Kevin and I have been working all weekend, in the yard, to get things ready for his sister’s wedding. We are honored to have her getting married right here on our property, in an intimate ceremony, and it’s been especially sweet preparing for it while my mind has been on marriage and anniversaries. Yesterday, we took a break and piled, dirty, into the pickup to run into town.

We pulled into our favorite drive-in burger place, and as we were sitting there drinking a coke, a young family with three small, stair-stepped kids walked up to place their order. Their oldest and youngest were both boys, with a little girl sandwiched in the middle.

“Two boys. What would that have been like for us?” Kevin asked.

I answered, “Well, different toys, probably different sports, different friends…less drama!”

We laughed, and imagined, together, how things would’ve looked in that scenario. But not for long. We were given a different story, a different gift, that we loved so much. Pretty quickly, we were saying things like “we would’ve had this, but we would’ve totally missed out on that.” It was easy to lay the conversation to rest, soon after, because we realized we wouldn’t have wanted it any differently than what God chose to give us.

There have been other times in my life, though, where I’ve either made a bad choice, or wanted something terribly that didn’t come to pass. Both have been known to throw me into a crazy time of ruminating on “if only,” and playing the tape of how I wished it had gone, over and over and over in my mind. In those times, I sat still and stuck, unable to move forward, and I couldn’t seem to figure out why.

One Sunday, several years back and during just such a time, our pastor rode out on a kid’s bicycle. He was talking about this very topic, and he turned around backwards.

When we are stuck in the “if only…,” we are sitting backward on the bike. You can’t pedal this way, or see where you’re going, so you just sit still, going nowhere. BUT, if you trade in “if only…” for “next time…,” you immediately turn around, proactive, and your feet find the pedals, and you propel yourself forward.

Next time! Those two little words changed the way I react when considering things in my life that I wish had gone differently. We all have them, but, thankfully, we don’t have to be bound by them.

There are a lot of things, though, that go just the right way, and you would never, ever change a thing. Like a lifetime of holding hands with the man you love, and two little brown-haired, brown-eyed girls sandwiched between you.


For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again,  but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.” Proverbs 24:16 NIV

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 ESV

“Jesus said, “No procrastination. No backward looks. You can’t put God’s kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day.” Luke 9:62 MSG