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Only One Life

Bible, Family, Legacy, Only One Life, Uncategorized

The story of your life is changing the world…

July 27, 2018
This article was originally posted on Ann Voskamp’s blog.

Are you a woman of legacy?

The idea of leaving a legacy may sound intimidating. But legacy is not meant only for the elite few who have great power or influence.

It’s certainly a grand word, and a daunting word at that.

So let’s start by what we don’t mean. Legacy is not the idea of leaving financial wealth to someone. It’s not reserved only for people whose names will be in history books, on monuments, or in record books.

Legacy is far more.

It is the story of your life that lives on after you leave this earth. You write this story every day through the values you embrace and live out.

Your legacy can be positive or destructive, but the outcome is always up to you.

When viewed from this lens of small daily actions and how they add up, creating a legacy is the most important job we can undertake.

Creating a legacy is the most important job we can undertake. -@laurenamcafee @jackiedgreen #onlyonelifebook Click To Tweet

Legacy is crafted by our faithful everyday choices. Anyone can truly leave a lasting legacy—even you.

The hope for a legacy is: to outlive our lives by the impact we leave behind.

Now, whenever the subject of legacy arises among Christians, it is usually a reference to the legacy of men. It’s pretty safe to say that there are more men mentioned in the Bible, recognized throughout history, and likely to be recognized in leadership roles even today, not just in our country but around the globe.

Does this mean that women don’t matter as much? Of course not! We simply are more likely to be valued for roles that don’t get a plaque or an award.

This sentiment was reiterated by Bishop Ndimbe of Kenya when he said, “Train a man, you train an individual; train a woman, you build a nation.”

Not always, but most often, it is the women who have a directional and influential role in the way a society goes, because they are the ones most often taking care of that society’s most valuable asset: the next generation.

In a similar way, there are certain cultural and societal impacts that we women are uniquely gifted by God to make.

In every place on earth and in every time in history, right down to ours, women have been the keepers of the flame of family unity and the binders of the cords of connectedness. We are seemingly handcrafted by God Himself to be the conversation starters, the communication hubs, and the culture keepers.

Typically, women serve as the family scribes and historians. With our scrapbooks, newsletters, cards, and social media posts, we celebrate the milestones, keep in touch with friends and family members, share the news of both victories and challenges, and chronicle every aspect of family history.

We also tend to function as the cultivators of connection and relationship. Who takes the time to care for the office staff and maintain culture? Who plans the office Christmas celebrations and birthday parties? In most cases, it is we women.

We are usually the ones reading the stories or saying the bedtime prayers, snuggling in rocking chairs, whispering words of comfort, affirmation, and biblical truth into impressionable little ears.

It is in our nature to pour ourselves into the ones we love, and that is a beautiful part of legacy. 

Legacy is so much more than your family history or the possessions you pass on to the next generation. As Dr. James Dobson once said at a conference, “Heritage is what you give to someone. Legacy is what you do in someone.”

All of this and more endows the Christian woman with an amazing power, not to mention an immense responsibility. Our unique roles and gifts provide us with the opportunity to be influencers

Your unique roles and gifts provide you with the opportunity to be influencers. -@laurenamcafee @jackiedgreen… Click To Tweet

How we use that power is up to us. We can wield it in positive, negative, or neutral ways.

As a woman, whether or not you happen to be a mother, you have an irreplaceable role in our society.

God created women with unique gifts and traits, and we all have an important role in passing on our legacy of faith.

Our hurting world needs godly women leaders now more than ever.

We can lead. We must lead.

Future generations will bless us if we press through our obstacles, fears, and insecurities to meet the sobering challenges our families and communities now face, and invest in others.

Doing so will create a positive ripple affect for generations to come.

What will your legacy be?

 

-LM and Jackie Green

 

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Family, Legacy, Only One Life, Theology

Shaping a Prayer Legacy

June 3, 2018

Did you realize that a woman who took part in influencing the history of Christianity in modern western society is someone you’ve likely never heard of?

She lived in the rural village of Epworth, England in the 1700s, and her name is Susanna Wesley. For those of you who don’t recognize the name, (and I don’t blame you) you may at least be thinking that her last name “Wesley” seems familiar – the same as some famous Christian influencers that you’ve heard about before: John Wesley and Charles Wesley.

If your brain was trying to associate them, then you are headed in the right direction!

John and Charles were two of the ten children that Susanna Wesley raised. John Wesley was a preacher who is estimated to have taught nearly a million people in his long, fruitful ministry. It is hard to overstate the impact John has had on theological thought and denominations in the western world. His brother, Charles Wesley also made a significant impact as a musician and lyricist. He wrote more than 6,600 hymns, many of which are still sung today. Two accomplished world changers, but it was their mother that helped shape their faith.

Though Susanna was a woman who crafted an impressive legacy, it didn’t come without its trials. Susanna’s husband, Samuel Wesley, was not particularly good at his job. Nor was he good with money. This left Susanna and her children to fend for themselves, working hard just to have enough for their large family to stay fed. On top of that, Susanna was responsible for all of the household duties and managed to provide a world-class education to her children through homeschooling.

Despite difficult circumstances, Susanna always trusted in God and never let her busy schedule keep her from praying.

Susanna was sure to schedule two hours of time with God every day, even amidst the most complex and busy years of raising her children. She was known to go to her favorite chair in the living room with her Bible and throw her apron over her head to allow for some “privacy” so she could spend time in prayer. Her faith and consistent prayer life obviously left their mark on her children, as we can see through the faith legacy of her sons! What a seemingly simple act – carving out time for prayer – yet it was more powerful than she could imagine.

Prayer can be a difficult thing to value these days. In a world of endless busyness and the constant bombardment of distractions, it’s hard to set things aside and just be in the presence of God. Yet prayer is one of the most influential things any of us can do.

Susanna created a legacy of prayer and faith that lived on long after her time on earth. We each have the opportunity to invest in the eternal an, in a sense, “outlive our lives” by doing so. What can you invest your time in today that will matter in eternity?

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To follow the stories of other women like Susanna who have used their “every day” to shape an eternal legacy, you can pick up the book that I co-authored with my mother, Jackie Green! It’s called Only One Life: How A Woman’s Every Day Shapes An Eternal Legacy, and you can get a copy at www.onlyonelifebook.com.

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