Building a Legacy

Two prayers that were continually on my tongue and swimming through my thoughts during our season of pruning went something like this:  Lord, give us enough light for the step we’re on and lead us in Your paths…..Lord, continue to work this together for good and redeem what still seems lost and broken.

In the infancy years of my faith, the book of Proverbs became a sort of daily guidebook for my life in Christ when other parts of the Bible seemed a bit too daunting and confusing to venture into.  Therefore, during the season of waiting and watching for the Lord’s plans to play out, settling into the wise counsel of Proverbs 3 felt like throwing a cozy blanket around my weary and wandering soul:

My son, do not forget my teaching,
    but let your heart keep my commandments,
 for length of days and years of life
    and peace they will add to you.

 Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;
    bind them around your neck;
    write them on the tablet of your heart.
 So you will find favor and good success
    in the sight of God and man.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
 In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.

 Be not wise in your own eyes;
    fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
 It will be healing to your flesh
    and refreshment to your bones.

 ~ Proverbs 3:1-8 ~

Simple truths to hold onto: bind love and faithfulness around me, ask Him to write His ways upon my heart, TRUST IN HIM, don’t trust in my own understanding of what surrounds me, acknowledge/seek/submit to Him, humbly acknowledge my own lack of wisdom, resolve to fear the Lord above ALL things.  And the more I wrapped up in this cozy nugget of wisdom, I could see that adding these truths to my life equaled out to a result worth pursuing: long lasting peace, favor/good success in the sight of God and man, straight paths, healing and refreshment.  We still weren’t exactly sure how to get there from where we stood, but as the months passed, Bart and I became more and more resolved to walk by faith and trust in His wisdom rather than our own earthly perspective.

:::

One thing became very clear to us as we sought the Lord and pleaded with Him for His wisdom and light for the path:  we were called to be builders.  By this time, we already had Isaac; and Ellie was now beginning to make her appearance known through my swelling abdomen.  It wasn’t that we hadn’t previously seen children as a gift.  We did truly treasure our role as parents.  However, we began to see that, although our desire and perspective of having children was pleasing to Him, as we were beginning to build our legacy on this earth, we had been using the wrong blueprints.

One of the first blooms of beauty to sprout from the pruning season was a newfound vision & desire for living life with an eternal perspective: “Only one life, ’twill soon be past.  Only what’s done for Christ will last.” (C.T. Studd)  Previously, we really did love God with a sincere love; but the majority of our decisions (& therefore the path of our life) looked like the rest of the world with a little “Christian-ese” mixed in.  We were in need of the Refiner’s Fire to burn away our old blueprints and lead us to His.

We began to get a glimpse of the path we had been on- our current blueprints for building, and what kind of house it was going to be, what sort of legacy it was going to leave.  It wasn’t a bad view at all: we aimed to raise good Christian kids, kids who would make good grades, go to college, eventually obtain a good job, get married to a loving spouse, and raise a family, etc.  We hoped our arrows were headed in a good direction.  But really, it was just the Christian version of the American Dream.  Our plans were more about our glory, our happiness, and were guided by an earthly kingdom- they did not bring glory to God.

As we leaned into Him-His wisdom, His truth, His plans- we began to see that our old blueprints weren’t wide enough, deep enough, high enough, or long lasting enough.  They didn’t leave room for God to be glorious in our midst.  They didn’t factor into the equation the reality that human souls are eternal- outlasting this temporary earthly tent. And the end result was a “house” that may be enviable on this earth, but God’s desire is something so much nobler and more magnificent for His children- a legacy grafted into His Kingdom that lasts throughout eternity.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

~ Isaiah 55:8-9 ~

However, as it is written:

What no eye has seen,
    what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—
    the things God has prepared for those who love him

 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

~ 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 ~

And so, over and over again, we began to humbly, repentantly acknowledge our need for His wisdom, His guidance, His Word to guide us in building our family with His Blueprints.  We knew we didn’t want to have regrets about the kind of foundation we laid, but we knew we were such slow learners.  We could see that we had worldly habits and thought patterns to uproot and even more glorious plans to discover and press into the soil of our legacy.  Our minds needed desperately to be renewed.  This was clearly a huge priority and as we prayed, we both began to see that, at least for a time, this calling deserved more quality time and attention than our lives were presently allowing.

