My book,"Moments with God", includes an article written by the late Jim Benefield, LMFT, "Turning Your Lifelong Regrets into Immeasurable Graces". It was an integral part of my healing and I'm sure it will be the same for all who read it. I was honored he and his wife, Rosemary (a driving force in my devotional writing), graciously allowed me to use the complete article. The following is an excerpt:
Face Your Regrets
The first step to freedom from past regrets is to describe them in detail. Explain what you regret having lost in terms of past, present, and future opportunities. For example, “My life would have been so much better if I had not been adopted into this dysfunctional family,” or “If I had worked harder at my grades, I would have been able to go to the school of my choice.” Express your anger at yourself and at others. When you have finished expressing your anger, imagine yourself wrapping your regrets into “a package”. Then visualize yourself going into the Garden of Gethsemane and presenting your package of regrets to Jesus in his agony.
As you present this package of regrets to Jesus, He invites you to kneel down with Him and you hear Him say, “I will make something good of this.” And then you see Jesus do a very strange thing: He takes your package of regrets, and as he places them together with the multitude of regrets already before him in the garden, He pulls you close to Himself and begins to sob uncontrollably. As He sobs, you hear Him pray to His Heavenly Father. He sees that these regrets have seriously impeded a healthy trustful relationship between you and your Heavenly Father. His prayer to his Father is filled with compassion on your behalf.
You lean close to hear Him pray: “My dear Father, I know that you will refuse Me nothing. I bring you this child whose heartaches and disappointments have interfered with his ability to love and trust You. Father, he is your child, and I ask that You not hold this against him. He has been blinded by so much sorrow that all he sees is himself and his regrets. He doesn't see Us and our love for him. Heal the anger in his soul, and by your grace do not let him be dominated by self-loathing, resentments, hostility and unforgiveness towards himself and others.
“Oh merciful and forgiving Father, touch him with the fire of your forgiveness and plunge this fire into the deepest recesses of his being, so that he is moved also to seek out forgiveness from You for those that have harmed him. Remove this bondage of hate and let him no longer be ruled by it. Remove the dismal outlook that he has for his future and fill him with hope and knowledge of Our love for him. Give him all that he needs so that he can receive forgiveness for himself and hold on to Your forgiveness as his most precious gift from You.
“By the power that I have in You, I hereby declare this soul free from the destructive effects of the regrets of his past that he has not been able to let go. I declare him free from the harm that he has done to himself and others, and from the harm that others have done to him. Let healing flow into those who have been wounded by his actions and omissions, and when the time is right let there be reconciliation between them.
“Place your hands over his heart and seal it with a confident faith in your provincial care for him. Let him see the regrets that he has clung to so tenaciously as “your branding mark” that will forever bind him to your love for all to see. As surely as the cattleman brands his steer for all to know its ownership, so let it be with him. Even as You have used my wounds of the crucifixion to draw mankind back to You, so let his wounds be joined with Mine, co-mingled with my suffering for the expiation of sin and the conversion of souls. Even as none of my suffering was wasted, do not let one morsel of his suffering go unused for your divine purpose.”
As Jesus prays, you notice that your package of anger and regrets is saturated with his tears and by droplets of the blood from the “sweat” of his brow. Jesus holds on to you even more tightly and concludes, “I thank you for receiving and honoring this prayer on (your name)'s behalf even as you receive and honor me.”
HAVE A BLESSED DAY!
HAVE A BLESSED DAY!