Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Would You Change Your Journey?

Have you ever heard a person who experienced something terrible in their past say they wouldn't go back and change it? I have come across this statement a handful of times and I've never understood it.  It seems like the power to be able to change the decisions you now regret, or prevent the losses and traumas that pulverized your heart would be an incredible asset.

I wince at every remembrance of our first steps on the adoption path. The footprints on that path don't even look normal because I wasn't walking - I was skipping like a naive child. I wish we had never made that first phone call to the agency or filled out the first stack of forms. It's hard to imagine ever being that glad that we did what we did.

Even so, if God gave me the power to erase it I would experience loss all over again. I would lose the tools I have been awarded on this path. To be honest with you, I don't even know what these tools are called or what exactly their function is. But my instinct tells me they're really valuable. They're shiny and heavy and they cost a lot. Somehow my muscles are even conditioned to be able to carry them without getting tired. I sense they have a lot of potential.

I don't want to give them back.

So maybe that's what it means when people say they wouldn't change their journey. 

Would you change yours? 

32 comments:

Lisa said...

We have recently gone through the hardest year of marriage I could have imagined, mainly centered around my husband's job loss (it was a ministry job), loss of church, and loss of the ability to pay all of our bills. During that time I had NO CLUE what the Lord was doing. All I knew was that scripture promised that he was doing something and that we were not forgotten by Him. He has recently brought healing and provision in most of those areas. Though our journey has not at all looked like what I wanted it to, I wouldn't change it for anything. The lessons of faithfulness and love that God has imprinted on my heart will be with me forever. Though I wouldn't have chosen that pain, in the long run, those lessons were worth it.

Traci T. said...

Not for anything. I went through cancer six years ago and I wouldn't want it any other way. I had such a palpable presence of God through my journey and really learned that God is for me and He is with me. I gained an empathy for people going through cancer that is painful at best, but it is joyous to share hope with others. But it does cost A LOT. Something I heard your mama say at Living Proof in Irvine, CA a few years ago...God doesn't waste your pain or your tears. His redemptive story makes it worth it all.

Allison C. Lee said...

The song lyric "It is well with my soul" always haunted me. It wasn't well with my soul. Not for YEARS. But even so, the pain produced an anchor for me. It was only then that I truly decided, you know what...I'm with Jesus. Even though....
Because of that...no regrets.

Shay said...

My favorite part of this post:
"I don't even know what these tools are called or what exactly their function is. But my instinct tells me they're really valuable. They're shiny and heavy and they cost a lot. Somehow my muscles are even conditioned to be able to carry them without getting tired. I sense they have a lot of potential."

Yes, I am so there with you. Praying the Lord would generously reveal their potential to us soon.

TraciG said...

Almost 8 years ago, I went to the Dr. for a routine physical. He discovered a lump, and long story short, I had breast cancer at the ripe old age of 36. We proceeded down the path of surgery, radiation, and possibly chemo. Hit the pause button. The day before I was to start radiation, I found out I was pregnant. So with much prayer and with the guidance of 3 Drs. we proceeded with the treatment: radiation during my 2nd trimester. Later that year, Allison Lee was born as healthy as she could be. Was it difficult? Every day. Did I shed tears? Every day. But I can't even put into words how heavy I felt God's hand on me... almost physically, every day. I'm not hopeful for a recurrence some day. Absolutely not! But I am thankful for the experience and what I learned about myself, my family, and my Lord. Wouldn't change it!

Missy June said...

I would change my decisions. I would choose the easy over the difficult. I would select my partner with more wisdom and understanding ... and yet, I don't think I would have had that wisdom without the path I have experienced. However, I desperately wish that my life wasn't marred by the extreme pain and loss of abuse, betrayal and divorce but I give those stones to our Lord and pray He will continue to heal and use me in the path of others who are facing the same journey. The tears are a gift, just a different gift than I thought I wanted.

You are so right, the cost is so high, but the value measureless.

Amy Fisher said...

My oldest went through a traumatic brain injury almost 4 years ago and we both said that it's not something we would have signed up for but we wouldn't trade it. We both grew immeasurably in our daily walking faith and in our appreciation for the little things. He is now a sophomore in college as God did an amazing healing in his brain and we will be forever grateful for this season. I think you nailed what it means.

