Daughter of a pastor, a convinced practitioner, Sarah married Sébastien, a convert on November 9, 2013. This divorced man is the father of a little Victoria, aged 6. What’s wrong with love? And yet… How do you find your place in the pre-existing father-daughter duo? Accept that alimony amputates the modest income of the household? How to react when the mother endows the little girl for her 9th birthday with a connected tablet? “I’m tired of having to deal with things I don’t agree with! »
Denial, guilt, anger
In her story, nourished by testimonials and reflections from experts, this specialized educator exposes frankly the difficulties encountered within a blended family, the mistakes she has made. From the start, the young bride feels suffocated by the presence of her cute daughter-in-law. She is ashamed of this feeling, which she tries to hide from her husband, but which comes out in the form of tensions over trifles that he cannot understand.
Between denial, guilt and anger, she raises her eyes to God. And asks her to show her how to become a mother-in-law according to her heart. “Often we pray badly, explains this woman with a hint of an Alsatian accent. We ask the Lord to change the situation. Rather, the right prayer would be that he change our hearts. » This is what he did for Sarah: “I was counting the days of Victoria’s presence, if I had known that 10 years later we would have her full custody! I’m the one who’s changed, which doesn’t mean there aren’t any more conflicts with his mum, or times when I feel overwhelmed.” says the 30-something with a smile.
A time with God in the morning
Throughout the pages, a kind of precious guide is drawn, in order to better understand this delicate situation. First allow yourself to experience negative feelings, without judgment. Then cling to prayer, so that the Holy Spirit acts. “Every morning, after dropping the children off at school, I take time with God, alone, says Sarah. I walk the dog, I have a coffee, I read the Bible, I listen to songs of praise… The latest instrumental album from the band Hillsong helps me stay in silence for five minutes. »
His prayer springs forth, spontaneously: “Lord, I need you so much. I don’t know the future, I don’t know what’s best for our family life, but I’m sure you have everything in your hands. Guide our actions, our thoughts, our words. I give you Victoria in particular, you know the complexity of the situation, her relationship with her mother, our respective relationships which are not working out. Nothing is impossible for you, so I’m learning to trust you. Bless Victoria in her daily life, protect her, I know you are there for her. Thank you for your presence in my life. » And this daily prayer bears fruit: “Communing with God through prayer has given me another perspective on my situation. »
A challenge: pray for the other mother
Over time, Sarah thus learned to assume a function of authority, legitimate by virtue of her status as an adult, which she dared not affirm for fear of being rejected or of being taken for the “bad guy”. But this authority is necessary to help the child grow. Above all, she has forged a personal bond with Victoria.
In her book, Sarah frees the stepfather or the stepmother from this injunction to spontaneously love the other’s child. But she invites him to open up to his experience, tossed as he is between two houses, witness to tensions for which he believes himself responsible, caught in a conflict of loyalty often preventing him from creating a relationship with the step-parent. , often feeling too much, jostled by the birth of a baby born of the new union and apprehensive of being rejected…
Today, she likes to say to Victoria: “I will never be your mother, and yet you will always be my daughter! » This intimacy with God leads Sarah to decenter herself and to privilege the interests of her daughter-in-law. Until he manages to pray for his mother, who multiplies the legal proceedings and brings false accusations against them. One day, Victoria, then 7 years old, asked Sarah, who had come to tuck her in, to pray for her mother who was not well, so that she could have a baby.
Inner storm in the heart of the mother-in-law… ” No, I do not feel like it, she writes. She’s ruining my life and I should put her back in your hands? But what to say to Victoria? That her mom doesn’t deserve it, that she makes me live a real hell, that she’s unhealthy for us and for her too for that matter? Who am I to say that? » So, faced with the little girl’s confidence, Sarah prayed for her mother, so that the situation would improve at home. “My prayer life took a turn that night, she assures. Despite everything she puts us through, I don’t have to judge her, just to put her in the hands of God and may he bless her…
Learning to “Be” before “Doing”
Parents of five children, the Schöpperlé live in Bischwiller, a town located a few kilometers from Strasbourg (Bas-Rhin). Sébastien became an evangelical pastor and director of Phare FM, a Christian community radio station. Sarah, currently in training in the helping relationship, which offers spiritual accompaniment, coordinates Hope, contraction of respect and hope. This social prevention association offers school support and organizes activities for children in the neighborhood. In project: the opening of a place of reception for parents and children of less than 6 years. “How many times in our daily lives are we alone and tired, explains this mother of a large family. Frequenting a place where you can sit down and chat helps to reduce the pressure and play down the drama. »
Sarah is aware of this, having experienced a bad patch in May last year. “I had a fall: no energy, everything worried me, I was just crying. » Arrested for more than two months, she has reached her limits, learned to say “no” and to slow down. “I don’t need to ‘do’, as society so often imposes on us. God just asks us to “be” with him. I reconnected to Him little by little, day by day. »