Before I had my own kids, I was a stepmother. Still am, but that’s how I started on this journey. I’m 7 months pregnant with my third bio child now, and I’m so excited for this baby to come. Motherhood has been an interesting journey for me and I want to always be able to learn from my children. When I met my husband and stepchildren, I had never been in a serious long term relationship, and certainly had never dealt with parenting at all. My oldest step daughter was 12, about to turn 13 at the time, and it was not easy with her. Thank the Lord, I was learning to pray! Through the years, I have drawn closer to the Lord and I want to be closer, still. There’s so much room for improvement in any area of life for anyone. I think, if you don’t grow as a parent, your children will suffer the cost. I look back at things I did, and things I didn’t do in these past 7 years, and I am grateful for grace. I can forgive myself and move forward because I know God isn’t mad at me. He’s already forgiven me. My son is 6 now, and I’m happy that he’s about to have a little brother. I look at how big he is, how polite he is, how well he’s doing in school and I am so proud. He had a speech problem early on and I put him in speech therapy, and I’m glad I did. He has grown so much, developmentally. He’s my quiet child. My bio daughter is 3 years old, and she is definitely a character. She’s a little chatterbox. I don’t know how many words that girl says in a day but I’m pretty sure it’s more than average… And she gets into everything. Which is normal for a 3 year old, but this one is sneaky. So I’m working on it with her. But I’m actually enjoying her. My 19 year old step daughter, she is pregnant with her third right now, as well. She’s started her own family. I used to act like I was her mother, but I don’t anymore. I stressed myself out too much doing that and started collecting gray hairs. So I started trying random acts of kindness with her, as well as just praying for her on the regular. Now, my 9 year old step daughter, I see her about 4 days out of every month. So I have a very short window of time to have an impact on her life. So I pray. Before I had any kids, I pictured life would be a lot different than how it turned out. God had different, and bigger plans for me. I think I want to stop at 4 bio kids. So we’ll see if the Lord sends us another one. One thing I’ve learned to stop doing is beating myself up for the things I don’t do perfectly. I look at my downfalls and my flaws, then I try and come up with ways to improve on them. As mothers, we need grace and our kids need grace. That’s why prayer and obedience is so important. If you make a mistake as a mother, it could affect your kids without the grace that the Lord provides. There are so many adults who are in therapy from how they were raised as a child. I did therapy for years, and I’m not sorry I did, but now I first and foremost depend on Jesus. I pack myself with Christian devotionals, with sermons, with Bible study time and just stay as close to the Lord as possible. And I need more of Him! I want my kids to love Jesus because they know he’s the best Way of Life, not because they’re afraid of hell, or that I might be displeased with them if they don’t serve him. I need grace, so I do my best to give it to them and I want them to learn to seek it from the Lord as well. As long as we keep growing and moving forward, everything will fall into place!