Monday's Musings: Seeing the Big Picture in Life

by Mary Denman   @MaryDenman 

There are times when we can't see the big picture in life. 

We can only see what's right in front of us. If we feel like we've made a mistake, we may have guilt or regret over the decisions that got us there.

I know. I've been there.

But recently, I had my eyes opened to see that God is working things out when I think I screwed up.

Starting back in 2002, my son Luke found out that he loved swimming. A lot. 

He joined our neighborhood swim team and the county-wide summer swim competition. He started asking to swim year-round. I just couldn't make that commitment for him at the time. It would have required going to swim practice 3-4 days a week, 25 minutes away. At the time, I was homeschooling all five of my kids and they were still pretty young.

Every summer, he would ask to swim year-round. 

Luke swimming backstroke in the 400 IM.
Believe me, I felt bad when I had to say no. 

Finally, after the summer of 2007, my neighbor and I both committed to enroll our boys in year-round swimming and carpool. 

Luke was in heaven. He could finally swim as much as he wanted. 

But at 13, he was a little old to start swimming competitively. Most kids had been swimming for several years already. More guilt on my part. Their technique was better than Luke's.  

Yet, he did really well. He was great at both the breaststroke and long distance. Fly and backstroke, not so much. He got faster but still had a lot of technique work to do. 

Even so, he got a scholarship to swim in college. 

But I felt bad because he could have been better if I had started him sooner. 

Those feelings of guilt followed me for a while....for years in fact. Until recently.

What changed? 

Something Luke said. 

Since this year was his last year to swim for his university, I told him that I regretted not starting him sooner. 

His reply? 

"It's fine Mom. I might not still be swimming if you had." 

"What do you mean?"

His body was wearing down from being a long distance swimmer. He knew he could finish his university career. But that was it. Had I put him in year-round when he was 8 or 9, he probably wouldn't have kept swimming. 

Talk about relief! My son was so gracious and he was right. But I hadn't seen it that way. 

I thought I had screwed up. 

Instead, God had my back and my son's back the whole time! 

That's when I knew that I can't always see the big picture in life. And that's okay. 

Luke swimming breaststroke.
Even though I felt bad for not letting Luke swim when he was younger, it was the right decision in the long run. He loves his team and has lifelong friends now because of his college career. 

He just swam his last competitive race ever, a couple of weekends ago. He had a great run. He set some school records. 

I'm so proud of what he did. And I'm thankful that it turned out the way it did. 

God used my inability to let Luke start swimming when he wanted for Luke's greater good. It really was for the best. 

So the next time I'm feeling regret, I'm going to let God handle it. He seems to be able to take care of things really well. 

How have you seen God use something that you thought was a mistake?  


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  1. This is beautiful, Mary. Deeply profound yet still a simple truth. I loved reading it. Thank you.

  2. This is lovely Mary. Loved reading your post. It reminds me of my 2 older boys. They ran when they were younger but as they got good, they went to uni and stopped running :(

    1. Swimming will always be a great memory for me about my son. He loved it so much. It's kind of sad he's done. But time marches on.

      Thanks for dropping by Claire and thanks for hosting!

  3. That is beautiful! You did all the right things for your son. I bet you are proud. Have a great week!

  4. God DOES have our back. He's good... all the time.
    Thanks for sharing at