Regrets and Amends

Tiffany Parry

It’s an honor to have Tiffany Parry of simplyforone.net guest blog today! Her words are an inspiring, heart-resonating blend of loving lessons of faith and a call to healing and knowing God’s truth. My friend Tiffany has a deeply moving fire and talent for writing. Read her insight on regrets and amends…

If I could flip through a scrapbook of my twelve years with my son (for illustration’s sake, let’s say I had time to scrapbook) there would be many wonderful memories to sift through. Snapshots would capture the excitement of all the “firsts” and the proud moments of motherhood.

If the photos reflected reality, they would also display the memories that make my stomach roll and shame come calling. The days when I was impatient, when words were spoken out of exhaustion and blew up into anger. The moments I should have embraced instead of dismissed as annoying interruptions.

Regrets have a way of surfacing in vivid color and fading the happier memories to gray.

No one can truly prepare us for parenthood, can they? We can read the books and heed advice up to our eyeballs, but being responsible for another life is the biggest journey of faith we will ever embark on. It is a step-by-step, trial by fire, uphill battle. The rewards are promised, but aren’t always seen in the trenches.

Like any battle of faith—we moms face a real enemy. The devil loves to condemn us for our errors and convince us that our losses far outweigh our wins.

We can get so seated in our parenting regret that we lose sight of our personal redemption.

Just because we’re somebody’s mom, doesn’t mean we aren’t still a sinner in need of a Savior. God doesn’t give us a child to raise and expect, or even ask us, to get everything right.

The accountability of parenting doesn’t diminish the power of forgiveness.

We make mistakes—as people, as parents—it’s our nature. It’s the way we handle the things we do wrong and apply our faith that brings us to a right-standing with God.

The quickest way to erase regrets is to make amends.

“You let the distress bring you to God, not drive you from Him. The result [will be] all gain, no loss. Distress that drives us to God does that. It turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain.” 2 Corinthians 7:8-9 MSG

To avoid regret, we keep short accounts. With God, who already knows we’re not perfect and with the people we love, who need to know we realize we’re not either.

Children are so forgiving. And it’s an attribute we ought to capitalize on. They see us through eyes of unconditional love and they don’t define us by our mistakes. It’s the way we love them, right? The same way God loves us.

It’s a powerful and far-reaching example to set for our kids when we’re willing to confess our wrongdoing and give them the opportunity to exercise forgiveness. It’s a tangible lesson in grace – the perfect way to model the cross.

When we humble ourselves and sacrifice our pride, forgiveness washes away regret.

There are some not so pleasant memories I’d like to rip out of that scrapbook. Some things I’d go back and re-do and a few I’d like undone all together.

But shame won’t recover the past and guilt only cripples the future.

We serve a God who is a receiver of amends and a remover of regrets. For the ones we offer today and the many we’ll bring in our tomorrows. For us, for our kids, and for every generation to come.

Let’s set the pattern—to willingly confess, wholeheartedly forgive, to train up our children in His grace. To treasure every memory knowing that none are in vain.

God chose you to raise up the precious lives He’s entrusted to your care—He has no regrets.

About the author…Tiffany is exceedingly grateful for a God who knows her flaws and yet prizes her as precious and chosen. She is wife of sixteen years and has just embarked on the tween adventure with her twelve year old son. A lover of words, Tiffany purposes to use hers to speak truth and encourage others that while life can be messy, God is greater. She welcomes you to follow along as she pursues God and leans into grace on her word-by-word journey through the mountains and valleys of faith at her blog, Simply for One.

www.simplyforone.net

www.facebook.com/simplyforone

Twitter: @tiffparry

The Secret to Strong Faith

Faith The seed of faith is a gift. It’s there for all of us, tucked deep into our hearts by the designer of love, the curator of all life. Like a baby, it needs nurturing to grow. How do you grow this delicate seed? Root it so firmly in your soul that hurricane winds will not blow it down?

The very first step is to ASK for it.