It was then that we knew it was time for me to begin saying “no” to many extras so I could give the better “yes” to this season of laying a solid foundation.  So, as we said “no” to two incomes, I said “yes” to a tight budget & clipping coupons; I said “no” to making visible impact and “yes” to being hidden away to invest in the precious souls who were entrusted to us; I said “no” to pursuing personal dreams and ambitions and “yes” to uninterrupted presence at home; I said “no” to the affirmation of the world around me and “yes” to unacknowledged repetition of serving.  Philippians 2:3-7 became my mantra as I transitioned into my calling:

 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,  not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”

:::

So, here I was- a full time Mom, surrendered to the holy and lowly calling of shepherding these sheep we had been given; I was postured to implement the new set of glorious Blueprints for Building a family, that was obviously going to be revealed in process as I walked it out.  I thought I was ready to be their teacher.  Little did I know I was just beginning to learn myself.

First of all, I had to learn how to find Him in the mundane routines of my simple day.  I had been preconditioned to only see the glorious in the bigger, newer, better, productive pursuits of life.  Slowly, but faithfully, He began to break through the boring tasks of my day with His Presence.  I started to sense Him leading me to invite Him into the small, the repetitious, the mindless tasks, the parts of my days I knew no one would care about.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

~ 1 Corinthians 10:31 ~

As I began to learn from Him how to do all things for the glory of God, He began to show me His glory in all of it.  I clearly remember the day I was making a PB&J sandwich for Isaac and getting such a deeply rooted sense of joy, knowing I was making that sandwich for God’s glory and it brought Him pleasure. I knew He was teaching me how to be faithful in the small things.

:::

Second, as I began to know and rely on His Presence in the hidden spaces, He began to show me that- despite the regular temper tantrums, battles for toys or attention, and overall in-my-face displays of sin that my kids were capable of- He loved my children with an unfailing, never ending, scandalous love.  Just like He loved me, His daughter, in spite of my sin.  And so, I learned to see my kids as little mirrors, that God was ever using to reflect back to me my own wandering, selfish, prideful, sin-sick heart.  So my Loving Heavenly Father was all the while modeling to me, as my parent, how to balance my ever swinging pendulum of grace and truth, long suffering and discipline.

“Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.  No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

~ Hebrews 12:9-11

:::

Third, He began to teach and remind me that the blueprints for my kids’ lives, personalities, and plans were hidden in Him.  As much as I might have certain hopes, plans, and desires for each of my children based on my perspective and dreams, He is the Creator of their very existence.  He “created [their] inmost being; ….knit [them] together in [their] mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:13)  He knows how their very DNA is formed.  “And even the very hairs of [their] head are all numbered.(Matthew 10:30) If he continually keeps track of the hairs on their head, then surely He can keep track of the moment by moment, day by day, year by year plans set into His eternal calendar.  When their lives take an unexpected curve, I can trust in His sovereign plan. He doesn’t need me to micromanage every detail of my kids’ lives.  However, He does invite me to be an active participant to partner with Him in the fleshing out of His glorious plans for my kids’ lives to bring Him glory.  But this will only be revealed to me to the extent to which I am plugged into Him through prayer.

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

~ 1 Peter 1:3-4 ~

:::

Fourth, I noticed a natural tendency in my own heart to want to insulate and protect my kids from struggle, pain, and trouble.  When undesirable situations would arise, I would put on my Miss-Fix-It goggles and try to do everything in my power to create smooth pathways for my children to walk upon.  Over and over, my Heavenly Father would have to retrain my heart to the truth of the Upside Down Kingdom: without the training that trials produce, my children will live incomplete, immature lives, and will be left lacking in the end.   I desperately desire the fruit that will come into my children’s lives as a direct result of the struggles they face in this life.

