Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Regrets or Just Mistakes?

I guess this blog isn't going in the direction I intended quite as quickly as I had hoped. I've spent a fair amount of time thinking about the direction my life has gone and all the decisions I made over the years that have brought me to my present here and now.

Considering the blessings I have received from the ashes of my mistakes, I have to say I actually have few regrets. Don't get me wrong, I do have regrets, and some are whoppers, but some of the things you would think I would regret, I don't.

I don't regret either marriage. From my first I gained 6 incredible people into my life, and through them even more have entered. My family means everything to me. My children are people I can be proud of. They are good and honest and hard working. I cannot and will not regret the means in which I gained them in my life.

I don't regret the second marriage either. It was through the pain of that relationship that I finally got a true glimpse of myself. I had done a great deal of work on myself already, but my core was still in need of draining. I didn't seem to know how to reach it, how to access it to do me any good. I was floundering in life, lacking direction, lacking an understanding of what it was all about. Lacking a true relationship with God that could pull me out of the mess I had created.

I didn't mean to be callous towards God. I didn't really have a clue about what the Atonement really was. Not that I have all the answers now, but I do know more now than I knew then.

I used to see God as a stern, frowning parent who was forever shaking his head in disappointment towards me. I knew I was being taught he was full of love and forgiveness, but I don't think I really believed it. I mean, at some point shouldn't I know better? Shouldn't I quit making the same old stupid mistakes? Shouldn't it be "three strikes and you're out"? I think I saw my dad instead, and got confused.

But then I made a really bad mistake, one where I truly thought God would throw me away. One where those who should have known better reinforced that erroneous thinking. God taught me a simple yet profound truth... He doesn't throw His children away... He rescues them! I learned He would not let go of me, and when I turned to Him and held on, I gained strength, understanding, and growth. He used my mistake as a learning tool, not a rod of condemnation. He showed me His love and mercy so powerfully that there was no denying they existed.

I needed a lot of growth. I may have been in my early 40's, but in God's eyes I was... and still am... a little child, a baby. At first this truth angered me, I thought I didn't have the right to the luxury of that excuse. I was really hard on myself and I saw this truth as an excuse to let up... and I wasn't about to let up. I found out that being hard on myself actually got in the way of overcoming my mistakes. It kept me stuck on the mistakes instead of moving forward with the remedies. I notice the difference now, when I fall back into the trap of being hard on me. Growth stops and I start to fall backwards instead of allowing myself to be lifted forward. And I have no right to be harder on myself than God is, that is telling God He is wrong in His judgment of me and I really have no right to tell God He is wrong!

I don't see God as a mean, dictator parent anymore. I see a truly loving father, arms outstretched towards me, eyes pleading for me to come forward. A smile of reassurance, beckoning me to keep trying. When I fall, He isn't scolding, He is reaching to pick me up. He knows how to wipe off the dust that gets on me when I land in the dirt. And He does it without rubbing it in my face.

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