Be Inspired. Be Honest. Be You.

SMC Women's Ministry

Be inspired. Be honest. Be You.

Posts tagged legacy
What on earth will they read about me at my funeral? And other fun thoughts...jk.

Image result for quilt

I’ll be really honest with you…this Legacy series has been tough for me. I have loved the previous posts but I keep thinking about what I might or might not be remembered for, and it makes me a little sad (for instance, what on earth will they read out loud about me at my funeral? These are the thoughts I’ve been wrestling with as I think about legacy…right or wrong). What if I’m not really remembered at all? What if my grandchildren are so absorbed in technology (or whatever comes next) that they don’t have any Maw Maw stories to tell their own kids (and they will have truly missed out if that’s the case; I’m hilarious)? By the same token, what right do I have to even think that I should be remembered vividly, or at all? If Jesus is greater than Jess (and He very much is), then shouldn’t that simply be what is remembered?

 

As I sit here, waiting on my little one to finish piano lessons, I keep thinking about the apostle Paul, and Peter, and John, and Mary, and……you get the idea. Jesus’s legacy is, in great part, carried out by the stories of these magnificent (yet ordinary) people. How they lived, how they loved, and how they spread the Word.

 

I stare at the keys before me realizing that there are family stories in my lineage that have certainly been lost to time. I have seen my own boys’ eyes sometimes glaze over when my dad is telling some story about my Grandaddy (the only great grand-parent on my side they didn’t ever get to meet) or some other “ancient” family member, and I know that some of the family history I know and remember won’t be carried on further than me. But what I do hope is true is that the grit that’s been passed down from one generation to the next in our family will continue on. And we’ll need grit to keep clinging to Jesus in these next generations if things progress in the direction they have been, from a culture and society standpoint. These kids who’ve had so much handed to them, and handled for them, will be the torch-bearers of our faith, and they will feel the sting of persecution on some level (my sincerest prayer is that the sting is slight at best).

 

“But Moses gave no legacy to the tribe of Levi. The Lord God of Israel is their legacy, exactly as He promised them” (Joshua 13:33).

 

Paul had grit. Tons of it. And so did Peter. And the other disciples, and the disciples of the disciples. They clung tightly to the cross and it carried them through. We have so much to thank them for, and we are responsible for being those people to generations who may never even know our individual names. So, I can sit here and think very individualistically about what “I” want to be remembered for (the list is long, HA!). I can think about so many sentimental things—events, material possessions, characteristics, etc. But the reality is that none of that is as far-reaching as the Bible itself and the collective mission field of the future. I can pass down my own Maw Maw’s quilt, and Grandma’s aprons, but those will touch the direct beneficiary most--eventually the stories will be lost to time. Beyond that, they’re just some scraps of cloth sewn together.

 

Regardless, I can also dig in my heels pretty deep into the solid rock of Jesus, and keep showing up for Him, and keep praising His very name out loud and on purpose. I can use my grit when things are tough to show those who may be watching that when I place my faith and trust in Him, I have all that I need, whether in abundance or in want. God is good. And hopefully the ripple effect will continue…

 

“I will make a covenant between us and I will give you many, many descendants” (Gen 17:2).

 

So maybe there’s a little less stress around the thought of Legacy now, regardless of whether or not I continue to be sentimental about family history or passed-down objects (note: I will very much continue to be sentimental about it all – it’s just part of how He designed me). I know what I have to do…just like Paul (though hopefully not chained to a Roman guard 24/7), or Peter, or John, or Mary Magdalene, or any of the countless others who followed after. Those many descendants will need some guidance and some steady voices speaking truth over them. Many hands make light work, y’all.

 

Jessica

Legacy

IMG_2587 It’s hard to think of the word legacy this month without thinking of Beth Gurley. My dear friend left such a legacy behind when she was met in Heaven with open arms on September 11th.

I’m awful at remembering years because some memories feel like yesterday while others feel like decades have passed. I first met the amazing Beth through her daughters, Kathryn and Sara (Meredith is the oldest and was already out of their house by this time). Kathryn was interning with us at SMC and helping me learn the lay of the land since I was new on staff. I immediately noticed something different about the Gurley Girls, it was about WHOSE they are. Usually when I come across a young person who shows such remarkable faith and strength I seek out their parents. I have this ridiculous need to know them and find out what they did to make their kids awesome sauce. Thus, my crush on Beth began.

IMG_2586

When you first met Beth you noticed her smile. It wasn’t just her perfectly polished teeth, it was the fact that her smile started with her mouth and ended with a radiance from her eyes-that could only come from a deeply rooted faith and relationship with The Lord. How I wanted to be Beth Gurley from that moment on!  Her faith, her joy, her love for others, her devotion to her family, her desire to be more like Jesus, and a gazillion other things have had me saying I want to be like her when I grow up.  If I can be half the woman of God she was I will consider myself a success.

