October 1, 2013

What Will Be Your Legacy? (with a devotional giveaway)

****Before I begin my post, thank you for sharing so openly and honestly about fear. If you haven’t read my last post on fear and want to read the post and wonderful comments, click here.  I remember so well where many of you are, and I pray that the post, the Scriptures taught and shared, and Chapter Seven from Hidden Joy, not only encourage you but also equip you to take baby steps, or maybe even one giant step, toward freedom. Be sure to stop by anytime and share what God has been doing since you left your comment. I love to hear God’s success stories!!

And thank you to those of you who ordered Hidden Joy. I loved going to the office last week and signing each and every one, personalizing it just for you. You’ll find the winner of the signed copy of Hidden Joy at the end of my post.****

What Will Your Legacy Be?

Every summer, I spent weeks at a time with my grandparents at their house on the St. Croix River in Hastings, Minnesota. My summers there bring back such wonderful memories….the one on one times with my grandmother forever etched in my mind. As I grew older and she grew older, the words she imparted grew more intentional. She not only prayed for me but also taught me about the Bible. At the time, I really didn’t get much of it. But I look back now…as a wife, a mother, a teacher of the Word…and see exactly what she was doing. Grandma Wally never pushed her faith on me. She simply lived it and shared it in easy, unthreatening ways.

My grandmother left me a legacy of faith.

We will all leave a legacy of some kind.  The question is, what will our legacy be?

I want to leave a legacy of faith. But to leave a legacy of faith, we must first have a strong faith ourselves. We must ask ourselves a few important questions.

1. A legacy of loving Jesus.

Do we have a close, intimate relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?  Do the people around us see us spending time with Jesus…being still, praying, seeking and listening for His voice? Do we give Him priority in our lives?

When we do, those around us will see and experience that intimacy in us. They will watch as God changes and transforms us and want the same. And as He fills us with His love, grace, mercy and forgiveness, we will have what we need to pour the same into others.

2. A legacy of the loving the Word.

Do our family and friends  see us spending time in the Word…hear us talking about the Word…experience us praying the Word? Do we respond to life’s issues by going to the Word for answers and direction?  Do we trust God’s Word even when life doesn’t make sense? Do others see in us a life that reflects we are fully persuaded that God’s Word is TRUE, INERRANT, NEVER CHANGING, POWERFUL, EFFECTIVE and RELEVANT. Do we implant the TRUTH we know in the hearts of those around us…through teaching, praying, leading, blogging, texting, etc?

When we live like this, we create a hunger in others to know that Word and to see that living and active Word come alive in their lives.

Romans 10:17 says, “…faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”

3. A legacy of prayer.

Do we take everything…the big and the small…to God in prayer? Do we pray God’s Word? Do we pray for others and invite others to pray for us? When we pray, do we follow up by watching and waiting  for God to answer?

One of the greatest gifts we can give our friends and family is investing in their lives through prayer. One powerful way to do this is through written prayers. Another is to follow up on your prayers and to share answered prayer. Keeping a journal or notebook of prayers is another wonderful way to leave a written legacy of prayer. E-mailing and texting prayers is a great modern, effective tool to live out a life of prayer.

4. A legacy of worship.

Do we make attending worship services each week a priority…no matter how late we were up the night before and no matter how busy our Sunday is? Do we bring our Bibles to worship, take notes, talk about what we learned after the service? Do we make opportunities to live out what we have learned? Do we pray for our pastor and our church leaders with our friends and family?

We attend worship every Sunday. It has been that way since my kids were little. We have been consistent over the years. On the days they didn’t feel like it or spent the night out, we still had them attend worship. We did have some grace and make exceptions every now and then for special events or trips, but the general rule was, Sunday mornings were for worship. And when my son started playing AAU basketball and tournaments were held on weekends, we really struggled because we were unable to attend worship some of those Sundays. But consistency is the key. It sets a tone. It reflects priorities. Now my daughter is at the University of Georgia in Athens and has found Athens Church, a satellite church of Andy Stanley’s church. She has become active in that church. I truly believe that God did something in her heart over those 18 years on Sunday mornings that has created in her a desire to continue to be filled in that way as a young adult.

5. A legacy of giving.

Do we model giving to our church, to missionaries, to those in need? Do we invite our friends and family to participate in giving to those less fortunate…to the least and the lost? When finances are short, do we pray with our family for God’s provision and trust Him to provide?

Money is one of the most talked about topics in all of Scripture. God definitely directs us on how to spend our money and the place it is to hold in our lives.  As our friends and family watch how we spend our money, we should model stewardship. We should model generosity.

