They are all grown and out of the house now. Empty nesters are Doc and I, but it has not been long ago that I was a full-time mother and stepmother.  Keeping the roads hot running to gymnastics, boy scouts, ball practice, emergency room visits.  Oh, so many emergency room visits between all four of them – Bikes that made jumps without their riders, a suicide attempt, a crochet needle impelled into a leg, because someone did not put things up where they belong, and several broken fingers and toes; and most of the time I was the first responder.

Then I would have to explain to an upset or angry  mother, father, ex-husband what was going on, and where was I when all of this happened.  There were times I wanted to get angry and say, “At home with the children.  Where were you?”

But we keep our words soft, in case we need to eat them later.  Do you know what I mean?

That is what the servant of the Lord does.  Say what needs to be said, do what needs to be done and try to show the humility of Christ through it all. Yes, I had some good zingers I could have come back with, but in the end the children would have been the ones wounded the most.

“For the anger of man cannot accomplish the righteousness of God.” (James 1:20)

And the boundaries of righteousness can blur into a bloody mess when the tongue is a razor’s edge.

When dealing with Ex’s, stepchildren, birth children and spouses, try to imagine Christ standing beside you.  How would you respond?  To please Christ is not to say nothing at all, and become a doormat for all, but rather to respond as you might to a child who is wounded.

Because we are all wounded and in need of a kind word, even when we don’t deserve it.

When we respond with unkind words, or mutter behind the back, little ears hear, and it teaches them, not to love and forgive but, to take on the posture of the world with quarrels and come backs.

The true reason for our quarrels is lack of faith.  We don’t believe that Christ will do good works for us. We believe that we must force issues and fight like feral cats for control of territory.

Christ came and owned the territory, yet humbled himself as a servant and washed the feet of those who could never be good enough or kind enough to earn His love.

But Christ loved anyway.  Even Judas, the one who would be the betrayer, was invited in to Jesus’ inner circle and called friend.  He dine at the table with Him, and was given the gift of  Jesus washing his feet.


Stepfamilies are difficult, and can wear one’s patience thread-bear thin.   But if we allow this to be a part of our transformation into the image of Christ, is it not then joy?

 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Philippians 1:3-4)


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Diane W. Bailey is the founder of The Consilium – an online community of wisdom and purpose for women over 45 years of age. She is a published author. Her books include String of Pearls – From Tears to Treasure, and 30 Days To A Better Stepfamily. She creates her own line of precious metals bracelets. Diane lives in the Deep South with her husband Doc. Together they have created a stepfamily, each having two stepchildren and two birth children, and share three grandchildren, one black lab named Charlie and one long haired tabby cat named Lil Girl. Diane’s passion is to encourage women to be all God has created them to be by pressing past fear and daring to live life as an adventure. Some of her life adventures include traveling to Israel, speaking, entrepreneurship and backyard farming with Doc. She loves Gumbo, fried shrimp and seeing all sunsets across water.

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