Luke 11:9: So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

The Lord IS good and He will absolutely help you grow your faith – if you ask and let Him. But you can’t just randomly ask once or twice and expect your faith seed to morph into an impenetrable steel foundation overnight. Make it your prayer mission and your meditation every day, throughout the day. Ask fervently, consistently with the expectation that your faith will strengthen.

Luke 11:13: If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?

My friend, know that faith is not an easy gift to ask for. It’s not a pretty package with a neat ribbon, sunshine, and cupcakes. There are growing pains, agonizing trials that will mold and refine the gift of faith.

The next step is to persist through the fire of trial. When the rains come, and oh will it pour, don’t let the flood drown your faith. Through pain and tears, I have angrily said aloud, “God, why have you forsaken me? Why have you left me?” You have no doubt experienced heart-wrenching moments like this of your own.

But please, dear friend, hold on tight to Him and trust that this trial is a necessary, blessed part of His beautiful story for you. Persist. Don’t give up on Him for He will never give up on you. Your seed can then develop into the unshakeable faith you will need to live a life of confident obedience and peaceful surrender.

What’s the reward and the point of having a strong faith? Just look at life without it. I am baffled by and feel such sorrow for those who have no faith. I see loneliness, hopelessness, and too many people bearing the crushing weight of needless worldly burdens on falling shoulders. Faith doesn’t make your cross any lighter, but it will make you strong enough to carry it with Christ. And as you become stronger, you can begin to offer precious drops of faith to others.

So here’s the secret formula for a strong faith: Ask for it every day, persist through the trials, and share it with others, especially those who have lost faith. Help them carry on for a day or even a moment.

My friend, where are you on your faith journey? Have you found strength in Him?

They Change, But So Do We

woman reflectingAll the clichés are true: Your life changes when you have kids…They grow so fast…Enjoy the time you have with them while they’re little.

We are so focused on how our children develop almost growing inches overnight and starting preschool in the blink of an eye. Little people are always changing and we are watching as if the first flower of spring is stretching open it’s beautiful petals. The tendency is to get sucked in by the joy, chaos, and busyness of serving the perpetual needs of our children to the point where we don’t even notice how we ourselves have changed.

Physical changes are probably the most obvious and nearest our consciousness every day. If you own a mirror, I’m sure you notice your fine wrinkles, grey hair, or maybe a little extra weight. But oh how we’ve changed on the inside!

My entire story before kids seems like a distant past life. Now with the wisdom of having walked the twisted roads that spark self-growth, I can see all that I’ve gained in my new identity. Compared to what it once was, my heart is soft and full. I have learned to love deeper than I ever fathomed and to truly give much more than I receive.

2 Corinthians 5:17: Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

I never knew what real service meant before. The kind that requires the emptying of self, putting others first even before my most basic needs (Nope, can’t get that bathroom privacy). Blasting at full force, the constant “doing” for my family has dominated me to the point where if it stops, I feel extremely anxious and selfish. Like a fish out of water. How strange!

Motivated to provide for my family, I have developed new abilities and desires previously untapped. I have actually started cooking. Real food. It’s crazy! I wake up every morning to exercise and shower before my boys wake up. And I so miss the beautiful snow of a northeast winter. I’m at peace with all my changes and would not trade this simple-soul life, but what else is lurking behind that blinding question: “Who am I?”

My fear for us, dear friend, is that we shed ourselves so completely in the name of caring for family and daily survival that one day we wake up and have no idea what our passions are or what we want to do with our time now that the kids are in school. I’ve seen this happen to many women. Lost. Confused. Hopeful but scared.

What’s the point to all of this? Awareness. Just as you notice, appreciate, and cultivate your children’s’ changes, please be mindful of your own. Both the deeply positive and the grieving or troubling. Acknowledge and nurture yourself, dear friend. Take time to reflect, journal, and illustrate the core components of your interior and public life.

You matter. There is no one who can be who you are and do exactly what your uniqueness offers the world. Don’t lose sight of that. Bloom, thrive, and confidently rock your changes! How have you changed?