Friday, 21 August 2015

Modern Day Samaritan Woman

Sticks & Stones will break my Bones, 
but words will never harm me!!!!.

Resolving conflicts in the wrong way!!!

This blog post is specially for all the Step Moms, Dads and Step Children. 
It is a very sensitive blog for reasons that will become obvious as you read, but I am going to address this matter, as I believe it’s necessary to be transparent (especially when you want to find and provide assistance  from and to other people) without stepping on toes and hurting feelings any more than is necessary.

During the past two weeks I experienced the total breakdown of my relationships with all of my step children and watched as my daughter’s relationship with her step father also fragmented. These fragile relationships, like prized, incomparable, brand new shiny vases shattered into tiny fragments of broken glass, cutting deep, as they splintered, cracked and unexpectedly exploded.

I have since tried to gather all the broken pieces together, but it almost seems like a pointless exercise, because I know that even as I trace and match and size the pieces they will never fit back together in exactly the same way again. Some pieces crumbled into a fine powder, too small to pick up and other pieces are probably lost altogether, which will form tiny holes and cracks in the repaired vases.

It all started on a normal day…Don’t all conflicts???

Unexpectedly my husband and I had a disagreement on an issue and instead of calmly reaching out to one another to resolve the matter amicably, the rift widened quickly between us and walls came up.  Before we fully comprehended the situation the battle lines were drawn in the sand, with each of us taking our stand. Naturally the children pledged allegiance to their father… blood is thicker than water. I wasn’t surprised by this at all. It was expected. Mine would naturally have supported me had they lived with me and been present at the time.

As one day bled painfully into another, the stand-off continued. (Yes!!! Before you ask me…I have heard and even quoted the expression “Don’t let the sun set on your anger!” but I have also discovered that, that is far easier to say than to do sometimes).

One day became two…….three…….. a week…….agonising days of indecision, anger, incredible sadness, misdirection, as we continued our separate routines without speaking or resolving the matter. Each waiting for the other to make the first move…

Until, another twist in events dragged my social media into the whole debacle.

 Let me just interject here, for those who do not know my husband. He has no interest in the internet or social media whatsoever, (Yes, such people actually exist) has no internet accounts… not even e-mail, so he has no idea what is posted on my social media. No!!!  he does not read my blog, (except on the few occasions when I will read something from it to him), so he had no back ground to go on, except to believe what he had been told / shown).

Truthfully!!! At this point I could literally see the Prized Vases literally crumble and turn to dust and powder in front of my eyes… How had a disagreement, albeit a relatively serious one progressed this far? The battle lines now shifted altogether. No longer was the “issue” the issue; but hubby and I were now moved like pawns, into the position of accuser and defender…with me having to “prove” my innocence…

How easily does the accuser of the brethren come between people!!!
The prowling lion poised to pounce

In the end, it took only three hours of serious, uninterrupted, dialogue between hubby and I to resolve the original issue, as well as, that of my social media. Just three hours in which neither of us had to “give in”. Instead we both compromised and met one another half way…The matter was resolved, shelved, apologies were exchanged , all was forgiven and our relationship was restored to where it should be…

However, in the wake of the disagreement lay the other broken relationships that now needed to be mended and as mentioned above will probably never be quite the same as before. No rewinding, or re-playing this one.

I know that I have to forgive even if I am never forgiven because the onus rests on me, as the adult to provide the example…

Why is this so hard?
When God forgave me my sins so freely.

Psalm 130:3-4If you, God, kept records on wrongdoings, who would stand a chance? As it turns out, forgiveness is your habit, and that’s why you’re worshiped.” (MSG)

As I am typing I glance down and am reminded by a quote I have displayed on my office desk that states: 

“When I stand before the throne, dressed in beauty not my own; When I see Thee as Thou art, love Thee with unceasing heart; Then, Lord shall I fully know – not till then – how much I owe” Anon

Grace – 

immeasurable pardon 

and mercy 

poured on me despite 

my own despicable sin.

On that great day, will any of this matter or will my pride prevent me from knowing that great blessing?

No!!! My hope is in our Father in heaven who is the specialist in restored relationships and with His help I aim to pick up every piece, glue every tiny fragmented piece together again with love, patience and joy.

Galatians 6:1-3 “[ Nothing but the Cross ] Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived. MSG (Emphasis my own)

If you are a Step Mom or Step Dad, I sympathise with you. Such a relationship is a tricky mine-field with all sorts of potential land-mines you could unwittingly step on…We didn’t receive manuals the day we were married and being a mother or father doesn’t automatically qualify you for the role of Step-Parenting. Far from it…This is a step by step walk into the unknown, with the added encumbrance of wearing the blind fold of insecurity…Meeting the new children where they are is tricky…never knowing when to speak and when to be quiet, when to intercede and when to back off…Perseverance, prayer and lots of patience will be required but I do believe that it is doable.

If you are a Step Child, I also sympathise with you. You weren’t part of the process that caused your parents to divorce in the first place and you certainly were not part of the process when your parent (s) remarried again and yet you are thrown into a blended family with changed rules and new Step Siblings to adjust to. As hard as it may seem to believe most Step Parents are not out to get you. (Yes! I know there are a few exceptions). But for the most part your Step Parent married because they were looking for companionship and a partner in life…You are the added blessing…just one more child to care for and love… but they do not have handy manuals, so with your co-operation perhaps you could both meet in the middle ground and forge new unchartered territory together…instead of following the masses into the dreaded “Step Family Legends of Disaster  Failures” …rather charter new courses together as  a blended family and lead other Step Families into new beginnings…

As a child I remember chanting

“Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me”

during playground battles…never ever realizing how devastating words could be…

May we all learn to place a guard before our mouths…

Have you found yourself in a similar situation with your Step – Children / Parents? How did you resolve the issues? What ways did you find to mend broken bridges? Please share with us in the comments so that as Step Parents and Step Children we can all find answers.

*Hugs* till next time.