Life appears to be too short to be spent in nursing animosity or
registering wrong.
— Charlotte Bronte

I have been struggling with what I perceive as a phase in the
relationship with one of my stepchildren.  I’ve been feeling rejected, as
if I’m not a person of any significance in this child’s life.

Then I read and was inspired by Ron Deal’s December newsletter from
the Successful Stepfamilies ministry. Deal, the founder of this ministry,
offers this positive and thoughtful viewpoint:

“I’m convinced that God uses the stepfamily experience to teach His
children about choosing love…God chose to love us even when we
didn’t love Him.”

The message came through loud and clear:  Choose to love this person
even though I think she hasn’t been showing love to me.  When a
negative thought starts to creep in, I combat it with the phrase
“choose to love.”

Family life in general is a spiritual training ground. Stepfamily life
offers something above and beyond the regular joys and trials of
family life. According to Deal, “…it offers parents and children alike the
unique opportunity to reflect God’s choice to love. When stepfamily
members choose to love, amazing things happen.”  Click here to view
Deal’s entire article.

I’ve highlighted some of the ways stepfamily members choose to love:

  • Stepparents choose to love children not their own
  • Stepsiblings share with each other the honor of being called family
  • Stepgrandparents give to stepgrandchildren as with their own

When your tendency this season leans toward focusing on the negative,
experiment with what can happen when you choose love. Thank your
spouse for the love he or she shows all of your children. Write
compliments to your stepchildren. Tell them you’re there when they
need you. Work with your spouse to encourage stepsiblings to show
kindness to one another and to communicate appreciation for one

Your turn:  If you have any stories about how choosing to love
changes the climate in your stepfamily, I’d love to hear them at

Have a loving and magical season.

Mama J (Diane Fromme) is a writer, parent, and stepparent located in
Northern Colorado.  For more information on her stepparenting book,
go to


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