Lynon, an elderly gentleman, was a guest at in our marriage class tonight at church. When asked of the importance of forgiveness in marriage and living without regret, he shared the following story of his wife's last day:
She had been suffering from Parkinson's for several difficult years. But this day had been different - she was feeling much better than normal and they were able to enjoy the day together. As he put her into bed for the night, she said to him, "Daddy, it's been a good day." He returned to the room 45 minutes later and she had passed away.
Lynon cherishes those final words of his wife and holds in great fondness his final day with her, a day of no regrets.
Hearing his story brought to the surface of my heart an unhealed sadness and pain. I do have regrets of Lia's last day with us. Regrets that prior to now I have only shared with my husband. Many days I have thought of how I would have lived differently if only I had known I would lose her. I have even felt anger at mothers who knew their unborn children had terminal defects - mothers who have spent the final months of the pregnancy cherishing each day with their unborn babies. Instead, I spent Lia's final hours in a irritable frustrated mood. There had been good times early in the day - times of joy and laughter watching my girls play in the first snow of the season. But the evening was filled with angry words and impatience. As my little baby began to slip away from this life, I was wishing for my day to be over as quickly as possible.
I know that the calming presence of God was with her, welcoming her into His eternal glory. For that I am so thankful. But how I wish in that last day, rather than putting head to pillow, wishing for the day to end, I could instead have heard the words..... Mommy, It's been a good day.
I have tried to heal myself of the pain of regret. I made promises to not lose my temper again, promises to not raise my voice at my kids, promises to live every day as if it were the last I would see my loved ones. But all of those good intentions have failed in the reality of daily life.
So tonight in my tears God has reminded me of a simple word that has carried me these past 11 months - Redeemed.
God is capable of redeeming any junk of this world, any sin, any evil, any sorrow. Our Sovereign One, Lord of the Universe can turn anything from evil to good and use it to His glory. My hope, my faith in His ability to redeem has given me tears of joy in the midst of pain. And again tonight I am calling out for Him to redeem.
Lord, from the first sin of this Earth you have never ceased in turning all things to good and for your glory. Lord I am ashamed of my conduct, I am ashamed of my failure as a mother, I am ashamed of the anger and even rage I have hurled at my family. But above all, I am grieved that the final words Lia may have heard on this earth were words spoken in anger. Lord I know that you have forgiven me, that you have heard my cries, but I still sit here and see the ashes of my regret. Lord I know that you can turn these regrets into works of beauty. Please redeem the pain and sorrow of my sin, of my unbridled tongue and poisoned heart. Please shine a healing light into the deepest wounds of my soul. Lord, none of my own efforts to redeem, none of my own efforts to change my ways or heal my wounds has worked. I know that true healing and true redemption are found in you alone. I know I have faith and hope in You and Your redemption, but right now Lord, my faith is weak. I am tired and weary from carrying the burden of my regret. Take me in, hold me close and mend my broken heart.