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Sharing Our Ashes for the Sake of Others
Growing up, I had dreams of becoming a mom, and those dreams always assumed I would have a child biologically. I never imagined I would marry after I turned forty‐nine or that when a child came into my life, he would be six. I never aspired to become a stepparent, nor did I grow up dreaming I’d be a second spouse. Those realities came after facing unexpected brokenness, and brokenness is rarely considered when we plot out our life.
You have undoubtedly faced brokenness in your life too. I don’t know anyone who has escaped its unwelcome presence. But we who have been broken know that God holds a special place for us; and that with time and space, He rewrites the remnants of our lives into new stories. Those new stories are often filled with so much meaning and beauty, we hardly remember the ashes from which they came.
But we need our ashes. For when we hold them out for others to see, God reaches through us to encourage others whose lives are being rebuilt.
In some circles, writing Grace-Filled Stepparenting was my coming-out party. It was me announcing, “Hi, I’m Laurie, and I’m a stepparent” when many people thought I was Jordan’s biological mom. Because his birth mom moved to Australia when he was seven (a year after my husband and I married), I had the privilege to step in full-time and help raise him. No one at Jordan’s schools or our church ever knew her, and I never offered information about my “role” unless it came up. “Stepmom” is not an easy label to announce when you are functioning like the only mom. It’s an especially challenging label to own when you’ve never had biological kids.
However, my stepson needs his true story, and I need to be willing to hold out my ashes to help people in a similar situation. Our ashes become our ministry, for others are met in a particularly powerful way when we share our truth. So, I lay this book down as an offering for God to use however He wants; and encourage you to bring your brokenness out of hiding. It sounds mysterious until you experience it, but this side of heaven, it’s the greatest power you will ever hold.
God will direct you as to how He wants you to share it; and I know by experience He will hold you through it. God has kept every tear I’ve cried about being Jordan’s second mom (Psalm 56:8). After all, He knows what loving and releasing a child is all about.