Today I am blogging at InspyRomance about twenty-twenty hindsight in both real life and in my story world
Check it out. Comment to be entered into a giveaway. This time, I am featuring my book Find You Again (Savannah Sweethearts Book 8).
Here are some of my own comments from the post.
In response to someone saying that they don’t like to look back in their lives and feel “down” here is what I said:
In response to someone saying that she met her husband in college:
Praise the Lord that He does bring people together for such a time as that. Isn’t it incredible how God worked out everything way back then! When I was going to college, I could have gone to several. I had scholarship in one state, my aunt lived in another state, but in the sovereignty of God, He led my father to choose the college I eventually went to, that didn’t give me a scholarship. But when I got there, I met a bunch of Christians and then I trusted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Even though it was a secular college, God sent Christians there, and I got saved. Romans 8:28 again. Had I gone to another college, perhaps the story would have been different. I know God pursues you regardless of where you go, but the timing was perfect for me. God knew it.
In response to someone saying things can be outside their control:
Isn’t God amazing! God is good all the time, for sure. I do believe that God does orchestrate all our circumstances (as I mentioned in the blog re: Romans 8:28) and works out all the details for our good. Indeed, I remind myself to surrender my daily life to God and let Him filter my daily activities through His capable hands. God knows best. He is the Potter, and I am the clay. There is calm and peace in the palm of His hands.
In response to a few people saying they dare not or don’t want to look back:
Speaking for myself, it’s sometimes hard to look back and see what went on and how God delivered me through various situations, both big and small.
A small example is this: One time I was running late for a meeting because I got caught in a super heavy traffic. I regretted not adding 30 minutes to my drive (knowing that I have never gone to that city, and who knows, I might have gotten lost, even with GPS). So I was regretting not having left sooner. In any case, I prayed all the way over there. And lo and behold! There was ONE SPOT right in front of the front door! Just for me – haha! I knew God’s mercy overflowed that day, and you can be sure I was going THANK YOU GOD the whole way in.
So to answer my own question: I wish I had left the house sooner for the meeting since I had no idea if I would run into traffic BUT God’s mercy rescued me by giving me that parking spot closest to the front door so I wasn’t too late and people were still coming in after I got there.
On a bigger scale, sneak peek into the future (we know this!): There is always a happy ending in Jesus Christ!
Yes, for sure, we have to be careful not to “regret” on things that God has already delivered us through. God has already dealt with the past, and while we can look back objectively to see how God has rescued us “out of the miry pit,” I wouldn’t want to walk back (or fall back) into it.
Of course, as authors we have great imagination. Good reminder not to go on wild speculations. For example, something out on the left field like: What could have happened had I gone to college (university) in England (or Australia or Japan or anywhere else), for example, rather than in the USA. But I can see all through my life how God has led me all the way. He makes streams in the desert!
“…for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert” (Isaiah 35:6).
Ultimately, to God be the glory!
In response to someone who doesn’t like me asking people if they have regrets (although I did say make sure to say how God has delivered you from them):
I’m glad that you’re helping others move forward, and absolutely, I agree that each of us has different spiritual gifts, and we have to be careful how we exercise those gifts.
“So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness” (Romans 12:5-8).
Some of us can be emotionally affected when looking back at their own lives or when hearing about other people’s life stories. God has given them great compassion and their hearts are moved greatly when hearing about pain and sorrow.
OTOH, some of us can objectively look into our lives and see what’s what, analyze what happened, what the responses are, what God is teaching, what the lesson is, what the Bible says. But not everyone can do that without getting emotionally distraught over the past.
Thank you for the reminder that we are all created so uniquely and gifted with various gifts.
At the end of the day, praise the Lord that we have a Redeemer in Jesus Christ. God makes all things new. He makes streams in the desert. He is ultimately sovereign, and to God be all the glory!
And in reply again:
I don’t know how griping and complaining (about the past) can be edifying to both themselves and other Christians around them TBH. I recall that verse in the Bible saying not to let “the root of bitterness” spring up. Second guessing God or what He has cleaned up, fixed, repaired, and so forth is also not productive IMHO.
Good perspective, and indeed we do need to know “why we’re looking back” and not everyone can look at their past and not be hurt all over again. I think growing in the Lord will help. I am reminded of Paul, who was able to give a testimony of how far he had come in his walk before and after salvation in Christ. He was able to say what he had done, and how God had delivered him.
That was why the second part of my blog post today dealt with “BUT GOD” — that is, what did God do to deliver you from your past regrets.
In reply to someone who has much regrets:
God’s grace is always deeper still, regardless of where we have been or could have been. I do believe that God will never come up short. He is always ahead of us and works out all things for our good (Romans 8:28 indeed).
