Shortly after my husband and I left church today I began typing on my phone. Nathan and I typically talk on the way home so he was interested in what was distracting me. I told him it was one of those “thoughts” that I needed to record somewhere or I would forget. I think he was kind of proud of me. He likes it when I’m purposeful and organized.
“The thoughts ” came back to me several times throughout the day. After all the kids and grandkids left, I dusted off my computer to share these thoughts.
Here they are-
We can’t live in the “I wishes.” Nor should we live in the regrets or should haves. All we have is today and the “I cans.”
Yes, I know there is nothing profound about these particular thoughts but stick with me for a few more minutes as I share a story with you:
Nathan and I recently moved. With that move came going through Rubbermaid Tubs with contents that spanned twenty-six years. This move has been long and drawn out and it’s my fault. I’ve sat on the floor for hours and reminisced over our family life. I’ve looked at pictures, read old journals, and cried over those cute little craft projects my kids made me telling me “You are the best mom in the world.” I found letters my children wrote over the years and even found a tub with some of their baby outfits I couldn’t part with. For the most part, this experience was a battle. As I looked at pictures of our happy family, I would find myself saying, “I wish…..” I wish I would have taken a different path. I wish I would not have made that decision. I wish I would have known how broken I was. I wish I could go back and do it over. I wish, I wish, I wish…..
And then a darkness started to settle over my heart after my endless wishes. In all my wishing, I failed to see the truth of the miraculous love of God to keep our family together and to heal our hearts….that even my own brokenness could not overtake the plan God had for our family.
As the darkness was pressing in, I felt shame again. I thought of my kids and wondered if they were secretly ashamed of me. I looked at my friends and realized most of them couldn’t relate to this battle. I felt alone. I felt worthless and I felt like I was doomed to fail…again.
But then I saw a CD in the bottom of a tub that was entitled: My Identity in Christ (Declarations of God’s Word)
It had a spotlight on it. Shining from Heaven. It shouted out, “Put this in your laptop and listen.”
So I did. Twice.
By the time the CD played through a second time, light came. When I say light came, I simply mean this-
God’s Word is powerful. It’s alive…living and active. Meaning, it does stuff. I don’t understand it all but I know it’s real. I know that it’s different from talking to a friend, going to counseling, venting or whatever other way I search for peace. God’s Word is a force…a spiritual force that exposes the lies we are enticed to believe. It bypasses our natural understanding and rearranges us on the inside…it aligns us.
Sometimes our cars need alignments…like when we hit a curb. Sometimes our souls need alignments..like when the enemy hits us with our past.
Because the truth is, no amount of wishing, regretting, or dreaming of should haves will change the past.
When the whole ordeal was over, I had a different perspective. My “I wishes” turned into “I cans.” I can be thankful for the breath I still have and the difference I can make with the life God has given me. I can get up every morning drenched in God’s mercy and empowered by His grace to love well.
Once the light was blazing as it should, I reflected on how I ended up in the battle. It only took a few days but it started with looking at the past and letting my thoughts go unchecked with truths I know. It led me to question my ability to move forward. At one point I texted my friend Debbie and confessed my battle. Her reply and picture is how I shall conclude this story. I hope this truth finds its way to someone else that needs to hear Debbie’s word and see the visual:
“The enemy…shake it off…I love you…I will imagine wringing out your shame feelings when I wring out this mop…we are clean girl…wahoo!!!!
I wish my response expressed to her how much my heart tasted joy knowing she understood the battle. Instead I got distracted with her mop bucket and replied, “Is that the mop bucket for your house?” I was impressed!