6. A legacy of serving.

Do we know the gifts and talents God has given us? If we do, are we using those gifts and talents to serve those around us? God created us to do good works which He prepared in advance for us to do. Do we help our friends and family find their giftedness and encourage them in their gifts and provide opportunities for them to use them?

Friend, leaving a legacy is not a one time pouring into a person’s life or a one time lesson or example we share. It’s a journey.

Also, we can’t live out all of these things at one time, and we can’t do them all perfectly…ever. God simply desires that we live a life of love and devotion to Him and His Word. Deuteronomy says it well,

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:5-9 (NIV)

Living a life of faith is the greatest gift we can give our family and friends. It’s a lifelong gift, poured out day after day, month after month, year after year. And it’s a gift that can never be taken away. But once we have done our part, the rest is up to the individuals and to God. Just because we model it, doesn’t mean they will live it.  We cannot make anyone, especially our children, accept the legacy we leave.

Our job is to live faithfully, pray fervently and love lavishly. God will do the rest!

My grandmother left me several Bibles upon her death. One was a black leather Bible that sat on a shelf for years. Three years ago, when we built this back porch, I carefully placed that Bible deep in the hole they dug to lay the foundation of the porch. Every time our Bible study leadership team gathers for prayer or I curl up on the couch for my quiet time, I am reminded of the foundation my grandmother laid in my life. Reminded of the legacy of faith she left.

back porch

Do you have a legacy story? I would love to hear it today! Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Julie Gillies, Prayer for a Woman’s Soul.

****The winner of the signed copy of my book Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner is

Jessica who posted on 9/16 at 4:02 pm

Please e-mail me at deuteronomysix@aol.com by Friday, October 4th with your full name and mailing address.****

Blessings,

Comments

  1. Oh Wendy what a powerful story. Brought a few tears about your grandmother’s Bibles. My grandmother left me all of hers but someone took them even though she had written in them that they were to go to me.

    What you said is so true about never pushing our faith. I have found that to be true in my own life with my family. It’s amazing the change I am seeing in so many of them. When we are together I live it, not push it. On facebook I live it, but don’t push it.

    This is one of my favorite devotionals and I’m printing it out and putting it in my Bible!

    Hugs to you!

    • Debbie, thank you for your sweet words of affirmation and encouragement. Living it TOGETHER is the key!!

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  2. Lisa Sheltra says:

    Thanks for sharing, Wendy. Your “Prayer Porch” has blessed many of us already 🙂 Grandma Wally would be so very proud of the legacy you are leaving with everyone around you!

    • Awww! Thanks, Lisa. I love when we meet on the prayer porch!! You and I have shared lots of good conversations sitting out there.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  3. Sheila Payne says:

    I was once read an article about leaving a “paper trail” legacy. I have tried to do that. I write in my Bible, journal, write notes/letters, send cards, etc. that are all handwritten. The paper trail can be followed and/or a continuous source of encouragement to those who have access to my paper trail.

    • Sheila, this does not surprise me because you have such an intentional heart. What a gift each piece of your treasured paper trail will be to those who one day receive it!!

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  4. Love this post Wendy!! The idea of legacy is one close to my heart. I’ve always been grateful for the impact and influence others have had on me, but God continues to make me aware of and concerned about the reverse as well – especially with my children.

    As I read this two things came to mind – In my early days of coaching, one of our top players missed the morning games of a Sunday tournament. As a coach, I really wasn’t upset, but I can remember thinking, “Would I ever choose church over basketball?” At the time the game was my god, but so thankful God changed things and He actually did some of that work through the girl’s mom, who was a spiritual mentor in my life for over 10 years.

    As I think about those who’ve left a legacy in my life I’m reminded they’ve also left a legacy of sharing. They’ve shared their stories, time and self. I’m grateful for the way they’ve personally invested in me and connected with me…praying I can do the same for others.

    Wendy, I’m thankful for the legacy your grandma left with you and for the one who are sharing with all of us!! And grateful for the important reminder you left with me today – “We cannot make anyone, especially our children, accept the legacy we leave.”

    • I loved learning about the legacy of your grandmother as well!!! We are both so blessed to have such a rich legacy of faith.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  5. Such an important idea that many of us fail to think about sometimes. Thank you for the opportunity to win!

  6. Stephanie says:

    Thank you for this post Wendy! Its my hearts desire that my friends and family remember me trying to living out the Deuteronomy 6:5 verse. I pray my life always points others to Jesus and His amazing love for all of us!

