Wanda’s Journal

Past Mistakes

In my novel, The Robin’s Greeting, the Amish family’s neighbor, Virginia, had kept her past hidden from others because she felt ashamed of how she had treated her children. Is there something in your past that you have shared with only a few people, or perhaps no one, because you were afraid of people’s reactions? Is it important to share past mistakes with others, or would it be better to keep quiet about our mistakes, even if someone could benefit from knowing?

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89 Comments

  1. I think it is important to talk about past mistakes. It doesn’t have to be with everyone just someone you trust. I think leaving things bottled up isn’t healthy.

  2. Oh yes something that happened to me when I was in a foster home I didn’t tell anyone as I felt that even though I fought the person it still happened more than once and I have told only my dr as I had to and one other person. I am very ashamed and feel that it has been with me for more than 58 years.

    1. I have made many mistakes in my life, but I was never able to carry the weight of those mistakes. I always needed to make things right, and that made me feel better and move on. It is those little things that I felt I couldn’t make right that stay with me like a weight upon my heart. I truly thank God that, most of the time, I was able to make things right.

  3. It depends on the secret. It is sometimes better to keep the secret if it will hurt someone.

  4. I have made mistakes in my past — mistakes that, like Virginia, I didn’t want to share, because I thought that others would see me differently if they knew. I have shared this particular mistake with 1 or 2 people, and hope that someday I will share it with those in my immediate family, but like Virginia, right now, I’m frozen with fear. Others might benefit from knowing this about me — if for no other reason then to know that I’m not perfect – just as human as they are!

  5. If you feel comfortable sharing with someone you feel could benefit from experience then you should share. I don’t share much unless the subject is brought up and I feel they will listen and maybe help.

    1. You are not required to tell past mistakes. You need to trust God if you decide to tell someone in confidence.

  6. I think you should talk about your past mistakes; it will make you feel better and could keep someone else from from making the same mistakes.

  7. I think many have something in their past they aren’t comfortable sharing with but a select few. In those cases I feel it’s best to give it to God and let it go.

  8. I don’t like secrets but what’s worse is someone else finding out my secret. I’m not an open book. Which may be the reason why I read sooo much!

  9. I feel like you should keep your past to yourself unless it is your spouse. You should never keep secrets from your spouse. A lot of people base their opinion of you on your past and that isn’t fair if you have been able to change what you did wrong.

  10. Yes there are certain things that have happened though my whole life that sometimes I have kept to myself or have shared to certain people in my life. Some reactions from certain people surprised me or I know how they would react so I keep them to myself. I feel sometimes I go through certain situations alone since I know how some are going to react. I feel as though if I tell certain people I think sometimes it would help. But others I feel it wouldn’t help. If I know someone who is going through what I went through then I think it would help a lot more. My experience through things could help the next person who is going through the same thing.

  11. God knows all about our past and all of our mistakes, and that is what is most important. What we choose to share with others is up to us, but I carefully consider what I want to share with others; I take into consideration their character and if i think they can be trusted to share my past, and if they would give me wise advice.

  12. I think we can all learn from our mistakes. If we see someone struggling through something and we have been through the same thing or something similar, then we might be able to help them by telling them what helped us get through it. Thank you for the opportunity to win this book. Have a wonderful 4th of July!

  13. Past mistakes are our ways to learn not to do that mistake again. Trust in the Lord and ask forgiveness. If you wronged someone talk to them. Don’t dwell on your mistakes. Learn from them and move forward.

  14. Hello, I believe the answer is two-fold. There have been a few things I have shared with only a few people; with whom I truly trusted. Other times I have shared with groups, like my struggles with depression, hoping someone may benefit from my experiences…
    Thank you, Cindi

  15. I think we should share our past and our mistakes with someone we trust. Someone we are comfortable with. Someone to help us grow from our mistakes and past.

  16. I think it depends on what the secret is and if it will hurt others if you reveal it. But if it could help someone going through something similar then maybe you should tell that person what you went through and how the Lord brought you out. It could just be what the other person needs to hear. I believe God wants us to share our stories with one another to either encourage someone or to let them know that no one is perfect, only one, Jesus Christ.