Kelly said...

Yes, I would absolutely change the day my daughter was injured, without a doubt. I truly believe anything gained in my relationship with God (and I don't honestly see anything gained...) could have been learned a different way. Yes! My desperate wish is to change things. The good news, though, is knowing that God is redeeming this misery and will restore her fully. I just wish it had never been experienced at all!

Holly said...

No. Not even for the face first, thru the mud experiences we have had as a family and great, heart wrenching losses. I am better for it. I love better. I care more. I speak less. I forgive better and Grace and I are on first name basis, because of it.

Monica said...

I am sitting in Texas Oncology's infusion room receiving treatments for stage 4 breast cancer. My husband is at home with our 4 babies, 7, 5, 4 & 19 mo. In the face of immobilizing fear, I have found peace that guards my heart and mind; in the moments of hopelessness I have found hope; in moments of grief, as I have lived life with my babies, I have found joy. What Satan intends for destruction my faithful Father intends for good. I would not change a thing...

Fran Plott said...

I HAD to have the hardest years of my life's journey, because they led me right into the arms of Jesus.

Yes, my six years of being LOST (in my early 40's) cost me and my two sons so much.

But would you believe Jesus took those years and exchanged beauty for ashes?

You know it!

This is twenty years later as I write this, and I am EVER grateful.

I KNOW Jesus really did pay the price for me.

Amanda said...

Oh Monica, I am praying hard for you right this moment. Thank you all for sharing!

thenewbec said...

I think I'm with u pretty much... That saying has often rubbed me the wrong way in which it sounds as though the person is so prideful that they would refuse to better themselves or take responsibility for mistakes. But I also get the value in lessons learned.

If it were something beyond my control, or that I knew I was being obedient to within my control, I don't think I would change the journey despite the difficulty. (Not volunteering to relive it, though).

On the other hand if it's something that was difficult as a result of a character flaw or direct disobedience, I would absolutely change it and take back my proverbial 40 years of wandering in the desert! As my husband put it: the desert is the place where the things you cling to AS god dry up and die. Sometimes God puts us there on purpose for our good and His glory. But if I got a do-over I sure hope I would cease clinging to the unrecognized gods more quickly.

I find great comfort in knowing that nothing is wasted, despite myself.

Mary Gegare said...

When I get to the other side of something that has totally crushed me, I have often thought I would not want to go through that again, but yet I wouldn't trade for the world what it has done for my relationship with Christ.

Amy Beth Gardner said...

I wouldn't change it (although when people say they regret nothing, I think that's bull).

I have been able to think a lot about this for years since the Fab Five. I know it isn't the same as adoption but I bathed those kids. I fed them. I stood by the hospital bed when one of them coded and almost died. I was their class mom. I took them to the dentist for the first time in their lives. I was... mom.

When they left, I remember laying on my couch with my face turned towards the back of my couch to muffle my sobbing, screaming, etc. It took everything in me not to throw my own personal safety to the wind and go running after them. I just grieved.

Today, I am thankful. And I wouldn't change it. For every day they were with me, they had what they needed. They were loved. And I don't think my story with them is over. I expect to see a lot of several of them while they're teenagers or young adults. But even if I don't, I know that for that period of life, they were loved.

Doesn't mean it didn't change me. I think I have a harder heart now and am less inclined to jump when God says jump. Because of those experiences, I'm now more likely to say "Well, I will consider jumping, but only if we can first talk about what happened last time I did what You wanted so we can ensure I don't go through that again, etc." Choosing to foster again was a really big step for me. It is hard for me with the way I attach.

It is none of my business, but I wish I knew you better so I could talk to you about foster to adopt. :)

Erin said...

Sweet friend. I miss you. Thank you for this beautiful post. I wrestle often with this question. Are there things I would change...yes...but like you, I wouldn't want to give up what I was given because of those very things I would want to change. I love my life...even on the hardest days when I would rather it not be part of the story...God is a good story teller and I want the best story for my little piece in the saga. Thank you for putting it into words and living it so beautiful. Love you!

Catha Jaynes said...

I would change it. I would give anything for my dad to watch my son grow up and for my son to know his amazing grandfather.

Cecilia said...

