About the Author

Heather Gemmen Wilson loves to laugh. She says, "Through all the circumstances of my life, I have gained more than I have lost ... and I'm not just talking weight." Heather is married to her best friend, Lawrence W. Wilson, a pastor, and they have a colorful blended family of...

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  1. Amen- I really like that! So positive and motivating – forget the past, we can’t change it but we can have a fab future, fab day, fab NOW because that what God has planned for us (Jeremiah 29:11)

  2. Heather,
    Thank you! I just had a meeting (counseling session) with a friend in my church. She has counseled me for 3+years now and has kept this same message. Its TODAY that I can do something about. Not my past, not my childhood, not the way I feel about my family. While all of that all played a part into making me the way I am now, it does not define me, it is not who I am now. I’m struggling with that. Still. Thank you for yet another reminder that I couldnt/wouldn’t change it if I did go back. I can only change how I do things now, today.
    LIsa

  3. I’ve heard something similar from my mom time and again, but no matter how much I try, I just can’t let go and end up stuck in the past wishing things had been different. I know God is in control and that is what matters most to me.

  4. Hubby and I talked of this the other day, desiring to take our maturity and wisdom now back to before we had kids and better utilize our time to serve and to enjoy sponteneity. You are right now, we can work on those things now even with a toddler and a wee one on the way because someday when they are older and desiring to do things without us and our home is empty we will then be wishing we could take our maturity and wisdom and start all over. 🙂

  5. This is a very powerful post for me.
    I battle the “what-if’s” and the coulda, woulda, shoulda – all the time!
    I’m trying not to, but I struggle. Your words make perfect sense and I am thankful that this morning I am blessed with them.

  6. I really, really like this. I had been stuck miserably at the point Lisa (above) mentioned about knowing I wouldn’t/couldn’t change even if I did go back. The ending paragraphs of this post were just what I needed to hear. Thanks so much.

  7. Heather,

    Great encouragement from you this morning; I love how directly you challenge us :).

    When I start having those twinges of “what if I had done it differently” I usually go to the next thought, “IT’S NEVER TOO LATE!!!” And interesting timing, as I was reading Tsh’s book yesterday, that was my very thought.

    🙂

  8. I would go back to 2004 – when my hubby and I got married. Yes I would do my best to build him up more. I would not go into medical assisting – instead I would have studied Coding and gotten myself a good coding job and be a little happier.

    Can I still do that now – Oh sure! I try my best to build up hubby and pray for him daily. I have gone into coding and passed the exam – just haven’t found that job yet – better still God hasn’t shown me one yet!

    I am where he wants me to be right now!

  9. I was the runner. Crisis came and I’d sprint. When I ran, I didn’t regret because there wasn’t enough time when you’re always looking for somewhere else to run. But I’ve stopped and this: “Regrets are pointless. Wishing we could go back and do things differently only makes us neglect our present responsibilities and opportunities.” This present and presence is my aim every. single. day. And some days I have a firmer grip than others but it’s there.

  10. ” If I’m not doing those things now, what makes me think I would do them if I went back in time?” What a powerful thought! So often, when we play the “what if” game, we magically assume our life, if we could indeed be granted a “do over”, would be perfect the second time around because we would do all that we aren’t doing now. Intentionality. Living my life, my “right now” life, on purpose. This is what I need to focus on. What I do will make a difference tomorrow, but only if I choose to do it today.

    Thank you.

  11. I asked my grandmother (who turns 98 in May) what she would do over if she could go back in time and what time period she liked the best (just imagine living through the roaring 20s and the Great Depression and nearly every war!). She said she loved them all and she wouldn’t do one thing different. All the mistakes that she thought she had made were moments of growth and she didn’t want to give those moments up. So she would redo everything…just like it was!

    I want to end my life like that….that everything…good or bad…was just as God intended and enjoy every moment.

  12. Heather…
    I’m so emotional right now. I have had the worst 18 hours (in my whiney perspective right now)!
    Last night was a total flop of a birthday celebration for my sweet daughter and then this morning (her actual birthday) I’m still fuming from all the things that went wrong!
    And then……
    Then, I click on this post!

    I’m a puddle of tears now. I hate how I’ve behaved and treated the people I love the most! Thanks for slapping me around this morning!
    I’M SO THANKFUL for the Holy Spirit’s work through you today!
    I can……do what is right! I can!

  13. I was JUST thinking (like minutes ago) about how being a bit of a visionary makes it hard to be content in the moment. This was just the right reminder I needed to be intentional about doing so. Thanks, Heather!

  14. AMEN and Amen, sister! Preach. It.

    And…by going back it only diminishes what God has already done…how He’s made beauty from ashes. Or, how He will.

