The Other Woman
Cheri Bunch, She Speaks! Graduate

"For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh." Genesis 2:24 (NASV)

Our son Luke is in college and has just moved into his first home. I have been receiving many calls from him lately.

"Mom, how do you make fruit salad?"

"What do you use to get spaghetti stains out?"

"What setting should I wash my good jeans on?"

And the list goes on. It makes me smile when I get one of these calls. I realize that I am the woman in his life right now. He still looks to me for advice, counsel, direction and support. The Lord hasn't brought the one who will take my place into his life yet, that we know of. But I am sure she is on her way.

When she comes into Luke's life, it is not that I will not be important to my son anymore. I will always be his mom. He will always love me and remember me as a big important part of his life, but I will no longer be "the woman" of his life. That role must be turned over to someone else.

My husband is the older of two sons in a family with no daughters. I was the woman who "took" him away from his mother. It has been a rough transition, and now I am experiencing it from the other side. I believe this is one the hardest transitions in life. It is so important to realize that God has ordained that this transition take place – see today's verse. It is one of the pillars that makes a house a home and a family secure, but it is difficult.

Women have such a power of influence. It is a strength that God endowed us with and we can use it for good or for evil. When there is a mother and a wife in a man's life, the wife is to be the dominant influence. As a wife, I know this has been important to my marriage. But as a mother, I cringe at the thought of letting go.

Our older son, Caleb, has found the girl meant to be his lifetime soul mate. We are going through this tearing away process as I write. It is so important and I am so proud of him, but it is very hard for me.

I am soaking up my limited time with Luke. I realize that the wife he chooses might have a better fruit salad recipe, a different way of removing spaghetti stains, and perhaps will wash her good jeans in hot water, and I must rest from my ways and be content with hers. I hope that I will be the kind of mother-in-law that will look for the good in my son's wives. I want to encourage my boys and tell them what a good choice they made, and thank them for waiting for her. I will encourage them as couples and tell them that they are great parents.

And perhaps my new "daughters" will call me someday and ask me how I make my fruit salad, and how I remove certain stains, and what setting I wash my jeans on. I will be so happy to share my secrets with them.

Dear Lord, thank You for the sons You have given me. Help me enjoy the time I have as being the most important woman in their lives. Help me to use my influence wisely. When the woman You have chosen for them comes along, help me to surrender to Your plan. Help me to be an encouragement to them in every way. I pray that I will not feel threatened but may our relationship be one of love and respect for one another. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
That's My Son, How Moms can Influence Boys to Become Men of Character by Rick Johnson

Use the extra time you have from an empty nest to invest in your marriage! Love Notes on His Pillow: And Other Everyday Ways to Keep Your Love Alive by Linda Gilden

Or invest in a friendship! I'll bring the Chocolate: Satisfying a Woman's Craving for Friendship and Faith by Karen Porter

Join us for more Everyday Life encouragement

Application Steps:
Enjoy every season that God has ordained for you as a mom.

Are you available when your son calls with how-to questions?

Do you know that you will always be a pillar in the home and that you will always be an integral part of your children's lives even though a new pillar may be added?

Are you a daughter-in-law struggling with a mom that is having a hard time letting go?

Do you have a small son? Can you imagine releasing him to someone else?

Power Verses:
Proverbs 31:25, "Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future." (NASV)

© 2009 by Cheri Bunch. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

My dear hubs and I have been married for 20 yrs and our oldest just graduated from high school. During this time, it was truly evident that my MIL has never let him go and now she is struggling with letting my own daughter 'go'! It is frustrating but God has also been faithful to show me new ways to pray for the situation...and He is showing me how to let my daughter go as an example to the older generation. So, Columbia, here she comes!!!

Thank you for a faith filled read!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a mom of 3 sons~~the oldest being 20 years old and dating his first serious girlfriend, the timing of this devotion is perfect for me. Lots of prayer for their relationship and what it "might" become and me to slowly "let go" to some other womens influence in his life...very tough but all part of God's great plan.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a mother to a 20 year old daughter, I pray that one day she is blessed with a mother-in-law that has insight like your's. God Bless you sweet sister.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

don't get your hopes up too high,I went thru this with one of my sons,wanting a nice daughter-in-law,turns out he met his soul mate,another man,and to make matters worse they want to adopt children! My husband and I raised our kids in a Christ centered,(go to church,bible classes,etc,)family.
This has broken my heart,I want to take my own life at times.
Why did God let this happen?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this devotional! I have a son & someday hope to "let go" as graciously as my mother-in-law did.

Blogger Cheri Bunch said...

Dear Anonymous with the broken heart~
I am praying for you. Who can really comprehend the "whys" of life. I don't believe that the Lord wanted this to happen. Please find someone that you can talk to and pray with. We do not receive children with a promise that they will never disappoint us. The truth is that is a risk that we take. But we must never lose hope for our children's best.