    God bless 🙂

  7. Dear Wendy,

    I love your topic today. It touched my heart deeply because I have been discussing this legacy with a friend of mine who believes we must be deliberate in the legacy we leave. My argument is that sometimes it is not within our limit to leave a deliberate legacy but no matter what life throws at you, you need to ensure you leave a legacy of faith. Not just any faith but one that will move mountains.

    In light of this legacy, I was able to set my six month goals as follows:
    *emionally stronger
    *mentally sharper
    *physically healthier
    *spiritually deeper

    These are smart and deliberate goals developed out of my grandmother’s love and guidance. She loved me regardless of who I was or what I had done and always had kind words to share. In short she taught me how to be a good mother, wife, friend and daughter. On several occassions, my grandmother was ready to share her home and family with whoever was willing to come home. I remembered her 90th birthday was celebrated in church as she was crowned “Mother of the Church”. This was a great legacy and honor to our family. Sadly enough none of her children were able to live up to her standards. And like you said, our children will not always follow in our footsteps but our job is to live faithfully, pray fervently and love lavishly. God will do the rest!

    Thank God for Godly Legacies in our lives.

    God bless,

    Lynn

    • Lynn, what a wonderful concept…deliberate, defined steps to take toward leaving a legacy. Thanks for sharing yours. And it’s wonderful to hear about another grandmother who poured her life not only into her family, but also into her community. Leaving a legacy is not limited to family!!

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  8. Elizabeth says:

    This is a wonderful post Wendy. Thank you so much for this guidance- I have learned a lot from your blog and studies I have done with you over the past several years. Thank you for your ministry. Going to print this up and work through it slowly! 🙂

    • Elizabeth, thank you for your sweet words of encouragement. I love, love leading the studies!!! Another one will start up soon.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  9. I love how you ‘planted’ your Grandma’s Bible. Just like the seed that is planted, new growth comes from it. What a beautiful analogy of your Grandma’s Bible and her legacy of faith. Your devotional is another confirmation that I am to be intentional about the legacy I am leaving from my children and future grandchildred/great-grandchildren. Thank you!

    • You are so welcome! And thank you for the beautiful visual you gave me of the planted seed.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  10. Anytime I think about legacies, I think out Nichole Nordeman’s song “Legacy.” Sometimes I sing it almost like a prayer. When I go, hopefully not anytime soon, I pray I leave Christ in my wake. That when people share stories, it’s about what Christ has done…maybe even stories of seeds of faith that had been planted and are now in full bloom of faith. Seeds planted during Bible study, Truth spoken into someone’s life when they needed it most, a random FB comment that inspired them to learn more out Jesus, a heart who turned to Christ and has the promise of eternal life. I pray I can be an instrument and not a stumbling block to anyone seeking the Truth.

    There have been so many women who have left their mark on my heart for God. Each one brought into my life at a different time, almost one right after the other for a particular purpose; it’s almost uncanny how similar they are to each other. My mother, my dear friends Raquel, Serena, Jan, and Wendy {yes you}. Each one has added to my faith foundation, making it stronger, leaving their own little legacy. I pray I never stop adding to that foundation, that it would grow stronger as my faith matures.

  11. Wendy, I have no great story to tell. Not YET. What I do have is…MY INTENDED Legacy though. IT IS daunting, impossible, and completely unattainable. Without Christ, that is.

    I am a mom of 4 young daughters. My God given (and self-appointed) task at hand is to do something that I’ve NEVER personally seen.

    My grandmother wasn’t a Christian, in fact she lived & died in a mental institution. Therefore, my mother wasn’t either, she most certainly couldn’t raise us with lessons in Faith, Grace, Redemption, Repentance, Salvation and the like.

    I was never given an example of how to give my children Grace in a moment of deserved punishment. I wasn’t taught how to build up and encourage my sister, instead of hit or name call, as siblings do. My mother didn’t model for me how to be a godly submitted wife, sister-in-Christ, or a daughter of the Most High. She didn’t have any Scriptures memorized to draw on and teach me from. I never saw her read the Word or look to Christ in any and every situation. I never saw her ride the ups and downs of the valleys and mountaintops of life on Faith alone. She also didn’t home-school me, as a choice to demonstrate that God truly is the Maker, Center, and Sustainer of all things and that Fact can be seen even in History, Math, Science, English and every other subject.

    However, to be clear and appreciative, she did teach me to value hard work, not be disrespectful, don’t waste time or money, vote, and stay out of “trouble” and many other very useful and moral things.

