To the Woman Who Made Mistakes in her life,
As I sit and reflect on the way that life has turned out, it’s easy to see that where I am now, I never saw it coming. And I’m glad that I didn’t. If I knew the pain that I had to go through to get here, I don’t think that I would have made the same choices. I would have Butterfly Effect-ed the entire world. It may have saved me some pain but who knows what wasteland the world would be if I chose to spare myself heartbreak and tears.
I know that I’m not the only woman who has made mistakes. There are literally millions of us. If you’re old enough to make decisions, you’re probably a woman who made mistakes. Some of my mistakes have been small and inconvenient. Some have caused me to pause and shake my head. Some of them have been life-altering; I’m intimately more familiar with the last kind of mistakes.
I sit back and wonder: Why did I do those things? Why did I make those choices?
Without dragging it out, a lot of the mistakes I made were because I was afraid to be alone. Everything from deciding where to attend college, to the major I walked away from, to the men I dated. Every decision I made was because I was afraid that I didn’t have the strength to stand on my own two feet and be responsible for taking the lead on who I was to be. I was afraid that no one would validate my existence or potential.
I wonder how many of the millions of us are making mistakes for a similar reason. That we are making unwise decisions out of fear.
On various occasions, I’ve been asked…and have asked myself…if I could go back and change anything in my life, what would it be and why?
I reflect upon the men I was with who used me and tossed me aside.
I think about the bad grades I got because I didn’t study as much as I should have and the ones I got because I was depressed after being used.
I think about how I didn’t ask enough questions about a piece of my medical history and put my life in jeopardy for years.
I think about putting such a financial burden on myself and my parents trying to go to a school to get a degree that I’ve never used.
I go back to thinking about the men who used me and tossed me aside.
So what would I change if I could?
I love to say that every day is a new chance to make a change. Every choice we’ve made…good and bad…has led us to this moment in time. I’m in a great place right now. It’s not great because everything in my life is perfect, but because I finally learned who I am. I realized that every decision, every pain, every hurt, has led me to this moment in time. I am a daughter of the King and I have found my purpose in this world. All of those decisions are my testimony to the healing, transformation, and restoration that has taken place in my life.
Maybe you’re not in such a great place today. But if you’re reading this, you’re alive. That means you have the opportunity to make a different choice about who you’re going to be and the difference you’re going to make in this world.
The whole reality of the situation is that we can’t go back and change the mistakes that we’ve made in the past. They are there and we are here. All we can do is continue to move forward and learn. We can try not to repeat those mistakes. They definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, while expecting to produce different results. I can honestly say that my dating life caused a large span of insanity in my life.
What mistake did you make? Have you done anything to try to come to terms with it? Have you forgiven yourself for that mistake?
I carried the guilt and shame of being an assault and rape survivor for almost 20 years. I blamed myself for their actions. I never reported them because I didn’t want them to get in trouble. Not telling anyone and not talking about it directly influenced me to make a plethora of bad decisions over that time span. When I met my husband, I started the process of healing by going to therapy. It took me another 10 years to after that to fully forgive myself for the decisions that I made as a result of some of the decisions that I made.
I’m not stuttering.
Because I didn’t report the crimes against me, my psyche changed and I went down a very dark path. I made mistake after mistake after mistake. I no longer felt like I was allowed to have joy or peace in my life. I was a woman who made mistakes. Some really serious ones.
Maybe your rocky path didn’t start because of an assault. Maybe you lost a parent or grandparent. Maybe you were bullied or harassed. Maybe something else happened that allowed feelings of fear, anxiety, depression, or a lack of self-worth to creep into your mind and tell you that you weren’t good enough or that you didn’t deserve to find joy in your life.
The hardest thing that I’ve ever done is forgive myself. Forgiving yourself will be the hardest thing you will ever do.
Ephesians 4:32a tells us to “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you…”
Forgive any and every person who has been able to hurt you or make you feel less than worthy.
Forgive them. It’s not about the power they have over you.
Have you ever read Ephesians 4:26-27? It says “’In your anger do not sin’…do not give the devil a foothold.” Maybe you’ve heard it as “He who angers you, controls you.” Forgiveness is not about letting someone get away with a wrong.
It’s about the gift of freedom that you can give yourself.
The bravest thing that you’ll ever do is find the courage to heal. Maybe you’re like me. Maybe you’re a broken woman, carrying around years of hurt, anger, and self-deprecation. Maybe you’re still trying to reconcile that you’re a woman who made mistakes.
Girlfriend, let me let you in on a little secret: Not one of us is perfect. We have our flaws, hurts, shame, and mistakes.
But the process of healing starts within. It starts with recognizing that you’ve sometimes made decisions that weren’t the best, but that you’re still here. Your life is what you make of it. Every day that you are above ground is a good day. Each new day is an opportunity to release the fears that hold you back from discovering what life could be.
None of us is perfect. We have to get up and try again every single day. Find the strength to love yourself enough to learn how to truly love yourself. And to realize that you deserve that love.
If no one else tells you today, I love you and know that greatness is within you. Grab it.
Another Woman Who Made Mistakes in Her Life
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Katherine is the author of Wounds to Wisdom, The Marriage Advocate, and is the voice behind Yoked, an online ministry dedicated to helping women prepare themselves to be a wife. Married to her best friend, she is living out her purpose by encouraging others to enter into covenant marriages with their eyes wide open.