Regret and Motherhood

Regret is a pesky companion that I believe every human on this earth lives with. But, I would imagine that regret is especially real to mothers. I would imagine that the “what if” game plays quite frequently in their heads.

I have a unique privilege of being very close with my mom. We talk on the phone multiple times a week and sometimes daily. She’s my favorite person to talk to and hang with (though the hanging with is sadly a yearly occurrence now).  My mom is the most humble and open person I know, she’s incredibly honest with me. I know first hand from my mom the many regrets she has. Most of themI, to be honest, I giggle at. NOT because they’re not genuine, but because, in light of God’s grace, they don’t affect my life. 

From time to time we’ll talk about the things she wishes she (and my dad) would have done differently in raising me. I smile. Even if some of those things are true, GOD’S GRACE IS BIGGER! As an adult woman, I honestly don’t care. I turned out just fine. I love Jesus and I’m following His will to the best of my ability. That is all that’s matters. Sure, in hind sight, maybe she could had done things differently, but she (and my dad) where doing the best they could with the knowledge and experience they had. Hind sight is always 20/20. 

Why in the world am I posting this? I have lots of friends that are now moms. And I often see that look of panic in their eye, “what if I do this parenting thing wrong”. Or I’ve watched my mom’s friends and seen their, “If only” moments of regret. 

As a woman in her 30’s, I want to remind all of my mommy friends, that GOD’S GRACE, SOVEREIGNTY, and POWER is BIGGER than your mistakes, abilities, and inexperience. My parents, didn’t do everything perfect. And I’m sure if I wanted to, I could list some of those things. But, I don’t. I really could care less what my parents did imperfectly.

What matters to me as I look back over my childhood and teen years? They loved me! They faithfully pointed me to Jesus! They were honest and open with their own sin and struggles! They made me work! They were tons of fun! They said no! And I always knew that they loved me (but they loved God first and each other second)! That’s what matters.

Moms, you’ll make mistakes. Everyone does! No one is perfect. Be faithful, follow Scripture, and love your kids a lot. :) That’s what they’ll remember when they’re in their 30’s. 

Well, they may remember the time you took your make-up and made them look like a cat. :P But, that’s another story. :D (Couldn’t resist mom!)

To conclude, I read this today and I hope it blesses and encourages you as you faithfully follow your Savior as a mom!

When my father was twelve years old he lost his left eye through disobedience. He had been forbidden to have firecrackers, but he sneaked out early in the morning of July 4, 1910, and, with the help of a neighboring farmer, set off some dynamite caps. A piece of copper penetrated his eye. 
Four years later my grandfather wrote this letter to my grandmother:
I am not one bit surprised that after all our experiences of the past four years you should suffer from sad memories, but I really do not believe for a moment that you should feel you have any occasion to let remorse bite into hour life on account of Philip’s accident. Surely we cannot guard against all the contingencies of this complex life, and no one who has poured out life as you have fore each one of your children should let such regrets take hold. 
None of us could be alive to the pressing needs of today if we should carry along with us the dark heaviness of any past whether real or imagined. I know dearest that your Lord cannot wish anything of that sort for you, and I believe you’re steady shining, and triumphant faith will lead you out through Him, into the richest experiences you have ever had. I believe that firmly. 
I have had to turn to Him in helplessness today to overcome depression because of my failures. My Sunday School fiasco at Swarthmore bears down pretty hard. But that is not right. I must look ahead, and up, as you often tell me, and I will. I know how sickening remorse is, if anyone knows; yet I also know, as you do, the lift and relief of turning the whole matter over to Him. We must have more prayers and more study together, dearest.. I haven’t followed the impulses I have so often had in this. 
Lovingly, your own Phil.
My grandfather was the most cheerful and serene man I knew in my childhood. It is hard for me to imagine his having had any cause for remorse or temptation to depression. This letter, which bears a two-cent stamp and a Philadelphia post mark, was sent to Grandma in Franconia, New Hampshire, where they had a lovely vacation house. I spent my childhood summers in that house. I can picture sitting on the porch, perhaps on the anniversary of her son’s accident, looking out toward Mounts Lafayette, Bald, and Cannon, wrestling with the terrible thoughts of her own carelessness and failure. I thank God for my heritage. I thank Him for the word of His faithful servant Paul: “I concentrate on this: I leave the past behind and with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead, I go straight for the goal-my reward the honor of being called by God in Christ” (Philippians 3:13-14, Phillips). 
-Elisabeth Elliot, Keep A Quiet Heart

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