Released from Regrets
Just as I wrote about in my devotion today, regrets can be overpowering. Nobody likes to think about regrets let alone dwell there. In fact, I asked a group of my friends to write about regrets to share here today, and only one brave soul replied. LOL! But I’m happy to share my friend Rey Cooke’s thoughts with you. She’s a wise woman who has been a mentor to me– so much so that there’s a pivotal story in my book about Rey. So here are some further helpful thoughts about regrets…
Personally, my biggest regret led to my biggest insecurity which led to the greatest spiritual growth and faith/trust adventure of my life!! The regret was that I did not get a college degree. I took some courses at the local Community College but never transferred into a 4-year College.
I married young, at the age of 18, and started a family at age 20. I do not regret marrying at a young age, I loved my husband and wanted to do marriage God’s way. I do not regret having my children young. I look back on that time of life with warm memories and I praise God that we have been married 38 years and have 9 grandchildren and still growing!
However, I do regret not receiving a degree. While I was at home raising my 4 daughters, I dreamed of going back to school and becoming a nurse. That’s when God invaded my dreams and called me into a ministry as a Bible Teacher for a very large class with hundreds of students. I was convinced that I was not equipped or capable of doing such a job because I did not have that piece of paper which indicated that I was qualified or good enough to do the job. The class was filled with hundreds of students and every possible profession was represented, including those who taught on the college level.
Do I have to tell you how intimidated I was when I stepped up to the microphone for the very first time? I argued with God many times trying to convince Him that He was making a mistake to put ME in that position! That’s when God whispered to my heart, “When you open your mouth to proclaim truth your audience will know that I AM speaking through you”. Not because you have a degree, but because “I AM who I AM” and I can use anybody. Even a mom who got her training being at home with her children!
I was more afraid of God than I was of leading a group of His people. My utter dependence on Him grew as I walked by faith through the 7-year journey. I never did become a Nurse who ministers to the sick, but I am a Bible Teacher who ministers to the spiritually sick. God’s sovereignty trumped my regret of not getting a degree and no one can look at my life and say, “God chose her because she had a XY and Z degree!” All to say, yes I do regret that I did not go to college, but I do not regret obeying God!
Another BIG “regret” that I have is being so HARD on my children spiritually. In my mind, I placed spiritual expectations on my children and didn’t allow them to mess up. Looking back, I realized the culture changed drastically between my first two children and my last 2 children. The issues the girls faced were different because technology was advancing rapidly, the community/church changed (not everybody went to the same HS in youth group) even their birth order makes a difference. Unfortunately, I maintained the same ridged/legalistic expectations, and expected God to protect them and me from anything bad.
Because I am a rule follower, I regret, that I superimposed my faith on them. I remember saying to one of my daughters who was struggling “Of course you can handle pressures at school you have the Royal Blood of Christ flowing through you!”. Somehow I missed her pain! I hate thinking about how that must have made her feel, instead of validating her I just made her feel like something was wrong with her. That’s when I learned the Biblical principle, “Rules and Regulations without Relationship leads to Rebellion”.
I don’t blame myself for parenting mistakes that I’ve made nor do my daughters, but I do regret being so hard on them, BUT I do not regret God using rebellion in their lives to bring them to Himself!! And isn’t that what we all want? For our children come to Christ on their own?
Final thoughts, my regret list is short. I believe in God’s sovereignty and His intimate involvement in our personal lives. He uses our mistakes for our good and His glory, He is a Redeemer of time, a Restorer of relationships, and in my life He has used my greatest regret to lead me to utter dependence on Him. I’m in good company with many great men and women of the faith! Hallelujah!!
Thank you so much, Rey. I hope you’ll encourage her with your comments.
Life isn’t perfect, so we’re bound to end up with some regrets. The important thing is how we deal with them. Instead of letting them shut us down, let’s hand them over to Jesus. For more thoughts about how to deal with our imperfect lives make sure to subscribe to my blog today and receive Five Days to Himperfection, a mini-ebook, for free. Click here to subscribe.
I am amazed that God continues to speak directly to my heart through your ministry Amy. I have not read your post from April 18th until today and it is a clear confirmation to Bible study and a prayer that I have been struggling with for weeks regarding regret and completing my BA degree. Rey, thank you for sharing and being transparent with this part of your testimony. I am blessed beyond measure to know that I have such strong, wise women who are allowing God to use them. Praise God for using this posting as part of my confirmation directly from Him.