Please consider finding a prayer partner that will join you in praying for your son. Faithfully pray together and believe that the Lord can do anything. I am praying that you will see the restoration that you desire.

Remember the story of the prodigal son. I have a prodigal who has returned. He did not go into the same thing as your son, but it was a poorly chosen road. The Lord heard our cries and our son has returned and has been restored. I pray the same for your son!

Blessings, dear friend!
I pray that you will feel the Lord's grace all over you!


Anonymous Ana Gonzalez said...

Thank you Ms. Cheri. My son is only 11.5, but I too have thought that the day will come when I have to let go and will his "chosen" bride be good enough for him. Will she treat him with love and respect? It is all in God's hands.
Thank you for the great devotion.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a timely devotion. I just put my mother in law on a plane yesterday.I have been very happily married to her son and we have four wonderful children. Our marriage and family have been truly blessed. However, after 30 years of marriage to her son my mother-in-law still can't let go. You see she had her daughter-in-law all picked out and then her son chose me. To this day she continues to try and control and manipulate everything.She has now managed to alianate her son. We all dread her visits and the whole time she is here she looks for flaws in me.I have always been a better from scratch cook,housekeeper, organizer, hostess etc. all the while maintaining a size 6 figure.I had a wonderful mom who taught me well and I have worked hard at staying in shape for my husband.I don't say any of this out of pride. God has just blessed my life and I am so greatful. Now I am the mother-in-law. I pray daily that my son and new daughter will NEVER feel towards me the way my husband and I feel towards her. The one thing I try to do everytime I see my new daughter or talk with her on the phone is to ENCOURAGE and PRAISE her for everything she does for her husband, my son.Even when she feels she will never measure up or can't do something the way I do, I let her know she can, or she will find her own is all OK.I tell her I will do anything she asks.So far, after almost 2years of marraige to my son, she has tried many new things and has done well. We enjoy a friendship together. I told her she already had a mother and probably did not need two. But that everyone could use another friend. I hope my other 2 sons choose as wisely as my first.I have always had a close relationship with my children and we continue to enjoy getting together.My daughter-in-law never minds the time I spend with my son because I am usually telling him ways he can work on becoming a better husband to his wife like his dad is to me.I listen to his complaints about his wife but I never join in the complaining.I just let him and her vent about the other one, which they do not do that often.I just encourage them that they can work things out through prayer for each other and themselves. I let them know I am praying everyday for them.

Blogger Unknown said...

Thank you so much for this devotion--perfect timing for me. My first of three sons will be married in August. I feel exactly the way you wrote it, but it helps to know that I am not alone in these feelings. I made a copy of this so that I can read it over and over again when I get down. God bless you for sharing this with me. Sally

Anonymous Jessica said...

Great devotion! My son is actually only 4, but I am praying for his future wife. I hope she loves him so much. I hope he is a wonderful husband. I know that I will try to have a wonderful relationship with my daughter-in-law. People that are not blessed with the kindest of mother-in-laws feel like it is a terrible thing. I do feel sad that I do not have a mother-in-law that likes me, or treats me like her other daughter-in-law, but at least I know exactly the kind of mother-in-law I DO NOT want to be. She has absolutely taught me what not to do. : - )

Blogger Corrie said...

Thank you for your perspective on these relationships. I will be keeping your heart in mind as I transition into spending more time with my mother-in-law now that she lives with us. I'm going to be praying to be a good daughter-in-law!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anonymous with the broken heart:

Whatever you do, do not alienate your son – do not make him feel like he is an outcast…. That is the worst thing you can do. I am not trying to downsize your situation, I agree with the other lady that you need to find a prayer buddy and pray for God to show him the light and the right way for him.
But you must let your son know that you love him… the reason I am saying this is b/c I too was in the same situation a few years ago with my eldest son… it has been two years and I have no idea where he is. I pushed him and I made him feel like the black sheep and now he resents me for most of it…. To the point that when he moved two years ago he didn’t tell me where and I have not heard from him since. This has truly broken my heart and I pray daily that God will bring him back in my life so that I can apologize for the way I treated him.
Please do not make this same mistake – there is nothing worse than losing a child.

God Bless and I am praying desperately for your family!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just read this and felt the need to comment. I have been incredibly blessed with my mother in law. She got it, she got that she raised her eldest boy and eventually he was going to find someone. She understood that when that time came, she would always have him in her heart, just not in her home. I adore her. I lost my mom last year and my mother in law, though doing her best to not overstep boundaries, stepped in in a lot of ways. She is always there for a kind word or to tell me what a great mommy she thinks I am. I think that's the key, we have to pray for our children's future spouses and we have to do our best to welcome the new children in to our lives. I believe I am one of her closest friends. Good luck and much prayer.

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