The “other woman”…

There are so many things in this life that we have to share. If you have siblings, you share your parents, your toys, your cars and well, basically everything.  In a general sense we all share the planet with the rest of human kind. I can’t think of anyone who could say they don’t have to share. But there is one thing you never expect to share – motherhood. In the sense that you are the only mom your child has.

Since a very young age (in the kids life and in mine) I’ve shared my babies with her.  The “other woman” in our life has been their step-mom. It would be a glorious thing to write we have always gotten this relationship right – we have not. Yet, 15+ years of working and trying and fighting and crying and trying some more and never giving up because loving our kids is forever our top priority, we have survived.  And we are better for it. The kids are better from it. I am better. Because of her.

God has grown me so much since she and I first met. My marriage had failed and I was still a selfish child, fearfully holding on tightly to my ranks as THE mom. Oh, praise the Lord, y’all, for the grace this woman has shown me! The closer I have gotten to God, the more I have realized the beauty and blessings that can completely come in our brokenness. No, divorce is not the plan God has for us. Yet, finding myself in the aftermath, I learned turning over a wrecked life to surrendered obedience in Jesus…. healing comes. Messages from our messes and witness from our worst days, right? When I stopped looking around at what I could hold tightly to and opened my hands saying to the Lord – “this is yours, use it”, I became so keenly aware of what we actually had been blessed with.

There has never been a time I was alone in those most fearful moments of mothering.  Belinda was always there, loving OUR kids as much as any mom would. When I need to brag on the kids, hers is usually the first phone to ring. When prayers are lifted, so many times it is her hand I am holding. Through bruises and breaks, boyfriends and proms, hospital stays and scary surgeries, band concerts and homecomings, graduations and like this weekend at Clarke’s sorority parent weekend at college… She has walked the journey every step by my side.

Tonight as I watched her sweet soul cry tears over being honored in the Mother’s Pinning ritual, I was newly touched by what she has given us. My children are her children. No questions asked – no love withheld. They are hers and she is theirs. And she is mine too….My friend.

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Me and B reppin’ our ZTA mother’s pins.

This is normal for us. 15+ years, we have done it together. All four of us really – two moms and two dads.  Just this evening my husband made a comment referring to another young woman, “Oh, she only has two parents.” It was said so casually, but struck me as totally appropriate for our lives. He meant a reference to how many seats to save, yet their was an air of sadness brought to my mind. Kinda like “poor child, she ONLY has two.” Of course, it truly is all what you think and how blessed you choose to see yourselves. Co-parenting/blended-parenting (whatever you want to call it) isn’t always rose gardens, but neither is parenting with your spouse.  Four brains are better than two, right?!

And ultimately the simple fact is this: God calls us to love one another, as he loved us, we love each other. People will know we are His disciples by how we love one another. [John 13:34-35] And really there is no part of this command that says… Unless you find yourself in a blended family, then you are off the hook.  The command is pretty clear -Love, like Jesus, so people can know Jesus. No better place to start than at home.

I am not saying every situation allows itself to work like ours. Some wounds are just too deep or abuse has been involved or continues. I am simply saying what has worked for us, what lessons I have learned and how God has changed my heart. My prayer is the same for you in your situation, be it like ours or totally different. God’s hand is on you and His word is always true, His promises never returning void.

In my life, in my family’s life, I thank God for this other woman… She has been a rock, a strong fiber in our family fabric and simply a blessing greater than words. So, here’s to our version of normal and all the wonderful parenting we have yet to do.

In His Grip, Ashlee

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Gerald, Ashlee, Clarke, Clay, Belinda

7 thoughts on “The “other woman”…

  1. She is the best step mother you could ever ask for! She has always been by our side no matter the situation. I’m truly thankful God blessed my 3 siblings and I with this wonderful women. I love her more and more everyday!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Convicted reading this. My mind knows this all to be true, yet my heart is so wounded. Not my hurt though! The hurt I see done to a son. A son I love so much it hurts, yes. Times I’ve tried to show love, and succeeded; times I didn’t, and failed. Even now the conflict still rages, the hurt still just as raw, the relationship still as tenuous! But …..this one thing remains……love. Til the days are over, love will remain. And by God’s grace & strength through His Spirit will I strive to show it! Thank you for the reminder of being “called to love.” ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ashlee thank you so much for sharing this article. You’re a very gifted writer. I know Belinda personally and she is an an amazing lady with a very humble spirit but I also want to say in the relationship that you’re describing YOU are the catalyst in the story. It is a perfect illustration of God’s grace played out in the lives of your children and your family. You opened your heart or I should say you’ve surrendered your heart and allowed His grace to fill it. I am also a divorced parent of 3 children (all adults at the time of the divorce) but I can imagine having to share them would not have been easy. Being obedient you’ve allowed God to empower you with super-natural strength to have a relationship like this develop. This story reminds me of one of my favorite promises in the bible, Joel 2:25 “Only I (God) can restore what the locust have eaten!” And restore He has done for you and your family. Again thank you for sharing your precious story of grace, restoration and redemption! May God continue to bless you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is so beautifully written…& so true!!! Belinda could not love her stepchildren any more… She is a gift to all of us!! And by your writing, it is evident that you are such a special Mom – only wanting the best for your family! God bless all of you!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ashlee,
    This is beautiful! Only God’s grace could work this in Your life-amazing! Belinda is an angel and I am so thankful you both are selfless enough to want what is best for your sweet children.
    I just love this more than I can say!
    Kay Lawrence

    Like

  6. What a beautiful tribute! Belinda is truly an incredible person. You are lucky to have her in your life, and she is lucky to have you, too.

    Like

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