I caught myself grieving my life this morning. Do you ever do that? I grieved the fact that I made horrible choices when I was younger – I just didn’t care about anything or anyone, not even myself. I just wanted to be happy, to feel good, to be loved at whatever the cost.
One of my first memories was my parents telling me, a 6-year-old child and my 4-year-old sister they were getting a divorce. I think a part of me died or at least changed me forever. That may sound foreign to the reader since divorce is so “normal” now. Back then it wasn’t. There was no therapy available; coping skills were “suck it up and go on”. Because it was so hard on Mom and younger sister, I buried my feelings and told no one how I felt. That was just the beginning.
I’m knocking on the door of 60 and to this day, I look back and see every wrong turn, every decision made out of self-righteousness and self-loathing. If no one else was going to care about me and what I do, why should I so I pursued self-destructive things and habits and because of MY choices (not because of anyone else) here I am today. Alive? Yes. Saved and changed? Yes, thank God. But I can’t help looking back to what could have been.
I stop short of regret, but grieve more than I care to admit. I think there’s a difference. Grief allows me a healthy awareness of sorrow over things in my life. Regret is, well regret. I do regret – but I can’t wish it had never happened. Regret would lead me (I fear) to resent my life, and all the things that led me straight into the presence of Jesus. How could I regret anything? I wish I had lived differently; I wish I had KNOWN to live differently. I grieve the years I could’ve been different and the things I could’ve done differently. I grieve the death of myself but I don’t regret who I am now.
Would I have been saved or had the privileges of seeing the hand of God in my life and in my son’s life had I (or my circumstances) been different? Would I have ever written for Him, live to honor Him? I know this: I wouldn’t have this powerful testimony to share about a “wretch like me”. I wouldn’t know what I know.
So there you have it – the point of it all, the beauty for ashes. All that ugly is turning into something beautiful…in EVERY life, not just mine. Look back occasionally and no matter what you feel, see how God has brought you through it all for His good pleasure. Grieve a moment, but don’t regret. Believe all of it has a grand purpose: for His glory and for you to know He is the One True God and that He’s faithful to see His plan through to the end. Always.
Jeremiah 29:11-13; Isaiah 61:3; Romans 8:28; Philippians 2:13