Monday, September 29, 2008

The Ultimate Biblical Steparents

There are two biblical steparents that I personally think are the absolute bomb! First and foremost , Joseph the stepfather of Jesus. Can you imagine "God" being the "other parent"? What an humbling and odd place to be in for Joseph. The other stepparent is "Leah", the wife of Jacob and stepmom of Joseph and Benjamin. I am going to share my thoughts on Leah...and maybe one day I can plead with my husband to share thoughts about Joseph.

Leah was not ever really wanted. She was the "booby prize" if you will. Jacob's desire was for Rachel. He settled for Leah, but he wanted and pursued Rachel all along. I told my husband about the 2nd wife syndrome of feeling like "the best of what's left". He dislikes the analogy, but it was the only way I could describe what it was like sometimes. This is especially true of the 2nd wife of a widower. Because of course, 9 times out of 10 the widowers preference would have been to be with their 1st wife/husband. The true desire is that they would not have died. That in essence, they would be with them instead of you. They choose you and settle in to having you...accept the acceptable will of God if you will...but where is their heart and the true desire? Its a constant battle sometimes of not really knowing.

Leah was unloved by her husband. He basically used her to bare children. Which means he used her body for his benefit (to produce heirs) but his intimacy (and lack thereof)was not about his love for her. There were times that he probably dreamed of Rachel even when he was with Leah. Rachel initially could not bear children so since she was not available for Jacob's breeding purposes he used Leah continously for that purpose.

Then Rachel got pregnant finally but died in bitterness giving birth to Benjamin. She was buried by the side of the road. Leah probably felt like a ton of bricks had fallen on her. Leah was left with being an "aunt" and stepmother to Joseph and Benjamin. Leah raised them and Jacob finally revered her and proclaimed her as their mother (Genesis 37:10). What a icky place for Leah to be in. Raising the children of her sister who competed with her for the affection of her husband for years. Now that she is gone however...Leah is left with all the children, with a husband that has been distant and a user for years, and with all the work. Above all, she is left to deal with the feeling that her husband settles for her yet again since "Rachel" is now gone.

However...when it all came out in the wash....Rachel was buried by the side of the road and Jacob moved on. Leah was buried like a princess in the tomb with Abraham, Sarah& Issac (Genesis 49:31). You don't see Jacob even mentioning Rachel anymore. Leah is no longer compared to her, competing with her or placed beneath her. In the end, It was Leah's fruit (child) that catapulted the world into an opportunity for eternal life. It was her son Judah that brought forth the lineage of Christ.

God made sure that when it mattered, Stepmom Leah was honored appropriately. She handled her role as a wife and Stepmom with such dignity-Jacob obviously and eventually gained a level of respect for her and maybe a repented spirit for how he had treated her. He may have even loved her when it was all said and done. In the end, God gave her the ultimate honor by placing her in the role of being Jesus' great grandmother.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Changing with the Seasons...

Its supposedly officially the fall season. Next to summer, fall is my favorite. I have the BEST fall clothes than any other season. Its time to shed those sundresses and sandals for two piece suits and close toed shoes. There was a lady that was in our neighborhood that seemed by all standards to be normal if you looked at her face...but then you would notice that it was 20 degrees below and snowing and she had on flip flops. At first you would sympathize thinking that she didn't have boots. But then you would see the boots...only it would be 80 degrees in the summer accompanied by a coat and gloves. There was a name for people who never seemed to wear the right seasoned clothes at the right time..CRAZY. That's would look at them and tell your kids as you walked passed..."baby they just them no mind."

As it is in the it is in our own lives. There are somethings in a blended family situation that have to change because of the new season that you are in now. To try to operate in as you did in a former season would label you as well.......CRAZY. Its absolutely nuts to try and function in a snowstorm with a halter top and a tiny plastic beach shovel. You are not equipped to handle the shift that has occured in the weather. An ill equipped person shows that A). They don't know or have the resources to adapt B). They are stubborn and would rather suffer than adjust and /or C). Crazy.

I have my crazy moments. There are days that I am the equivalent of a sundress at the winter ball-totally irrelevant and other words CRAZY. There's a song that says..."I'm not crazy, I'm just a little impaired" . That's closer to how I feel..I will try to deal with a "wintry" situation and I will have on my gloves and hat...and forget my gloves...or in other words...I can say the right thing, have the right motive BUT say it in a stanky way and at the wrong time. I am not fully ready for the season that I am encountering with my new family or husband, just impaired.

