For the past 2 days I haven’t been able to turn on the TV, radio, or computer without hearing or reading about the death of Steve Jobs. Tonight I am unable to sleep. I made a few attempts to work on my book, but it just wasn’t happening so I turned on the TV and watched a documentary about the legacy of Steve Jobs. I started thinking about that word – legacy – and what it means, and from there I began wondering about my own legacy. When I’m gone, what will I leave behind?
Yes, I know what you’re thinking…the seven children…but that’s pretty obvious…and without much thought I could add all the tangible things I own. What a pitiful legacy that would be. Looking inside myself and at the goals I’ve placed in front of me, I see my legacy as a living, breathing being that grows and develops as I do the same. I write a blog. I’m working on a book. When I’m gone, will any of my words matter? I can’t say, but realistically speaking, no, I don’t think they will make any impact. So what then can I claim, besides the 7 children? It’s what I teach those 7 children.
My kids were all born into chaos. My oldest daughter came into this world 4 days after I buried her father. I knew from the moment I saw her that God had great things planned for her. I wrote it in her baby book. I often shared that belief with her. Just lately she’s been battling some serious issues, and as she learned to overcome, she told me that maybe God did have big plans for her. I’ve never doubted that. Her six younger siblings were born into an extremely abusive home. None of them had a ‘normal’ childhood because they learned to stifle themselves in order to appease their abuser. In our two years of freedom, I’ve seen them slowly blossoming and I’m excited to see personalities developing. They are learning that they each have a sense of humor, and they are realizing that it’s ok to be individuals.
It isn’t easy to take someone out of the unhealthy life they’ve always known and transplant them into something better. They fight to get back to what they were comfortable with, no matter how horrendous it was. So it takes strength, tenacity, and unbelievable stamina to fight that desire to regress and to instead keep moving everyone forward. When we were first free from our abuser I told my boys every day that they could willingly accept our new circumstances and we’d all walk through it together, or I would drag them kicking and screaming into a normal life. For a long time I dragged them along as they fought me and dug in their heels. Nowadays I can usually cajole them into taking steps on their own. I have no doubt that soon they’ll be walking along with no help from me…and I cannot wait to see who they become.
So if I were to say that my legacy lies with my children and what I’ve taught them, I pray that it means they’ve seen my profound love for my Lord, my strength, my ability to give whatever I have to make life better for the 7 hearts I love so intensely, and that they’ve applied those attributes to their own lives. I’ve taught them to love people where they’re at, never judge what they don’t understand, and to fight for what is right, no matter the consequences. When my life is done I pray I will leave knowing that my children are all working to attain the dreams God planted in their hearts, and that they have a burning desire to follow Him wherever He leads. And I hope they’ve learned from me that greatness doesn’t come from wealth, power or fame…it comes from finding their identity in Christ and living life abundantly. I want to look down on each of my kids and see them rocking this world for God’s kingdom. What a legacy that will be…