A few weeks ago I worked forever on a blog post, got it to sound just like I wanted it to, checked and doubled checked for errors and typos and then one of my kiddos said she didn't want me to share it. So, to the trash it went.
It wasn't for nothing. She learned that I respect her feelings and I learned to ask permission before writing about her.
Two Lessons learned!
Last night a mom was here at our house dropping off my two middle kiddos from camp. We were talking about how the cost of camps quickly adds up, and she was saying something along the lines of "Wow! You have a lot of kids to pay for!"
Which led me to discussing a recent trip to Kentucky for church camp for our oldest. I wish that I would not have, but I said, "Oh, Yes! There was money for camp, gas, a one way plane ticket, eating out, etc. etc. It was a very expensive trip for our family."
I didn't think much of the conversation, just stating the facts, but this morning Lilly and I had some time alone to discuss the trip to Kentucky and the camp that she went to while we were there. She said, "I kind of feel bad that I insisted on going. I know that it cost you and dad a lot of money."
We also talked a lot about how relationships can change once you move. I had tried to explain this to her. I'd told her repeatedly, "Things aren't going to be exactly like they were when we lived there. You've made a lot of new friends here in Georgia, and all of your friends moved on to middle school and they made a lot of new friends too."
While she had a great time at camp, learned a LOT, and loved being with her friends, she said that I was kind of right. Some things had changed.
But she was okay with it. To be honest, she's handled the changes a lot better than me.
My heart kind of broke when she said she felt bad about "wasting" the money.
"Lilly, nothing was wasted. Nothing is ever wasted. Carly got to see her friends. I got to see some of my friends. We got to celebrate Peepaw's birthday and retirement. We had so much fun with our family. We brought home an amazing table that our friends made for us. We saw new sights. Your dad and I got one night away to ourselves, KID FREE! Nothing was wasted. Nothing is ever wasted. We live and learn."
Some of the things I regret most about my life are things that I didn't do. Either because I wasn't brave enough. Because I thought I couldn't afford it. Or I was too selfish and self-centered to think about the other person wanting to do something. (I still regret a trip to Notre Dame with Mike that we did NOT take!)
"When you have opportunities in life, go for them. If they turn out great, then GREAT! If they turn out not so great, then you learn from them! You know what to do and what not to do the next time. But we shouldn't live feeling guilty or with regret."
Same for you. And me. Nothing is wasted. Get out of the past. Be in the present. Look ahead. Commit to not making the same mistake again. When opportunities to Love others arise, take them! (Even if it means driving hours to a football game and you're not into football!) Even if they come with a cost. We will never regret loving others well.
If you are Christian, you believe that Jesus died on the Cross for ALL of your Sins. Big and Small. That fact should free us up to live a peaceful life. To make wise decisions. But often, it doesn't. We get stuck. Guilt and shame and fear and worry and regret can eat us alive if we are not careful.
I think it's important to have these conversations with our kiddos. To train them to take all their experiences in life and learn from them. Sadly, we live busy and overly-connected lives (At least I do!) and we forget to make time just to talk. To even hear what is on each other's hearts and minds. One-on-one time is so valuable. Even though I "write" about doing this, and tell others to DO IT, I get it, it is especially hard to slow down and listen when you have multiple children.
I want our family to have a mindset that nothing is wasted. Never. I want my kids to learn from their choices, and see them as an opportunity to grow. Opportunities to love others. To learn from others. I pray that their minds can be free to be in the present and to look forward to what's ahead. To have JOY in the Chaos of life. To always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.