  17. Happy Fourth of July Wanda..
    Love your books and your cookbooks, would love to win a copy of your book.

  18. I believe it depends on what the secret is and who your telling. you want to make sure that the person you are telling is trustworthy and wont go and tell others about your secret. a while back i told a friend that i thought was close a secret and the next day a few girls i barely new were asking me about it. I learned my lesson about sharing secrets then. now i only tell my mom, dad, or sister my secrets; and in the future my husband. when you know someone is worthy of the secret, but your still worried about their reaction, pray about it. always pray to God about the secret; he knows your worried about it and wants to help. most of the time it helps the relationship, sometimes even when it hurts at first you still have to go through it, like a muscle we have to rip something to make it stronger. thank you for reading, happy 4th of July!

  19. I am a very private person so I do not share much about my childhood, teen years or marriage. I have friends who share everything with everybody. That is just not me.

  20. I, like all, have made my fair share of mistakes. If it is weighing heavy on me to tell someone after repenting to God then I do-either counsel from a pastor, my husband or best friend. Otherwise, repentance and trust with God is where it is at. Releasing what no longer serves me and moving on is what has given me peace to be me and unfold into greater depths of God’s plan for my life on this side of heaven.

  21. Oh my! Of course there are past mistakes I wish I had not made but I don’t think mistakes should be permanently hidden. I was adopted as a child and where a few of the biological family ( because of now popular DNA tests and websites) feel I am part of the family, many more say my biological mother never gave up a child for adoption and I surely am not being truthful. Some past mistakes shouldn’t be hidden, they seem to cause more grief in the future.

  22. Unfortunately mistakes are a part of life. I’ve definitely made my share! But hopefully we (I) learn and grow from them. They become a part of our testimony. And our testimonies can be shared ( when the time is appropriate) to help others to hopefully avoid making that mistake or to help them learn from it to and move beyond it.

  23. Sometimes a secret can cause much heartache and pain, Often it is better to keep the secret than share it and cause for problems. Prayer is usually the best answer when we’re unsure of how to handle a touchy subject.

  24. For me, whether to share past mistakes depends on your motivation — are you using your story to help others or to assuage your own guilt? If the former, then sharing is a good thing; if the latter, then it is not. Interesting question. Thanks for posting it.

  25. We all I’m sure have past mistakes we have kept secret. God knows All & will have the Holy Spirit guide us in the right direction. I’ve always prayed over things that are weighing heavily on my mind & feel God always guides me in the right way to handle it. I love Phil 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Pray always does you good.

  26. Secrets might hurt someone. Depending on the situation. Thank you so much for your books, I enjoy reading them! God bless, Amy

  27. I enjoy reading your books. I find myself forgetting about my chores due to antipating what each of your characters will do with each page I turn.

    Thank you for this and allowing me enjoyment during “my time”.

  28. I believe everyone is entitled to their privacy, and do not have to share with anyone unless they feel moved to do so.

  29. I think some mistakes are just between you and God. God knows your heart and is forgiving. People can be so judgmentel at times.

  30. I think that if it would help another it would be good to share with them about similar past mistakes and how you learned to deal with them.

  31. I think that sharing our mistakes is best done through the Holy Spirit’s nudge as we are having specific conversations with others.

  32. I believe GOD allows us to go through things to teach us so that we can help someone else through their trial.

  33. I love getting your emails and I love your books. Would love to receive your free books.
    Thank you

  34. When asked, I will be open because then I don’t have to remember what I said. If not asked, I keep myself to myself.

  35. In the past I’ve gotten into arguments with family members and then wished they hadn’t happened. I wondered what I could have done differently, with the situation , instead of arguing. Because if I say unkind words when I’m angry, I can’t take those words back and I know they hurt people’s feelings. I don’t talk about psst arguments, but maybe someone can learn from my situation, if I did. I just don’t know.

  36. Yes, There are a few things in my past that I have not shared with everyone, just a few. But if it ever comes up, I’m not afraid to tell someone. It’s just not something that comes up in conversation.

  37. Dear Wanda,

    Yes, there are things that I have only shared with a trusted few friends. I’ve found that not everyone is capable of being trusted with a person’s most vulnerable thoughts, emotions or deeds. However, it is important to share these things with someone, even if only a pastor or counselor.
    In my opinion it’s important to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit when sharing past mistakes. Certainly celebrating them is not appropriate but being neither is being ashamed or feeling condemned. If my experience can help someone else, I’m happy to share, but I trust God will show me how and whom to share with.

  38. Very tough question! I think it would depend on the time/circumstances. I think we all have some things we keep to ourselves. Yes, I have some things I haven’t shared with others. For the mistakes, I am the first to always admit when I make a mistake.

