I was unloading my groceries onto the belt, yesterday, as I noticed that my checker was new, or at least I’d never seen her before. She was checking out the woman in front of me, happily chatting away, with a huge smile befitting her gregarious personality. I smiled to myself, as I emptied the last few items from my cart, as it had been a while since I’d seen any grocery checker enjoy her job so much.

As it was my turn, I stepped up in front of her, and she immediately launched into a conversation. In seconds, I knew that her name was Anna, that she had started as a checker two weeks ago, and she was so happy to have this job because it was helping her with her school tuition. I jumped in while she took a quick breath.

Wonderful! What are you studying?

Massage therapy! Oh, I love it! I never thought I’d find ‘my thing,’ you know? But I’ve kept a 4.0 all through school, and I just love the people! My stepdad always told me I could do it, and that he believed in me. Really, no one has ever believed in me as much as he did, and even when he died last year, it didn’t derail me. It made me more determined than ever to make something of myself and not disappoint him, or myself, with a life in a dead end job. If it hadn’t been for him, that’s probably exactly what I would have.

It’s really great that you had such a wonderful influence in your step-dad.

Yeah, you think a step parent is going to be evil, like all those fairy tales, but mine was anything but!

She may have covered two or twenty-seven more topics by the time the last bag was loaded in my cart (making me hope I never had her as a masseuse because CHATTY), but this first topic stuck with me all the way home.

I thought of a friend whose step-mom lead her to Christ, and another whose most authentic father-figure didn’t even end up being a step, but a man her mom dated for a while after her parents’ divorce. He invested in her life from the time she was nine all the way to her mid-30’s, until his death a few months ago. And, above all, I think of my own daughter, and the lengths to which she goes to invest in the life of my oldest grandgirl.

With the divorce rate at the 50/50 mark, blended families are more the norm, now, than they’ve ever been. And, while “evil stepmother” seems to roll off the tongue with shocking ease, stereotyping that position in an ugly light, and instantly putting them at a disadvantage, there are so, so many out there doing the job right, and loving well.

We all have the opportunity to be a “step” to someone. To invest well in others, and champion those coming up behind. Even if they are brought into our lives by surprise, it’s an opportunity to pour in to them in an entirely new way, perhaps leaving a stamp on their lives that will change its trajectory forever.

And you know what? There’s nothing evil about that.


We were so taken by you that we not only eagerly shared with you God’s good news, but we also shared with you our own lives. That’s how much you’ve come to mean to us. ~ 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 VOICE