How to Mother without Regret

You know how the saying goes. 

If I only knew then what I know now.

I suspect there’s not a better expression to describe how a mother feels as she releases her child into adulthood. I can certainly say it’s true for me, as I sent off my second daughter to college recently.

This season of life is so bittersweet. There’s the joy for the accomplishment and sorrow for All.The.Stuff. 

I’m not talking about the van crammed with dorm room decor. I’m referring to the emotional stuff we carry inside our hearts and minds as we reflect on what we wish we could have done and should have done and wish we never had done. 

It’s hard to not feel some measure of regret.

I suspect that’s the plight of the human condition, making it all too easy to to resign ourselves to being students of only experience.

But what if, right now, we took a holy pause and invited God to reveal wisdom in such a way that we could pursue a less regrettable motherhood?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
to not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.

[Wisdom] will guide you down delightful paths;
all her ways are satisfying.
Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her;
happy are those who hold her tightly.

Proverbs 3:5-6, 17-18 NLT

We’re not mothering alone, sisters.

God gives us the companion of Wisdom.

We do not earn Wisdom. It’s a gift we receive upon requesting it from God. It comes through seeking His way. Storing up His commands. Meditating on His Word.

Certainly, I have a long list of “If I could do it all over again” steps I would have taken. I would have entered into counseling sooner in order to deal with my anger issues and short fuse. I would have spent more time reading God’s Word and meditating on the Truth all day long, so that my thinking could guide me into a new way of living. I would have forgiven my parents sooner, to release the hold on me and eradicate the bitterness in my heart. 

I don’t know where you find yourself today. I don’t know what your struggle is. But I do know this, sister — it may not be possible to live a life with no regret, yet you can definitely minimize the impact when you pursue God for Wisdom instead of leaning on your own understanding. There’s no time like the present to make a change in that direction with these three life-changing steps:

1 — Get the Word in Your Heart and Mind

Read your Bible. Everyday. Don’t allow a single excuse deter you. Don’t allow a missed day reason to quit all together. Pick one chapter at a time and start getting the Word into your heart and mind so that the Holy Spirit may draw upon it and move you into becoming more and more like Jesus. You don’t need to understand what you read, but rather trust God to reveal Truth and Wisdom in due time.

2 — Get Honest with God

It’s time to get honest with God about the state of your heart. It’s time to face reality about your pain and wounds and disappointment. It’s time to accept your limits. It’s time to live within your financial means. It’s time to honor time instead of complaining you don’t have enough of it. As you evaluate each area of life, ask God to speak solutions to your soul that are steeped in His Wisdom. Not sure what that even looks like? Start with Proverbs and read a chapter a day for the next month..

3 — Get Help to Heal and Grow

We’re not meant to go through life alone. We need each other! If the Bible doesn’t make sense, get into a Bible study or small group to learn from those further down the line. If you’ve experienced trauma of any kind, get help from counselor who can support you in finding healing. If you’re stuck cultivating new habits and routines that align with God’s Word, make the most of working with a coach who can support your growth forward. 

Friend, this isn’t just about how you feel about your life twenty-years from now. It’s about the impact your presently making on the ones you love the most.

The choice is in your hands to give your kids the best version of yourself.

No, it won’t be a perfect version, but that won’t stop God from making you into beautiful testimony of His redemptive work and transformation power.

Because there is more,

Elisa Pulliam