During my recent visit to see my grandchildren, son and daughter-in-law in Arizona, I realized how important a legacy really is. I understand the importance of belonging, feeling secure in the Lord and knowing who I am in Christ, but something dawned on me like never before. As my own children are growing up and having children of their own, a lasting legacy is being built. Whether intentional or not, it is happening right before my very eyes. A legacy to pass on to future generations is being created by each and every family member. Every parent, son and daughter is helping shape and mold the future generations and a legacy is being born. How each of us contributes to this lifelong endeavor is yet to be seen, but we each have a part in building it and it’s up to every individual being to choose what their share is they want to offer.
My grandson, grand daughter and I were sitting in church yesterday and we heard the second half of a profound teaching on residing in the wilderness. Without much consideration I knew Pastor Brown wrote that sermon just for me. I mean, every word he said brought affirmation to my heart and soul that caused my spirit to stir and churn from deep within. For the past thirteen years, I have been honing my skills of moaning and groaning about how much I disliked Oregon, its politics and governmental control. Don’t get me wrong, the beautiful landscape and vibrant sunsets take my breath away every day. But my native home being California and living in Arizona for thirty years of my life, I’ve grown quite accustomed to certain necessities of life. Necessities such as sunlight during daylight hours, warmth in the summer at the very least, rain that gently falls for a few hours and refreshes all living things, gray skies that only occur in remote parts of the world like Alaska and a cool, crisp Christmas with sunny days surrounded by the aromas of mistletoe, pine tree sap and slight pollution-filled breezes from time to time.
I quickly remembered back thirteen years ago when my husband and I moved our four children from Phoenix, Arizona to Williams, Oregon. Now mind you these kids were not excited at all about leaving a large home with bedrooms of their own, a built in swimming pool they swam in seven months of the year, their best friends, aunts, uncles, cousins and a phenomenal grandparent who loved them more than life itself, not to mention the beautiful sunshine they loved playing in 300 days of the year. The move was hard and long as well as tiring, sad and lacking even an ounce of excitement. For me, it was like ripping apart my heart and stomping on it until it quit beating. I had not enjoyed leaving my home church I loved, wonderful friends, and a beautiful home I finally finished decorating to my own taste and likings. But worst of all, I left my family, my earthly family that is. My sister and her husband along with my two cousins and my dear mother were painstakingly left behind.
As the miles lengthened between me and my extended family in Phoenix, I began to feel we were leaving the desert and entering into a wilderness I was not very interested in embarking upon. My family and I encountered a lot of difficulties from losing a beloved pet that accidentally hung and killed itself over the balcony of our newly rented home within just three hours of setting foot in Williams to filling our lives with animals galore in hopes to preoccupy the children and give them something to distract them from concentrating on what all they just left in Arizona. Within a few years, we learned to rough it like the best of them ahead of us and built our own fire, survived on water, canned food and utilized an outdoor commode for three days at a time. At first, the camping adventure was fun and exciting - until we realized learning to survive in the comfort of your own home with no electricity, water resources or heat readily available was a perfectly normal way of life in the heart of Williams, Oregon. Coming from Arizona, this move was more like relocating to a different country, not a state. This was not only a wilderness to me, but a wasteland. Sure, Oregon may resemble heaven on earth with its lush evergreens and abundant beauty, but when you get to the heart of it, there are probably more governmental restrictions than in Washington D.C. itself.
Hearing the words of Pastor Brown from Arizona pierced my heart, shook my soul, and literally broke my spirit. It felt as if my flesh was being crucified all over again. That is exactly what was happening and my stubborn flesh was long overdue for an overhaul. I never thought of staying in a wilderness I couldn’t wait to get out of. Revelation was swift and quick, so quick I had little time to argue. I closed my eyes and set myself in agreement with God. He was ready to do a new work in me and an exciting fresh legacy was about to emerge. More than a journey escaping a deserted land or a wasteland of a wilderness, this new legacy was bought by the precious blood of Jesus, sought by a wife, mom and grandma desiring to leave a worthwhile legacy of love behind and caught by a lowly servant of the almighty God whose heart was ready for pure surrender to her Lord and Savior – Jesus Christ.
The legacy that is to come is one of transformation into the likeness of the Father, full of His abundant blessings and redeeming power. Old has passed away, today…newness has come. I welcome it even in the midst of the dark, dreary and chilling wilderness I currently live in. Legacies live on; leave a worthwhile one while you can.