Parenting in and of itself can be quite difficult. From the moment a parent finds out they are going to have a baby (are we getting the right prenatal care?) to the trying teen years (how do I get my child to stop lying?) and forevermore, there’s no doubt that being a parent is a huge responsibility. And that’s with your own flesh and blood children. Throw in being a step-parent and the complications rise even more. Now you have a child that is not fully your flesh and blood, but is still the flesh and blood child of your spouse, who, whether their other parent is living or passed on, may resent you for whatever reason which causes some tension on your end and creates a total head butting episode (not that I’m speaking from experience at all…). There are some step-parents that have a great relationship with their step-children and if you are one of them, that is great, but for the most part, movies and society portray the step-parent as a wicked and evil villain who is out to become the fairest one of them all. With all the negative portrayals out there, step-parents could use a little encouragement and a pat on the back from time to time to let them know that their efforts are not in vain, and I think that is what Ron L. Deal with Denise Neal Matthews try to do in their book Daily Encouragement for the Smart Stepfamily.
This book is set up like a devotion in that each day is a new topic, or an expansion on the topic from the day before. While it is Biblically based, instead of being a Bible devotion where you read a chapter or a verse and have a little meditation on that, this is a piece of encouragement a day for 365 Days. I haven’t read through the whole book yet because I am trying to just read a page a day, but so far, I am enjoying the little snippets and they are challenging me to think outside the box. Some are direct principles from the Bible (how the fruits of the spirit can apply to step-families was a segment) and some are just snippets that let the step-family know, “hey, you’re really not alone in this”. Some days are even designed to be shared as a whole family to work on creating more unity/discussion amongst the family members. Each day is concluded with a short prayer to start your prayers for the night based on that day’s discussion.
So far, overall I am glad I got this book. At first I wasn’t too sure because I don’t always want to readily admit my shortcomings in my family, but this book isn’t about pointing out what you do wrong at all. This book is like a fellow runner coming up alongside you in a race when you are on that last leg and about to collapse because you’re not sure you can run another foot and cheering you on letting you know that you can get through this and this too shall pass and you are doing well. Keep up the good work.
If you’re a step-parent, I encourage you to pick up this little book of encouragement written just for you.
For a preview of the novel or to purchase, please click here.
I received this book free courtesy of Bethany House Publisher’s Blogger Review Program in exchange for an honest review.