 “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. …..Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

~ James 1:4, 12 ~

:::

Fifth, God began to show me that, in doing our part to build our legacy {His legacy, for His glory}- this multi-generational lineage of faith I found in God’s Blueprint for Building a Family- I had to be an active pursuer and possessor of the eternal treasures that I most desire to give my children.  How can I ever hope to pass down these eternal treasures if I do not make it a non-negotiable priority in my own daily life?  Somehow, this was all the motivation I needed to turn hopeful goals into discipline, then into a life that is continually transformed by the daily delight of walking with God.

If I want my children to pass onto their children and their children, etc. the greatest commandments, then the cornerstone of my earthly existence should be an unashamed pursuit of the love of Jesus and love of others.  I want my children to have no doubt of my love for Jesus and His Word.  I want them to witness a life given in sacrificial service to others in the name of Jesus- not as a duty, but as a delight.    If I miss the mark in a hundred other areas of parenting, yet get this one right- I still win; but if I distractedly pursue excellence in a hundred other earthly endeavors and miss this one, I risk losing it all.  This is not something I want to gamble with.

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

~Matthew 22: 37-38 ~

:::

Not everyone has to go through such an intense, focused period of rewiring like our family did.  He just knew our hearts, especially mine, and how much regret I would carry if I didn’t get on a path to put first things first.   I’m thankful that repentance, grace, and growth is available to us every single day because I am still on this journey.  We don’t have to get pressured up to get it all perfect, but I surely don’t want to waste a day building something that won’t last.  When this fleeting mist of a life is complete, there is only one investment that will go with us- eternal souls that have been covered by the blood of the Lamb.

There is nothing I think I could dream up that would have more value or be more of a thrill than pouring my life out on the altar of knowing Him and bringing others into the riches of knowing Him, too.  I imagine that I only have a very minuscule role in this grand Building of souls in the Eternal Kingdom of God, but I have become determined to build my part, in my generation, according to His Blueprint and not my own; this will be the greatest privilege of my life.

God only knows how many times I have prayed that He would use me on this earth for His glory, and specifically in my own family line.  He alone could count the times I’ve pleaded with Him that He would bring a mighty wave of salvation and a zealous pursuit of His glory throughout our family line, leading straight to the Day when every knee will bow before His Throne!  Maybe one day in heaven He’ll let me watch the movie reel of time passing as one generation declares His glorious deeds to the next, each generation utterly captivated by love for Jesus…will each heart just fall like dominoes before His glory?

We will not hide them from their children,
    but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
    and the wonders that he has done.

~ Psalm 78:4 ~

:::

As I dream of that day, I try to remind myself daily to keep my head in the game and keep my priorities straight.  I continue to lean on Him for the plan each day- the grace to keep my eyes on this unseen God and to keep pointing my kids to Him above all things.  These children still in my care, these eternal souls to shape….eventually it will be time to shoot them out like arrows into the world to do their part to bring glory to God on this earth.  And then it will be their turn to carry the torch of faith into a dark world.  Give us the grace and wisdom, O Lord, to build this house according to your blueprint and the courage to surrender our plans to you.

:::

Unless the Lord builds the house,
    the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
    the guards stand watch in vain.
 In vain you rise early
    and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
    for he grants sleep to those he loves.

 Children are a heritage from the Lord,
    offspring a reward from him.
 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
    are children born in one’s youth.
 Blessed is the man
    whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
    when they contend with their opponents in court.

~ Psalm 127 ~

 

Author: Megan

Loved by Jesus • Wife • Mom to 4 • Daughter • Sister • Friend • Teacher • Lover of God’s Word

2 thoughts on “Building a Legacy”

  1. The Bible promised the things we do right or wrong will be passed on the the third and forth generation. I see it so clearly in the O.T. So I prayed and still do this His desires will be passed in and my kids grandkids and great grandkids will know Himnas Mord as Savior and I know they willl. When I began to realize the forth generation or even the third won’t know me unless they walk with Him and we will meet in Heaven. It’s a precious hope I hold onto

    Like

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