All things work together for good to those who love God. Romans 8:28
We all have made mistakes and bad decisions and some of us have regrets. We wish we could go back and do things over to make things right.
However there is another perspective to be considered.
I heard someone say "The wrong decisions became a refining process in my life." I realized this is true for me as well. The bad things that have happened, the bad decisions I've made have caused me to go through a refining and improving process that made me better.
If I hadn't made those mistakes and bad decisions. If I hadn't failed and struggled to come back. I am not sure I would've dealt with all the issues of my life to clean up my act and to become the person God intended me to be.
Life after all is a journey of learning and often times that comes through trial and tribulation. Didn't someone say that experience is the best teacher, the best education? I think it is. Even those bad experiences.
It is our failures in life, our difficulties, and our battles that cause us to stop and improve, and fix the things in our life that aren't right.
The Bible says "all things work together for good". It doesn't say some things, or most things, it says all things. ALL. That means even the bad decisions and mistakes that I have made God will work for good if I love and trust him with my life.
Coach John Wooden was quoted saying "I regret no decisions that I have made." When he dumb founded John Maxwell by saying this he clarified, "you didn't ask me if I'd ever made bad decisions, I have made bad decisions, I just don't regret them because I learned more from the bad decisions I have made than from the good ones."
The bad decisions, the mistakes and the failures of our past don't have to be regretted. We don't have to live in longing for a do over.
Instead we can choose to let the past, the problems, the bad decisions, and the failures be a teaching tool and realize that those are the very things that have formed our character and our strength and our endurance for life; and hopefully they've made us better.
I can honestly say I have learned a great deal from the mistakes and poor decisions of my past. I have indeed been refined and made dramatic improvements in my life. I believe I love better, I understand more, I extend more grace and compassion. I don't hate or condemn. I forgive and forgive again. I honestly and truly believe that God in his great love for me used the failings of my past (that the devil meant for evil) God used for good.
I honestly don't think I'd be as hopeful, peaceful, joyful, thankful, grateful, loving and forgiving as I am today without having failed, fallen, overcome and been restored by God's amazing grace.
Oh I'm still a wretch, as Paul says, the chief of sinners, but I don't dwell there. I live in the grace of God. In the righteousness of Christ that he wrought for me on the cross. I live in his mercy. I choose to rejoice in the fact that he has removed my sins as far as the east is from the west and he sees me as a new creation, white as snow, his beloved daughter.
God truly works miracles. He truly loves unconditionally. He truly changes hearts and minds. He truly forgives, redeems, restores and saves over and over again.
Jesus told Peter "when you have returned and been restored, strengthen the brethren."
As I mentioned before I have learned well the lessons from my mistakes and failures. I truly am a new improved person and now all I want to do is help others to learn from their past, to grow in grace and knowledge, to make better decisions now and in the future, and to love the way God calls us to love.
It's never too late. God's mercies are new every morning. He has a plan and a purpose for everyone and for everything. He truly, miraculously works all things, the good, the bad and the ugly, for good to those who love him and are called according to his purpose.
Let go of the past, let go of regrets, forgive others, forgive yourself, and rejoice in the life God has given you. It really is all working together for your good. Believe it. Learn from it. Live it out victoriously.
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Yours in abundant life, Mara