Stepparenting Heartache: Part Three

Today I offer my last two considerations on how to cope with stepparenting heartache. You may find that some ideas are more adaptable for you than others, but it’s important to find healthy ways to deal with the heartache that can accompany stepparenting.

When my teen-age stepchildren lost their mother to cancer, it was heart-wrenching to watch the array of emotions they experienced. Outbursts of anger, impulsive decisions, and extended periods of withdrawal were a few of the many ways their feelings emerged. It was difficult to watch, knowing there was little we could do to help. I began to wonder if their pain would ever subside. But as time slowly crept by, with counseling and other support, they began to work through their feelings and accept the reality of her loss.

I began to see how time eased their pain. Without trying to rush the process of healing, it began to naturally occur as life marched on. The heartache they were experiencing became more manageable to live with as six months passed, then one year, and now five years. Understandably, they will always miss their mom and have moments of sadness, but the passage of time has eased the intensity of emotions that were evident in the beginning.

Another suggestions to consider when working through heartache is to seek out the God of Comfort. Meditate on and claim the promises of Scripture. Journal your thoughts, feelings, and prayers to help sort through complicated emotions. Draw from previous experience of when your faith sustained you, embracing the certainty it can happen again.

My faith has helped me through many difficult periods on my stepmother journey. I carry a small notebook of Scripture that is meaningful to me in my car. When I get discouraged or overwhelmed, I pull it out and focus on the power offered through God’s Word.

Heartache often occurs unexpectedly on the stepparenting path. It happens from rejection, loyalty conflict or harsh words from our stepchildren. It happens when our spouse doesn’t understand our feelings or expects more from our stepparenting role than we can offer. But we can make healthy choices to relieve heartache, knowing better days are ahead. By taking steps toward physical and spiritual health, we can speed recovery of our emotional difficulty.

Take care of your heartache today by taking care of yourself.

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