    All matters. Nothing is wasted.

    He loves us so much more beyond our comprehension, and nothing we did or will do can change that.

    Like Holley, I struggle with managing my gift of being a “visionary” and being content in the moment. I was just talking with a new friend this morning about how God has brought me to a place similar to my six-year-old son’s right now where I see the joy in so much…simple, child like joy. He’s in it all…even my painful past!

  15. Wow, Heather. I was thinking much the same thing as I read (other than the novel part). Thanks for reminding me that I can begin making my family and my health a priority today! I often think, “if only”…and I know I will be thinking “if only in 2011” once it is gone too!

  16. This is such a wonderful, encouraging perspective. I was JUST typing to a friend yesterday, about regrets I have with my three older children…things I see in them that are reflections of so many failures in my young marriage & parenting years. Sometimes it feels like having a ‘second chance’ with their four younger siblings (there’s a 5-yr gap in there!) – but your point is so important. I can start right now, loving the older ones more unconditionally, pouring out the overflow of what God is working in me, respecting my hubby more…
    THANKS so much, Heather, for the great words of wisdom!
    Teri

    • Yes, I do that too … thinking of what I should have done differently with my kids. But then I think of a woman my own age who is hungry for just one kind word from her mother, and I realize it’s never too late. So glad you discovered this too!

  17. Amen, Amen, AMEN!!!

    I read your post slowly. I paused to really consider what I’d change – and I soaked in the challenge you gave to apply those desires to my todays – and let’s just say… some things feel like they were just turned upside down and I finally see them, me, and this season clearly. THANK YOU!!

  18. The picture of that clock really drew me in! I love time and clocks, kinda an obsession thing!
    I love the words inthe post even more. You are right that if we won’t do those things now, what makes us think we would do them then? It is never too late to make positive changes in your life, to improve the lives of those you love.
    Thank you!
    Bernice
    8 reasons you may not have enough time

  19. You wrote this for me. My heart is breaking over a relationship that has not quite worked out and for the last few days I’ve been mourning the ‘loss’ of many years of my life; going back in my mind trying to figure out what I could have done different. Thank you for reminding me that caught up in the past, I might miss today’s moments and make them yet another regret tomorrow. Blessings.

  20. I played this senario through my head only yesterday. If I could go back in time and do this…but, I know I would not be where I am today if I had. God has shaped me through all of it. I may feel like play-doh that has been squashed several times, but I am in the master;s hands. I agree with you. Starting today on the important things is where I need to be, and I am grateful God is still shaping me. There is hope. Thank God for this.

  21. I have been stuck in “what if” lately and it always involves looking back on regrets I wish I could take back and have a “do over” with…pointless. It just leaves me longing and reliving hurts. Thanks for the reminder to let go of the past and embrace the new things God is doing in m life today.

  22. Now, that is a thought-provoking question.

    As I prepare to respond, 2 things pop into my mind. First of all, I’d change the fact I did not hear a clear presentation of the Gospel until I was 24 years old. I always had an affinity for the things of the Lord, but no one in my immediate life who shared the Gospel message with me.

    Secondly, if my first “change” came into being, my second change ~ poor decisions in and right after college ~ would be drastically different. Either way, both of those instances in my life have helped make me who I am. God has used both time and time again in the lives of others. I’m perfectly fine with that!

  23. This is so powerful and so true! I have this moment, this moment right now, to love well. Thank you so much for your sharing His voice–His truth– in you.

  24. The hard part is if I could go back, yes I would. To the decision for my daughter to have surgery in February of 2005. I would have not done the surgery until the weather was nicer and there was not so much sickness going around. She had a compromised immune system anyways due to a birth defect but I let myself listen to the doctor. Even though when he said when he wanted to do it, I just started bawling. At the time I thought it was perhaps because I thought I was failing her because I couldn’t keep her from having to have the surgery. But now I wonder if I knew she would be gone shortly after. She had surgery on Monday, was sick on Friday and gone on Sunday. It was very hard then, it remains very hard especially at this time of year. I know she could have still gotten sick, and I very well might have still lost her, but that doesn’t help when your feeling down and surrounded in grief. I love the sisters she has sent to us, but there are days I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if I had decided against that surgery, would she be here to share in the laughter with her sisters? Someday I’ll scrap about it, I need to have that therapy. But right now my hands are full with her beautiful sisters, 5 years, 3 years and 6 months. I know she is flying with Jesus, she would have been 9 this year.

    • Oh Rebecca! I can’t imagine how awful that must be. My heart is so full of sorrow for you; I don’t even know what to say. I reread your post several times, and I’m broken up inside. May the God of all comfort give you exactly what you need to bear this terrible burden.