Cathy, you’re so sweet, and you know I love you! I’m so glad Rey’s testimony was an encouragement to you.
Thank you both so much for these words of encouragement! Rey as I was reading your words I instantly started feeling this relief, an exhale, a forgiveness of myself for some painful regrets that I still carry from nearly 25+ years ago. wow!
Even though I KNOW my sin has been forgiven I somehow want to pull myself down with shame/regret all these years later. Thank you for this. I am going to reread and soak in the encouragement of forgiving myself. Such a release. Such a deep exhale.
Praise the Lord Sister Rey. Thank you for sharing your story it validates God’s recruiting list. I’m in the same boat and I knew God was working I was just thinking worldly and thought well I want to finish up my degree and be powerful and make extra like other wives do. Knowing good and well my kids need me but most of all we need God, because I’m the spiritual leader in our home. Your advice is wonderful and holds true because God forgives us all whether we have a degree or not. God bless and please keep sharing about your wonderful experiences and praying for you as start this wonderful chapter in your life 🙂
There are no coincidences. Today, I was walking and praying, thinking about all of my regrets. Some regrets have to do with things I have done and other’s are a result of life’s circumstances.
I have a college education obtaining a Master’s Degree from a prestigious university. However, I worked in my field a short time before deciding to be a stay-at-home mom. I have done some work from home, some long and some short term projects, however, not making much money. Even so, money has not been an issue, as my husband has a great job with a salary that is more than enough for us to live on. Even so, I have a twinge of regret and shame that I have never held a job that made me feel important.
All of these years that i have been home, life has happened. My father had a long battle with terminal cancer, by son had neurological issues, my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, and my husband became a full time minster. I have been the one with the flexibility to assist in handling these situations and be there for my family.
Even as I type this, I am ashamed to complain as I truly am so grateful for the flexibility. If I were working a 9 to 5, I am not sure how it all would have played out. However, I struggle to feel significant in the world that prizes material success and measurable accomplishments.
My head realizes that God has blessed me to be available, but my heart sometimes longs for a sense of significance that comes from the world.
Today’s devotional helped me to remember what is truly important in my life and that God will order my steps as He wills. It is not my agenda, but his and worldly praise and reward is not the goal, but his loving guidance and approval are all that I need.
Thanks for your transparency and willingness to share. Just know that I have been blessed by God through both of you today!
I am so encouraged by your words. It is funny how I also regret not finishing college. Last August I decided to finally do it. I had only 7 classes left.to finish my Associate of Arts degree and I will be done in 22 short days.
I let not having my degree define me for so long (I will be 46 on Wednesday), but I wouldn’t change the journey God has taken me on. I plan on continuing on to a 4 year college in the Fall. If for some reason God doesn’t open that door I will continue to trust my future to Him, and excited to see where He takes me. Thank you for sharing your story
Reading Rey’s story reminded me (how did I forget this?) that probably 30 years ago I knew that I knew that I knew that God was calling me to be a nurse in His hospital. I have worked as a secretary/administrative assistant in the medical field for the past 30 years. After working for the past nine years in a General Operating Room, my regrets for not going to school to become a “real” nurse were piling high. I didn’t realize how high until reading your blog. I’m not sure that I am living in His calling or not.
For the past year and half I have been consumed with helping my daughter raise her 2 girls while dad spent some time in a federal prison. I committed my help to my daughter when I heard the news about her husband. Little did I know at that time that I would be called upon throughout his incarceration to become “Mom” to my 2 granddaughters, when my daughter had multiple inpatient hospitalizations for severe depression, anxiety and suicidal ideations.
Merriam-Webster defines a nurse this way:
: a person who is trained to care for sick or injured people and who usually works in a hospital or doctor’s office
: a woman who is paid to take care of a young child usually in the child’s home
Based upon that definition I guess I have been walking in my calling!! And I didn’t even realize it.
I think I have a testimony here. Thank you for Rey’s story and your blog that opened my eyes. Gonna go shed a few grateful tears now.
Barbara, I’m shedding tears too! Thank you so much for sharing your story and “aha moment” with us. I’m incredibly grateful.
Praise be to the Lord, who see’s all, knows all, and loves us so deeply!! May you be strengthen by His love today and know that you truly are His hands and feet to your beloved family! Your loving hands are surly being used by the Lord to mold and shape the lives of those little ones in your watch care!! You are right in the center of God’s plan and this is just a small part of a much bigger picture! Be encouraged knowing that you are playing a big part in HIS story!!
