headerImage

A Legacy of What?

“I lavish my love on those who love me and obey my commands, even for a thousand generations.” - God talking with Moses - Exodus 20:6 (emphasis mine)

The truth is you WILL pass on something to your children and grandchildren…the question is, WHAT?

My daughter Kendyl (she’s three) has been saying the oddest thing for many months now. When it’s time to pray at meals, she says, “I don’t want to pray. I only pray on Saturdays.” She even says it on Saturdays. I know she’s only three and I’m sure this phase will pass soon, but sometimes I worry, wondering what I did or said to make her think she only needs to pray on Saturdays.

And what about the bigger deals?

Why does my son get so angry and yell, using very hurtful words? Is he watching me get angry?

Why does my seven-year-old not want to go to church? He says, “Going to church doesn’t save you, so why do we have to go?” Did I do something to instill that in him?

Why do my kids fight so much? Why are they so disrespectful sometimes? Why do I keep nagging and being critical when I can see the hurt and discouragement in their eyes? Lord, am I ruining my children for life? Will they learn anything good about You from me? I long for my children to see Jesus in me, but I wrestle with the daily frustrations of real life. My inconsistency from day to day is not doing me any favors.

Do you ever feel this way?

Legacy.

What is it and why is it so important?

The definition of legacy is this: something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past (merriam-webster.com). I think of legacy as the part of you that stays here when you are gone from this earth. And that part of you usually stays in the lives and actions of your children.

Taking our kids to church every Sunday, VBS in the summer, and church camp are all good and helpful things to teach our children about God. But they were never intended to replace intentional Biblical teaching and application of that teaching that kids need to learn at home by their parents or caregivers. It is so important that we are the main influencers in our children’s lives, pointing them to Jesus every opportunity we get.

Love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on on your gates. - Deuteronomy 6:5-9

God’s Word is to be upon our hearts and we are to impress His truth upon our children. Do we love God with all our hearts, souls, and strength? If we don’t, then we cannot expect our children to. Being intentional is key.

The definition of intentional: done in a way that is planned or intended; deliberate, done on purpose, preplanned, premeditated, willful (dictionary.com).

I think a lot of parents have good intentions to raise their children to love God and follow Jesus. But having good intentions is very different than being intentional.

We do not want to be reactive parents. Reactive parents parent according to their upbringing, since they turned out okay (right?). They do what their parents did, hoping for a similar outcome; or maybe hoping for a different outcome. But they are hoping for a different outcome even though they are parenting the same way (notice: it is not going to turn out with different results). We don’t want to just let life happen to us, being carried along by whatever comes along.

I don’t want that for my children. Do you?

Over the last couple of years, God has been teaching me and impressing on my heart some key truths. I believe with all of my heart that if my husband and I follow these truths, we will pass on the legacy that we long to pass on. I hope they will bring you encouragement and also a longing to do the same:

Leaving A Legacy That Is Eternal:

Love intentionally. Love your children uninhibited. Let them see you loving God and loving each other. Let them see you serving our hurting and broken world. Be consistent (which I struggle with daily) with the Holy Spirit’s help. We simply cannot give our children an eternal legacy if we do not have the Holy Spirit’s help.

Laugh with your kids. Play. Act silly. Laughter connects hearts.

Linger with your kids. Don’t rush back to your to-do list. Stay: be with them. “Enjoy your kids and have fun with them, because when it comes to parenting, the days seem to drag on forever, but the years go by in the blink of an eye, and your kids are worth it!” - Kym Carter. The blink of an eye is not long.

Lean on the Lord every moment of every day. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s power to fill you. You can’t do this on your own. Study God’s Word and ask God to give you a deep love for Scripture that your children will see and want for themselves. Make sure you are living free from bondage so that your children can live free from bondage. Worship God with abandon with your children. You don't have to “keep yourself in check” here (please don’t!). Pray for courage; pray about everything. Pray that God will give your children a sense of mission, purpose, direction, destiny. Teaching your children about their identity in Christ is key; and it always starts with you believing what your identity in Christ is (see my last post called, “Who Am I REALLY?).

Lead with humility. Say “I’m sorry” easily and often. It’s okay for your kids to see you mess up. Admit it, repent, and move on. Give them grace and they will give you grace.

Learn your child’s heart. Spend time with them. Care about what they care about. See them and see their unique gifts and talents. And let them know you love what you see.

Let them see Jesus in you. Pray for this miracle that only the Holy Spirit can accomplish. Teach your children to fear God; let them see you fearing God. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life. - Proverbs 14:27.

So what does fearing God look like?

The believer’s fear of God is not the slavish fear found in the Old Testament. Rather, it is grounded in a sense of God’s holiness, his hatred of evil, the judgment my sin deserves, and the horrible fate of unbelief. Mingled with all of this is a profound sense of sonship, adoption, God’s free grace, and his extravagant, glorious, unearnable love. Those who rightly fear God increasingly revel in his infinite grace. The more one fears God, the more he or she confesses with Paul that nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).(1) I see the fear of God as a deep, profound respect, love, and honor of the One who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Look and Long for wisdom. Finding wisdom and sharing it with your children is so important; living it out in front of your children is key.
My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. - Proverbs 2:1-6
“It is not enough to just acquire wisdom. Instead, we have to choose to apply wisdom to our daily life.We acquire wisdom where wisdom gathers, not where wisdom scatters.” - Lysa TerKeurst
An example Lysa gives of a place where wisdom gathers is when we read God’s Word. An example she gives of when wisdom scatters is when we watch endless hours of TV. I want to be a woman who gathers wisdom, don’t you?

Live it out. Write down your goals. Make plans. But don’t stop there. I am a good list-maker, but I want to be a good list-doer! How about you? Choose it and then go and do it! Remember, be intentional.

I was thinking about my family and wondering how having three adopted children would affect legacy for us. I posted my favorite picture of my darling kids (by Pam Agler at Moments by Pam) on Facebook last week and one of the comments encouraged me so much. It said, “There’s such a thing as leaving a legacy; and then there is what you are doing - MAKING A LEGACY. Keep up the good work.” I love that. Thank you, Dave Smith, for your encouraging words!

Everyone, even those without children, leaves a legacy. Sadly, some even leave a legacy of indifference. We will either be remembered for the positive or the negative impact we made during our short time here on earth. The only way to leave a Christ-centered legacy is by the power of God’s Spirit living in us. We cannot do it on our own human strength. God wants us to leave a legacy based on Jesus Christ and His love. Pray for Him to equip you and empower you to love your children well, and leave a legacy that is eternal. It will never happen by accident. It will have to be on purpose.

...what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. - Psalm 78:3-6

Lord, we want our children to inherit an eternal legacy based on You and Your love. I’m so grateful that You give us everything we need, including the grace, to carry out our mission to pass on a Jesus Legacy. Set intentionality in our hearts, Lord. We need you for every moment. Amen.

Sources:
(1) William P. Farley, Gospel-Powered Parenting (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing Company, 2009), 62

Sign up to receive Tammy's Blog Posts in your email. It's easy!
SUBSCRIBE
Click to watch our ADOPTION STORY

If you are an imperfect wife, mom, daughter, or friend, struggling to stay focused on God in the craziness and find joy in the heartache, then we have something in common. I am a recovering perfectionist and daughter of the King, slowly learning to fully trust the One who sees me just as I am, and is already pleased. I’m so glad you are here.

Archives
2014
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
2015
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
2016
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
2017
 
© 2017 Tammy Gerber
All Rights Reserved.
Contact
Facebook /OneRainDancer