The other day, as I was finishing up my morning time with the Lord, I flipped through my prayer journal. It is a precious experience for me to meander through my recorded thoughts and petitions. Builds my faith. Evokes praise and thanksgiving and often tears. Motivates me to pray more fervently. Precious times.
But that day, it wasn’t a prayer request that caught my eye. It was a question I had scrawled out in the margin, off to itself, probably representing a pensive heart at some point.
I don’t remember what prompted me to scribble these words in my journal that distant day but I must’ve pondered them for a bit, judging from the pen marks on that page. No answers. Just ponders.
And I pondered them again and have continued to do so for the past couple of weeks.
The five words I had written over a year ago were written in my journal in ink that will inevitably fade but the thoughts they evoked in my heart are permanent…
“What will my legacy be?”
As is often the case when the Lord has a message for me, He doesn’t rely on just one medium of delivery. Seems like every other day or so He put things in my path that caused me to reflect yet again on that thought - what will my legacy be?
And the truth is, I don’t know the answer.
What will “the thing handed down from a predecessor” be for my life? I do not know what my legacy will be but as I’ve pondered that idea, here are the things I do know :
We all will leave a legacy. Of some kind. Maybe good, maybe bad but we will all leave one.
We can have some measure of control over what it will be, but not completely.
Legacies are what we will be remembered for.
There are people in my life who have invested tremendous legacies in me and my family. That is what I want to tell you about in this post.
Over three decades ago, God graciously set me in a family that has been intentional about leaving an opulent legacy that will benefit generations to come in abundance.
For those of you that know this family I was lucky enough to marry into, you might be scratching your head and thinking how well they’ve hidden their affluence all these years. :) Quite the spartan ones, right? Well, I’m not talking about paltry temporary legacies here. I mean the real kind. The stuff that lasts forever, only increases in value, and brings joy, peace, and blessing.
“An inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away” I Peter 1:4 - that’s the legacy my in-laws have accumulated…and so generously shared all around.
And that’s what I’ve been pondering, especially these past few months as I would leave the matriarch of this family in her hospital bed and reflect on the richness of her life…and her legacy.
Here are some of the things Mimi is leaving me…And I just want to publicly thank her…
Thank you for sharing these gifts with me….
Love of family - one need only spend a minute with you before realizing how much you love your family. Your grands, your kids, your “added by marriage kids”, but especially your husband. Oh how you love that man we call Granddaddy! Even in your weakened state, you continue to summon the strength to make us promise to take care of him. Oh, how you love him so! I’ve watched you up close and personal all these years - you are what “love of family” looks like. Thank you.
Love of God’s Word - I have wondered often if the man you raised to be my husband wonders if I married him because I loved him… or because you and I forged such a bond over our love of God’s Word! You introduced me to Precept Bible studies and I have never gotten over that addiction. What fun you and I have had as we salivated over treasures gleaned from Vines dictionaries and Wiersbe’s commentaries! You always want to know what I’m working on to teach about. That’s been so fun to share with you. Thank you.
Hospitality - The word literally means “love of strangers” and I have never seen anyone do it better than you. From unexpected college kids for lunch (and I mean dozens at a time on more than one occasion!) to missionaries on sabbatical to someone who seemed in need of food but really just needed your counsel - you are the living example of Biblical hospitality. How many people have been added to the Kingdom over your kitchen table will only be revealed in Glory! I learned so so so much from you about hospitality. Thank you.
Strength - You exemplified strength to me. You leave for your granddaughters especially a legacy of feminine strength. You were faced with all kinds of health challenges (breast cancer, hip replacements, stenosis, and more) and yet you kept fighting valiantly. You helped your husband establish and run not one but two highly successful business AND you had your own career as a highly respected nurse —- you are a strong woman indeed! The greatest display of your strength, though, has always been your deference to your husband. You modeled Biblical submission and that is your most beautiful legacy of strength. For myself—- and my daughters — I thank you.
Generosity - oh my goodness how generous you are! I experienced this aspect of your character early and frequently. It didn’t escape me one bit that you, dear Mimi, were the impetus behind all the giving y’all did. You never held onto anything but just delighted in passing along whatever blessings came your way. You fed especially my insatiable thirst for books - in fact, Granddaddy says he opened his Christian bookstore pretty much in self-defense —- you were giving away so many books to people that he figured he had better open a bookstore so he could at least buy them wholesale!!! I have often been the delighted recipient of that generosity. Not just books but clothes you would “just happen to find on sale at just the right size” and things for my kids and my home. I remember how every time we came “home” when we lived away that I would leave with the car loaded up with food and diapers and surprises. Results of your generosity. Thank you.
Confidence. You spent a lifetime making wise investments with your time and gifts. Those choices built a mighty legacy in the lives of scores of folks. I could never catalog all you’ve gifted me with (I am glad we’ll have Eternity to recount those). But I think maybe this is one of my most favorites. Confidence. Not measly self-confidence. Nope. The real kind. GOD-confidence. The legacy you leave in all of us is that of confidence in God. That He is good. That He is sovereign. That He can be trusted. When I read Psalm 78:6,7, I think of how it is true in your life and that I want it to be true in my own - “That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, that they may arise and tell them to their children, that they should put their CONFIDENCE in God and not forget the works of God but keep His commandments” Yes. Amen. Thank you.
Thank you. Seems so inadequate but thank you. Thank you.
Unless God drastically changes direction, Mimi will very soon make her final earthly investment in us and step into her Eternal inheritance. We will not grieve as those who are without hope but make no mistake about it - we will certainly grieve. She will leave not only a hole in our hearts but more importantly , indelible and eternal marks on our lives. Not only on the lives of her family members but also on those of hundreds of friends who enjoyed a meal at her table or a book from her collection or a word of confident encouragement.
Mimi, I doubt you’ll have time to read this before you go but I write what I’ve already whispered in your ear. Thank you. Thank you for raising a son to be the greatest husband and father …and for wanting him to marry me <3 Thank you for igniting in me a passion for God’s Word that shall never be put out. Thank you for modeling hospitality and generosity and strength and confidence for me. Thank you for being pleased and proud that God called me to teach His Word. Thank you for sharing my belief that my kids are so extremely awesome. Thank you for the legacy you’ve built that I get to share in.
And, last but by no means least - thanks for teaching me to make “Mimi’s Cookies” - you know that I define them as “righteousness - the more you eat, the more you want!”. When I get to join you in Heaven, let’s make a batch together and invite Jesus to our place, OK?
And, once you’ve seen your Mom and Dad, and Mum and Ty, and Aunt Frances and the others, please seek out my Daddy. Tell him I miss him and that I sang Silent Night for him at Christmas.
Til we meet again, I’ll be investing my inheritance to build my legacy and do you proud.
I love you.