Step-parenting is hard sometimes. It is an emotional battle to find the line on when you step up and when you step back. Imagine a child being in your home seven days a week. You have taken them to doctor appts, school functions, listened to their tears and held them thru the storm. You have been a parent, and you love this child as much as your own. You have stepped up. Then their real parent shows up to some game or plays out of nowhere. And suddenly you are just there. A spectator watching a child and the parent. You watch as everyone smiles and laughs and loves this child and their parent. Your job is to step back. That child needs their parent, and they need to know when their parent is gone you will once again step up.
I think the Bible shows us exactly what a step parent is supposed to be. Joseph. Most don't talk about him. In fact, the bible doesn't talk about him much. But here we see a man. A man who paid a dowry to marry this woman. He waited for her, paid for her, and right before he gets to marry her he is told she is pregnant. By God. He had every human right and reason to walk away. He in no way would have been looked down on for leaving Mary. And yet he stayed. He married her, he protected her. And then Jesus is born. We know he spent hours upon hours with Jesus. Jesus took his trade as a carpenter. We know he protected Jesus, we know he loved Jesus, we know he provided and cared for Jesus. I can see a little toddler running around chasing daddy. I can see a teenage boy full of hormones and Joseph sitting him down and explaining how men react. Joseph was his daddy.
I don't know what happened to Joseph. The Bible never says. Yet, I am always lost at the scene of the cross. Here the Son of God hangs. Beaten, bloody, and barely alive. Every instinct is to protect an innocent man especially your child. Jesus recognizes his mother from the cross. He makes sure someone protects her. And in my human imagination, I see Joseph. Standing silently in the shadows weeping, broken, and crying because his son is dying. Wanting to help and wanting to protect his stepson. However, it is his duty to step back because Jesus has to return to his father. The pain, hurt, heaviness, and yet pride must have been very real for him. He didn't need the recognition, but his love was just as real.
Joseph is exactly what a step parent is supposed to be. Always there. Consistently and steady. There when he is needed, ready to fight the wolves if asked, and yet staying in the shadows so the child can shine.
Thank you for your example, Joseph. You won't ever read Facebook, but I want to say it anyway. Thank you for your faithfulness and love. Thank you for showing me what I need to be.