  39. Your stories of projecting the Amish as people just trying to raise God loving families like the rest of us Englishers can open eyes of many people.
    Enjoy your books

  40. Truth sets us free eases a heavy heart sometimes sharing that which we keep hidden frees us from the heaviness in our heart if we always worry about what others will say or think of us we need to stop and think people who live in glass house should not throw stones people should support you no matter what if our God treated us like that where would we be

  41. It depends on what it is & whether I feel I can help someone else by sharing. Otherwise I don’t want to be judged for something God has already forgiven me for.

  42. It depends on the situation. I will share if I see that it would help. Otherwise- I keep my secret mistakes to myself.

  43. I feel that you should leave the past (past secrets included) where it is, in the past. Sadly people are judgemental and will look at you as the person you were and not the person you are!

  44. I’m usually an open book, but I do have some secrets that only my husband & child know about my past life. Through the years I’ve thought about sharing my secrets with others, but my knowing how they will react does keep me quiet. I’ve learned to forgive myself as God has forgiven me. Prayers do help too!

  45. It likely depends on what the situation is and who the people are to determine what, if anything, to say, and to whom, and when.

  46. It is not necessary to share past mistakes with others, except to ask for forgiveness from the one who you have wronged or has wronged you. Confess your faults one to another. I feel a mistake is a mistake and others do not need to know about it.

  47. I love reading all of your books. I love reading Amish Mysteries. It gives the read a little extra excitement. I am so glad that you keep putting more books out there for us to enjoy. You are such a talented writer. Thanks for what you do.

  48. The day my husband and I got married, my husband’s sister made a very hurtful comment to my husband and I. And from the day of our wedding until a year after she nor her husband would speak to us. We took the first step to reconcile our relationship because even though we were hurt. My family members only know about this because we didn’t want to make my husband’s sister look bad. But in hindsight we’ve realized that we should not have hid everything. Maybe we could have reconciled sooner.

  49. There are definitely private things I don’t like to share with others because I’m fearful of their reactions and their treatment of me. I think depending on what it is, it is sometimes okay to keep things quiet. This is especially true if we haven’t fully processed it for ourselves yet. However, if someone would benefit from knowing (information for the greater good), then I think it would be worth sharing. It is surely a tricky situation and it is a decision each person has to make for themselves.

  50. Sometimes, it helps for people to learn from our mistakes. But I’ve learned that some people need to make their own mistakes. They don’t appreciate unsolicited advice, even if we mean well, and we have to let them figure things out for themselves.

  51. Yes, there is something in my past I have shared with only a few people. The only times I have shared this part of my past with anyone was when they would benefit from knowing.

  52. These are good thoughts to ponder on. It is better to tell a confidant (someone you trust) if it is something hurtful you are holding inside. It is better to let it out. And if nothing else, give it to God. He always understands. Just don’t hold things inside.

  53. I think it is good to admit past mistakes so that others can learn and not make the same mistake.

  54. It obviously depends on the secret, but unfortunately secrets have a way of coming out. My husband kept an explosive secret from me for most of our marriage-he did something in his past we was ashamed of-and it came out unexpectedly. It is so bad it has really affected our marriage, and I found this out over a year ago. I’ve often said it would be easier if he had sat me down and told me his version BEFORE I heard the other version. I would have been prepared. So I would say ultimately you have to share your past with your spouse.

  55. I have made many mistakes in my life. Thank God the are forgiven! If i feel led to share some of them I try to do so.

  56. Dear Wanda, I cannot tell you how much I enjoy reading your books and how much it puts me in a place of peace. soon I will be having total knee surgery and I will have to get my books together that I wish to read during this recovery time. I know I would enjoy reading your latest books.
    I am sure a lot of people have a little secret they have only mentioned to a single person. I know I have. I am doing geneaology on my family tree and a aunt who has passed away said not to search it so there is something hidden in out tree. I hope I can find it.

  57. Dear Wanda, I cannot tell you how much I enjoy reading your books and how much it puts me in a place of peace. soon I will be having total knee surgery and I will have to get my books together that I wish to read during this recovery time. I know I would enjoy reading your latest books.
    I am sure a lot of people have a little secret they have only mentioned to a single person.

  58. My sister’s are the only ones who know about mistakes I’ve made I usually try to keep them to myself.I know God has forgiven me for them but I still can’t forget them or forgive myself for them.

  59. It’s okay to share some things that seems to be from your past. But as long as no one gets hurt. As a child of God we can give our hurts to him.

