nickchaseCoulda – Woulda  – Shoulda.

Words of regret?

Words of doubt?

Words that suggest you might want a “do over”?


Looking back and learning to take personal responsibility can be a good thing.

But it can also lead to what those in recovery call “stinkin’ thinkin’’!                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

You know…it’s the kind of thinkin’ that leads to all kinds of negative self-talk.  

Wishing you had known better…done better…made different choices…wiser decisions.

It’s like a conversation I had with my  son a few years back.

A conversation I have never forgotten.

After years in and out of trouble…in and out of rehab…Nick finally realized his life had become unmanageable.

He decided he was ready for help.

He was ready to get serious about his life and his sobriety.

He will soon celebrate the 8 year mark since he made that decision.

Against all odds, he never looked back and her never again fell off the wagon!

Thank you Jesus.

Yet – as any of you who know the struggle of addiction…

It has not been without tears

Without hours on his knees

Without the help of AA and his sponsor

And certainly not without the power of God to do what he alone could not!

Again…this Mama says, “thank you Jesus’!

Part of a healthy recovery includes making amends to those you hurt along the way…

And that is the conversation I gratefully remember…

As Nick and I tearfully embraced the moment where such a conversation was even possible…it was not just Nick making the amends.

It was me too.

I had learned that I was not responsible for Nick’s poor choices.

But in my own recovery, I had learned that there were things that I had done that had contributed…the rescuing…the fuzzy boundaries…the fear of losing him if I did the hard things of parenting.

For that I had to make my own amends.

On that day…Nick looked at me and tenderly said,  “It’s OK Mom – you did the best you could…the best you could with what you had to work with….

You didn’t even know Jesus back then.”


Just as Jesus – at the age of 47 – extended the gift of grace and mercy to me…I now had a son willing to do the same.


And you know?

In some strange way – the brokenness of our past – has been a pathway to a profoundly close relationship today.

Without the struggles – without the craziness of our past –  neither of us would be who we are today.

Nor would we be nearly as grateful for where we are…how far we have come…and all we have to be thankful for…

Including each other.

Treasured moments remembered can wipe away a lifetime of  coulda – woulda – shoulda.

And but for the journey – none of us would be who we are today.

As for me…

I am certain that I could not  – and would not – be able to do all that I am doing for the Lord  – in my coaching – in my marriage – in my parenting and grandparenting – if it were not for

the experiences,  lessons and memories of my past.

No condemnation…

No do over needed…

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling me. (Philippians 3:14)

I press on trusting that God can use for good all that He has allowed me to go through.

Trusting that he can – and will – use it for his good purposes!

How about you???


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