By Xiaoxuan, Italy
She and her “mother” had a great rapport in her happy childhood.
In March, the gentle breeze was blowing over the ground. In the farmyard, various flowers in full bloom seemed to be vying with one another. The light fragrance attracted a group of bees and colored butterflies, which added beauty to the yard.
In the house, little Xinyi was twiddling with her mother’s hair. “Xinyi, stop. Your little hands are so dirty.” Xinyi giggled and stopped. After a while, she ran behind her mother and started again to play with her hair. “Don’t be naughty, Xinyi. Mom is knitting a sweater for you. Look, there are butterflies and bees on it, which are your favorite animals. If you continue to disturb me, you will have no pretty sweater to wear.” Xinyi continued playing for a while before she finally stopped. Then she started yawning and pestered her mother to put her to sleep. Her mother put aside the sweater, and tucked her in. Slowly, Xinyi fell asleep in her mother’s embrace. At that moment, Xinyi felt she was the happiest girl in the world. She loved her mother and her mother also loved her.
After she learned the truth, their relationship broke up.
In the blink of an eye, Xinyi was ready to start elementary school. That summer was quite hot. Cicadas continuously chirped in the trees, making a lively commotion. One day after school, Xinyi hesitantly walked ahead of her mother, and then asked: “Mom, someone said that you are not my real mother and that you only gave birth to my younger brother but not my sister and me. Is that true? They were lying to me, right?” Upon hearing this, her mother looked somewhat embarrassed. She didn’t deny it directly but just asked her not to listen to others. Seeing her mother’s reaction, Xinyi vaguely sensed that what the other person had said might be true.
In order to confirm her guess, she asked her sister and her grandmother about it. On learning that her biological mother had passed away, Xinyi was very distressed within: “It turns out that my ‘mother’ is actually not my real mother but my stepmother. Why? Why should I live with my stepmother?” For a moment, Xinyi couldn’t accept this fact and burst out crying. As she had learned from the television and the adults around her that “Blood is thicker than water,” and that only the affection between blood relations was true, she thought that it was impossible that her stepmother would love her as she loved her own son. It was a hot summer, yet Xinyi’s heart was wintry cold …
Because of a conflict, she bore resentment against her stepmother.
The weather in late fall gradually got cool and the yellow withered leaves slowly drifted down from the branches. One day, Xinyi came home from school and told her stepmother that she wanted to buy some extracurricular books. Her stepmother refused her request, and said it was enough for her to learn the knowledge in the textbooks. Worried about being criticized by her teacher and laughed at by her classmates, Xinyi insisted that she needed those books. However, her stepmother still didn’t agree to buy the books for her. At that moment, Xinyi remembered the saying, “Blood is thicker than water.” Xinyi thought: “She is just my stepmother, neither kith nor kin to me. So how could she care about my needs?” So Xinyi pulled a long face and no longer pestered her stepmother. After lunch, she immediately went to school.
Walking alone on the way to school, Xinyi wept: “If it were my own mother, she would certainly buy the books for me. My stepmother doesn’t love me, so it’s no wonder that she grudges spending money on me. I hate her!” At this thought, Xinyi wept bitterly, tears flowing down her face uncontrollably.
Gradually, Xinyi’s classmates all found out about her family circumstances. They jeered at her and said, “Xinyi’s mother is her stepmother and doesn’t love her. We’re not playing with her….” Even her friends who often walked to school with her before also told the other children not to play with her. Her heart was full of pain, as if it had been torn up. She resented her family background and blamed all of her misery on her stepmother: “It’s all her fault. It’s all because she doesn’t love me!”
After that, she disliked her stepmother even more, and any trifling thing would widen the distance between them. Once Xinyi wanted to go to school wearing some new clothes, but her stepmother told her not to wear them until she visited her grandmother, which made her unhappy. So she gave her stepmother the cold shoulder. When her stepmother asked her to do some housework or to help in the fields, she would pout and show unwillingness, thinking: “If it were my real mother, she surely wouldn’t have the heart to ask me to do these things.” Sometimes when Xinyi and her younger brother got into disputes, her stepmother would ask her to compromise, and then she would think: “It is true that ‘Blood is thicker than water.’ My stepmother just favors her own son.” Xinyi got more and more defiant. One fall, her stepmother told her to wear more clothes to stay warm, but Xinyi felt her concern was a pretense; even when she got ill, she would not tell her stepmother because she thought that her stepmother wouldn’t care and that it was better to not say anything. And every time Xinyi got a certificate of merit from her school, she would just show it to her father and her sister and totally ignore her stepmother. Although her stepmother was as kind to her as before, Xinyi considered it all to be a mask. She was totally fed up with her stepmother, and complained to the heavens about why she had to grow up in such a family.
The conflict got more and more serious.
The winter arrived and the cold wind was blowing hard. One day, Xinyi’s stepmother asked her and her sister to gather some fallen branches for firewood. Her sister didn’t want to go because it was too cold outside, and she was nagged by her stepmother. Then her sister ran out crying. After Xinyi learned about this, her aversion to her stepmother changed into hatred because she deemed that her stepmother didn’t treat her sister well. That night, Xinyi and her sister sat outside staring at the pitch-dark sky. She held her sister, and they sung, “Mom is the best thing in the world, a kid who has no mom is like a blade of grass. Leaving a mom’s embrace, where can he go to find happiness….?” While singing, they cried.
At that moment, her stepmother was also crying very sadly. She had never thought that her years of effort wouldn’t break the stereotypical image of a stepmother in the children’s hearts. The children didn’t understand her, and their grandmother also blamed her. She completely lost all hope for life. Not only did she want to leave their home, she even more wanted to leave this world by ending her miserable life. Driven by this thought, she once darted out in front of a speeding car, but the driver stopped the car in time and gave her a good scolding; she had also tried to kill herself by jumping from the 2nd floor of their house, but her husband stopped her. She had made several other attempts to commit suicide, which in the end were all prevented by others. That winter, the whole family all lived in suffering.