You need every tool necessary to administer guidance, love and direction for your family ESPECIALLY in a stepfamily. Tools (wise advice, books, prayer, patience, endurance, restraint etc..) can be as important as the right clothes for the right season. So bold and tenacious- be prepared..get prepared for what you have to do to operate your family effectively. No more flip flops in the snow..its a new season, the old way will not work.. change with the season.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Legacy Journal

I ordered a legacy journal to begin to chronicle some of the things that I want to share with my grandchildren when they get older. The journal is awesome you can record your thoughts, dreams, advice, wisdom and at the end you get to write a blessing upon them. The thing is I don't "technically" have any grandchildren. So I "practice" with my goddaughters, daughter (I've told you about her before). My husband now has two grandchildren and when I first got the journal I noticed it had areas for me and for him to fill out and I thought it would be great to give to his son to pass down one day and then it hit me..duh, you're not their grandmother.

I don't mean that in a mean or derogatory way, but I'm not-they do not revere me as such, we don't quite have that type of relationship. Its more a friendly, acquaintence type than family oriented. So, in order for my husband's grandchildren to get an idea of their true legacy, he will need to remember and record information about him and his 1st wife...their grandmother. Since she passed, they won't know anything about her unless they teach them. Well, that sorta sucks for me. But it was my stupid "unselfish" suggestion ...that really wasn't so stupid as it was right.... and right is just well, right. It doesn't always feel comfortable or nice as the outside parent..but it doesn't change it from being right.
So anyway I started my "Nana Files" for my awesome "practice" baby. And its alot of fun.... telling her about my teen years, my mistakes and my Favorite things. Although she is not my natural granddaughter, she is my spiritual granddaughter. The Word teaches that God "sets" some in families. And to be set, means to be strategically aligned and placed on purpose. I believe that God set them with us so that I would have someone to pour into and to share with. I am so grateful...'cause umm as quiet as it is kept I have a whole lot to say. My thinking is I will leave it as such that my husband's grandchildren would be welcomed to glean from it if they want. But for my grandchildren to come... its a must read item :-).

I encourage all of you that are stepparents or parents alike to leave a legacy journal for your children or grandchildren. Just record your thoughts about God, living, dating, marriage, your mistakes, what hurt your feelings, what makes you happy, raising kids, going to school, important character issues, money management, credit, your childhood...anything that will teach them and give them an idea of what you were about. If you don't have any yet-I am a witness that if you have a heart to sow, God will set someone with you that will appreciate your wisdom, honor your presence in their life and have a teachable, meek spirit to learn from you. At the end, write a blessing upon their lives, based on what you know about them and what God shares in your spirit about them.

Remember your words have life. If you read the account of Jacob (in Genesis) blessing his children and will understand that they will walk in whatever you speak that was given to you by revelation. Tell them who they are, and what they can become. Tell them what they can do and what they can achieve. But I declare... The "Nana Files" will be a hot may want to tell YOUR kids to seek it out too

Friday, September 12, 2008

What really important..

This is a special week in our household. We have three birthdays in our immediate family. My oldest son, my youngest son and my husband. My youngest son's birthday is on 9/11. On that fateful year in 2001 my son was turning 11. Needless to say, his birthday has never been the same since.

I wasn't married at the time of the US terrorist strike. I didn't even know my husband then. I was working downtown and my kids were in school. When it was finally determined that what was going on was not by accident, everything begin to shut down. Our office decided to close and I begin to send employees home. One employee had a son in NYC that she could not contact. I had one employee overseas and his pregnant wife was here in the states trying to reach him. My mom was calling me. My dad was calling me. My sister and brothers were all calling making sure that everyone was accounted for and ok. The kids school called to tell me to pick them up. It was utter chaos, but one theme remained constant. FAMILY. That's all that mattered. I didn't care about my job, my car, my bank account, my position, my troubles...NOTHING mattered more to me than getting my kids and getting to my family.

That evening the dust settled and the gravity of what had happened weighed on us. My family and I watched TV together over my mom's house trying to make some sense of it all when it hit us that it was Jay's birthday. He was so sad that something so evil was now associated with the most special day of his life. We got him cake and ice cream but he said his head was hurting and just wanted to go to bed. I was sad that he was upset, but inside as I watched the horror on TV, I was still incredibly grateful for his life and those around me.

Those who were in the room at that siblings and their kids and my parents..THAT's what really important. FAMILY.

We have to be careful not to put so many things before, clubs, hobbies etc..while maintaining balance in your own life. Family needs to know how you feel about them, what you would be willing to do for them and how much they matter.

