June 5, 2018

Becoming a Bonus Mom

Written by Shana Schutte

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – June 5, 2018

By Shana Schutte

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.  Philippians 2:3

When I was in my twenties, I had a plan to meet and marry an amazing Christian man and birth two or three babies. I thought the road to love would open wide for me and marriage would “just happen,” kind of like graduating from kindergarten or getting junior high acne. But it didn’t “just happen.” In fact, when I entered my early forties and I still hadn’t tied the knot, I doubted I would ever marry and that hurt—a lot.  

Then I met Clark.

He loved God, was kind, had loads of integrity, made me laugh every day, and was my good, good friend.

But there was a problem. He had five grown children and part of my life’s plan included to never marry a man with kids. I was certain that would spell nothing but T-R-O-U-B-L-E and I didn’t want to have anything to do with that.

After meeting Clark and then discussing marriage with him, my heart started to change, but I was conflicted.

I called a counselor and told her I was struggling. “I know what it is,” I said. “It’s grief.” As I sat in her office, I shared my sadness of not marrying young and having my own children.

As I pulled out of the counselor’s office parking lot, I cried out to God, “I feel cheated! I wanted my own family!” In a split second, a message was pressed into my heart. “The only reason you feel cheated is because you do not understand my plan.”

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.”  (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Hope rose in my heart, tears flowed, and I remembered redemption. Redemption isn’t just the story of the cross. It’s the story of God’s plan for all of humanity—including broken families.

In the days to come, I became convinced that marrying Clark would be an honor. Not just because he is a wonderful person, but because I would fill a redemptive role in my new family rooted in the command to love.    

Before marrying and because I was fearful, I called a friend to ask her about her own journey as a bonus mom. During our conversation she made a powerful statement: “No one can have too many people loving them.” Yes! My heart cried. I choose to love, and there’s no nobler task. Courage rose in me and I began to sense again that I was being called to a divine assignment.

I made the choice to love my bonus kids before Clark and I said, “I do,” even before I knew them. So, instead of seeing myself as the “extra appendage” no one wants in a family, I perceived I had purpose.

Even though I knew this role would have its challenges, I wanted to be a blessing—and I still do.  Loving hasn’t always been easy. There are moments when I have gotten my feelings hurt and I have wanted to retreat and stop putting myself out there. There have been times when I have felt like I don’t fit. But in those moments, I often come back to the truth that God gives all of his children purpose.

Now, after four years of being happily married, loving my bonus kids isn’t just a choice. I can honestly say I dearly love them—and it’s a love God has given me for them. When they are going through hard times, I am concerned. When they experience victories, I celebrate with them in my heart. I love them. I really do.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (John 13:34)



Lord, thank you that your redemptive plans include love. Help me to play well my part in your redemptive story. Amen.


Is there someone you need to choose to love today? Take action and love them through prayer, an action to bless them.

Related Reading

1 John 4:7-21; Matthew 5:43-48; 1 Corinthians 13:13

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  1. Loved this Shana! I can relate in part. I am still learning in my Bonus Mom role. It just dawned on me that Dave had to trust the same way….we are so happy for you!!

  2. Gwynne says:

    Dear Annie,
    Thank you for your sweet words for Shana! Please know that I am forwarding your message to her and I am just sure that she will be blessed by it. Isn’t it awesome when our God puts the words right in front of us at the exact time we need to see them? HE is AMAZING!!I can only imagine you are a wonderful “bonus mom” and a blessing to your “bonus” family.
    We are so thankful that you are a fellow wisdom hunter and look forward to hearing from you again.
    Blessings to you and yours,
    “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
    1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18

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