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If Only

If Only

If your journey has taken you beyond your eighteen summers, I would hazard a guess that you have looked at your grown child, remembered a time from his or her childhood, and thought, “If only.”

  • If only I had been a better parent
  • If only I had spoken more tactfully . . . or known not to speak at all
  • If only I had been more patient and had more wisdom for the tough times
  • If only I had seen the giftedness and given more resources to developing it
  • If only I had complimented instead of complained
  • If only I had given more (or less) independence
  • If only I had seen the signs, the symptoms, the needs
  • If only I had matured in my own faith sooner
  • If only
  • If only

Do you have regrets? At some level I’m sure every parent of a grown child does, because we’ve all parented while stumbling on our own humanity.

We can nurse those “if onlys” until they grow into heavy weights that stop us in our tracks, or we can banish those two words from our vocabulary and move forward. Maybe you need to:

  • Apologize and ask forgiveness of your child for your failures that affected him or her, and then move on
  • Come to grips with the fact that there are no do-overs in life, only do-betters now
  • Acknowledge that in this humanity you cannot achieve perfection and that you might need to be content with “excellent” or “good” or maybe even less
  • Determine to interact with and pray for your child the best you can today with the Lord as your guide
  • Commit to finding wisdom each day in God’s word and seeking His strength, His help, and His hope to do what you cannot do well or at all without Him
  • Read the words of Christ after the miracles in the Gospels and note how many are instructions to move forward—“Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house” (Matthew 9:6); “go and sin no more” (John 8:11); “tell what great things God has done for you” (Luke 8:39)
  • Determine each day to look forward for new guidance and fresh mercy

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning;great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV)

Don’t miss the blessings of today because you are facing backward with “if only” on your lips. Claim those mercies for this season of your parenting journey.

By: Nancy Lohr

Join us at for our parenting blog each Monday-Friday and for info about the Just 18 Summers novel.

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