  60. I guess it would drpend on the situation & how it would affect the other person.I would love to win your new book contest. I love your writings & try to get all of your books. Thank you for writing such wonderful & clean Amish books.

  61. This can be a tough call. I guess we all keep something hidden but I would hope i wouldn’t if someone could benefit from knowing. Pride is not a good thing if others are hurt by your arrogance. God would not want this.
    I am trying to look ba ck into my own past now that you mentioned this but nothin g stands out. Good to re-exam ine.

  62. I think everyone has mistakes from their past. It is hard to reveal a mistake if a person feels that the revelation will only bring more pain. If we have wronged someone, I feel that God would like for us to make restitution in some way. It seems to be a very personal thing that depends on the circumstances.

  63. I think if we are going to share our past mistakes we should be very careful who we open up too. Some people may use it against us.

  64. I love reading the Greenhouse books. I have a common love for the Amish. I go to Lancaster when time permits. Lancaster is a lovely place and it calms the soul. I have a library of your book, I just can’t seem to part with them all. I can’t wait to check out your next book.

  65. It is very hard to tell others about your difficult past. It was hard enough living through it and trying your hardest to figure out what happened and why. Your siblings ignoring you in school. Living with a teacher’s family or moving to live with an aunt out of state. After my grandmother (my angel on earth), died my whole world was turned upside down. Why me? My last 2 years of high school was so difficult. I always tried my best in school and everything else I did but it was never good enough. It has been so hard to deal with this.

  66. That is a very hard decision to make. I think if it could benefit someone we should share our mistakes. I know I have made many and I’m thankful God throws them in the sea of forgetfulness to remember them no more when we confess them to him.

  67. Wanda, I am loving your books and they are very inspirational. In many of your books there are many times people who have made Mistakes! But, we all need to remember that when we make mistakes, which we all do! We have to remember to ask our good Lord for the forgiveness, that he will wipe away our mistakes each and every time we ask for that forgiveness! I have made many past mistakes. I have always asked the Lord for his forgiveness and to help me each and every day to be a better person! I still make many mistakes, as we all do, but our Lord is there to help us become a better person when we ask for his help! dhoward@beu.midco.net Cynthia D. Howard 410 3rd St NW Hazen, North Dakota 58545

  68. Yes I have something that I will probably take to my grave. A few people know but not too many.

  69. I believe in admitting that a mistake was made is the first step in not repeating it. While there is no shame in making a mistake or misjudging a situation, it is indeed disheartening to keep repeating that action or thought and expect a different outcome. In my opinion if a mistake was made towards another you should speak directly to that person in an attempt to rectify the situation. In the case where an error in judgement affected only oneself(if ever there is that time), one should choose wisely in whom they will tell. That person should be kind hearted yet honest, very reverent, and respectful of privacy. Thank you for your wonderful and inspiring works. They truly help in my thought processes of daily life

  70. I think many people have things in their past that they wish they could forget or do over. The blessing is that God can forgive you. It may be beneficial to share with someone who is in a similar situation so that they may avoid the same mistake.

  71. I really enjoyed this book. I loved how the Amish are so forgiving when they are treated so bad at times.

  72. It is good to admit your mistakes and ask for forgiveness if it affects someone else. This gives me “peace” and I have learned to guard my words and actions. I love your stories about the Amish, they are a people of commitment to God and dedicated to living by the truth of God’s word.

  73. Wanda, it was so good to get to see you again at Lehman’s in Kidron. Always nice to see you again. I have fallen in love with your books. Not sure I can say which book I like most, the only thing is I need to rearrange my library shelves to get all of your books together!! Love them and can’t wait to start the Apple Creek book!! Come back to our area again soon!!

    Dee Carter

  74. I believe it depends on what the secret is. If no benefit would come from revealing the secret it might best be to keep it to oneself. If there would be a situation where benefit would be forthcoming; ie, stopping harm ,physical or emotional, it would be only right to share that information to the correct individuals. In my opinion, never should sharing a secret be the same as promoting gossip as only harm to many could be the result. Thank you for always promoting positive messages.

  75. I think there is a time and place to talk about past mistakes. First of all, you must ask for God’s guidance in this and all instances. He will answer your prayers and guide you in the right direction. If he guides you to talk with someone, you must trust that person and know what the ramifications are if they let the cat out the bag. I think leaving things bottled up isn’t good for you. You need to rely on God to help you through tough situations.