    ALL of the above are things that I’m trying to teach my girls and ALL without first-hand accounts in my own life. Above all, I’m trying to daily walk and breathe out Deuteronomy 6:5, “Loving the Lord MY God with all MY heart and with all MY soul and with all MY might.”, so that, I can teach them that if they start there, they will fulfill all that God has designed, predestined, and call THEM to.

    At the end of reading your post, I stepped back and thought to start at the end…(Covey #2) “Begin with the end in mind”! What do I want MY Legacy to be?…

    …That by God’s Will and Grace, I changed my bloodline! I “drew a line in the sand” and woke up each day with a clear directive of changing the generation I was given to steward and at the “end” it produced God-Fearing, Jesus-Loving, Grace-filled, Spirit-Inspired,
    Life-Givers! A generation of young women that love and honor their grandmother, but do EVERYTHING extremely different than she did, because they were given God, lived out, by a mom that was willing and determined to “do what needed to be done” to live a life “worthy of the calling to which SHE had been called to” (Eph 4:1).

    My Legacy will be for my kids, my grand-kids, their kids, and for everyone’s kids lives that God may allow them to “touch”!

    Thank you for posing the question. In responding, I realize that what I just wrote, while here on Earth, will be my Mission Statement, with the hope that when I’m with Jesus, it’ll be My Legacy!

    • Appreciate your words about beginning with the end in mine! As I read of your story I thought of Suzie Eller’s book, “The Mom You Want to Be”! It’s a great one with lots of practical insight and Biblical wisdom!!

    • Katrina,

      This is absolutely beautiful!! Your story shows how God makes ALL THINGS NEW! And now, because of Jesus living in your heart, God will be faithful to your family and bless your family for thousands of generations. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

      I also so appreciate how you honored your mother for the good things she contributed to your life. That too is something only God can do.

      Sweet Blessings,

      Wendy

  12. This post has really got me thinking~I need to re read this and I appreciate this blog post.

    • Thank you! I pray God gives you just what you need as you ponder the words shared both in the post and the comments.

      Blessings,

      wendy

  13. Wendy, although my legacy is still a work in progress and growing every day through prayer, worship, and service, I wanted to tell you about my mom’s legacy to us, my brothers, all her grandchildren, and to her church community. From my earliest memories, my parents loved our Lord. We attended mass every week and said grace before every meal, but it was much more than that. Their love of God was evident to all! My mom was the church organist for almost 20 years and a member of the choir for over 50 years until recently at the age of 84 it became physically challenging. When my mom sang to the Lord, her song was filled with every ounce of her being praising God with a great love and joy! Every day my mom told us how good God was and is and always would be and her faith shared with us gave us a foundation that was as solid as a rock! My mom’s legacy is her gift to all who have had the privilege of hearing her sing or heard her words of love for Jesus! I thank God every moment of my life for my mom!

  14. Judy Redden says:

    I always get a lift from your writing. Thank you for sharing this. I raised my children to go to church. Of course, as they have gotten older and children of their own, they got away from church. My daughter is now back in church with her daughter. My son is far away from the Lord. We have tried to set good examples, but have failed many times. The Lord is so good to us even when we aren’t so good to him.

    • Thank you for your sweet words of encouragement. Praying with you for your son to return to the Lord. Believing God because with Him nothing is impossible!!!

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  15. I hope to leave a legacy of LOVE and PASSION. I coach a young men’s gymnastics team. I try to show them every time we are in the gym how to care for each other, there siblings and anyone else that may cross their path. I want everyone I come In contact with to see my passion for my girly, my job and my love for Jesus Christ. Wendy, this was a great post I love reading your words,

    • Thank you, Chris, for your sweet words of encouragement. And thank you for sharing your story. Your gymnastics team is blessed to have you lead them and mentor them.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  16. Wendy as usual a great, inspiring post. My legacy is a work in progress and not where I want it to be right now as I am have such a heavy heart and am carrying much hurt and pain. Our lives and home are in such turmoil and despair. I wake up every day asking God for my manna and for the Holy Spirit to work powerfully through me and to guide me. I want my children to know that even in the toughest of times that God is in control and has a mighty perfect plan for us. I want to do what is right and best for our divided weary family.

    Today I will seek God’s guidance as we celebrate my son’s 11th Gotcha Day. He lost a birth mom, a foster family came home to us his forever family and lost his daddy to cancer. He know has a new daddy and a sister who has turned our world upside down. Yet every day he gets up smiling and encouraging mommy. Today God will walk right beside us and we will know He is there because the sun will shine and the air will be fresh and our children will go to their wonderful Christian school where they can speak the name of Jesus and life will just be good!

    Thank you for sharing your legacy and gift with so many others right here.

