I have always been convinced that there is no such thing as coincidence. The events of this week convinced me even more that this is so.
My husband and I have many bookshelves in our home that are filled. We also have sixteen boxes of books in our attic. In an attempt to pare down, lighten the load, and simplify, we started going through the boxes to see which books we'd like to donate to a local charity that has a second hand bookstore.
Meanwhile, some conversations and yes, arguments have been taking place with one of my adult children over the past several weeks. Even as adults, my children take turns at making me want to pull my colored-over, gray hair out by the roots lol. I love my children with all my heart, but sometimes their behavior makes me question how much I like them at the moment.
Anyway, all of this has had me going back over my parenting in my mind. I wondered...if only I had done that differently, would they not be acting this way? If only I had been more ___________. If only I had been less ______.
Always the question:
If I had done something different then, would things be different now?
No matter what your stage of parenting, I don't know many parents who haven't been plagued by the "if onlys" at one point or another.
As I was mulling this over in my mind while sifting through books, I came across an autographed copy of John Rosemond's popular book, "Because I Said So!" John Rosemond is a columnist and widely read "authority" on child rearing and family life. My dad had given me this book when I was a young parent.
My first thought, while cradling this gift, was "If only I had taken more of his (John Rosemond's) advice to heart." My dad and Mr. Rosemond were of the same school of thought when it came to parenting...practical and no-nonsense!!
I flipped through the pages while thinking that this was a book I wanted to hold onto - for my children's children. That's when it fell out. The sheet with my father's sermon notes from a sermon given in 2001 by a Pastor Dennison. The message was (not coincidentally) entitled, "A Cure For The If Onlys".
Tears welled up in my eyes as I looked at my father's words written in block print (tell tale sign he was an engineer). My dad passed away five years ago and there have been so many times when I would have loved to have been able to ask him what he'd do in a given situation. How would he handle my children?
And here in front of me was the answer to my mulling. My dad's sermon notes sitting in my hand. Now tell me that God doesn't have perfect timing??!! I felt like my dad's hand and heart were reaching down to me from above. Definitely a "God moment". I'm sharing my dad's sermon notes here with you. I hope and pray they can be a balm and comfort to your heart as they were to mine....
A Cure For The "If Onlys"
"Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers...and he brought their father a bad report about them. Now Israel (Jacob) loved Joseph more than any of his other sons because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him." (Genesis 37:2b-3)
Truth: We tend to live our lives in the PAST or in the FUTURE, but faith can only be exercised in the NOW.
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)
Truth: If we trust God with the PRESENT, the PAST is gone and our FUTURE is assured.
REGRETS: WE ALL HAVE THEM
WHAT DO WE DO WITH THEM?
1. JOSEPH'S FAMILY (The Regret of FAVORITISM)
"When his brothers saw that their father loved him (Joseph) more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him." (Genesis 37:4)
Truth: God is at work through FAILURE and REGRET to fulfill His plan.
LOOK: at the stories of Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his Brothers, The Prodigal and the Elder Brother.
2. REGRETS: THEIRS AND OURS
Truth: Life is full of foolish DECISIONS.
LOOK: at Jacob's "If Onlys", Joseph's, Reuben's, Yours and mine. They range from lying, to favoritism, to adultery, to murder and more.
3. THE CURE FOR REGRET/THE "IF ONLYS" IS TO TRUST IN THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD.
- Believe God has a PLAN for us.
- Believe God is in CONTROL.
- Believe God can and will FULFILL His plan.
- Believe God has the POWER.
Truth: God is at work through my FAILURES and REGRETS to fulfill His plan.
LOOK: at the stories of Peter and Judas. They both denied and betrayed Christ, but God still used their failures and regrets to fulfill His awesome plan.
What this tells me is that no matter how badly I screw up, no matter how many mistakes I make, no matter how many "if onlys" I have...God is STILL able to redeem them, redeem me, redeem my children, and fill in the GAPS with His love.
Our mistakes DO NOT...CANNOT thwart the sovereign will of God!
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? ... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any power, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8: 37-39)
This post is dedicated to my loving dad,
who waits for me and continues to look
down over me from heaven.
Thank you for this gift...
I love you dad and miss you...Happy Father's Day!
ps. I will be taking some time off for some R&R and visitors from the North. I plan to be back at my laptop around the 8th of July. If you missed it, I invite you to listen in to my interview with Holly Barrett on her podcast...just click the link below or look back through the Archives for posts you may have missed...