God Bless you!
Thank you for being BRAVE enough to share your story with us! What a word of encouragement! It mirrors my own personal story almost identically. The Lord knew I needed this word today. Recently, I have been living in regret that I didn’t finish my college education. My children are now grown, married, working successfully in their fields of study and starting their families. The Lord provided jobs for me and my husband so that they could have the education and skills that I did not receive as a young adult. Not only did He provide the resources for their college education but for my husbands bachelors and seminary degrees. He was so faithful!
Now that they are grown and gone, an empty house leaves time to reflect and evaluate what is next for me. I have no regret for the hard work for their degrees at all! Thrilled they have this for their lives. BUT….I now recognize that I have allowed myself to fall prey to the enemy’s lie that my lack of education makes me unqualified to truly live out His calling on my life. No degree – no credentials to speak or teach, right? Wrong! I am now choosing to move forward “girded in His Truth” (Eph 6:14) that HE – not myself – is able to complete it – even without the college degree! This was total affirmation that the Lord can and will use me if I will just step forward in obedient faith. His call is the credential (Jer 1!) He qualifies the called!
Thank you Rey! May the Lord bless, anoint, and pour favor upon you and your ministry! HE is our credential, equipper, and qualifier to do His work! Hallelujah!
Thank you Fawnda! Wow! What an encouraging word to read from you today! Often I’m reminded of King David’s story while he was “minding his own business” on the back side of a mountain shepherding sheep, when God called him to service, the least among many brothers who seemed more qualified. It’s always been about the heart and God knows our hearts!! Just be real, that’s what people need!
Bless you sister for such a strong word of encouragement!
I thoroughly regret how the mistakes I made raising my children, but God has given them good jobs and beautiful families. Would you please pray for my youngest? he has to move out of the place he rents and rent is so high where he lives. Pray that with this move God will grow him up spiritually and find a place to live that is economical as well as a safe place. Thank-you. Also, please pray that God will send him a Christian wife.
I’m praying right now!
I in so many ways have been that Mom with my three older children. Very hard on them spiritually, expecting so much from them. Although I long to see them walk in God’s strength, many times I want or wanted them to perform so I would look like a good Mom with godly kids.
I have a teenage daughter who is walking in rebellion right now and it is heart breaking. Thank you for reminding me of the goodness of God, trusting He will use whatever it takes to draw us and her to Him. They were hopeful and healing words to my heart today.
Praying for you and your daughter this morning, Melissa. The experiences I’ve had with my children’s pain have been so much worse than the pain of my personal struggles. My heart is with you.
One thing I do know for sure God knows your heart! There is nothing wasted in our lives and the very first step is admitting the problem before God. HIs word never returns void. Sometimes our children take the round about way back to the Lord. As painful as it is, I would much rather it be their faith and not mine. Trust God’s word to bring your daughter back to Him. Love her, pray for her and look for oportunities to be kind to her. Romans 2:4 …it is the kindness of God that leads you toward repentance.
Praying for you this day, my friend!
Thank you for sharing Ray’s story. My life mirrors her…including the regrets: not getting a college degree, married at age 19, starting a family at a young age and allowing regret bring in self doubt and insecurities.
God’s love, whispers and grace continues to transform me daily. I am 50 years old with two beautiful children, two beautiful grand girlies and have been married almost 31 years. I am blessed.
Thank you again for His Truth,
Rejoicing in how God uses every detail of our story–including the ones we see as “less than”!
Somehow I think we may have been protected from some of the harshness of the world by not going the direction of the majority. I wouldn’t trade anything for my faith journey with the Lord! Love your story!
First of all, I am so encouraged through the words shared today. It is not even 5am yet here on the east coast and I am being spiritually fed this morning before I start breakfast. I can so relate to Rey’s testimony. It was almost like reading my very own.
Yes, I am a witness to how God will use anyone who is willing to be used by Him. I remember someone stating that God does not call the qualified, but He qualifies those that He calls. I am also thinking about how the culture has changed over the years, especially in the church. I realized that in ministry, that I had/have been ministering without the degree that most are now furthering their education in ministry to obtain. That does not mean that I don’t struggle with not being enough or qualified enough, because I do.
I am thankful for testimonies like this to remind me that God through the Holy Spirit works through us and I am blessed to know that He began the work in me and is faithful to complete it, in Jesus name. Blessings! 🙂
So glad you were encouraged today, Tosha. Your story inspired me too!
Amen Sister! Thanks for taking time to encourage me!