alienation is devastating. It makes us feel helpless. Here are 2 of my favorite resources on the topic: Divorce Poison by Dr. Warshak and Ryan Thomas Speaks, particularly his YouTube videos. 

But most importantly, I believe we must have hope. God is writing the story for our family and we must plant the seeds, tend our fields and trust that the story isn't over. 

 

Posted on January 30th, 2018

It started sometime last year. One of our Ministry Team leaders began to call us Mountain Movers. Then a member used the phrase as well. We had seen so much heartache among our friends...and in return, the stepmoms had prayed. And God had moved the mountains. 

Have you ever seen a mustard seed? It's tiny! I encourage you to walk down the spice aisle at the grocery store and take a look at the bottle of mustard seeds. You'll be amazed at how small they are! 

Read Matthew 17:20 with me, "I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” 

When court looms over us, when the finances seem impossible, when horrible things happen to our children, Jesus speaks to us. He says, "Stepmom, if you can have just a little faith in me, faith even just the size of that mustard seed in your cupboard, we will move these mountains together." 

That is the focus of The Joyful Stepmom in 2018. We want to remember the answered prayers and mountains already moved in front of us. And we want to keep pressing in together, dedicated to lifting each other and our families up  in prayer.

We are the Mountain Movers.