As soon as I answered the phone, I heard the panic in her voice. My sweet Kaitlyn was calling to ask me if she had possibly left her brand new IPOD Touch which she had gotten for Christmas three weeks ago, in the car that morning. I had not seen it, but checked the car anyway, but no IPOD.
I immediately went to the school and met with the principal about the missing IPOD. He informed me that there had been a rash of thefts since school resumed after Christmas. As Kaitlyn sat there in the chair beside me in his office, trying to hold back the wails of sobs that wanted to burst out of her, I knew she was beating herself up inside.
I know that an IPOD is just a material thing, but she had anxiously and excitedly waited for months for Christmas day to arrive, and of all the presents she received for Christmas, her IPOD was her favorite. If she had not received another gift besides that, I think she would have been happy as a lark. It was a gift she really wanted, and she loved it. But now it was gone.
Once we left the Principal’s office and the tears overflowed, she expressed how desperately she wished she could go back in time that morning. How she wished she would have left it at home or in the car that morning. How she wished she would not have left her purse at her desk when the class went to the library for a brief time. Her mind was flooded with “what if’s”, “if only’s”, and “I wish’s”, but nothing would change the outcome, which was that her IPOD was gone forever.
I have been in her shoes before. I have felt that desperation to change the past before. Not about an IPOD, but about decisions I made in my past, which I desperately wished I had made differently. For many years, I spent my days filling my mind with “what if’s”, and “if only’s”, and “I wish’s”, but no matter how much or how long I beat myself up for my mistakes, it didnt change anything.
One miraculous day I finally realized that God loved me no matter what my mistakes were, no matter how bad my decisions had been, and that no amount of self condemnation was going to change His love for me, or change the past. After a lot of internal struggling, I humbly accepted the fact that I was forgiven, and as a result, have allowed God to do things in my heart and my life that I would have never dreamed of.
Do I still entertain those self defeating thoughts? Sometimes. Im only human. But as a result of seeing God at work in my life over the past few years, my belief that all things happen for a purpose is stronger than the insecurities that the devil tries to pierce my heart with. I try to allow Gods voice to drown out that mean ol enemys voice, and that is always a daily struggle.
So was I mad at Kaitlyn for losing her IPOD? Not mad, just frustrated, and disappointed, because I cannot run out and buy another expensive IPOD right away, so she will have to wait until we can afford to replace it. She will unfortunately have to suffer the consequences of being somewhat careless, even if it was done innocently, and inadvertently. And she has to suffer the consequences for someone elses bad decision, which seems to make it even worse.
But do I forgive her? Of course, instantaneously, and without a shadow of a doubt.
When I first approached her at school that day, I could see the sadness in her eyes, hear the loss in her voice, and feel the overwhelming regret pouring out of her little heart. I know it is just a “thing”, but it was something that was special to her.
As I looked at her flushed and tear stained face that day, and felt compassion building up inside of me, I couldnt help but think how God experiences those same feelings for us. How no matter how much we mess up, make careless decisions, and let Him down, that He feels the same loving compassion for us, as we do for our own children. That He feels compassion and mercy, not anger and disappointment, even when we do not deserve it.
If you are beating yourself up today for something you have done, thought or said, and you secretly desperately wish you could go back in time and do things differently, I encourage you today to let those feelings go. You are listening to the voice of the one who wants you to condemn yourself, so he can keep you down and discouraged.
None of us can change the past, despite all the wishing in the world….but we can control how we allow those mistakes to help us grow spiritually, depend on Christ, and trust that He always knows best.
If I had to look for a silver lining in all this, I did have some teachable moments with Kaitlyn. Not just about being more careful with her valuables, but about praying for people that steal or hurt us.
We talked about how the person who stole it must not know Christ; they must not know that stealing is wrong; they must not feel convicted by the Holy Spirit or even their own morals when they do something wrong; and maybe they have a bad family situation, and were never taught right from wrong or to be considerate of other peoples feelings, or things. I asked her if she had prayed about it, and she said she had, and we prayed about it together. It was hard, but we prayed for the thief. It is not fair and that person had no right to steal something from her, but we still need to forgive them and pray for them, and she understood. She has such a sweet heart.
I did want to give her a little hope though, and reminded her that if God can run an entire universe, He could certainly help her IPOD get back to her, if that was His will in His ultimate plan.
So, now we will just cross our fingers, and keep praying, that maybe it will be found and turned in and returned to her in some way, but regardless, lessons were learned, and life moves on. God always has a plan for everything …. even IPODS. Kaitlyn had dozens of Christian songs on her IPOD, maybe God will use it to reach a place in a heart that He could not reach before. But even if we never see it again, and never understand why it happened, I still believe that God can do something good out of it. And also, that He will.