Have you ever done something as a single mom that looking back you thought: How could I have done that? Or how could I NOT have weighed the consequences in case I’m misunderstood? Surely if you’re human, you’ve lived long enough to have at least ONE regret!
One thing is certain: regret leaves a wound that badgers our integrity. It hurts deeply. It leaves one sad, with a deep sense of loss: I’ve lost my reputation. Or I’ve lost someone dear to me. Regret is painful because the facts remain: You can’t fix or change this. And the worse part: YOU did it.
I haven’t felt the aching wound of regret for many years until recently, and I can tell you, it’s a difficult reality to overcome. In my new book for single moms, The Single Mom and Her Rollercoaster Emotions, I wrote an entire chapter on guilt and shame. But regret is a tad bit different – (Wish I’d written a chapter on “that” topic – I’d be reading it about now for myself.)
So what are we to do with our regrets? While driving home today, the Holy Spirit enlightened my direction.
Submit your regret to God. Friend, if you hold the regret inside, it will do one thing: EAT YOU ALIVE! But when we yield it to God, we are saying, “Lord, this is bigger than me. I am not able to strip it out of my mind. The consequences are too grave. It’s all yours, God. You say you’re the healer and restorer of lost dreams? Then…Good. This one is for YOU!
Expect from God. I’m fully convinced that we have not because we expect not. It’s hard to expect from God when we’re buried ten feet under in regret. But expectation is a choice we exercise, one that usually does not come naturally, and if it did, its result would not be supernatural. God promises, “I work ALL things together for good.” Hallelujah, our pain is God’s possibility!
Learn from God. Regret comes camouflaged in a valuable lesson. It sets into motion character development: Lord, what do you want me to learn from this? Lord, how can I better listen to you next time? Lord, do I believe that you will protect me in this? Regret is the perfect soil to commune with God on a deeper level.
Thank God. Are you serious? Thank God for this horrible feeling? Thank God for the consequences? I love it that God never said we had to “feel” thankful, but that we had to “offer” the attitude of thankfulness. I Thessalonians 5:18 commands, “And this is the will of God in Christ Jesus, be thankful.” Why be thankful? Simple. It’s God’s will and command.
I suppose the greatest promise while stuck in the muck of regret is remembering that God never wastes one sorrow or loss. Our heavenly Father eventually turns our mourning into something of a redeeming value. Oh, happy day!
Pam Kanaly, popular author of The Single Mom and Her Rollercoaster Emotions and nominated by the Governor of Oklahoma for “Mother of Achievement Award – 2015 ” – remains one of America’s leading advocates for single mothers. As founder of the single mothers’ conferences – Survive ‘N’ Thrive, Pam exudes with a God-given passion in seeing single moms know their value in Christ. She is the co-founder of the national organization Arise Ministries, having co-hosted her own national television talk show and having been featured on the 700 Club and other programs. For more info, visit www.ariseministries.net.
The Life of a Single Mom is a national nonprofit that exists to see that no single mom walks alone. The organization works to establish single mom support groups in churches to ensure that single mothers have a place to grow, network, and receive valuable education in core areas, such as parenting, finances, and emotional & spiritual support. To date, the organization has served more than 1,500 churches & community groups and gathers more than 82,000 single mothers each year for events and services. To learn more, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com.