Mother’s Day is just around the corner, as is my birthday. This is the time I usually drag out my big bag of regrets about my multiple mammoth, mortifying parenting mistakes. I take out each memory and pain, one by one, hold it up and turn it around, examining every facet.
My kids are grown and out on their own. The memories of words said and blunders made trickle into my thoughts. The trickle picks up speed until a flood of sorrow and regret threaten to suck me into a whirlpool of hopelessness. This year I’ve resolved to change that dance and make peace with my parenting past. When Satan sneaks his hand around my mind and tries to pull me close, I’m determined I will push him away.
My kids are healthy, productive adults who love me and their dad, and visit us at every opportunity. They call, text, e-mail, Skype, are Facebook friends, and send the occasional card. They share photos and even ask for advice now and then! So, I guess I haven’t screwed them up too badly.
Still, wouldn’t it be nice to turn back the clock and parent with the wisdom that comes with experience, to know how troubling times would turn out so better choices could be made at the moment?
If you and I walked together and I was out in front and fell into a hole, I would turn around and call, “Watch out for that hole!” Today, that’s what I’m doing. As I share a few regrets with you, I’d like us to hold each up and examine it in the light of Christ because, as it says in 1 John 5, God is light and in Him there is no darkness.
I regret the times I put my job before my children. Did that extra money make a difference long term? Nope. Likewise I’m deeply sorry for the times, as a single mother, that I left the kids with a babysitter overnight so I could date – putting men before my children. Luke 12:34 says, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” I realized how blessed I was to have those precious kids in my life. After meeting Jesus my priorities fell in place. Still . . .
I wish I hadn’t reacted the way I did when Christians offended me. My children heard my sarcasm in response. Similarly, if only I hadn’t criticized and laughed at others behind their backs. Proverbs 16:24 says, “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Most of us can throw words like knives, can’t we? Proverbs 12:18 says, “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Finally, Psalm 17:3, “I have resolved that my mouth will not sin.” Holding that regret up to the Light, I resolved that my mouth will not sin; that my words will lift up and not tear down.
I lament the years I tried to be perfect and imposed my expectations on my poor family. The dissatisfaction with my own shortcomings tainted my demeanor. God’s beautiful light shines through this regret bringing perfect peace. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Paul quotes Christ. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
I wish I’d trusted God more and showed less anxiety when He brought change into our lives. Through several moves, financial ups and downs, family pressures, and uncertainties, I wish I’d shown more faith in God and in His great love for our family. Paul continues in 2 Corinthians 12:10, “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Perhaps it is through those scary, unsure times in our lives that we all grew.
This year I will NOT drag out my enormous bag of regrets and handle each one as if it had value. This year I will lay them all at the foot of the cross and let them be covered by the blood of Jesus. My new tradition will be to delight in the Word of God on each holiday and remember the words in 1 John 1:7-9, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Kelly J. Stigliano has been a speaker and writer for over 20 years. She and her husband, Jerry, enjoy life in Orange Park, FL. To learn more, visit www.kellystigliano.com.
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