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I have an interesting perspective on this topic. When I was 18, my parents were killed in a plane crash, leaving my two younger sisters and me orphaned. At the time I was already somewhat independent, living on campus at the UW. As our relatives discussed what to do about my younger sisters, the best solution they came up with was this: My 17-year-old sister would move in with an aunt and uncle living in the vicinity, and my 12-year-old sister would be shipped across the country to live with another aunt and uncle there. Not wanting our family to be fractured any more than it already was, I planned to quit school, rent an apartment, and work however many jobs I needed to in order to keep us all together. Enter the parents of my 17-year-old sister’s best friend, whose home had been a second home to my sister for the past three years. They saw our plight, offered to become legal guardians to my sisters, and told me I was welcome to visit any time I wanted. This way my sisters could keep attending the same schools, we could all stay close to each other, and the terrible upheaval we were experiencing would be lessened to some degree. We accepted, and a new family was born. Because my sister had spent so much time in their home with her best friend, she already jokingly called this couple, “Mom and Dad,” and she continued to do so after she and my youngest sister moved into their home. I visited often, and they were always so warm. As visits became more frequent and our bonds began to grow, my sister challenged me one day, saying, “Why don’t you call them Mom and Dad like I do?” Jesus also challenged me, saying, “Kelli, are you willing to open your heart up all the way to this couple? If you do, it will help you to heal.” It seemed strange, even like betrayal in some ways to my biological parents, but I trusted God. I thought of the Bible verse, “We love because He first loved us,” and I knew that He could give me the love of a daughter for them. I was also reminded that Jesus Himself had a stepfather, Joseph, to whom He had to have been utterly committed since He remained without sin throughout His entire upbringing. I decided to take God and my sister up on this challenge. I made up my mind that I would give my heart to this couple and love them as if they were my own parents, and I’ve never looked back. I can’t even begin to describe what an incredible blessing they have been to not only.me, but to my husband and children for almost 40 years. I’m so glad I accepted the challenge!
As Christians, we love God because he first loved us. He demonstrated his love for us which gave us a heart of love for him in return. Children love their parents because their parents first loved them and demonstrated that love in many different ways. Before we were Christians we were alienated from God, we were foreigners and strangers from God’s family. But God gave us a new birth from above, we were born again by the Holy Spirit, and became adapted sons and daughters of God, with the same family rights and privileges as our brother Jesus. Step children can feel like aliens, strangers and foreigners who don’t belong. Parents must take the initiative to make them feel welcome in the family, loving them with the same unconditional, wholehearted and continual love, and giving them the same rights and privileges as the natural children. God gave us meaning and purpose in his family. We are all on mission for the kingdom of God, with different talents, abilities and gifts to fulfil God’s plan and purpose. Parents enable their children to thrive and grow up to become all that God intended for them, by giving them vision and responsibilities that show we trust them and allowing them to pursue their purpose with passion and commitment. The investments that parents make in all their children are usually rewarded with loving devotion in return.
First off, you should always love her as a person with the love of Christ. That is first and foremost. Next we get into the nitty gritty parts of the relationship. She is your father's wife and therefore you should respect her as such. If you do not know why your parents divorced (if that is the case) then you could talk to your dad to find out why (if your mom passed away due to some illness or accident, please accept my condolences). It could be a sore subject depending on his feelings on the issue and towards her. If your mom is still alive, then ask her why they divorced (always good to get both sides before making any judgements). Loving your step mom as the new person in your dad's life will take time. You should never disrespect her as that will drive a wedge between you and your dad. She already knows that she is not your biological mother and probably is not trying to replace her, but you should still respect her, especially if you are still living at home with her and your father. Eventually you will grow to love her for her and as a part of the family. I realize that i did not quote scripture in my answer. However, i have experience on my side as my parents divorced when I was young (I knew the reasons why as well). Both parents remarried, my father twice, and I accepted both step moms as part of my family. My step dad actually wound up adopting me and my sisters because our biological father was a resident of the state (interpreted incarcerated) and realized that my step dad could take better care of us than he could (he had to sign the papers since he was still alive). So as someone who has had step parents for most of my childhood, I believe I can provide some guidance. I pray that all works out for you.
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