Dancing Past Regrets
- 2011 3 May
Linda stared across the table at me, her eyes filled with tears.
“If only I hadn’t married him. If only I had just waited on God a little longer. But how could I have known?”
The tears spilled out, along with her regrets from the past several years.
Linda was raising two children alone since her husband left a year earlier when he decided he no longer wanted the responsibility of taking care of a wife and children.
Linda had spent the past year recounting her “if onlys”, beating herself over the head for not having figured out when she met him that her husband was the kind of man who would eventually leave. Yet I was there at Linda’s wedding ceremony years ago and I, too, never would have seen it coming.
Shortly after my conversation with Linda, I got a call from Becky. She was lamenting over her upcoming 20-year high school reunion, and couldn’t believe she would be attending it single. “How did I miss God’s plan for me?” she asked, in frustration. “I can’t imagine He’d want me to live out my life by myself.”
I looked at my watch as the phone call came to an end. I was almost late for an appointment with Terry, who was agonizingly lonely in her 25-year marriage.
Linda. Becky. Terry. And sometimes you and me. We all forget, at times, that God knows all things – even the miserable things in our lives -- and can still bring the tangled threads of our lives together into a beautiful love story revolving around us and Himself. Yet we, as women, continue to blame ourselves and stress that we didn’t get God’s Plan A for our lives. And instead, we fear, we’re living out the dreaded Plan B.
Have you ever considered that it’s no accident that you are where you are today? Whether you’re single and still waiting to be married, married but feeling alone, widowed earlier than you thought, or divorced and regretting that you somehow missed “God’s best”, none of it takes God by surprise. Your Maker, who fashioned you in your mother’s womb, knew the circumstances that would play out in your life to cause you to feel frustrated, or alone. The Psalmist says God has written out our days in a book before we ever came to be. That means He has a plan – and purpose – in what we sometimes see as our pain or plight.
God doesn’t have a Plan A for the majority of women – to get married and live happily ever after—and then a Plan B for the rest of us, which leaves us feeling that somehow we missed Plan A. No, God looked down through the corridors of time and knew what each of us would need to become more intimately connected with Him and then He ordained our days – overseeing our circumstances, directing our paths, and providing enough of Himself to be available to us when we feel we’re at our wits’ end – so that we would live that story and find Him as our all in all.
In Psalms 139, David sang this about the God who made him and planned out his life:
“You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”
Then David went on to say this about the Divine Writer of our life story:
“How precious are your thoughts about me, O God!
They are innumerable!
I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up in the morning,
You are still with me!” (verses 16-18, NLT)
The Writer of our story and the One who has ordained all our days loves us intimately. The number of precious thoughts He has toward us cannot even be measured! That means God not only has our life story planned out, but because He loves us immeasurably, that story is truly a good one…one of loving kindness and hope. So we don’t need to be doubled over in disappointment and shame, thinking our lives are past the point of ever turning out well. We don’t need to live with regrets that we made certain choices that messed up our lives. We can, instead, dance past those regrets knowing that God is still in charge and He knows the plans He has for us, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
Will you go through this day differently knowing that the Writer of your story has precious thoughts of you too numerable to measure? And will you trust Him today that He has this chapter of your life already resolved and is waiting for you to see the benefits of trusting Him as you live through it?
You can rejoice today knowing that your circumstances are no accident in the eyes of an all-knowing, all-seeing God. And because your days were written out in His book before you were born, He has already planned the “happy ending” that still lies ahead of you. Don’t’ give up on God because your story in His book is only half-lived. Trust the process. Trust your Maker. And rest in the fact that the Writer knows exactly what’s ahead and can get you safely to the “happily ever after.”
Originally posted May 30, 2009.
Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and the author of several books, including ‘When Women Walk Alone: A 31-Day Devotional Companion’. For more on her ministry, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.