~ Mark Twain ~
What good is knowledge, if there's no heart change? What good is "Calvinism vs Arminianism", if I never go to my knees with the knowledge of the depth of my sin and my need for a Savior? What use is the biography of Martin Luther, if I never come to the understanding of grace? What sense is there in "reading the Bible in a year" if none of it sinks in?
"Education" is a heart change. A big part of my "education" is interwoven with my past.
Part of my "education" has been my problems with getting and staying pregnant. I can hold a woman and really know what it feels like to lose a child. I know what it feels like to face the loss of a marriage; I know what it's like to put everything that will fit into a car (including two kids) and leave...and to return.
I spent 23 years as a married person; different than most married people perhaps because my best friends at church were nearly always single women. But I never really understood the issues that singles face.
Growing up, divorce was something that happened, but I never had to deal with it head on. Even when my brother faced a divorce, I wasn't sure how to deal with it (his marriage survived and even thrived since then). I had a head "schooling" that divorce existed, but not a heart "education" of the emotions that come along with it (and more importantly after it) until I was very close to somebody who had lived through it. Even then, part of my "education" has been to let folks assume what they will (the conclusion that most folks jump to when seeing a 40-ish single mom with teenagers is not "widow"). The way that I've been treated by a few folks in the church has been more of an education than most people realize.
Part of my education has meant coming head on with attitudes toward singles that I never wanted to know existed. Being educated meant walking into a room just in time to hear a minister's wife say "I just don't think it's appropriate for single women to hang out with married couples." It meant having a group of women at church looking at my ring finger and closing the circle. It meant having a man from church volunteer to mentor my son - and never calling.
A bit part of my education is being glad those things happened. God willing, I'll be a wife again someday. When/if that happens, I pray that God will continually bring my "education" to mind as I deal with others, married and single.
These have all been part of the "education", feelings that you can't learn from a book. I don't regret even a single part of anything that God put me through (although some of the choices I've made I do regret) - all of these things have worked together to make me who I am.
That I cannot regret.