The Holidays are here. So many emotions to address. Some people dread the holidays because they are alone. I have lost track of the number of people who were close to my heart who have died this year, leaving widows and loved ones to face this time of year alone for the first time. For other people, they really do feel “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” That would be me. I love the holidays. I love snow, and I love getting together with family and shopping for that special gift card. I hate to admit it has come to that, but so many times people go out and buy what they want when they want it.

But I am a stepparent, and that can cause some problems. I had a stepmother, and yes, we did some things differently, but new traditions are good too. Not everyone feels that way. This year was the first in seven years that my stepdaughter included us in a gathering at her house. I was apprehensive, to say the least, because there has been some strange water over the bridge in the recent past that my husband and I were not aware of how the problem arose. Stepparenting is not easy as my stepson said to me upon becoming a stepparent.

I was a stepparent to six children of ages ranging from 8 to adult, and the mothers were living. It was awkward at first for all of us, but in time we enjoyed celebrating the holidays together with new traditions. My husband died, and I remarried some years later to a man with five adult children whose mother had died. It has been a mess at holiday time. Awkward would have been refreshing compared to the what happened. Every family is dysfunctional, including my family which I love, but we grow used to our dysfunction until it seems reasonable. A new family dysfunction takes some getting used to for sure. There is no need to go into it here because they are good people just trying to make the best of their life as anyone else.

Today I read in Romans 8:6-7 that whatever we focus on is how our life will go. Of course, we can only control our self and what our focus is. In the past, I wanted to be friends with the kids, and they either didn’t understand, or they weren’t sure how that should be. I think they didn’t know what to do with me, so they ignored me and seemed to resent me. It hurt. So, even though I was looking forward to going to my stepdaughter’s, I was apprehensive. No, I was downright scared and asked some friends for prayer. I prayed too during almost every quiet moment I had in the two weeks leading up to the holiday.  If I knew why she was upset with us or if only her dad was the problem or if just I was the problem, that would have helped give me a direction to pray.  I didn’t know anything, and I prayed, but I felt like I was swinging at webs in the dark.

Ted Dekker said in his book. “The Forgotten Way,” that when we have given our lives to Jesus, we are “in” Jesus. We cannot go anywhere that Jesus does not go too. (That could be a whole other blog} So, one morning in my quiet time when I was praying and journaling on the topic of my worry, I remembered this. I am in Christ. I am so connected with Him that there is nowhere I go alone or unloved or unprotected. I also was reminded that I am Christ’s and I am no longer my own. I thought about writing that a hundred times in my journal as the teachers used to have us write on the blackboard so we would never forget. I only wrote it five times a couple days in a row, and the words started to echo in my mind.

Romans 8:6-7 hit what happened right on the nose. My focus was on the Spirit and being a witness of Christ with my life. Instead of experiencing the hurt of competition, vanity, the pride that is focusing on myself and my wants would have caused; I focused on the Spirit and experienced peace. It was a delightful time of getting to know each other better and seeking only to listen and love.

If you feel the Bible is outdated and has no relevance, I am here to tell you that it is a book of great advice and when we follow it, our life is better. I’m learning this too.