Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua and had known all the work that the Lord did for Israel. - Joshua 24:31
One word comes to mind when I read this passage of scripture: LEGACY. And a question: What do I want my legacy to be?
Hubby and I planned a weekend staycation/vision retreat earlier this year. Our #1 goal for the weekend was to create a family vision, goals, and milestones for the year. We used a 40-page guidebook with discussion questions that covered literally every aspect of life...faith, family, kids, finances, work, etc, etc. The question that struck me the most was what kinds of things would we want people to say in our eulogies when we're gone? And this was my answer: Angela loved and served God with all her heart; put others before her; was burdened by the lost; just an all around beautiful person inside and out; amazing wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend.
Sounds good, right? Yep, the retreat was awesome. I was really proud of the vision and goals we came up with. And I was determined to make some changes in my life to make these goals a priority. Except after a few weeks, the vision died. And we haven't looked at it or thought about it much since. Until recently.
I have a new sense of urgency after Sunday's sermon about the keys to ensure we (this generation) pass our faith to the next generation. In an age where we prioritize the 'here and now' and overly concern ourselves with money, clothes, cars, and things, we've lost our eternal mindset and forgotten God in the process. Much like the generation that came after Joshua's generation:
"...And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel." - Judges 2:10
This makes me so sad. Because this is a crisis. We're in a crisis, people. There are people dying everyday who don't know Christ as Lord & Savior...who will spend an eternity apart from Him. But rather than get completely overwhelmed and paralyzed by this, I recognize that when this life is over, I will be accountable for me...the decisions I made (or didn't make)...those far from God that I reached (or didn't reach)...the impact I made on this generation and generations to come. And although that is still a VERY heavy responsibility, I have to be willing to take it on. I have to. Because life is so much bigger than the 'here and now' and the next generation is depending on us. So sounds like I need to dust that vision off and start fresh.
At the end of the sermon on Sunday, we were challenged to answer 2 questions this week:
1} What is holding me back from loving and trusting God fully? What needs to change in my life to remove those barriers?
2} What needs to change in my household and/or schedule to ensure God is the #1 priority?
I'm still thinking about the answers to these questions. I'll let you know what I come up with. :)
Speaking of my legacy...my stepdaughter, Kendall, will be 6 years old tomorrow. :)
My hubby and I have been married for 3 years. When we started dating, Kendall was only a year old. And by the time we got married, she was only 3. And frankly, adjusting to married life AND becoming an instant family was tough for me...for all of us...much harder than expected. Someone told me once that parenting is a thankless job...and I would contend that being a stepparent is in a league of its own. You are expected to act as a parent but many times don't have the authority to make the same decisions you wouldn't think twice about making if you were the parent. Over the years, I have not been the best parent to Kendall. I've been very selfish. And often felt justified for feeling the way I did. But as she gets older, I've realized something...Kendall is a blessing to me. To my life. I believe God has shown me a lot about myself...the good, the bad, and the ugly...through this little person. And even though I don't always have decision-making power, I do recognize how much influence I have in her life. Positive influence. The ability to lift her up. Teach her about Jesus. Tell her how beautiful and smart she is. Because after all, she is a smart little girl. With a spunky personality. And she is loved. By all of us...and unconditionally by a great God.
And although we still have crazy days and frustrating moments as we learn to be a family unit, I am grateful for Kendall. Because I recognize that many people desperately want to be parents, but never get the opportunity for one reason or another. But I get that opportunity. So I'm committed like never before to show this child a Christ-like love with the hope that she will carry a legacy of love and reverence for God. She is the next generation.
Happy birthday, sweet girl!