Leaving a Legacy
It’s always been remarkable to me that I have had the privilege of serving on staff at Immanuel for the past 37 years. God called me to serve with children and their families. When I received the call, I remember thinking there is no way that I am equipped for this position. But God had a plan and I was to obey. The verse that was so important to me at that time was Philippians 4:13, “ I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I would say it over and over each day; Lord I cannot do this, but He always reminded me…no you can’t, but through me you can.
So many thoughts come to mind when I reflect over the years. I know I have made many mistakes, but I have learned you can’t go back, but you can learn from mistakes and go forward.
It hasn’t been easy for my family over the years. Ministry isn’t a 40 hours a week job, it’s 24/7. God should be our number one priority, family second, word third, and so on. I can honestly say that I have not always been good at accomplishing this. I am so blessed by my family. They have stood by me! We have gone through many trials, but God is faithful to be our rock. In James 1:2 it says, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” I love this verse, but it’s not easy for me to count it as joy at the time when we’re going through those difficult days. I have a husband that has put up with me for too many years to say, 3 children whom I am so proud of, and 8 grandchildren who are my pride and joy! Wow! God is so good to me.
My extended family is those who I serve with in our weekday programs and in Sunday School. The love and support I receive from them is overwhelming. We have laughed together and cried together. We have gone through tough times in losing so many over the years, but are so thankful in knowing one day we will be reunited again in heaven. We’ll have fun recalling the good old days. They are my mentors, my prayer partners and my dear friends. When I have been down, they always lift me up. I am so thankful for my church family. The relationships I have made over the years are endless. They will forever be in my heart!
In the 37 years I have served here on the Immanuel staff, I have had the privilege of serving with many different people and personalities. Each one has touched my life through the encouragement and support that they have given to my family and me. We have gone through great days and difficult days, but God has always triumphed over all. We are blessed at Immanuel and have exciting days ahead. God has called Dr. Smith as our pastor and leader. I am so thankful for him and his family whom I have grown to love in the few months they have been at Immanuel. I love his vision of “text-driven, prayer-saturated and next generation ministry.” God revealed a verse to me several years ago when I was discouraged in my ministry. Psalm 71:8, “Now also when I am old and gray headed, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare your strength to this generation, your power to everyone who is to come.” He reminded me to keep on persevering. We must reach this generation and the generations to come for the kingdom.
I have a picture hanging on my wall that means so much to me, it says “One hundred years from now it will not matter what kind of house I lived in, how much money I had, or what kind of clothes I wore, but the world may be a better place because I was important in the life of a child.” I have changed the word important to “a reflection of Jesus” in the life of a child. The children are so precious to me. It has always been my goal to love them as Jesus loves us…unconditionally. We do not know what their home life is like. When they walk through our doors we must be that “reflection of Jesus.” From the very beginning they feel the love of Jesus through our touch and our words. It’s not an easy world we live in, and we must do everything we can to instill Jesus into their lives. I now have the privilege of loving a second generation from parents I had when they were babies. That’s what it’s all about!
I looked up the meaning of legacy and one of the translations said, “something handed down from one generation to the next.” I would pray my legacy would be “being a reflection of Jesus in the lives of my family, my friends, and the precious children I have had the privilege of caring for over the years of my ministry.” Time goes by quickly, continue to build memories and relationships with your family and others that will last a lifetime. Serve by teaching children about Jesus and His love. God calls us to be His shepherds in 1 Peter 5. Take time to reflect what’s important in your life. Build a legacy that will be handed down from generation to generation that will glorify our Lord.