Saturday, December 10, 2011

Do Overs

There's several things in my life I'd like to do over.
Sometimes I just long to do certain things over again...and do them differently.

I'd like to have one more opportunity for conversation with a young woman who was sharing some decisions she was making for her life. She was doomed for heartbreak...baring her soul to a stranger, me. I listened. My silence, I'm afraid, affirmed her path...affirmed her sinfulness. I'd like a "do over." I wish I would have lovingly shared God's truth. I really, really want to do over that conversation with her. I can't even remember her name.

I'd like a "do over" with a friend from high school. I would have been faithful to my friend. I wish our paths had stayed crossed. It was my fault. I wish I could do that over.

I'd like to "do over" my dating. I'd date less.
I'd like to "do over" my first years of being a parent. I'd stay home more.

Mostly though my "do overs" involve a longing over the times that I didn't fully, unabashedly run the race marked out for me. When I failed to fully embrace whatever it is that God had me in at the moment. A longing to return to situations and trust the Lord more. I'm saddened at the times I didn't fully live in the moment. Some stages I remember just wishing they would be over.
I'd like to go back and really live through them.
To really learn the lessons.
I see God when I look in the rear view mirror.
I regret not seeing Him at the time.

Truly, many days I go to bed wishing I could do the day over...better.

What do you do with the the desire for a "do over"? What do you do with regrets? Surely everyone has some. Surely everyone has something they wish they could do again...and do differently. Is anyone perfectly thrilled with the way they've lived life?

I woke up yesterday morning in Vegas longing for a "do over."
My stomach ached for a "do over."
We're Vegas...witnessing a USAF Weapons School graduation.
A patch night.
It's a big deal. Six months of intense training for some of the top pilots in the Air Force.
They have left their families for six months, been broken down by their instructors, and finally built back up to be even better pilots, better leaders.
They get a simple patch for this training.
One patch.
It means nothing to anyone outside the military.
Everyone in the military knows what it means though.
It means you actually graduated from Weapons School.
It means you're pretty good at what you do.
There's lots of celebrating. Lots of parties. The honor is just as much for the families as it is for the pilot. The families sacrificed. This is their time to also enjoy the honor. They proudly stand beside their pilot knowing they played a crucial role in their success.
I'm watching this all happen for another young man in our squadron.
He's so relieved. His family so proud of him.
I want a "do over."

I'd like to "do over" my husband's graduation from Weapons School.
Eight years ago we were here celebrating this same accomplishment.
We sacrificed six months for this patch. We actually sacrificed much more than the time.
The families who go through this know that's true. The sacrifice is much greater than six months. The patch is costly to the family.
It's the promise of a different lifestyle, a faster pace, and a greater responsibility.
We stood at graduation side by side, yet a million miles apart.
We stood on the brink of complete destruction.
We barely spoke. We barely celebrated. We barely looked at each other.
The weekend was merely the tip of our regretful decisions.
I'd like to do that weekend differently.
Goodness I'd like to do the whole six months over.

As I wrestled yesterday morning with all these waves of regrets about our own personal experience, I begged God "What do I do with this? What do I do with all these emotions right now?"

A little whisper.
Do it over.
Wait. What?
Do it over.

That simple answer for me. God is so good.
He brought me back to Vegas for a "do over."
It's not my husband's graduation. It's not our patch night.
But I get a "do over." I am getting to do Weapons School graduation with my husband all over again. And I'm doing it differently.

Sometimes we do get "do overs." Sometimes we don't.
Lamentations 3:23 "His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."

I often feel a great longing over the daily issues that I miss. For instance, not fully listening to my son sharing details about a video game. Not reading my daughter a book that she really wants me to read. I'm reminded that God's mercies are new every morning.
Every day is a "do over."
Some things I really can do over.
I can listen to my son today when he tells me about the video game.
I can read the book to my daughter today that I was "too busy" to read yesterday.
Today, I can fully run the race marked out for me.

Tonight, I can go to Weapons School graduation and this time I'm going to be proud of my husband.
God is so good.
I don't deserve this "do over."
God is just that good.

So what about the things that we can't do over?
I found comfort in the very same verse that offered me today's joy of the "do over."

Lamentations 3: 19-24
"I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself. 'The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.'"

As we remember, we don't need to be consumed by our affliction and our wandering.
Our downcast souls that struggle with regrets need to find joy in this verse,
"His compassions never fail. They are new every morning!"

And sometimes we get a "do over."
I can't tell you how thankful I am for this gift.

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