On a Friday night, I was curled up in my bed UGLY crying. I wish I could say this was a rare event, but it has happened more times than I would like since I was married. Blended family dynamics have not been a seamless adjustment, and, in fact, have been downright brutal.
I finally caught my breath and said in a mumbled voice through sobs, “I am not cut out for this.”
My husband, with more humor in his tone than I desired, said “You know, you’re really not. And that is really okay.”
Many sweet and gracious people have told me how much they admire my ability to be a step mama. A dear friend even said to me that it completely made sense to her that I married someone with a child; that my personality was a good fit for it. Let me go ahead and dispel any misconceptions: in so many ways, my personality is a terrible fit for the particular situation that I have found myself.
I am terribly impatient. I mean, ridiculously impatient. I can barely write this article and edit it. I read through it once because I am so impatient. I eat my dinner as I make it. When I am scooping ice cream, only 30% of it makes it into the bowl. Anyone who is a parent knows that this quality does not translate to having children. Also, the child has hair that takes TWO HOURS to brush. I cannot.
I worship control. In my little family, there was a court order written long before I joined, and there is not a single thing that I can do about it. Nothing. Nyra lives in another home too, which is the epitome of loss of control. I have little say in matters that affect me significantly. For someone who loves control, everything about our situation can feel painfully difficult.
My sweet stepdaughter is, across the board, a kind and compliant child. She is a great kid. However, she is a little human and, of course, imperfect. Her particular character flaws clash with mine, so strongly it sometimes blows my mind. It’s like if I could make a list of the things that a child could do to drive me crazy, those are her struggles. I didn’t realize it was possible to want to “get back” at a five-year-old, but sometimes I REALLY, REALLY do. Recently, she was doing something she knew she wasn’t supposed to, and I responded, “GO AHEAD. Do it one more time. I DARE YOU.” Clearly, I’m killing it in the empathy category.
And, for the cherry on top, I struggle with anxiety and a touch of OCD. Mostly obsessive thinking. You know what’s fun? Obsessing about all the potential disaster that could happen in ten years. And then I try to reel my poor husband into the anxiousness so we can control the possible, yet nonexistent, occurrence. As the sane person, he refuses to engage in my effort to fix the imaginary future problem. Sometimes it feels like I am in one of those nightmares where I am screaming but no one can hear me.
I started to dig into the deep inadequacy I was feeling, and I remembered Moses. In Exodus, Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt? I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
Moses is voicing what I tell God regularly. I AM NOT CUT OUT FOR THIS. Why on Earth would you think that I am the person for the job?
The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”
Once again, I identify. Please send someone else. Someone more patient, gracious, and who doesn’t have a short temper. Someone who wholly believes that God is holding it all together.
When it is evident that we are weak and unable, that is where God gets to be God. My need for Him is never greater when I realize that I can’t do this. I can’t. He has to, and there is no other option–no plan B.
Moses did not split the red sea, God did. Moses did not deliver the Israelites, God did. He repeated to Moses time and time again what He repeated to us in the form of His Son, “I am God and I am with you.”
I am no different. Here I am, trying to believe that God desires to use me and transform me. Promising that He is standing next to me, has gone before me, and is behind me. Trusting (very poorly most days) that the pain proceeds joy. And saying, “Here I am. I have no clue what I’m doing. I really hope You do.”