IMG_2585

As a small group leader, Beth challenged her girls to be more like Jesus, to get to know Him, to study His word and to not take themselves so seriously. Beth left a hole in our ministry when she left to spend more time doing her mission, Step Up. I have no idea how many families are changed because Beth and Jim created Step Up and NEVER waivered from their dedication to it, even when the dreaded C word entered their lives. But I do know, her unfailing determination to serve those less fortunate made a difference in our community.

Once the evil C started battering her body, Beth refused to allow it to steal her joy. Beth knew JOY was not based on her circumstances, but was a gift from God. She freely shared it with others. C would cause her great pain, but you could still look into her eyes and see the sparkle of joy and life and love.  I would call Beth to check in on her and I would end up crying the entire time.  I’m a really good friend like that.  She would remind me the worst thing that could happen to her would actually be the best thing-to wake up in the arms of Jesus.  And she’s so very right, but the human woman remaining on earth knows what we are all missing out on without her here.

IMG_2584

But legacy…her legacy of faith, hope, trust, love, joy, peace, laughter, radiance, perseverance, kindness, goodness, gentleness, patience, and self-control are things that the rest of us can aspire to because of her legacy. Beth devoured The Word and it was clear The Word resided within her, oh what a legacy.  Beth served with a gracious heart, oh what a legacy.  I can think of countless verses in the Bible that come to mind when I think of her and her legacy:

Proverbs 31:10-31

Galatians 5:22-23

Isaiah 40:31

Revelation 21:4

And so many more verses because her legacy is of God.

Shea

daddy 2012

Your Legacy Is As Real As You Are

Hearing the word legacy makes me think of people who have passed on before me and what I received from them. Not from their family or from their stuff, but THEM. What did they teach me? How did they help me evolve and become a better person?

As we begin to discover the effects of social media since it began in 1997, I wonder how will it impact legacies as we move forward? Will we continue to become so caught up and entrenched in our media feeds that we fail to give attention to those right beside us?

I’ve always been kind of, well… a self-determined weirdo. I had curly hair when everyone else had straight; I wore my brother’s hand-me-down t-shirts and jeans when my peers wore Izod and dresses; I was a fanatical sports fan and athlete at a time when girls weren’t that. We also moved a LOT, so I was often the new kid in school. Sadly, that automatically made me strange. While I could find myself uncomfortable socially, I came to appreciate and even like my uniqueness. But I also didn’t grow up in an era of social media which allows people to post only their best self if they so desire.

I worry so many people don’t embrace – much less like – what makes them stand out. What makes them… them.

The Bible tells us how God sees us. In Psalm 139:14 (NIV) “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful...”

So why is it so difficult for us to see ourselves how God sees us?

legacy

I think the devil, combined with our human nature, often creates an inner storm like no other. Social media provides a platform where we often can’t confirm we’re getting the whole, authentic story. Nor do we have to be accountable to do so ourselves. This can be where our mind starts playing games and self-loathing can creep in.

Fear, anxiety, insecurity, negative self-talk, doubt and comparison are all some of the ways we get caught up in the trap of living a life in the flesh instead of living in Christ.

Alice G. Walton wrote an article in Forbes Magazine June 30, 2017. In the article, titled “6 Ways Social Media Affects Our Mental Health,” Walker tells us that studies have shown us that social media can be detrimental for our mental wellness. It has been shown to be addictive; a source of sadness, isolation and less life-satisfaction; the comparing that occurs from social media is unhealthy; it creates jealousy and envy which often leads to depression; we buy into the trap of believing it will help us feel better; and finally, virtual friends don’t provide the same positive results that real friends do.

We continue to have this crazy notion (and image) of perfection. Everything is flawless, especially the rich and famous. We often expect perfection of our leaders, our family, our friends and certainly from those we don’t even know. But how much easier would our lives be by just accepting that perfection is an illusion? God never intended for us to be perfect.

Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that God uses our flaws for His glory: “Each time He said, “my grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ can work through me.”

When will it become ok to be imperfect and just be whatever we are – imperfections and brokenness and whatever else that entails? What needs to happen so that we look at ourselves with God’s lenses and realize we can shine brightly despite (or because of) our flaws?

Matthew 5:16 (CEV) – Make your light shine, so others will see the good you do and will praise your Father in heaven.

When I send my boys off in the morning, I sometimes tell them to shine brightly and make the world a better place. Funny, I worry if I say it too much it will lose its meaning. I remind them: “be you. If you keep trying to do what everyone else is doing and trying to be someone else, who will be YOU? You are the only YOU in this world.” The fact that the conversation has taken place more than once, tells me it hasn’t quite had the impact I had hoped. But one day it will stick, right?

Social media isn’t going anywhere. It seems to be here for the duration. Don’t be afraid to be you.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Shouldn’t the greatest gift we leave the world reflect God and His image of us instead of reflecting who the world wants us to be? Fully embrace who God made you to be. Don’t be afraid to show the world your true, authentic wonderful self – even on social media. Be genuine and unique. Tell YOUR story. Find what REALly helps you stand out from everyone else. Make sure your legacy is the true original – fearfully and wonderfully made.

Angela

20170927_064241