“If I had only known the last time would be the last time,
I would’ve put off all the things I had to do.”
From Scars in Heaven by Casting Crowns

Amid the chaos in her hospital room, Jasmine was confused. I said to her, “They are transferring you to a larger hospital. You will be okay.” I did not know those were the last words she would hear from me. We often do not know when the time will come. It is natural to look back with regret, especially when it comes unexpectedly. “If I had only known . . .” becomes a torturous theme in our minds.

Life is not perfect; neither are we. No matter how hard we try to be our best, there are times when we will fail, and when the opportunity to make things right is lost, we are left with the feeling of regret. It is okay to have regrets; it is natural to want to go back and change things, to do better and be better.

But all is not lost. We do not need to carry the burden of regret for the rest of our lives. Thank God that He is a God Who redeems and restores. He does not want our hopes and dreams to vaporize into nothingness. What value would we be to Him, to ourselves, or to anyone? No, God wants us to offer up our failures and the “If only I had known” script that haunts us to Him. Like clay in the hands of a master potter, God reshapes our character from the inside out. God promises His people that He will “give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness” [Isaiah 61:3 (KJV)]. That’s redemption and restoration!

Yes, we can do better; we can be better. We can choose to change, but the power to change does not come through willpower. God transforms us from the inside out when we answer His call to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” [Romans 12:1b-2a (ESV)]. Herein lies our hope for a brighter future. Everything about us changes when God transforms us—our attitudes, passions, values, and priorities, and they all impact our relationships.

It is okay to have regrets, but do not allow them to define your future. Allow God to transform your present and restore your hope for a brighter future. Move forward.

Stop and Consider. . .

Next: Top 7 Life Lessons #3: Sadness can hold you down. Rise above it by fueling your joy through giving. Move forward.

Click here to view Jasmine’s memorial video.

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