When we were completing our first year of the Secrets ministry, based on Titus 2, the leadership decided it might be a fun and profitable lesson for each leader to take a few minutes during our last class and talk about what she would do over in her marriage and home if she could. Of course, as my husband Mark says, “There are no ‘do-overs’ in life. You get one shot at it and that’s all!” I have kept my sheet of “do-overs” from that day in my quiet time notebook these past few years as a reminder. I must make my relationships and my life count today; I must be all God desires for me to be and do all He asks of me today!
I had a friend who once told me she had no regrets about her life. I was astonished! I have several! There are definitely things I would change if I had a chance to go back and do them all over again. I cannot! Regrets are interesting; we cannot do a thing about them except learn from them. But, perhaps my list of “do-overs” can keep you from having as many regrets.
My list of “do-overs”
- I would have been more serious, devoted, and on task in my relationship with the Lord. I wish I knew when I was a young woman how much God longed for a deep and intimate relationship with me. I didn’t realize how much He desired His children to seek Him. Instead, I sought after “things” that would be beneficial and pleasing to me. I made the mistake of believing that going to church, engaging in weekly Bible studies, and hanging with Christian friends made me Christ-like and “a Christian.”
- I would have gone to God for wisdom, insight, and direction in my marriage, parenting and relationships. Instead, I sought out wisdom and advice from unreliable, flawed sources.
- I would have been a better steward over the years of the money my husband worked so hard to earn. So many times, I pleased my flesh and bought what I wanted or felt I “deserved” or what made me “feel better,” even if the funds were not there.
- I would have died to my flesh more often in my marriage and not taken up so many petty offenses – small things I let blossom into big things.
- I would have been more open and willing to work through “issues.” I hid my hurt and made Mark, my husband, go on digging expeditions in order to discover what was wrong.
- I would have looked at everything from shining his shoes to sex as a privilege and an honor. (You can read more about our current journey with my husband’s health at the bottom of my previous post here.)
- I would have set a better example before my girls of being a godly, Christ-honoring woman who desired a deep, intimate relationship with the Lord.
- I would have put down my “to-do” list once my daughters were home in the afternoons and devoted that time to them. I was a list maker and a project queen! Now I know no project or item on my list was more important than time spent with them! Yes, a house needs to be cleaned and dinners cooked, but often those should wait in lieu of the better choice…time!
- This may sound funny, but I would have set aside my personal fears and inhibitions in order to connect with my children and have fun! For instance, I was fearful of the water when we went to the pool or the ocean and definitely more concerned with getting my hair wet than having fun with them. I would forget the hair and my fears and make memories!
- I would not have allowed my own insecurities to cost me so much in my marriage relationship, my family relationships, and in my parenting. I didn’t realize how fearfully and wonderfully God made me!
- I would have enjoyed our time as a family more – laughed more, worried less, been less concerned about the inconsequential, played more and made more memories together (like my daughter Kelly hiding deep in the sheets as I changed them each week or having a tea party with Angela and her pretend friends.) Instead I majored on many minors and minored on many majors!
I think about Eve; I wonder if she regretted listening to the serpent. I wonder about Rebekah; did she regret showing favoritism to one son over the other? Did Miriam wish she had not been jealous of her brother, Moses, but instead rejoiced in all God was doing in and through his life?
Regrets…we all have them, but are we willing to admit them, learn from them, and move forward?
We are flawed humans. But, God offers grace to us so in turn, we can offer grace to ourselves and others. I believe exercising grace toward ourselves is one of the most difficult things for us to do. I made mistakes in my marriage and in my parenting. You will make mistakes. Thankfully God covers over our mistakes with His grace and works in spite of us. Praise God!
“He remembered us in our weaknesses. His faithful love endures forever.” Psalm 136:23
“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness…” Romans 8:26a
“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” Philippians 4:23
“Be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 2:1
“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.” Psalm 103:13-14
Ladies, let’s acknowledge our regrets, learn from them (as well as the regrets of others), and make the most of today.
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