"....... for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust" Psalm 103:14

My stepdaughter is all grown up

Photo by Cole Patrick on Unsplash

Gaining a stepdaughter more than 6 years ago took me on a surprisingly challenging journey. When I met her as a sweet 10 year old I was pretty clueless about what would be involved in being her stepmother. It definitely hasn't been all sunshine and roses.

She recently turned 18, she completed her final year of high school last year, and has grown into a (still) sweet and quite mature young lady. She has never not been sweet, in fact. I love so many things about her. And I have been so jealous of her at times. Any problems we've had along the way have been, really, mostly mine.

Strange, heart-swelling pride
There are many qualities to admire about this young woman who has been a part of my life since I met her dad in 2012. She is kind and thoughtful, loving, modest, helpful, generous, patient, gentle, humble, polite, bright and bubbly. She is not materialistic, appreciates what she has, and is loyal to the people in her life. She loves Jesus and is learning what it looks like to be a godly young woman in the challenging environment of her generation.

Last year she had her year 12 ball, the first ball she'd ever been to. She bought her dress for $15 from a second-hand shop, she had a friend do her makeup, and she did her hair all by herself. Out of respect for her privacy, I've posted a photo of just the back of her hair. She did an amazing job!

She looked so beautiful. She wasn't at all bothered about having a date, but she and her small group of close friends went to the ball together. There wasn't a limousine in sight.

And even though I had NOTHING to do with any of her choices, still I felt proud.

It's a strange feeling, pride in one for whom I've had very little input, but still we are connected in a significant way. She is my husband's daughter. The "apple of his eye", you might say.

Ready for the challenges to come
Our renovation has meant that my stepdaughter has not lived with us for over 2 years. But the whole time, she has been keen to return to her "every second week" rotation, even though it means a revolving door kind of life for her. And at this stage she wants to continue with this arrangement indefinitely. In some ways it's really kind of nice to think that she wants to live with us, even if only for part of the time.

But after such a long stretch with an essentially empty nest, I'm under no illusion that it will be all smooth sailing when she comes back. She's an adult now, and living life far more independently than she was when she last lived with us. I'm conscious that I may find it challenging to share living space with another woman, especially one who has legitimate claims on my husband!

I made up her bed and set up her bedroom the other day, in readiness for her first night with us. I enjoyed making it all nice and cosy for her, clearing out the chest of drawers, putting coat hangers in the wardrobe, adding a bedside lamp and a little vase of flowers.

But honestly, I don't know how I'll feel, those first few days. It will be strange new territory for all of us.

If not for grace.......
I'm thankful that these days, my relationship with this sweet girl is much more settled than it's ever been. God has been working on my heart, softening it, giving me such a fondness for this stepdaughter of mine. The jealousy I used to feel as she (metaphorically) wrestled me for time with her dad, is (mostly) gone.

And so, in spite of the definite sense of trepidation I have right now, I'm trusting that when this lovely young woman comes back to live with us, my heavenly Father will continue his softening, refining work in me, and I will know His abundant grace. Grace not only to extend to her, but to help me welcome and love her as the precious and much-loved child of the King (and of my husband) that she most definitely is.

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