How to leave a legacy
How will you be remembered when you die? How will the world be a better place? When I think of my life as the chance to leave a lasting legacy, each day takes on new meaning. I started thinking about this when I came across a message on BelovedWomen.org. The start here page introduces the Beloved site as “here to help you experience God in real, meaningful, and personal ways.”
The founder of Beloved, Christina Patterson, is a wife and mom and writes that she is “passionate about empowering women in the love of Jesus Christ and the truth of God's Word.”
I turn to the devotionals on the Beloved site because they include a meditation and prayer. This helps me to collect my thoughts into a starting point. One devotional in particular that spoke to me, written by contributing writer Stephanie Vroege, focuses on leaving a lasting legacy. I read this devotion during the week I spent with Elijah’s parents and my parents at their home in Southern California.
If you have been following my blog, you know that Elijah and I sold our condo, resigned from our corporate jobs, and moved into a used RV. The RV will be our home as we travel America looking for a small town where we can put down roots and adopt foster children.
We spent one final week with our parents before officially starting our trip across the country. We reminisced about family memories, and I also looked forward to the future family of adopted foster children that Elijah and I pray to have one day. I think this is why the Beloved devotional on leaving a legacy hit home for me.
In the daily devotion, Stephanie asks, “What legacy are you creating by the life you are living?” In the prayer portion, she asks God to help her live out her purpose “so I may leave a lasting legacy that gives You glory.”
Here are some ways I want to leave a legacy:
1. Having a family “spot”
Elijah had often told me fun stories about childhood summer days spent enjoying Oceanside Beach in southern California. This week, I finally had the chance to see it for myself. Together with our families, we revisited the highlights including splashing in the waves on the boogie board, looking for crabs along the pier, and soaking up the sun. We even tried to find to find the favorite old-fashioned candy shop, but since it wasn’t there any more, we had cookies instead, adding our new spin to tradition! I hope one day that Elijah and I can take our own adopted foster children to a favorite consistent spot every year, whether it’s a beach, park, or campground, and that they can come back one day too with their own families.
Do you have a nostalgic childhood spot?
2. Serving others
Even though this week was supposed to be “vacation” for our parents, they worked hard! Our dads helped us with numerous RV projects including changing the batteries, installing a new shower rod, building shelves, sealing the roof, and re-bending the motorcycle hitch, all in 90 degree weather. My mom helped me fold loads of laundry and sort through boxes of paper to organize. Elijah’s mom was cooking and cleaning for us. Our parents didn’t benefit personally from any of these tasks; everything they did was to help us prepare for our journey ahead.
I pray that when Elijah and I have our own children and the opportunity comes to help them, that I will remember the lessons our parents taught us and that I in turn will be also be selfless with my time and energy and help our children in the projects that will launch their dreams.
I think of the words of Jesus: He came down to earth not to be served, but to serve others.
3. “Walking in the truth”
On the day I wrote this post, this was the Beloved verse of the day:
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
-3 John 1:4
I am grateful to my parents for taking my sister and me to church as kids to surround us with Biblical teachings, and also involving us in activities like youth group and choir. Even when my sister and I would try to get out of it, as typical kids often do, my parents kindly, yet firmly, kept church as a priority. Now, my reward is a personal relationship with our Savior! This week as we spent time with both sets of parents, it was special to be able to go to church together with our joint families and have a Bible study together, worshiping and studying united as one family.
When Elijah and I adopt our foster children, teaching them about the love of Jesus will be key in our home. Our children may be already grown teenagers when we adopt them, so I don’t know what their beliefs may be. I trust God to guide us to teach them about Jesus with grace and gentleness, never forcing anything, but modeling through kindness and action.
The Beloved devotional stresses that we don’t have to be a great evangelist like Billy Graham to leave a meaningful legacy that will make God proud. God has called each of us to His own purpose, and His path is different for each of us.
Whether or not you have kids, I hope this post has inspired you to invest the life you have to leave a legacy that will honor God.
Find encouraging resources to help you grow your faith on the BelovedWomen.org site.