Counsel to a Stepmother. --Your marriage to one who is a father of children
will prove to be a blessing to you. . . . You were in danger of becoming self-centred.
You had precious traits of character that needed to be awakened and exercised. .
. . Through your new relations you will gain an experience that will teach you
how to deal with minds. By the care of children affection, love, and tenderness
are developed. The responsibilities resting upon you in your family may be a
means of great blessing to you. These children will be to you a precious lesson
book. They will bring you many blessings if you read them aright. The train of
thought awakened by their care will call into exercise tenderness, love, and
sympathy. Although these children are not a part of your flesh and blood, yet
through your marriage to their father, they have become yours, to be loved,
cherished, instructed, and ministered to by you. Your connection with them will
call into exercise thoughts and plans that will be of genuine benefit to you. .
. . By the experience that you will gain in your home, you will lose the self-centred
ideas that threatened to mar your work and will change the set plans that have
needed softening and subduing. . . .
You have needed to develop greater tenderness and larger sympathy, that you
might come close to those in need of gentle, sympathetic, loving words. Your
children will call out these traits of character and will help you to develop
breadth of mind and judgement. Through loving association with them, you will
learn to be more tender and sympathetic in your ministry for suffering humanity.
Reproof to a Stepmother Who Lacked Love. --You loved your husband and married
him. You knew that when you married him you covenanted to become a mother to his
children. But I saw a lack in you in this matter. You are sadly deficient. You
do not love the children of your husband, and unless there is an entire change,
a thorough reformation in you and in your manner of government, these precious
jewels are ruined. Love, manifestation of affection, is not a part of your
discipline. . . .
You are making the lives of those dear children very bitter, especially the
daughter's. Where is the affection, the loving caress, the patient forbearance?
Hatred lives in your unsanctified heart more than love. Censure leaps from your
lips more than praise and encouragement. Your manners, your harsh ways, your
unsympathizing nature, are to that sensitive daughter like desolating hail upon
a tender plant; it bends to every blast until its life is crushed out, and it
lies bruised and broken.
Your administration is drying up the channel of love, hopefulness, and joy in
your children. A settled sadness is expressed in the countenance of the girl,
but, instead of awakening sympathy and tenderness in you, this arouses
impatience and positive dislike. You can change this expression to animation and
cheerfulness if you choose. . . .
Children read the countenance of the mother; they understand whether love or
dislike is there expressed. You know not the work you are doing. Does not the
little sad face, the heaving sigh welling up from a pressed heart in its
yearning call for love, awaken pity?
Results of Undue Severity. --Some time ago I was shown the case of J. Her
errors and wrongs were faithfully portrayed before her; but in the last view given me I saw that the wrongs
still existed, that she was cold and unsympathizing with her husband's children.
Correction and reproof are not given by her for grave offenses merely, but for
trivial matters that should be passed by unnoticed. Constant faultfinding is
wrong, and the Spirit of Christ cannot abide in the heart where it exists. She
is disposed to pass over the good in her children without a word of approval,
but is ever ready to bear down with censure if any wrong is seen. This ever
discourages children and leads to habits of heedlessness. It stirs up the evil
in the heart and causes it to cast up mire and dirt. In children who are
habitually censured there will be a spirit of "I don't care," and evil
passions will frequently be manifested, regardless of consequences. . . .
Sister J should cultivate love and sympathy. She should manifest tender
affection for the motherless children under her care. This would be a blessing
to these children of God's love and would be reflected back upon her in
affection and love.
When Double Care is Needed. --Children who have lost the one in whose breasts
maternal love has flowed have met with a loss that can never be supplied. But
when one ventures to stand in the place of mother to the little stricken flock,
a double care and burden rests upon her to be even more loving if possible, more
forbearing of censure and threatening than their own mother could have been, and
in this way supply the loss which the little flock have sustained.