The Challenge Is Ending, but the Joy is Just Beginning

So my stepping-up challenge has come to an end. It’s been a rich experience filled with lessons, beautiful new friends and a desire to be more intentional, not just with T, but in all my relationships.

Here’s a recap, in case you missed any (lovingly borrowed from Atreverse to Dare):

1. Pray for your kids and your spouse.

2. Promote! Kind words go far. Try to be specific in your compliments

3. Perspective — from what I can tell, we are just borrowing these kids from God.

4. Provide. Get your money talks out in the open with your hubs – team effort here. Choose to give of your time/or give gifts as appropriate.

5. Protect your marriage. Your marriage is key– nothing is more vital to a family then a strong marriage. Take care of your spouse, have fun, date each other, communicate. Love.

6. Play. Leave those dishes girl. Enjoy these kids. Make it fun.

7. Stop trying so hard to be perfect. You are lovely and wonderful. You are enough.

8. Pay it forward – Show your kids how to give and sacrifice for others. They may not see what you are giving for them but they will recognize when you give to others.

9. Pay Attention. Look for the magic.

10. Pruning — it’s gotta happen sometime. Sit with things that are uncomfortable and make sure you have flowers around to remind you that growth leads to beautiful things.

The best part of the challenge? The fact that it doesn’t stop here. Rather, we have a chance every day to be more intentional about our relationships, to start again.

As John Kenney says in his book Truth in Advertising (side note: this is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Read it!): “F. Scott Fitzgerald said there are no second acts in American lives … I don’t know about second acts, but I do think we get second chances, fifth chances, 18th chances. Every day, we get a fresh chance … We get a chance to do one amazing thing, one scary thing, one difficult thing, one beautiful thing. We get a chance to make a difference.”

When it comes to being a stepmom and a wife (hell, a human being for that matter), this is music to my ears. Because by God’s grace, I have the chance every day to wake up and be a better person than yesterday. I have the chance to love unconditionally, to choose joy always.

And this weekend, I get to celebrate the single greatest reason why I choose joy: the compassion of an awe inspiring, deeply loving God who chose to suffer death to free us:

“On that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious day

Up from the grave He rose again

And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.”

Now that, my friends, is worth CHOOSING JOY. Happy Easter.


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