Leaving a Legacy Worth Imitating

Field Day 2011. Groups of moms stand around and chit chat. I chase two pre-schoolers.

Mrs. Morgan asks if I can help with the name tags and I say “Sure” and thankfully the two preschoolers don’t do a dive off the bleachers while I’m helping, although trying to keep an eye on them effectively prevented any chit chat on my end.

{And I wonder why I always seem just a bit out of sync with everyone else around me.}

While the other moms stand around and talk or sit in the bleachers to watch the races, I take the preschoolers for a ride down the hill in the stroller.

When I get back to Mrs. Morgan, she says, “How does my hair look? I don’t do sweat,”   and I wonder if she is trying to say something.

I watch oldest ditch it several times doing the three legged race…they didn’t even finish! They had to have their legs untied in the middle of the field, the poor things… and then we go for stroller fun again. I walk them up the hill under the trees and marvel at the way the wind plays those leaves. It’s music to my soul.

We find a bench in the sun and I dole out trail mix, one little grubby handful at a time.

That’s when I see it, a stone under the tree. From where I sit, I read the words, “Leaving a Legacy Worthy of  Imitation.”

The graduating class of 2002 gifted it, their imprint on their alma mater.

And I know it: we are all leaving imprints.

For a moment a deep sadness washes over my heart, a grief over pieces of legacy I’m leaving that aren’t worthy. Pieces like bad choices, quick choices, thoughtless choices, selfish choices.

I could stay in this grief, remain immobilized by introspection. It’s one of my signature sins and I’ve spent years of my life doing it.

But Loving Father’s shown me a better way. “Lord,” I prayed one day, “there is so much wrong with me, I don’t even know where to start.”

“You start by getting your eyes off of what’s wrong with you and onto what’s right about Me,” came the reply.

Yes Sir.

It’s a huge jump, going from a self condemning, sin groveling person like me, who frets about all she’s messing up… to one who fixes her eyes on Jesus and basks in His utter, complete  SUFFICIENCY.

“He is able to save to the uttermost…”

Yes, it is a re-training process and a discipline to be sure, but it is gloriously possible!

After the little ones have made lunch off of trail mix, while moms still sit in bleachers, I walk over to the stone.

The smaller print on the stone reads “Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, innocent children of God surrounded by people who are crooked and corrupt. Among these people you shine like stars in the world because you hold on to the word of life. This will allow me to say on the day of Christ that I haven’t run for nothing or worked for nothing.” Phil 2:14-16

Holding onto the word of life, the sufficiency of Christ, our completeness in Him, this is the key to shining like stars. This is the key to leaving a legacy worth imitating.

I pack up makeshift lunch and with it, pack away the groveling introspection that has become less and less appealing in my life. We walk back through the rustling trees and I run the kids down the hill in the stroller.

“Go faster, mommy!” one of them shouts and I give it my all. We pass a parent who looks at us like I’m a bit off my rocker, a little out of sync. I just smile and nod.

We make it back to the chit chatty moms and the teacher who never sweats and the scores of other parents who know nothing of a stone that reads of legacy worth leaving.

I can’t get the silly grin off my face.

Thank You, Jesus. I’m shining like a star.


The Grit and the Glory

We planted the bulbs a few weeks back, digging our hands in the soil {and finding worms along the way}

Funny how God can use a bulb to teach and dirt to nurture.

I’m decaying, like that round lump. I’m unsheathed.

The shoots are poking out of the ground now, tiny blades far stronger than they look. Their life is real, unexplained. Their Maker sprouts them from decay and Sustains them in dirt.

And I can’t explain why this makes sense, why it fits, but it does: this new life is about abiding in Him.

The awe that I get to commune with God and in this find my life, my breath, my identity, my very being.

It is the absence of self reliance, the death to protective barriers;  just the simple trust in His beauty and grace in the form of Christ within.

“I am calling you to a life of constant communion with Me. Basic training includes learning to live above your circumstances, even while interacting on that cluttered plane of life. You yearn for a simplified lifestyle, so that your communication with Me can be uninterrupted. But I challenge you to relinquish the fantasy of an uncluttered world. Accept each day just as it comes, and find Me in the midst of it all.” Sarah Young, in her “40 Days with Jesus” devotional

Yes. It is about abiding in Him no matter what the clutter in my heart, in my home, in my surroundings, in my relationships. The life springs up when I “die” to the distraction of all those things and keep rooted only in Him.

And He is always there, larger and more real than anything else.

“Remember that your ultimate goal is not to control or fix everything around you; it is to keep communing with Me.” Sarah Young

It is possible and I’m finding out the glorious truth, the beauty of Un-sheathed.


Un-sheathed

The tube is just about dried up, but I pump it anyway, twirl out the last color, brush across lashes.

I want to be beautiful.

One of my earliest memories is when I thought I was…ponytail in hair, painted nails.

Mom had made me beautiful.

What happened afterward…that boy man who saw innocence and took it for himself…well, a big brush dipped in black slashed across soul and beauty was marred and I guess I’ve been trying to recover it ever since.

Or running from it.

That big black X said all sorts of things about me. It has been a task master, a slave driver. I’ve taken its message as truth.

But something happened somewhere along the way.

I encountered Beauty.

And as I draw closer to Him and awaken to words of Beauty, He whispers, “You don’t have to be beautiful; You can borrow Mine.”

“You don’t have to be good enough; You can have Mine.”

“You don’t have to try to be something more; You can have Me.”

And Beauty makes me beautiful.

I read the words and Beauty offers His cloak:

“Consider the lilies of the field. They toil not, neither do they spin.”

Those who allow Beauty to clothe, cease striving.

I can never rid myself of the black X. I don’t need to. Beauty tells me I can stop trying.

And flowers do this well while I miss it?

Oh no, I’ve been looking for Beauty all my life and here it is, that Pearl of great price. I’m not missing it this time.

“Yet I say to you that not even Solomon, in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.”

Yes, I think I will learn from flowers, how to be clothed with beauty. How to stop striving and trying and piling things on to cover up the black.

“If God so clothes the grass of the field, will He not much more clothe you? Oh you of little faith!”

Perhaps I hold on to the seed, not allow the bulb to die because I’m afraid I’ll be left with nothing. I grasp tight, thinking to save what is, not believing in what is to be.

But all along, the bulb begs to begat the lily that becomes clothed with splendor that surpasses Solomon.

Will I hold on to the bulb, tuck it away, refuse to plant and trust and wait… and settle for store bought color instead?

Must I insist on paying?

Earned beauty is nothing more than a tube of color that eventually dries up.

The secret of real beauty is that it’s offered without cost. Beauty has been poured out, made available to us, generously and lavishly offered. Just like wings that soar and seeds that bloom and grass that softens our steps,  beauty is ours, no charge.

Unsheathed beauty is that seed which falls and dies to all self effort and striving…it takes the risk…it gives up and lets go…it releases it’s shell, undergoes decay…waits on the One who clothes the grass…and is brought forth in splendor.

[ Adj. un-sheathed: not having a protective covering ]

Oh soul-scarred one, let Him birth your beauty?

{I’m taking the risk.}

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I would love the chance to attend a woman’s writer’s conference while we are in the states on furlough and am humbly entering with this post. If any of the other entrants happen by here, may I say I think you are beautiful? I have read a few dozen of the entries and have been so touched!  If you would like to learn more about the opportunity to win yourself, please see this post and check out the SheSpeaks website here.