Depends on the day, I suppose. I do think I've learned a lot and have been refined by it. Some of the hard things, no. I have accepted health challenges for myself. Some things, our firstborn being born still and losing my Mama to ALS in the past several years, those I would change most days. It's selfish on my part, but I wish they were here.

Kim Morgan said...

I remember my first women's retreat when the speaker said "I wouldn't give a plug nickel for what we have been through, but I wouldn't trade it for a million dollars". I had no idea what she was talking about then. I do now.

Regrets on mistakes I made in parenting and a laundry list of sinful deeds, I would trade those. But I would not trade what was gained from the difficult journeys we have been through.

I NEVER EVER want to go through them again. However, my relationship with God is different. More intimate. I know I can trust Him and His Word at a level I never would have known if it weren't for the terrible dark days and sometimes years.

His light shines brightest against those dark nights of our souls.

I am always reminded of what it says in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received.

I think you said it best when you described the 'tools' we have received that we can't actually describe.
God bless you - you have an amazing ministry through this blog!

ChelseaSalomone said...

I've been mulling over your question all morning. I would say that I've lived a great life with a few very hard things thrown in. Most recently, I had a miscarriage and my husband had cancer. But it's been enough time now that I think it's not the actual tough things that refine you (they do) but the gifts and the glory are in God's redeeming power. Seeing how he makes the messiest situations ok with time, and sometimes even a little bit beautiful, is where the healing and the gifts lie.

I don't want to relive that morning I knew I was losing the baby. Or watching my husband in the chemo chair. But the ways in which God's power and strength and glory were tangible during all that is what makes it ok now.

Lauren Delaine said...

I've come to understand that statement as well. I don't think it's so much that we don't have remorse over sin; but, rather that we see how our awesome Lord worked even our worst moments to bring about good. The sinner won't turn to a Savior unless he sees his need for saving.
Having said that, I think those choices we make after salvation are often much more difficult for us to swallow. Still, I wouldn't go back and change them. My firstborn was born six weeks old prior to my first marriage to her father. The choices I made indeed have left their marks. But. She is here. It would be difficult for me to say I would make a different choice if I could go back, when I'm staring her in the face. And that's just one example!
I think sometimes we want to cringe at the thought of saying things like, I wouldn't go back and change things if I could---because we have this concern that others may mistake grace. They make think that perhaps they could get away with something. We don't want to send the wrong message.

But grace is so powerful. That's what we need to remember. That's what others need to see. Grace empowers us. Not 'to' sin. But 'from' sin.

Thank you for sharing this post!

Nichole said...

We lost a baby through a miscarriage at the beginning of this year and the pain was more unbearable than I could have ever imagined. I grieved for a child that for most people never really existed and still shed tears over the baby who should have been at home in my arms at this point. However, I sit here today 25 weeks pregnant with a new baby who wouldn't be here if that one was. I would never choose to experience a pregnancy loss, nor would I wish that experience on anyone in this world, but I did experience God in a very real and tangible way during that time. The illogical side of me wants both babies, but the rational side of me who understands that that can never be (at least on this side of Heaven) knows that at the end of this year I will hold this baby in my arms and be oh so thankful that he/she is here. And just like with my other two kids I will look around me and try to imagine my life without him/her and it won't be possible.

As for decisions I have made in the past that I regret, I wouldn't change those. Those decisions (good and bad) made me who I am today.

miriam said...

I miscarried a little over 3 months ago after tying for 18+ months to have a second child and am now pregnant again and am seeing early signs that could be another miscarriage. So I don't know. Right now I really would like to change this. I'm not feeling stronger yet, just broken. I have hope that being stronger will happen eventually, but man.

Dionna Sanchez said...

That's such a deep question. Of course there are things I wish I hadn't chosen, or experienced. But to change them might mean I'd miss out on the blessings that dominoed into my life because of those very actions. I don't know that can separate the two. You lose one, you lose the other.

michelle mason said...

