A good friend (the best) came out with a verse for me recently. We were on the phone and I was confiding in her about a decision I made twenty five years ago whose ramifications I still regret and worry about. It was an intensely personal memory and I'd only ever discussed it with my husband. My friend, who is a writer and Jesus-lover, paused for a moment then said, "You know that verse about restoring the years the locusts have eaten? Well, it just popped into my head and I wonder, you know, whether it's for you..."
Here is the verse: -
"I'll make up for the years of the locust, the great locust devastation...You'll eat your fill of good food. You'll be full of praise to your God, The God who has set you back on your heels in wonder." Joel 2:25,26 The Message
When she mentioned it, I felt that thing - call it what you will - a pull at the throat, a lancing of the spirit, a sigh. I looked out over the morning garden - threads of sunshine, birdsong, marigolds thrusting through quiet earth - and I knew: that verse was God's gift to me. So I did that thing, singularly unattractive in an older woman, particularly one with sinus issues - I blubbed. Fortunately, though I had a houseful for the weekend, they were all out and my friend didn't appear in the least bothered and kept talking as if nothing had happened. For which I am grateful (is this a generational thing? I hate it when I cry).
It got me thinking. We all have regrets. I have quite a few about writing. I knew I wanted to write seriously when I was eight. Why did it take me 25 years to get round to it? I wasted time earlier on writing something I thought the market would like, but I didn't (and the market didn't want it anyway). I kept writing a book I'd fallen out of love with because I was determined to finish, then realised, too late, it had no soul. I looked down my nose at writing opportunities outside of my 'writing plan' only to realise they were God-given, and potentially influential. I got distracted.
But that morning, as I blew my nose and looked out at the world, and thought about the decision that has hung over me for so long, I decided it was probably time to forgive myself. As life has. As God does. I can't change the past and |I will never know if a different course of action would have been better. But I do know that regret pulls me back, and God pulls me forward, into the new and wondrous things He has in store - both in writing and in life. Here are some recent ones: -
My husband's full recovery from a serious heart condition
Regular writing for the TES
The incredible support and encouragement of the ACW community/new friends made
Rewriting and implementing a new RE curriculum for my primary school
Has God set you back on your heels in wonder?
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Deborah Jenkins is a primary school teacher and freelance writer who has written articles, text books, devotional notes and short stories. She also writes regularly for the TES. She has completed a novella, The Evenness of Things, available as an Amazon e-book and is currently working on a full length novel. Deborah loves hats, trees and small children. After years overseas with her family, who are now grown up, she lives in south-west London with her husband, a Baptist minister, and a cat called Oliver.