God’s gospel untied the knot in their hearts.
Then, when Xinyi was in high school, she, her sister, and her stepmother all accepted God’s gospel of the kingdom. She and the brothers and sisters often sang hymns, had gatherings, and praised God together. Later, she read a passage of God’s words, “Born into such a filthy land, man has been severely blighted by society, he has been influenced by feudal ethics, and he has been taught at ‘institutes of higher learning.’ The backward thinking, corrupt morality, mean view on life, despicable philosophy, utterly worthless existence, and depraved lifestyle and customs—all of these things have severely intruded upon man’s heart.”
From God’s words, Xinyi understood that she was in such pain because she had always been affected by the satanic, traditional way of thinking that “Blood is thicker than water.” She recalled that she and her stepmother used to get along and live happily together. But since she learned that she was not her natural mother, she became bound by the concept of “Blood is thicker than water,” and started to regard her stepmother as an outsider because they were not related by blood. So regardless of how her stepmother showed concern for her, she not only didn’t appreciate it but ignored her on purpose because she thought she was only pretending to be good. When her stepmother didn’t satisfy her demands, when she showed concern for her own son, or when she quarreled with her sister, Xinyi would become even more certain that her stepmother’s kindnesses to them were not from a genuine heart. So she developed resentment and hatred toward her stepmother, which caused her stepmother to lead a very miserable life in their family and even think of death. Now, she finally realized how much hurt she had brought to her stepmother. She was particularly guilty and hated herself, and she even more hated Satan, who had poisoned her with wrong thoughts and views for so many years, and made her unable to distinguish right from wrong. Realizing how irrational she was when she treated her stepmother coldly, she resolved to eliminate the wrong viewpoint that Satan had instilled into her and get along well with her stepmother.
Then she also read in the word of God: “One has no say in who one’s parents and relatives are, what kind of environment one grows up in; one’s relationships with the people, events, and things in one’s surroundings, and how they influence one’s development, are all beyond one’s control. Who decides these things, then? Who arranges them? … it goes without saying that the formation of all this rests in the hands of the Creator.” “Since the conditions under which a person grows up are predetermined long in advance, the environment in which one lives during this process is also, naturally, predetermined. It is not decided by a person’s choices and preferences, but is decided according to the Creator’s plans, determined by the Creator’s careful arrangements, by the Creator’s sovereignty over a person’s fate in life.”
From God’s words, Xinyi understood that which family she was born in, and who her parents are, are all God’s predestination and careful arrangements, and that they are all the best for her. She thought back on those years, and how although she’d lost her natural mother, her stepmother was diligent and kind and wanted to progress in life. Since coming to their home, she had undertaken the burdens of running a household, bearing many hardships without any complaint. Whether it was food or clothing, she’d always taken good care of the three children and done her utmost to treat them fairly. She had completely fulfilled her responsibility as a mother. God had arranged such a great stepmother for her so shouldn’t she be content and cherish her?
Thinking of this, Xinyi couldn’t help praying to God, “Dear God! Thanks for the guidance of Your words. Now I understand the source of my pain. I hate myself for being poisoned too deeply by satanic viewpoints and causing my stepmother a lot of hurt. From today on, I am willing to overturn my viewpoint and get along well with her.”
Through opening up to each other, they removed the misunderstandings between them.
One morning, Xinyi, her stepmother, and her sister had a heart-to-heart talk according to the principle of sharing from the heart. Her stepmother said, “I didn’t buy books for you because at that time our family was so poor that we didn’t even have the money to buy flour. If I’d bought you the books, our whole family would have gone hungry. After I scolded Xinrui, I also felt regret. Seeing you two sisters upset made me suffer greatly. In addition, the people in our village used to point at me and made fun of my remarriage behind my back. I couldn’t withstand such mockery and tried to kill myself many times. If it were not for God’s salvation, I wouldn’t be alive today …”
Hearing what her stepmother said, Xinyi felt upset and guilty inside. She thought: “It was all because of being bound by the wrong idea, ‘Blood is thicker than water’ that I hurt my stepmother and caused too many senseless arguments and troubles in my family.” Then she sobbed and apologized to her stepmother: “In the past I was not sensible and always believed that ‘Blood is thicker than water,’ and ‘A stepmother does not love another’s child as much as she loves hers.’ This resulted in our relationship becoming worse and worse, and brought you so much hurt. I apologize to you….” As she said all this, Xinyi shed tears of indebtedness. At this moment, her stepmother’s eyes also became moist …
The sun gradually set, casting a cozy glow on the house. Finally, the estrangement among them was completely resolved. If it were not for the guidance of God’s words, who would have been able to achieve this?
Restoring the harmonious relationship, they became even closer.
Later on, with the guidance of God’s words, whenever encountering problems Xinyi and her family would calmly communicate the truth together and no longer get into disputes. Gradually, Xinyi built a normal relationship with her stepmother.
Once when Xinyi and her stepmother were on their way home from the fields, it suddenly began to rain. Sitting on a farm truck, they got soaked through like drenched rats. Then her stepmother took off her coat to cover Xinyi and held her tightly, protecting her from getting wet. At that moment, Xinyi felt particularly warm and moved, as if she had gone back to her childhood. Her eyes became somewhat moist and she let out a cry, “Mom! …”
The rain was getting heavier and heavier. Xinyi was full of gratitude to God in her heart. It was because of believing in God that she’d regained the maternal love she’d lost; it was because of believing in God that their years of estrangement and misunderstandings were concluded and the whole family regained peace and joy. Thank God! All the glory be to God!