Regrets, only

Julie Nelson shares a new post, one that weaves together the prodigal son, resentment, and gratitude.

Photo by Sam Headland on Unsplash

Having lit many birthday candles, I find myself in a new season of life. My grown children are out of the house and embarking their way in this world. I am reflecting more these days. My mother said that when your kids leave, what you have left are memories. So true! I have been more reminiscent lately in my prayer life and thoughts.

Recently, I found myself in the midst of a pity party with a half-hearted invitation extended to Jesus to attend. I was in the midst of feeling sorry for myself, longing to go back in time to do things differently.

The enemy has been stoking my regret as wonderful friends who chose to live life to the fullest in the early years are now passionately discovering faith in this season we are in. I am so joyful for them and enjoy re-connecting with great faith conversations. Their passion ignites me. But I find resentment creeping in. It is robbing me of peace.

The “shoulda”, “woulda”, “coulda”s were setting in.

(I am sure Jesus is doing a face palm.)

I grumbled to my spiritual director. He brought up the parable of the prodigal son, particularly the older son. Perhaps the older son secretly desired to explore the world and live life to the fullest. Resentment took over his heart that day when his younger brother returned home and the eldest said to his father, “…I never disobeyed your command; yet you never gave me a kid that I might make merry with my friends.” Luke 15:29. (Ouch, this revealed my ungratefulness. And for the record, I have been disobedient).

But my spiritual director proceeded to point out the father’s reply. The father did honor him and it did not go unnoticed for his Father replied, “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.’” Luke: 15: 31. (emphasis my own)

I realized resentment is temporal. It is based on the fleeting temptations of this world that hooks into my humanity. The remedy is gratefulness.

I was prompted one day in prayer to read past entries of my prayer journal. I saw a glimpse of my heart in those moments. Memory is elusive and tends to re-write the historical narrative.

I read the desires of a woman’s heart that yearns to serve her King and fails miserably. A mother and a wife who fervently prayed for help to be a witness to her children and her husband of all things of God so that eternity would be theirs. A woman who cried to God, her Father, for help and understanding and the grace to make the better choice for the spiritual good of another. A woman who knew that while the world would not understand her choices, God, her Father did and would honor her desires. That when I complain my life doesn’t look how I want it to be, He is still loving me through my grumbling. Through these journal pages, God reminded me that He was always watching, noting every teardrop, every desire, every anxious moment. I realized all the prayers answered and how life now reflects the desires from those past petitions.

And it is good and I am grateful. Gratitude is wonder drug, y’all.

We have the hope in the promise of the Father. “…you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.”

 What more could a daughter desire?

Julie Nelson is a self described ambient introvert and Catholic “passionista.” Loving God’s sense of humor, Julie is a former nurse who now is Co-Host of Catholic Women Now weekly radio program. Speaking at the 2017 summer Well gathering, Julie is now building a speaking ministry. Her happy place is being surrounded with her family, especially by a beach or a lake. Julie lives out her childhood dream of being a fashion designer in her sewing room while binging on Fashion Runway. Julie is a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in West Des Moines, Iowa.

Copyright 2019 Julie Nelson

Author: The Well

The Well is a vibrant women’s ministry rooted in prayer, evangelization, and charitable action. We exist to gather women together, to celebrate spiritual friendships, and to build up the local Catholic community. Just as the Samaritan woman encountered Jesus at a well, we pray the work of this ministry opens doors to a deeper and sustained encounter with Jesus for those who gather with us.

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