Encouragement for Today - May 13, 2008


May 13, 2008


A Blessed Steppie

Shari Braendel


“Her children arise and call her blessed”

Proverbs 31:28 (NIV)



“Life’s good with a Steppie!” my stepdaughter Carly added to the conversation we were having with her college roommate. As I heard her words, deep warmth came over me. Carly and her two sisters are my stepdaughters and “Steppie” is their term of endearment for me.


I love my stepdaughters dearly, but that doesn’t mean life as a “Steppie” has been easy. At times, step-parenting is the hardest thing I do. What did I sign up for?” I’ve asked myself multiple times during the past eleven years. Establishing relationships with each of my daughters has required a lot of patience and hard work. We’ve had many good times of love and laughter, but other times I have struggled and agonized as I strived to “get it right” and be their “Steppie.”


Despite the challenges, I realize each phone conversation we have, each meal we share, or each e-mail I type to my daughters is an opportunity to honor my calling as their “Steppie.” I am not a replacement for their mom - I can’t be. What I can be, though, is their cheerleader, encourager, disciplinarian, friend and spiritual mentor … and through these challenges, God has grown me.


Somehow, in the last dozen or so years of being “Steppie,” God has been teaching me to be “bigger” than I ever wanted to be. For instance, instead of giving in to yelling when things have been tense, He’s helped me find the grace to bite my tongue and be gentle. He’s taught me that being quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry (James 1:19) is a prerequisite for Proverbs 31:28 which says, “Her children arise and call her blessed.”


Although my stepdaughters are out of the nest now, I know that my step-parenting role continues. Even today, life as a step-mom is difficult at times, but it is good because God continues to work in our lives and in our relationships with each other. What a wonderful affirmation it was to hear Carly arise and bless me the day she exclaimed, “Life is good with a Steppie!”


Dear Lord, please help me remember You gave me these precious children because You trusted me with them. May I draw closer to You each day and know they are looking to me for an example of Your love. Help me be a mother You and they are proud of, and help me to love them as much as You do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Related Resources:

Five Star Families: Moving Yours from Good to Great, by Carol Kuykendall


Blended Families, book by Maxine Marsolini


Visit Shari Braendel’s blog


Application Steps: 

All family relationships grow and change. Take a few minutes to write down the names of your family members and a phrase or two about the relationship you have with each of them. Thank God for each member of your family. Pray for each relationship and for God to reveal concrete ways to show acceptance, encouragement and love to each of them.



What words and actions will encourage my children today?


How can I build trusting relationships with members of my family?


Power Verses:

James 1:19, “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” (NIV)


Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God.” (NIV)



© 2008 by Shari Braendel. All rights reserved.


Proverbs 31 Ministries

616-G, Matthews-Mint Hill Road

Matthews, NC 28105


Originally published Tuesday, 13 May 2008.