Got Regret?

Have you ever done something and then looking back you thought, how could I have done or said that? Or how could I not have weighed the options and made a better decision? If you’re a mom, you’ve lived long enough to have at least one disturbing regret.  

One thing is for sure. Regret leaves a wound that badgers your soul. It leaves you questioning your own discernment. It hurts deeply. OUCH! It stalks you in the day and wakes you up at night. And here’s the worse part. You can’t fix it because YOU DID IT!

If your kids are old enough, you’ve likely experienced the wound of regret over a particular season or decision you’ve made about them along the way. I have a stinger in my pocket. My son was an 8th grader and a fabulous athlete. He had taken up the sport of tennis and within a year had already won a spot in the regional league of traveling players for the summer. This was a big deal! He was pumped. His stepdad and I signed a contract stating he would finish the season. 

In the midst of all this teenage fame, he did what lots of teenagers do. He disobeyed the house rules and developed a defiant spirit. So, we broke the contract. Seemed like the right thing to do at the time. Yet, what followed were not years I’d like to redo. I regretted that decision deeply, as it gave birth to future painful scenarios. 

What do we do when the consequences of our judgment did not turn out the way we had planned? I’ve heard hundreds of stories of moms who wish they, too, could have do-overs. Yet, we’re not alone in this “Regret Club.” Remember Peter? Jesus warned Peter that he would deny him by the time the rooster crowed. I wonder what kind of remorse Peter felt when he heard – cock-a-doodle-doo – three times in a row. And what about David’s regret when he committed sin with Bethesda while her husband was fighting the war. David’s shameful actions were published in the Bible, for goodness sake! 

Maybe, like those guys, your regret is from a sin committed, and you’re deeply sorry to this day. Or like me, your regret is from sheer lack of insight in not thinking through a situation with better perception. Either way…it’s a killer. 

So what are we to do with our regrets? One thing we cannot do is put ourselves in a box called “failure.” Every mistake we’ve ever made is redeemable and good soil for God to do a greater work in our lives. Moms are notorious for beating themselves up, but God says give me the outcome. After all, it’s not your job to win the motherhood Oscar every day. Maybe it’s time to stop the personal fist fights. Maybe it’s time to consider that God’s work is progressive and better days are ahead. 

As for me, I don’t have many regrets these days. But looking back, I do have one concerning my son’s tennis story, and it’s this: I allowed it to take up too much space in my head for too long when God was going to work it for good in other ways. 

Regret. It’s time to kiss it goodbye, forgive yourself, and move on.  

Pam Kanaly

About Pam Kanaly

Aloha! I’m Pam Kanaly, President and co-founder of Arise Ministries. But actually, I think Arise found me wanting to bless single moms years ago. Ministry was never on my mind as a kid. All I wanted to be was a hula dancer. So Mother enrolled me in the tiny tots’ class. Guess God knew I’d have two grandbabies born in Hawaii. I love the great outdoors. You might even find me spending time with my husband grizzly bear watching or camping. In fact, it was on a turkey hunt that God gave me the name Arise Ministries in 2002. I suppose it’s a good thing that I majored in Grammar in college since I love to write words of encouragement to single moms.