Parenting Regrets

by Apr 4, 2022Devotional

We’ve had victories take place in our family this last week.  Someone told me that they appreciated how I had raised my children.  I almost shuddered.  I don’t get the credit for this.  It’s miracles from God. 

I’m so full of mistakes.  I’m not a calm or consistent parent.  I wish I could blot my failures out from my children’s memories…times that I yelled when I should have been patient…times I wandered around spiritually in confusion…moments that I let my children get by with things.

I have a brother who was such a consistent parent, and I mean to do the same.  But I have to really work on it.  It’s not my strength. 

I have a sister who trained her children to do housework.  Sometimes as a pastor’s wife, she would be up half the night, praying and talking with someone.  The next day, she might be in bed, but she had trained her children so well, that you would never know when you walked in.  The household would be running so smoothly.  There would be no big messes.

If I would leave for the day, you might wade through a disaster and think, “This household needs a mom!” 

I mean well, but I struggle.  I have regrets.  Things I wish I would have done differently.

But looking back on the past twenty years of parenting, there are some things that I don’t regret.  And if I had it to do over, I would do it again.  Intentionally.  Deliberately.

I don’t regret loving my church people and respecting my pastor.   I don’t regret hauling the children to the altar for prayer when they needed healing.  I wanted them to know that God could work miracles.

I remember the day that one of my sons had gotten so caught up in OCD type behavior that my husband threatened to take him to see a professional.  My son said, “Couldn’t we give God a chance first?” 

The very next service, he stood up and told the church that he was struggling with OCD behavior that was affecting him academically and spiritually.  He asked if he could come to the altar and be anointed.  The church gathered around him and prayed.  God’s presence came, and we cried and shouted. 

When he went back to school, more than one of his teachers commented on how he had changed. 

He still tends to perfectionism and sometimes a melancholy nature, but there was no doubt that God touched my son.

If I could start over, I would still teach my children that God answers prayer.  I have no regrets about this. 

Of course, I don’t regret spending time with my children. 

When my oldest was young, he was very insecure and full of worries.  My pediatrician told me that I needed to be spending time one on one with him, even if it was just for a few minutes.  So I started a tradition that I called “special time.”  It was a time in the evening that I took him alone and lay next to him and talked and rubbed his back. 

As each child got older, it became more challenging because I would have to rotate whose night it was.  Now it seems that we go weeks where there is too much going on to fit in our ritual.  I may not be tapping songs for them to guess or having whole displays from the zoo drawn on my back, but we still talk.  Those moments have helped bond us.  I have no regrets, only wishes that we had fit in more sessions.

I have no regrets that church was my life.  That I drug them to nights of revival, campmeetings, and special services.  That we went to church when we felt like it…and when we didn’t.  That I sat through services when I wondered why I came as they cried, and I took them out.  I have no regrets about that. 

Six years ago, I started dragging them to a revival in Bartlesville, forty-five minutes away.  My oldest daughter was not doing well spiritually, and she didn’t want to be there.  We went anyway. 

In my denomination, revivals are not necessarily a one-week thing.  Many of our meetings are protracted and go for weeks. It can be very exhausting traveling to a neighboring town night after night after night.

It was there in Bartlesville, that God came in one of those services and touched Samuel.  Although he didn’t get saved then, it was the turning point of his young life. 

I remember telling my husband why I wanted to keep going to revival.  “Samuel is fourteen, and Abigail is twelve.  I’ll never get this time back!”  I was right.  That time period vanished from our lives.

I’m glad I went.  I don’t regret it.  I would do it again!

4 Comments

  1. Steph

    Thank you Elizabeth, this is so bittersweet, beautiful, true. 🙏

  2. Leona Wade

    Amen and Amen!

  3. Deena

    Thank you for this post, Elizabeth. I’m a far from perfect parent too and I need this reminder of what matters most ♥️

    • Elizabeth Hamilton

      You are in an important part of the battle, Deena! God will help you!