As I was running today the word legacy came to my mind. That may sound really strange but it makes perfect sense to me. I was watching my husband and two younger children running/walking the track while I ran. My children are training to run a 5K. As I ran and pondered that word I decided to look into it a little deeper.
Legacy: anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor.
As a mom, I am concerned about the legacy I leave for my children. But I started to think about what type of legacy I received from my ancestors. The most significant legacy that comes to mind all comes from my grandmother. She gave me so much of herself that I am proud of and gladly carry forward to my children.
The most important thing she gave me is my faith in Christ. She was the daughter of a Baptist pastor and the granddaughter of a missionary. She made sure I was in church three days a week and for all the extra activities in the children's department. It went much farther than that. Some of my bed time stories were from the Bible. My favorite as a child was Samson. She led by example and practiced what she preached. She wasn't perfect by any means but my grandmother always tried to live the way Christ taught. As I watched her as a leader in the church, head of the WMU and the like, I also saw her compassion for those who had less than we did and her desire to share the Word with them because she knew what truly would enrich their lives. I am unsure what type of family my grandfather came from but I think my grandmother had a stronger faith than they did, if any. She was the driving force behind her husband and children attending church.
Grandma gave me a sense of great love and support towards my children and others. She was my champion! If ever she felt I had been wronged before I was old enough to take care of it myself, she was there fixing it. After I was older she was there to encourage me in how to handle things the right way. She was a listening ear to my every life detail. Oh, how I miss those days. She shared my joys and my sorrows. She didn't focus on her sorrows, although she had plenty of her own through her long life. She taught me not to dwell on mine, either. She would tell me about things but only when we were having long deep conversations about the past as a way for her to tell me "her story".
I grew up in a home that was totally southern, fried just about everything! When I was a young teenager my grandmother decided that being healthier was important. At the time I called her a "health food nut". (Sorry, Gram!) She started cooking with healthier things and not frying so much. She also started exercises more. She already played golf almost everyday. The "in thing" was a fitness center. So she and I went and worked out together.
Now me. Am I leaving behind a legacy for my children to carry on to theirs and beyond? I know that I am doing what I can with my children. But children don't always go down the path you wish they would or believe and live the things they have been taught. At least not right away. I make sure my children attend church and know their Bible. They do all the extra fun activities at church. We even went a step farther, kind of along the lines of my great-great grandmother, we teach at a mission church and have for the past 15 years. Our children are a part of that ministry. We have even taken the two youngest on a mission trip to Africa! We live out our faith daily. Even through hard times we look to the Lord. That isn't to say we never have times of doubt and discouragement. But we do our best not to stay in those depths too long. We know that isn't where Christ wants us to live.
I married a man who did not come from a Christian background. He started coming to church when we started dating. As young parents I felt the need to make sure that our daughter was in church so we started going. After we had our second child and had been married for 9 years I realized something was missing. I wanted a way to be closer to my husband and I thought if we did a Bible study together that we would grow closer. I was still under the impression that my husband had a personal relationship with Christ. But he didn't. About a year after we started doing a Bible study called Precept (there are different topics under that heading) he accepted Christ as his Savior. As part of his testimony he tells people that I was the one who insisted we go to church. I suppose I carried out my grandmother's legacy in that area for sure.
Several years ago I read a book called The Maker's Diet. I learned so much about the things in this world that are bad for you and the things that are good for you. At first I tried to do a complete change and met some resistance but not as much as you would think. As the years have progressed we have made real changes to our diet. We still have some things we need to work on but I feel good about a lot of them.
My husband has always been great about working out and staying in shape. I on the other hand have gone up and down on the scales. I can attribute some of that to being pregnant seven times with four full term births. (I only have four living children) I have been sporadic in my workouts. I tend to lack consistency for large periods of time. I will work out for several months and then nothing for a very long time, sometimes years. A year ago in November I reached my highest non-pregnancy weight and it was like a RED LIGHT shinning in my face. STOP NOW! So I decided to make some real changes in my exercise and hopefully my eating habits. I started doing some workout videos again and did those for about eleven weeks and stopped again. I had lost 10 pounds at that point but let life get in my way. Plus, I admit I was discouraged that the weight wasn't coming off faster. In June several things changed. I got back on Weight Watchers and signed up to run a 5K in February. The WW I had done before. But running? NOPE! I did the training on the treadmill for nine weeks. Then I needed to take it outside. My husband was going walking in the mornings before the preschoolers got there so I asked him if I could run while he walked because running in the park alone was not a good idea for me. He started running a mile or two here and there and then walking a lot of it. Pretty soon he was running the three miles and really enjoying himself. I haven't gotten him to sign up for a race yet but I'm working on it.
My oldest daughter was the one who told me how much she loved to run. She had gotten so busy with work and hadn't run in a long time. She is struggling to gain a healthier lifestyle so running hasn't been something she thought she could do. I took up running because she told me how good it was and because I wanted something we could do together, have in common. She has started training for a 5K in April that we will run together! I am super excited about that. It will take some time to work up to it but I know that it is going to have a life changing effect on her. She will be able to do something she loves again. My younger two children are now doing the Couch to 5K training. I know I want all of them to sign up for next years Hot Chocolate 5K in February (I want to make that a yearly family thing). But I'm not sure if the kids or my husband will run with me any other time before then. I sure hope so.
So my legacy...am I carrying it forward? I have to believe that I am. In a good way. I saw an example in my grandmother and have tried to live that example for my family, sometimes without even realizing it. I thought a lot about it while I was watching my family run this evening at the park. I do a lot of thinking and talking to the Lord during my runs. He gives me insight on many things and clears my head of things that don't need to be there.
I'm not perfect and would never pretend to be. I am a work in progress. But like my grandmother, I get back up when I fall down and keep on heading the direction the Lord is guiding me. It is really the only thing I can do. I will never stop growing and learning as long as I am on this earth. So I will keep my eyes on the Lord so that my children will see my example. I am prayerful that they will gain the legacy that I am trying to pass on to them.
Thanks for letting me share. What are your legacy's? The ones you received and the ones you are passing on?
Helping transform lives one day at a time.