    Blessings,

    Karen g

    • Sweet Karen,

      Actually… your legacy is beautiful… it’s EXACTLY where it should be right now. Because, in your pain and despair, you are hiding in God’s arms. You are looking for His Spirit to guide your every step. You are only asking for what your needs are for today. You are living the Lord’s prayer.

      My heart aches for the heaviness you are holding in your heart. I am hopeful that the Gotcha Day celebration lifted your spirits. God bless you and your family abundantly for taking this precious little boy into your home. This adoption has shown him a valuable lesson. The same love and thought and yearning that went into his adoption is the same love and careful thought and deep yearning God has for each of us. Thank you for living “pure religion” by taking care of your precious FOREVER son!

      Heavenly Father,

      I lift my sweet sister Karen to You. You alone know every hurt… every fear… every ounce of anguish. You have wiped away her tears and You have collected them in a bottle. You mourn with her and You have unending compassion for Your daughter. I ask You in Jesus’ Name to give Karen practical steps to take today to hear Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:28-30 and to rest in You.

      “Come to me, (Karen) (you are) weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your (soul). For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

      I also lift her son to You. I can’t imagine all the loss this little boy has seen. This world probably seems unsafe to him. But You can give him a sense of security that goes beyond understanding. Bless him with Your perfect peace as he settles into his forever family.

      We love You, Lord and we pray in Jesus’ Name,
      Amen!

      Karen, I’m hugging you so tightly right now! xoxo, noelle

    • Karen, it’s always a blessing to hear from you. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I stand in agreement with Noelle’s words of truth spoken over you and her beautiful prayer. You have such a lovely heart, and I know God will honor that in all you do as a mother.

      blessings,

      Wendy

  17. Wendy, what a beautiful reminder that we are living our legacy. What a gift that we CHOOSE the legacy we leave behind! As your grandma laid a foundation of faith in your life, I am overwhelmingly blessed that you have paid that forward and helped build my foundation!

    When I think of what I desire to sow into my daughter’s heart, I realize that I want her to know Jesus’ grace which goes beyond our understanding. How? By living an imperfect life with a perfect God. I hope “she can laugh at the days to come” because she knows the beautiful nature of God’s heart through my heart.

    Those desires give my days perspective. And perspective is exactly what I need so my to-do lists don’t come before relationships- with God and with others.

    Thank you for this life-breathing post! Love you!

    • Noelle, you are leaving a beautiful legacy, and I love that I get to walk alongside you (from afar) and watch and experience what you are doing. I cannot wait to see how God uses all that you pour into your sweet girl!!

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  18. I am leaving a legacy of Love by living out a godly marriage before my children. I am also leaving a legacy of health and victory and not sickness and disease. During 2013, I have been making serious changes to my life style so I can be a healthy role model for my children. I declare that the changes that I am making will change the health path of my family for generations to come. Diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, kidney failure, hypothyriodism and any other disease that have plagued past generations are being erased from my family tree. Never to be seen in my bloodline again. That is the legacy I will leave. #MybodyMytemple #WalkSweatPray #HealthyLegacy #Wifeonpurpose #MarriageCovenantKeeper

    • Tiffany, this is so encouraging!!! I pray God multiplies all that you are doing in His name for your children!! I pray in agreement with you for God to break any and all strongholds in past generations and for Him to make all things new through Christ in you!!

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  19. I have always wondered about the “legacy” I would leave for my kids(5) and grandchildren; WHen life hands you unexpected trials and you deal with them the best you know how at the time; there is always a time of reflection and the “would of” “should of’s” mentality. I hope and pray that my kids will see as they get older about what happened back then and that I did the things I felt God leading me to do at the time. I have actually started a book or journaling that asks alot of questions about the happenings of my time here on earth and someday the kids or G-kids will find it and read my life. I try to walk in Him always and show the kids and others around me what He does for me and all the good that He has done for me in my life no matter the trials. love your words of encouragement and your words to ponder in my life to make my life better as a woman of God.
    Blessings
    “D”

  20. My mid-40’s buddies and I (6-8 of us total) have an annual Men’s Retreat in northern Michigan. In addition to skiing/snowboarding, we come prepared with devotions to deepen our relationship with Jesus and the Gospel (and with each other). Our theme this year was chosen to be “Legacy”. Wendy, I stumbled across your on-line devotional, and I plan to use it as an outline for this weekend’s discussion. Thanks for your inspiration!

    • Thank you for letting me know. I’m honored that you will be using this to encourage others in their walk with Christ! Have a great weekend!

      Blessings,

      Wendy

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