Sunday, November 20, 2011

I Am Thankful...for Charis

I'll be the first to admit that Charis and I got off to a rocky start.  Afterall, who wants a step-mother?  Nobody.  Step-mother's get a bad rap.  That's undeniable.  And Charis was 11 when I met her.  Old enough to have a lot of very strong memories of the way life used to be.  And young enough to believe Walt Disney's depiction of step-mothers.

I've never had a step-mother.  I've never been through the pain and loss of my parent's getting divorced.
But, I have been through pain.  I have been through great loss.  And I have felt the helplessness of being unable to stop it.  Even though we have not been through the same circumstances, we have both experienced some of life's greatest pain and helplessness.  And so Charis and I have started to bond, every so slowly, not over traditional "mother-daughter" things, but over a common understanding of pain and how that changes your life.

But with great pain, can come an even greater understanding of God's ability to heal and restore.  I have received mercy and healing and hope in ways that I do not even understand.  And that is my prayer for Charis.  I pray that God will do for her what He has so graciously done for me, even though I didn't deserve it.  He continues to heal.  He continues to extend grace.  He continues to turn every situation into something good.

I am so grateful that God has brought Charis into my life.  She is not my daughter.  She never will be.  She already has a perfectly good mother, and does not need another one.  And so I have a unique role in her life.  I stay home with her when she's sick.  I buy her clothes and books and shoes and makeup.  We've laughed, we've cried, we've shopped.  And yet, I am a caretaker and guardian without being a parent.  I am a teacher and encourager without being a disciplinarian.  I love her as a daughter, even though she will never be mine.  My heart aches for her the way it does for my own children in the losses they all share.  And I am delighted and proud of the girl that she is and the young woman that she is becoming.

I am thankful that Charis actually enjoys school
I am super grateful that she can do her own laundry...and prefers it that way (you should see the notes and instruction lists that I get if I try to do it for her! seriously.)
I am thankful for her sense of humor
I am thankful that she takes the role of big sister very seriously
I am thankful that she is growing in her understanding of who God is
I am thankful that she loves youth group!
I'm thankful that she loves to bake...and is learning to clean up afterwards
I am thankful for her compassionate heart
I am thankful for her kindness to Abby
I am thankful that when she found Cheerleading, she found something she loves
I am thankful that she continues to be a runner, even when she doesn't feel like it
I am thankful for her flair for the dramatic (ok, not all of the time, but I'm trying)
I am thankful that she is always willing to paint everyone's nails
And I am thankful that even though she is not my daughter, she is an amazing gift to our family


Anonymous said...

I am thankful that you and Charis are finding common ground. I can't wait to meet this beautiful young lady!!!


Anonymous said...

Charis is a very special girl and she is growing into a beautiful young lady. I'm thankful for her kindness to Abby too.