I know what you mean. I have often heard people say they have "no regrets," and I think that is unwise. But I agree with you that the lessons I have learned from the pain and trauma were priceless, and I would not trade them. My soul has been refined. But yes, i would change certain things. Because they were wrong things, and they hurt people.
Thank you for writing this, I was encouraged and touched and my heart ached for your pain of loss. I used to read your blog a lot and haven't clicked on it in years, and just browsed through last night, and learned of the adoption journey, and I hurt for you. But was humbled when you talked about how God redeems things how He chooses to, and it's not for us to decide. I was very encouraged by that, and I knew that I needed to write out a painful, extremely painful, portion of my journey here: www.sparklesugarplum.blogspot.com I don't expect you to read it, but am posting it here because a grief shared brings comfort.

LOConnor said...

My trials are too personal to share, but your blog post is dead on. I tracked with your adoption journey because the rise and fall of adoption and foster care are part of my life's story now. I suspect someday you will be able to name those shiny, heavy pieces as life continues and you reach for them and they are right there waiting for you. I prayed so hard for you!

I think what all of this is what Job experienced. Remember, he was attacked because he was GOOD (Job 1:1-12; 2:1-10) Of course the journey unfolds through the book and Job's faith is exposed, investigated, questioned, analyzed...and then at the end, the glory happens. '...my ears had heard of you by now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes...the Lord made him prosperous again..." (Job 42:5/ 10).

I am not sure if any of us really gets what changed in Job except it's clear his eyes were opened further in a way that he saw ways to change and he did. He learned more about God.

So yes, dear Amanda, you have more tools and I am so glad you are at the other end of this, looking back now. God is good and it's this way for us all. Your blog entry is so well stated.

Let's all press on!

RN and OSHP said...

Praying for you right now Monica!!

RN and OSHP said...

My husband cheated me with my best friend....she got pregnant. It was DEVESTATING. I wouldn't change it though, that was in our first 2 years of marriage. Through counseling and Jesus we just celebrated 10 years together ( he was diagnosed as bipolar 3 years ago). We have 4 beautiful babies and God has shown his love and redemption too many times. Without the turmoil I wouldn't have seen such blessings! Life is so hard but it pales in comparison to what Jesus did for me on the cross. Praying for your family!!

Sonya said...

No I wouldn't change it. I would do it all again to be where I am today.

Blessing of Adoption welcomes you said...

In my journey it seems like obedience in my Christian walk has been rewarded completely different than what I could have imagined....especially the past 5 years- Honestly, I am really tired (the deep down soul tired)of being out of my comfort zone (even knowing that God has called us to this season)- I feel justified some days about the feelings of cynicism and anger when I focus on the fact that following God's leading for me means acting in ways that are completely against my flesh (giving when all I really want to do is receive, practicing patience, acting in love even when I feel like giving a verbal lashing :)BUT then there are days when I get down on my knees and submit my all to the Lord and hang on to the faith that His ways are better than mine and even when I do not understand He's got it under control and I just need to trust.....Would I change the journey...no...I am so thankful for the lessons learned and for the person the Lord is shaping me into BUT I would not want to go back and relive even one day of it- Thank you for your transparent blog....your honesty breaths of Jesus- What real Christianity is...not a Christian Fantasy that is based in ideal fairy tale land.

cinthia said...

Wow, this is a tremendously helpful post. I went through a terribly crummy divorce at 50. My now ex-husband was literally my favorite person ever, and my best friend, but the other woman wooed him away. I could never articulate the fact that while, I hate that I lost my family (and yes, you lose your family too, though people tell you that you won't), I would not give up what I learned about God, or myself to have it all back. It sounds horrific. Not want your family back? I know, because there is no greater love in this world for me than that man or those children. But, still, I'm glad God isn't asking me to choose. I'd have to say no thank you. I feel awful just writing that.

I like the terminology that you've been given tools. I have too. I don't know what they're for and some days, I wonder if I'll ever know, but I was definitely given some pretty important tools. Love this analogy. Makes a world of sense to me. Thank you. Your writing is sharp, like a knife sharp. I like it.

Renee Groff said...

I would change the things I had control over ... attitudes, decisions, sins, etc., because that's all on me, in spite of God's forgiveness and grace. But I would NOT change the things I couldn't control ... cancer, having our house flooded, husband's job loss ... these are the things that have become absolutely precious. There is no other word to describe it, when God is nearer than you ever dreamed, when you and He share things that are so deep and intimate no one else will ever know or understand. No, those things were worth the price I've paid. No question.