The Joyful Stepmom
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. 

Posted on January 25th, 2018

By Emily

It will come as no surprise to those in ministry that The Joyful Stepmom is some what a family affair. This is not a one woman show! Many know our Ministry Team who supports stepmoms through social media. 

And then there is my family. The one's who listen to me, pray with me, and have business meetings with me. My husband and parents are amazing. They so lovingly follow along with my little side project that has turned into a passion. If you click on anything on this website, see anything from a Dad's perspective, it's my husband's tech wisdom and influence. If you received anything in the mail from me (Hello Local Chapters!), my parents helped make that happen. 

At the end of 2017, I sent a Year in Review letter to my parents. My in-laws had also been following the ministry, so I sent them a letter as well. I signed their note: 

For Love of the Guys, 
My Why
Belong Magazine is my favorite resource for women in social media and blogging. Issue 09 challenged readers with an article called "Rediscover Your Why" by Ashley Beaudin. The author asked us to examine why we started writing/ministry, what drives us to do our work? 

I've told the story of how The Joyful Stepmom began many times. You can read about it in other areas of the blog and our social media. But the very heart of my why is simple- For Love of the Guys. I'm just crazy about them! And I believe through whatever avenues, the Lord brought our family together. 

They are the driving force behind my passion to reach out to stepmoms. I believe the Lord calls us to our family and to be a stepmom. It's the role of a lifetime! It's such an opportunity to walk with Christ. And to have a tiny platform like The Joyful Stepmom, where we can encourage each other to do that is such a gift. 

Posted on January 17th, 2018

The Joyful Stepmom began participating in online Bible Studies together in 2014. We grow together through scripture and book study. Intentional growth is necessary for the Christian life. 

Image from Sermon Quotes
NEW in 2018! We will be using the friend and group feature of YouVersion for our Bible Studies. In the past, we have posted Bible Studies in our Facebook group. Due to growth ( yay!) Bible Studies will still be announced in our Facebook group, but participation will take place through YouVersion. Studies are led by our Ministry Team or members can apply to lead a YouVersion reading plan! 
What does this mean? 
YouVersion features reading plans to help us dig deeper and grow in our faith. The app and plans are easily accessible for all of us. We have found that participation in our online studies is greater when access to materials is easy and the studies are easy to follow. We're stepmoms! We're busy! Let's make it easy to connect with each other over the Word. 

At the time, we will be hosting our Bible Studies on the YouVersion platform. Announcements will be made when a new study starts and how to join. 
Here's the fun news! Would YOU like to lead a study? We recognize that The Joyful Stepmom community is made up of amazing women of faith. We all have gifts to use! If you follow YouVersion reading plans and would like to invite other members of TJSM to join you- Let us know! Email us at emily @ thejoyfulstepmom . com or use the Contact Form on our Groups page. 
​Please note: YouVersion comments/posts/participants are expected to follow our ministry standards and guidelines. However, admins do not monitor conversations on this platform. Be aware of your privacy and posting. This platform is strictly for the intentional growth of our faith in Christ. 

Concerned about what will continue in the Facebook Group? We hear you! Over time, we have created a few standard hashtags. Do these look familiar? Follow along for shared devotionals and encouragement throughout the week.  You can also follow us on Instagram for regular posts!
Looking for more? Check out Proverbs31 and She Reads Truth! 

Posted on January 9th, 2018

By Emily

It has been a very cold start to the New Year! Our area has been under Wind Chill Advisories and dealing with sub zero temperatures. Too much winter for me! I'm hibernating with my coffee, blanket and books. 

​I adore books. I usually have a book near my chair, on the table, in my car or get the idea. My husband and I are both book people! I think this image describes our house fairly well.  
(Image from Pinterest-source unknown)
However, I'm a chronic migraine girl.   So reading and concentrating on the little text floating in front of me is often really difficult. Last year, I only read three books. Ugg, that makes my heart cringe. But it doesn't stop me from surrounding myself with them or skimming a few pages when I'm able. 

~I don't buy books. I adopt them. ~

New Year. New Goals. New Stack of Books! 
For 2018, I am determined to get my book reading back on track. For a self described bookworm, three books in one year is just not enough knowledge and imagination to fill my cup. 

What is on my stack of books to start the year? Let's take a look!
Called to Create by Jordan Raynor- Due to the above mentioned deep freeze in weather, I was able to start and finish this already! I loved it. Such an inspiriting way to start the year. Jordan talks about the value of our work and our call as creatives to use the gifts we've been given for the glory of God. 

Boundaries by Henry Cloud- this will be a re-read for me. But I joined an online book club to go through it again. It's a valuable book and well worth a second go around. 

American Fire by Monica Hesse- I've started this and I'm so anxious to really dive into it. It's a nonfiction, journalistic book on a Bonnie and Clyde type couple who were convicted of widespread arson. 

Messy Journey by Lori Wildenberg- This book is for parents of prodigals. It came out last year and after seeing it recommended so much- it's on my stack now! 

Curtain by Agatha Christie- I started this last year and haven't finished it yet. I'm slowly making my way through because I love Agatha Christie but I do know this story. I pick the book up when I'm in between others. 

Whispers of Rest by Bonnie Gray- A devotional book I started last year. It's only 40 days long but I haven't finished yet. Wait! Listen to the why! I haven't it so good, like therapy in a book, that I keep going backwards and re-reading. Will finish this year. 

As you can see, I often have a couple books going at one time. I'm excited about my stack this year! What are you reading?