There are many that grieve this week..and my heart aches for them. The death of their loved one was so selfish and senseless. I pray that they have learned (albeit the hard way) to cherish the family they have left. I pray they (and us) will always know and never forget...what's really important.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sarah Connor

Sarah Connor is a BEAST! You know her...John Connor's mom..The Terminator..etc.. ?? Its amazing watching the movies and the Sarah Connor Chronicles because she has dedicated her life to protect her son because of what he WILL do. She knows that he is called to be a "leader of the resistance" and so she risks it all to be sure that his life is protected at all costs. She had people in his life that ensured he learned what he needed to know to be the leader he had to be. She was always their to intervene to prevent as many stupid, immature moves on his part that she could that would cost him his destiny. She can shoot, she can build a bomb, she can fight. She is fierce, loaded and courageous!

I could use a gun. A big one... hmm, two of them actually with grenades and a nuclear war head, just in case. When I think about the magnificent things the Lord has in store for the Superfamily and the "terminators" that have tried to attach themselves to their lives I go into "Sarah Connor" mode. The terminators today aren't machines trying to shoot at them when they go to work. They are more the witchcraft on That's so Raven or the hidden pictures of skeletons and profanity stitched in clothing. Its the lyrics of the latest R & B songs and the hidden and blatant messages of videos. It's the starlet who wears tight and revealing clothing with large "do me hoops" with tattoos and piercings that they unwittingly try to imitate...slowly a little more cleavage here...a size smaller there...pants drooped just so far. Its the laziness and irresponsibilities in their classmates and peers that they feel that they are also entitled to.

Then begins the "fight" against these principalities.

Take those off, Pull those up, Too much junk food-eat fruit, Iron that shirt please, Sorry-You can't watch that, That's not appropriate, That's not how a young lady keeps her things, A young man should talk this way, You want that, well get a job first, Wrong under clothes for that outfit, get that out of your ears, That crowd isn't for you.

Now multiply all of those issues times 7 or 8 kids and then add in the fact that 1/2 of them aren't "yours" and you have a set up for difficult road to go. You want to jump in and help, guide, instruct and correct. With "yours' its not optional. John Connor had no choice-Sarah was his mom and he rebelled now and then but he trusted her and honored her by listening. With stepchildren..its sticky. Maybe it shouldn't be but it is. You feel your "Sarah Connor" coming out and then draw back out of fear that it won't be received or it will be misinterpreted. You see issues and things that need to be corrected to protect them for destiny and you ache to help but there's this "thing" that keeps you from pulling the guns out. In some cases, it feels easier to just let it go and let the "other parent" deal with it.

What's that "thing"...what's the fear. What's causing the lack of security in your authority? I don't know. I'll think about it. But for now -lock and load, fire at will... and I will continually pray that one day soon those bullets will include the terminators of my stepkids as well.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The "Wimp Report"

My daughter and I went to get dessert this past weekend at a nearby restaurant. As we indulged in WAAAAAAAY too much chocolate I noticed something caught my daughter’s eye behind me. Climbing on the outside of the window was the most hideous grasshopper you have ever seen. The window allowed us to see every facet of this insect. My daughter was mesmerized and I was repulsed.

Later on that evening, I thought about that grasshopper and how in the Bible when Israel’s spies were sent out to view the promise land they came back with a "wimp report". They mentioned that they (The Israeli Army) could not take over the land that was promised because there were giants in the land. They also said that they (the giants) viewed them at grasshoppers. Nowhere in the account did they mention that a giant said that to them or that they heard from anyone that that’s how the giants felt. They just assumed that they were viewed as icky grasshoppers because of how big and fierce they viewed the giants and how THEY viewed THEMSELVES. Their assumption and wimpy perspective kept them out of a promise. Those however who were courageous (Joshua and Caleb) eventually got the promise land and their children were blessed as well.

I recently had a “wimp report” moment. I had been invited a month or so ago to attend an open house for membership consideration for a very prestigious organization. At first, I was excited and ready to apply, interview and get started. As it drew closer and I begin to do research on the group, their projects and some of the incredible backgrounds and resources they have- I got intimidated. Thusly begin my “wimp report”. “They are going to look at me this way…I don’t have enough this…I don’t know that…I didn’t come from here…they must think I am someone else…I’m too short…I don’t have the right clothes…trust me, it was pitiful! But I went anyway (taking my daughter with me for moral support) and it was incredible. I was so welcomed and embraced, it was surreal. I even found out that the president and I work for the same company system. My thought about how they viewed me was totally unfounded and my icky grasshopper syndrome symptoms soon subsided.

Whining and Winning don’t mix. Joyce Meyer says you can be powerful or pitiful but you can’t be both. Regardless of the giant, I am NOT a grasshopper. I am learning to be more confident in who I am…and who I am not…and being ok with me either way.