Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Legacy of a Mother

I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you.
~ 2 Timothy 1:5

Legacy (according to a dictionary definition) is a gift or something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past.

What kind of legacy are we leaving to our children...our nephews and nieces...our grandchildren?

What values and traits are we exemplifying in our day-to-day routines and interactions that are truly worthy to be passed on to another generation?

Are we passing down...
  • our fears and overwhelming anxieties?
  • our love for the consumption of material things and status?
  • our insecurities about our appearance and body image?
  • our "foul-mouthed" reactions and outbursts?
  • our selfish ways?
  • our practice and tolerance of telling little "white" lies?
  • our tendencies to substitute food, men, shopping, sexual activity, medication, and alcoholic drinks to fill the void in our lives that God should truly be fulfilling?

Or are we bequeathing attributes like faith, unconditional (agape) love, and strength?

What are we passing on as our legacy?

The first time that I recall seriously considering these type of questions was almost four years ago when I gave birth to my first son, Kaiser Aaron.  Sure I had already been a mom for eight years, had two beautiful daughters, and had just begun to feel like I had the mothering thing all figured out. However, with the birth of a son...a boy that would become a man...a man that would become some woman's husband...a man that would become a father that some child would look up to... I truly began to re-evaluate what type of role model I already was in comparison to the one I aspired to be, for the boy who I'd hope to grow up to be a great man of God-A MIGHTY MAN OF VALOR! 

Was I exhibiting qualities of strength, courage, faith, hope, and love in my day-to-day interactions as a mother, wife, and more, that my children (son and daughters, alike) could emulate in order become great vessels for God's Kingdom? 
Who was I teaching them to become through MY daily actions, reactions, and deeds (not simply my words)?
Could I be proud of the legacy that I was currently leaving my children?

So about three weeks after the day of my son's birth, I determined to work with God, so that He could work on me.  I desired to leave a legacy to my children that would be reflective of the Godly men and women that I wished for them to become.

Today, I continue to be His work in progress and have hardly "arrived" (Philippians 1:6).  But I am more highly conscious that because I am a mother/parent, I am most likely one of the key individuals that my children will be looking to in order to have an example of how to "act" and who to be.  When I "trip and fall" from day-to-day, I am more aware of talking about my short comings with my children.  I also apologize, even as the parent, when I make parenting mistakes; I fight through my pride to be "right" just because I am an adult and the parent. 

In 2 Timothy, Paul compliments the effectiveness of a legacy of faith that was passed on to his protegee, Timothy:

That precious memory triggers another: your honest faith—and what a rich faith it is, handed down from your grandmother Lois to your mother Eunice, and now to you! (verse 5)

And in Proverbs 31, King Lemuel's mother encourages him to find a wife who "is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come" (verse 25); a wife, who will be a mother whose "children arise and call her blessed" (verse 28).

Sure it is great and will be memorable for me to pass down my passion for cooking and a few good recipes, or even some warm & cozy family holiday traditions, to my children.  But how much more powerful, lasting, and world-changing, if I can also pass down my faith, prayer life, and a propensity to praise in the face of discouragement, as well.

What will you leave?

What legacy will you pass on?

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
   but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
~Proverbs 31:30

Strength partnered with tenderness makes for an unbeatable combination.
~Maya Angelou (words on motherhood)

What a lioness was your mother among lions!
~Ezekiel 19:12
Mad Luv~Teri

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