One of my most precious possessions on this earth are the hundreds and hundreds of pictures we have stored in photo albums and boxes.
There are pictures of Easter and Christmas and birthday parties.
Pictures of performances in school plays and on the baseball field and on the golf course.
Probably my most favorite pictures are the ones of what seemed to be just ordinary moments.
I know now, with time passed, that there are no ordinary moments when they are shared with the people you love. They are all extra-ordinary.
Opening the albums and boxes flood this momma with gratitude for every single memory.
But opening the albums and boxes also flood me with a burden that's too heavy for me to carry . . . one which does its best to break open what God has healed.
The burden is called "regret."
I can not look at all the memories without regret.
Regret over the things I taught my boys. Not so much with my words, but with my actions.
Things will make you happy . . . emphasis on the outside instead of the inside . . . pleasing man more than God . . . too much of Santa and the Easter bunny . . . lyrics to songs and lines to movies hidden in a heart instead of God's Word . . . spending more time doing for them instead of encouraging them to do for others . . . looking to the world for good role models instead of Jesus . . . pointing out the successes of celebrities and sport-heroes instead of the only One who lived a perfect life because He humbled Himself and did all His Father asked Him to do . . . helping them to reach their dreams and goals instead of helping them to find God's purpose and plan for their lives . . . spending time and energy and emotions trying to protect, and teach, and guide instead of trusting God . . . words spoken without grace to people and about people . . . not giving my boys a momma who loved God with all her heart and all her soul and all her mind . . .
My list of regrets is endless.
Yours may be too.
However, though my list is endless, there are many things I don't regret.
All the time I gave my boys . . . the material things I sacrificed to be able to spend that time with them . . . snuggling with them, rocking them, singing to them . . .the hours at the beach . . .the hours sitting out front with them while they rode bikes, played with their neighborhood friends, and pretended and pretended and pretended . . . watching Seth pitch a baseball . . . walking the golf course with Ethan (when he was playing great or playing on the other side of awful) . . . all the golf clubs and baseball bats and gloves and guitars and books that were bought . . .reminding them that even though they were talented and beautiful and gifted that they weren't any better than anyone else . . . times in Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, children's choir . . . the thousands of times I told them that I loved them, that I was proud of them, and that I was glad and thankful that I was their momma. . .
Yes. By God's grace, I did some things right.
But what I got right, and the goodness I see in those two little boys who have grown up to be wonderful, compassionate young men, isn't enough to take away the burden of regrets. It isn't enough to quiet the voices that remind me where I've failed, and of the consequences of those failures. The love I have for them, the love they have for me, and the love they have for each other isn't enough to heal the pain and sorrow of regret.
The only way to take the heavy burden of regret off of my back, and out of my mind is to lay them at The Cross.
The Cross is where I trust that there is nothing that God can not and will not redeem. Because The Cross isn't a cross of merit, of having done it right. It isn't a cross of reward for a job well done.
The Cross of Jesus is a Cross of Grace.
There's a line to the David Crowder song, "How He Loves," that speaks of regret. I cling to it when I open the photo albums and take the top off the boxes of pictures.
"I don't have time to maintain these regrets
when I think about the way
He loves ."
When what I did right won't negate the burden of regret. . . when the sweet memories won't drown out the accusing voices, when seeing the men my boys have become won't take away the pain regret brings . . .
the promise of His Love does.
And no where else is His love more demonstrated than at the cross.
"But God demonstrates His own love toward us,
in that while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us."
I've learned that when I go to The Cross and I think about the way He loves me and my boys, I don't have the time, the energy, or even the desire to maintain my regrets.