What a blessing it is to both you and your mom that you could take care of her. God honors it and great is your reward in heaven! When my own mom suffered the massive stroke some years ago, I wish that I could have been there to care for her for more than just the 3 weeks I was able to be away from my then young son. I had to leave Mom in God’s hands, and in the care of my brothers (who have their own lives). But God worked it all out, and to this day, I still wish I could see Mom more often, but she understands that it’s hard to travel back and forth over long distances. God knows our hearts.
Praise the Lord that you and I can look back to see that God has been faithful to us and our families, regardless of our circumstances, and that with God’s strength and in His joy, we can press on toward the upward call of Christ!
“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ” (Philippians 3:7).
“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).
I am reminded of Ivan McMillan in my novel, Share with Me (Seaside Chapel Book 1). I wrote the story some years ago, about a violinist who was on the verge of becoming world class famous, when suddenly his grandfather died and he had to return to his hometown to care for his widowed grandmother. In the process, he gave up his concert touring days, his band, his career, his dreams, his everything. He spent the next years struggling to pay off his grandfather’s debts, teaching violin in a small studio, and basically having a hard life. And that’s where my story begins.
And that’s where my story begins…
BUT GOD. God makes all the difference in his life, and also in mine.
You know, sometimes Christians look at their lives with tears of sorrow, when truly, our lives are our testimony to the faithfulness of God. He saved is through Jesus Christ. Our tears of joy should be a praise to the Lord of Heaven who has delivered us from the domain of darkness to the kingdom of light.
Here is the archived content of the blog post I wrote:
Do you have twenty-twenty hindsight that makes you look at your own life and circumstances more critically than usual?
Do you think of questions that begin with any of these starters?
- It would be easier now if I had…
- Things would be different now if we were…
- I wish I never did…
Those things crossed my mind as we approach Father’s Day because I was thinking about one of my Savannah Sweethearts characters, dealing with parenting and days gone by. I am writing the eleventh and final book in this series, but in all eleven books, only one of my main characters has to become an instant or a sudden father (hint: Find You Again(Savannah Sweethearts Book 8)).
Speaking of days gone by, if I were to ask myself those questions above, I think I can come up with a couple of mild regrets:
- It would be easier if I had gone to graduate school as soon as I earned my bachelor’s degree and before I became a mother. Now that I am pretty much in retirement mode, I may not be going back to graduate school at all.
- Things would be different had I kept up playing the piano after high school. I wouldn’t be so rusty at the piano today and make so many mistakes…
Those are some examples that popped into my head. But don’t get me wrong. I am over them. The fact that God is still God regardless of the past, that’s enough for me. So what if I play the piano poorly? So what if I didn’t go back to graduate school? Exactly, right?
Romans 8:28 is my often-cited go-to verse in many of the circumstances of life.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
God is sovereign. He is always sovereign.
Since Father’s Day is coming on Sunday (June 16, 2019), I’ll pick Roger Patel, my main character in Find You Again(Savannah Sweethearts Book 8) as my story world example of someone with regrets.
If anyone could say, “I wish I never did…” it would be Roger. For many years, he has been trying to hide his secret sin, that thing he wishes he had never done. He knows what the Bible says about sins.
“But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the Lord: and be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).
I don’t want to spoil the story for you if you haven’t read the Find You Again novel, but suffice to say that Roger is filled with regrets and he doesn’t know what to do. Ah, that’s when God sends encouragers and helpers, doesn’t He?
What about you? Do you have regrets? Have you gotten over them? Surrendered them to the Lord? And moved on?
So let’s circle back to the top of my blog post today. The new twist is this: Can you complete these sentences AND say what God has done to deal with them?
- It would be easier now if I had…BUT God is…
- Things would be different now if we were…BUT God is…
- I wish I never did…BUT God is…
In the case of Roger, I think he could say, “I wish I never did it, but God picks up my broken pieces and makes all things new.”
For me, I could say:
- It would be easier if I had gone to graduate school right after college, but God is sovereign, and graduate school was not where the Lord led me at that time.
- Things would be different had I kept up playing the piano after high school, but God is merciful and lets me sing hymns of praise to God anyway.
What about you? Have you encountered any twenty-twenty hindsight lately?
I would like to do a random drawing of names from the comment section to give away one ebook copy of Find You Again so that you can read the rest of the novel, if you haven’t already read it. This giveaway ends on Saturday (June 15, 2019) so please comment between now and then. Thank you!
If you happen to be a father, I wish you a Happy Father’s Day! May the Lord bless you and your family!