September 21, 2008: My Legacy

“I have been with you wherever you have gone….Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men of the earth….When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body….Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.”

“Who am I…and what is my family that you have brought me this far? And as if this were not enough in your sight…you have also spoken about the future of the house of your servant. Is this your usual way of dealing with man…? Do as you have promised, so that your name will be great forever.”

Dear Friends,

As I have been reading the stories of Naomi, Ruth, Hannah, Samuel, Saul, Jonathan, and David, I can’t help but think about what it means to leave a legacy. I asked my students today in class, “What lessons have you learned from your parents? What lessons do you want to pass on to your children?” I can’t help but wonder the same thing, even as I ask it. What legacy will I leave for the “future of my house”? When my days are over, what will endure?

I’ve just recently finished The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, and I’ve been sharing it with my students. Pausch talks about the lessons his parents taught him about learning, story-telling, humility, fairness, optimism, selflessness, and priorities. Pausch advises his own children to “find your own path to fulfillment…don’t try to figure out what I want you to become. I want you to become what you want to become….find your way with enthusiasm and passion.” I’ve enjoyed Pausch’s thoughts, yet I feel that there is more to my legacy than moral lessons and advice. A vital relationship is missing from Pausch’s lessons.

So what legacy do I hope to leave to my children? Perhaps it is too early to think about this, but I hope that the generations of our family will seek their “Father” with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength. I hope that they will love Him with all that they are, and with each day of their lives. I hope that we will leave a legacy of trust in the One who will never let them down. I want them to pass on to their children the greatest love story ever told. I hope that they are “real” people with a real relationship with their Dad. And I hope that they are willing to share that kind of love with others. I have a feeling that I will care less about my family’s accomplishments, and more about their character. I hope they will display obedience, more than excellence. As the saying goes, “I have no greater joy than this, to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”

In one of my favorite Nichole Nordeman songs, she sings:

“I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love?
Did I point to You enough to make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering,
A child of mercy and grace who blessed your name unapologetically,
And leave that kind of legacy”

I hope my family will remember that I chose to love. I hope they will remember who I pointed my life toward, and what kind of mark I wanted to make. I hope that they see someone who gave all she had as an offering. I don’t think any great name, kingdom, or throne need remain for me. I can only hope that my life and the lives of my children and grandchildren will bring glory to the greatest name of all. Call me sentimental, idealistic, or crazy, but that’s my dream. I want to leave that kind of legacy.

“Not well traveled, not well read, not well-to-do or well bred
Just want to hear instead, “Well Done” good and faithful one…”
-Nichole Nordeman: Legacy


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