Disciplining as an bonus mom is difficult. On one hand, you want to make sure you teach the lesson and make sure all rules are understood but on the other hand, you have the inward battle of whether raising-your-hand so to speak is worth the battle. There is an invisible third-party involved whenever you interact with your bonus child. Their mother. Whether present in front of you or absent, she is always there because you have her child with you. If the relationship between you and your bonus child’s mother is tender (to say the least) any form a discipline can be called into question. Because of God’s divine providence, I had a crisis of belief about this very thing earlier in the week so when the need discipline arise, the inward battle was already settled within me.
I chose to keep my blinders on and focus on God and what He has me to do in His family that He gave me (thanks Shirley!) so deciding to discipline was easy. The aftermath after the disciplining took place was where I needed to grow. I mulled the whole issue over and over in my mind for a few minutes. I replayed the events that took place and started stating my answers to possible questions that I would be asked later on. After I thought I had worked through it all, I went to have my quiet time and read my Bible but I couldn’t. I couldn’t read. I was still mulling things over and starting to fret; not because I acted in error but because I had not been on this side of discipline before. I used to stop short of any real discipline because I feared the outcome. That is when I dropped to my knees and laid it all on the altar.
I remember our Pastor giving a sermon a few years ago about casting your cares on God (Psalm 55:22). To illustrate his point, he threw a hymnal on the floor near the front row of pews. That is the first time I really understood what casting was. Seeing that illustration made it clear how to release my cares to the Lord.
God bought back this illustration to my mind’s eye when I began to pray and I cast all my cares about the situation on Him and guess what happened? He answered! I wasn’t expecting and answer. I didn’t ask a question. I was just releasing all my concerns and casting them on Him. I felt much lighter. The weight was very heavy but when He answered, I was free.
God released me from the burden of responsiblity I was holding regarding the rearing of my bonus children. (I hate to refer anything associated to any of my children as a burden but I don’t know if there is a better word choice to convey what I am trying to say.) I don’t know what it is to be a single mother and I hope never to fully understand. (I would rather the rapture happen first or Brian and I to die on the same day at the same time.) I don’t know what it is to be forced to share your child with another woman. To see your child become close to another woman and look upon another woman, whom you had no choice in choosing, as a second mom. I can only imagine the difficulties. Not all single moms choose for their child to have a closeness with their bonus mom. Not all single moms want the bonus mom to feel responsible for their child outside of basic physical safety. Not all single moms want the bonus mom to have a vested emotional interest in their child especially in areas that are the bonus mom’s strengths.
God knows all this. He knows the heart of man (1 Kings 8:39) When you submit to Him, He will guide and direct you (Psalm 34:18). In my human wisdom, I thought because my motives were genuine, to love on my bonus children and care for them in and from my heart as my own, was something I was to do and fight to do at all cost. Not so. I have heard that you have to pick your battles. I didn’t know that applied to loving a child past where some would prefer you not to.
I am searching for a nice way to say this but this is what it is in truth. I unknowingly burdened myself unnecessarily caring for my bonus child past their mother’s preference. (Whew! Trying to say something unpleasant nicely doesn’t make it any less of a wrong).
God released me from a burden I put on myself. Now I am free and I didn’t arrive here through negative emotion or feelings. God freed me in Him.