THE LEGACY BEFORE US
Updated: Apr 6, 2019
*Note to readers: In 2011, my daughter, Jessica, wrote her thoughts on the legacy she has received from her grandparents. I thought it was a perfect follow-up to my December posts, “Living Gifts” & “Living Legacies.” This is confirmation that how we live can positively affect future generations, even if we aren’t alive to see it. Enjoy!
History. Generations. Past. Future. What do those words invoke in you? YOU, the one living in the present, have a past, & what you do with it affects the future. Quite frankly, even by choosing to do nothing, you’ve already chosen something. What will you choose to do?
Let me share a little background on why I’ve been meditating on this & feel compelled to share with you. This month holds the anniversary of nearly all 4 of my grandparent’s deaths. I said goodbye to 3 of them in a 5-year time period. Carl Ver Steeg- April 1, 1995; Driscilla Ver Steeg- March 23, 1998; Charles Phinney- March 3, 2000; & in 2010 I said goodbye to my surviving grandma, Lelah Phinney, on March 26. With each death, I grieved the other grandparents all over again & a hole was left in my heart that will never be filled. Honestly, I don’t want to ever not feel the ache of their absence in my life.
They left me a variety of legacies: faithfulness, prayer, dedication to the Lord, and a love for family that left me thankful that someone taught me how love outside of myself. This love came from a relationship with Jesus Christ. However, they also left a legacy of things that most families would be tempted to forget. For instance, I barely had a relationship with my Grandpa Phinney & when he died, I grieved not the love we shared, but the love we didn’t share…& how little I really knew the man I called Grandpa. Most of the stories I heard about him were not filled with good memories. For most of his life, his actions went directly against how he was raised, & against the Word of God. Then, I got to thinking that he still left me something, whether I want it or not! The question is, what will I choose to do with what they all left me?
I’ve already seen the manifestations of their life choices affecting me. I’m very grateful that my parents, raised in two separate worlds, have such a passion for Truth & the belief that leaving a legacy, matters. They’ve spent their lives investing in their children because they knew it wasn’t just all about them. They taught us the value of our heritage…even how our roots were tied to coffee! 😊 They understood that their choices would affect ours…& so forth & so on. Now DON’T get me wrong. I’m NOT telling you to blame your mistakes on your family tree! Each person is responsible, to the Lord, for their words & deeds. However, I don’t believe we think enough about the fact that our choices are always affecting someone… ALWAYS. From the simplest things, like how we greet the day, to the clothes we wear, to the more “complex” choices of how we choose to live our faith—we tend to make things more difficult than we ought to. God’s Word was designed to set us FREE, not have us walking around like someone with a noose around their neck with the attitude that it’s something we “have to bear.” In what way are we living our faith in Jesus Christ? It is living legalistically, or living life abundantly?
Let’s look at a few passages that indicate generations & legacies are important to God. Genesis 9:12—“God said, ‘ This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me & you & every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations.’” Genesis 17:7&9—“I will establish My covenant between Me & you & your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you & your descendants after you”…God said further to Abraham, “Now as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you & your descendants after throughout their generations. Psalm 71:18—“And even when I am old & gray, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come.”
I could go on & on! Countless times, God uses the words generation or descendants. Ever notice how many chapters in the Bible are overflowing with genealogies? Instead of sighing & flipping through to find something more interesting to read (I’ve been guilty too), take a minute & look at the surrounding context of the verses. What’s happening? And what’s the Lord trying to communicate by placing those family “trees” where He has? He has purpose in our family lineage. And yes, that includes YOURS!