It is my true pleasure to introduce you to Steph Beth Nickel today. She is a fellow blogger and has been a joy to read over the last several months. Her blog is full of great tips, book reviews, and so much more. I hope you will head over an join her in the discussion!
The Bitter Taste of Regret
Regret … have you tasted its bitterness?
If you’re a parent, I’m sure the answer is yes.
Regret over unreasonable expectations of your children. Regret over angry verbal—and perhaps, physical—outbursts. Regret over “majoring on the minors.”
I’ve experienced all of these—and many, many more.
And our regrets often lead us to the “if-onlies.”
“If only I’d held my tongue …”
“If only I’d kept my negativity to myself …”
“If only I’d instigated family devotions …”
Your list may look similar to or very different from mine, but I’m sure there are things you’d like to do differently if you could go back and do them again. While this is the case for me, I realize that isn’t how time—or God—works.
But I do know He has plans and purposes that are far above my own. I also know that regret and “if only …” over Yesterday only rob Today and Tomorrow of joy and adventure. There is no hopping in a time machine so we can have a do-over.
The Joy of Messing Up
And one of the joys of messing up is sharing the lessons we’ve learned with others. If the lessons I’ve learned—and am still learning—help others make better decisions than I made, that will be evidence of the truth of Romans 8:28. God does indeed work all things together for our good.
If I could revisit my past with the insights and personal growth I have attained up to now, these are some of the things I would do differently:
- I would get help for my anger much sooner. It had a death grip on me for years and affected all my relationships, including my parenting.
- I would learn to marvel at the treasure that is my husband. It took me approximately a decade of marriage to truly begin to appreciate Dave. And that only after he wisely said, “I don’t think you’d like the man you think you want me to be.” Talk about convicting and eye-opening! (If our relationship with our spouse isn’t as it should be, it will most definitely affect our children.)
- I would keep my negative opinions about others—especially brothers and sisters in Christ—to myself. I don’t even want to know what kind of damage my tirades caused. (If it wasn’t for God’s grace and forgiveness, I would curl up in a corner somewhere and wither away.)
- I would try to discover balance between teaching my children to help with household responsibilities and nagging them incessantly. In the elusive search for “peace,” I often let things slide. (I still do, but now it’s because I have gazillions of other responsibilities—including cleaning the church with my hubby. God has such a sense of humor. Horrible housekeeper turned church custodian. Too funny!)
- Times of personal devotionals have been hit and miss over the years. But one area that has been almost 100 percent “miss” is the area of family devotions. I won’t make excuses. I won’t try to explain why it never happened. I’ll just say that if we don’t make it a priority, it’s unlikely that our kids will learn to do so—at least not as early as we’d like.
Encouragement from God’s Word
As I mentioned, your list may look similar—or very different—from mine. But I imagine you have your own list.
Let me encourage you with the following verses:
Again, remember Romans 8:28: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (ESV).
And no matter how badly we mess up, God will work out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will (Ephesians 1:11). Mind blown!
And whether our children are toddlers or grown with families of their own, we must not grow weary of doing what is good (Galatians 6:9). We have God’s promise that we will reap a good harvest if we keep at it.
In place of “if only,” let’s begin to think in terms of “only God.”
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