The interesting thing about coming to G&J in my 40s is the somewhat colourful history I shoved in front of the high-pressure gurney of grace.
As I commented to the SAP, at least I am under no illusions as to what my son and daughter could get up to. His reply: “Well, perhaps. But if they grow up in a church’s youth ministry with great leaders around them, they might walk a different path.”
It was interesting observing my initial (prideful?) internal response. It was along the lines of: But all that messy and colourful history created someone I’m actually quite fond of. Taught me a lot about life, human relations and gave me the excellent fine motor skills to create a roll your own…umm..swiss cake. Cough…
I don’t intend to glamourise here. Certain sections of my teens and early 20s, but for the grace of God and my character wiring to be (relatively) responsible and in charge, could have caused me to a) screw up my exams b) get kicked out of school or c) be splattered across the road from choosing to ride pillion behind less than responsible fast motorcycle riders.
Was I hurting others? Not by chosen malice, but by sheer age and selfishness. Did I hurt myself? Yes (emotionally) and No, not much, (physically). Did I hurt God? Absolutely.
To hold him as Abba, as a Daddy who paces the floors when his daughter is out until all hours, who would seek to drag disrespectful young men away by the scruff of their neck..then yes, I hurt Him terribly. Each time I dragged on the battered motorcycle jacket to drink Red Stripe with Rastafarians, or used His gifts of caustic dry wit and irreverent humour to test out my attractiveness to the opposite gender, walking a dangerous, sexualised line between flirtation and verbal insult… then yes.
I would have seared Him. My name that He had written on His palm would have itched and burnt. Yet I didn’t comprehend why. It wasn’t because of thundering anger, fire and brimstone, ‘Thou Shalt NOT go out wearing THAT, Young Lady!’ retribution. But because of love. “She knows not what she does, Dad,” is a line I imagine Jesus whispering regularly on my behalf.
So do I regret? Today I do make an excellent swiss roulade sponge, so perhaps not all. But do I repent? Yes. I reflect back with contrition. God whispered more for for me in my heart, singing a watermark onto my soul. So I regret every day I didn’t return home. Just like Prodigal, I am overjoyed that, despite my flaws – in fact, because of them – He continues to open His arms wide and welcome me in.
3 thoughts on “Dear Lord, I regret…nothing?”
This is a MASSIVE ISSUE for me. Something I think about an awful lot and I honestly don’t have the answers to. Its one part of the reason I stopped working at the church. I don’t want my kids to grow up in a Christian / Shire bubble – Jesus got his hands very dirty and I want them to do the same. I want them to travel, make mistakes, get hurt, learn and LIVE.
And I hope and pray they don’t marry at age 18 and have kids at age 19. >
I understand, I do! I think it’s hard often to reconcile what God says is best for us, compared to what we know we have done and how it has formed us, despite how messily that may be. I guess that’s why my favourite line is a cheeky, “Thank God for grace,” — I can’t help but return to God as Abba, to God as the Father of Prodigal who sprints to me from far away, not waiting for any apologies. I think that’s what our children need to hear more. By that bedrock of grace, even if they may choose a messy road, I think they’d have a strong guiding light to bring them home.