Wednesday, October 2, 2013

My Legacy - Then and Now

Legacy is something that came to mind this past summer when my grandma passed away. I was grateful for the legacy she left and at times found myself thinking about the one I would leave. Fast forward a few months to yesterday when I read Wendy Blight's blog post titled, "What Will Be Your Legacy?" My friend's words offered insight, encouragement and left me thinking.

For as far back as I can remember, I wanted to be someone who made a difference, positively influenced others and left a mark. In my growing up years, teachers, coaches and role models played powerful roles in my life - I looked up to them and appreciated the impact they made. I had the desire to do the same.

After college, I wasn't surprised to find myself teaching and coaching...it was the role I had dreamed of! But into my second year of teaching, I began to wonder if those dreams were realistic. I struggled, often felt like a failure and really didn't think I mattered at all. I hurt for my students and wondered if they knew their actions didn't just impact their peers, but they hurt their teachers too.

I can still remember the night, 14 years ago this past week, I came home from a stressful day, frustrated and alone. My mind was consumed with lies and I was in the middle of an undiagnosed battle with depression. I'd been a church goer and believed in God, but I didn't know Jesus as Lord and had never personally accepted Christ as Savior. I was ready to quit and thought my legacy was over.

I sat down to make one last journal entry, as I shook and sobbed, I scribbled things like - "I don't matter. I can't do anything right. Nothing I do makes a difference. The kids don't listen to me. Perhaps this will teach them a lesson..."

Now it pains me to read these words, but the thing that strikes me is even on what I thought was the brink of my death I had the desire to influence others. For the sake of time I'll spare the rest of the details, and simply say God intervened and thankfully kept me from doing the unthinkable. And I'm even more grateful that He continued to work, drew me close and brought me to a saving relationship with Him.

Reflecting on this makes me realize my legacy has changed. First and foremost it's still alive! Second, I am now a wife and mom who daily has the opportunity to make a difference. Finally, now my legacy is better - it's one of faith, truly the only thing that will matter when my life is over.

Friend, I don't know where you are at or what legacy you are leaving, but God does. And I believe He brought you here for a reason. (How do I know? Because it's almost 3 AM as I type and I trust He has me up for a reason - YOU!!) I am praying for you and asking God to speak to your heart exactly what you need to hear.

I encourage you to think about your legacy. If it's one you're not proud of, I hope my story shows you God can change that! If it's one that's not based on faith, I trust God will tender your heart, open your eyes and draw you near. If you've started to leave a legacy of faith, I want you to know God is not finished yet...keep seeking Him, growing closer and shining brighter!

Friend, I want to close with this - you matter! God has a plan for you and a purpose only YOU can fulfill! I know it's possible to think that's crazy, in the midst of my depression I obviously doubted that, but when Jesus knocked on the door of my heart and I let Him in, things changed. Honestly, there are times I still struggle and get down, but it's different. Ephesians 3:20 is true - God is able to do more than we can ask or imagine!!

God has brought Psalms 40:1-3 to mind -

I waited patiently for the Lord;

     He turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
He set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
    and put their trust in Him.

He is there. He's listening and He is powerful! He wants to work in you and through you! He desires for you to leave a legacy for Him!! Friend, He did this for me, I know He will do it for you!!

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