While visiting with a friend the other day, she shared with me about how hard it was taking care of her Mother because she had so little grace for her. It seems that she and her Mom were never close, but due to circumstances of life, it fell to her to be the caregiver as her Mother developed dementia and grew increasingly less able to care for herself. At first, she kept contact by phone, and then one day when there was no answer, she frantically raced over to her house to discover that her Mother had fallen and hurt herself.
After a knee-replacement surgery, my friend brought her Mom home to live with her. My friend confided in me how distressing it was for her to see her Mother in such a helpless state. She said that looking back, she realized there was more she could have done to ensure her mother’s well-being – but she didn’t realize the severity of her condition. Her Mother passed away not too long afterward. She carried a quite a few regrets and was consumed with guilt. My heart broke for my friend as I assured her that I too am no stranger to guilt and regrets.
A picture of grace
The next day, as I was spending some quiet time with the Lord and reading the bible, I came across a passage in Psalm 105 where God seems to be reminiscing a bit about Israel. There is one particular part describing how He delivered them from Egypt and cared for them in the desert. Verse 40 tells us, “They asked and He brought quail, and satisfied them with the bread of heaven.” As I was reading I thought, wow, what a picture of grace! See, the account back in Exodus 16 shows us a fuller picture of what a bunch of whiny grumblers they were. It is interesting that Psalm 105 doesn’t mention anything about their grumbling, just that He provided quail and bread. It’s clear that God remembered their actions, but He chose to focus on the good.
Thinking about His grace, I realized that perhaps this could be a key for my friend to heal from some of her guilt and regrets. Since her Mother has already passed away, she won’t be able to ask her for forgiveness, but she could begin by confessing her regrets to the Lord and asking Him to forgive her and help her find peace. Moving forward, she could do as the Lord did in Psalm 105, and focus on the good. Let the sad, bad and ugly memories be replaced by the better ones.
A second witness is found in Hebrews 6:10 where the Lord assures us that He is still looking back over our past and remembering the love and kindness we have shown to others.
We can follow His example by doing the very same thing for ourselves. It’s never too late to change our focus.