Wednesday, November 04, 2009

A legacy

A young woman died in our community last week. I didn't know her personally, but knew her and her family in the way that small town people all "know" eachother. She was 41, a wife, a mother of three - two of whom are in our kids' classes. She was a preschool teacher, a beloved friend, a woman of God. She was involved in her church - not just an attender, but she went to bible studies and womens' retreats. And she had a beautiful voice.

Last I heard was that they didn't know the reason for sure, and maybe never will. It may have been a heart attack, but they don't know. She didn't have any health problems that anyone was aware of. One thing they do know is that it was sudden and unexpected and heartbreaking.

As you can imagine, this has me thinking. A lot. The description of her life is so similar to mine, it's scary. I'm not so much scared for myself and wondering if this could or would happen to me. It's just scary that there are no guarantees. I used to think that faith in God was a type of guarantee that nothing really bad would happen in my life. Sure, bad things happen to everyone. Even believers. But a tragedy of this magnitude couldn't possibly slip through God's loving, protective hands.....could it?

Six years ago, I would have said no way. Three years ago Vince may have said no way as well. But life experience tells us differently now. And so does the bible. But for most of my life I just preferred to ignore those parts that talked about suffering. They wouldn't apply to me in my lifetime - not on that level anyway. And I have a confession to make...I also used to think that if something so tragic happened to someone, there was an underlying reason for it. They weren't a christian? Well, that's a no-brainer. But if they were? That's a little more difficult to understand and accept. But there still must have been a reason. Somehow they were not fully committed to God, their faith was not where it should be, and that is how this tragedy was able to slip into their lives.

I know that sounds judgemental of me, and to some extent it was. But thinking this way was not so much me standing there pointing fingers, rather it was me curling up under a blanket. Insulating myself from the possibility that it could happen to me. Other people's children die, not mine. People with less faith have spouses that leave them, either by choice or by death, but not me. If I do everything right in God's eyes, if I believe enough, pray enough, and love enough, then God will protect me from that type of suffering and loss.

I know different now. And this song says it more perfectly than I ever could. God doesn't promise us a life protected from suffering, He promises to be there. How could He be our Healer if there was nothing to heal? How could He be our Redeemer, if there was nothing to redeem? How could He be our Prince of Peace, if we never experienced chaos? And how could He be our Comforter if we did not endure suffering?

And how can we be there...truly be there for others if we have not been there ourselves?

Perhaps there is a purpose in all things. Perhaps not. But I have learned this...God brings purpose to all situations. He takes what the enemy means for evil, and draws good from it. Not just good...but life. I have found that through suffering I have grown in ways that I otherwise would not.

There. Now that I've written all that, I can wrap it up with Romans 8:28 and click "publish".

Except, that's not what I sat down to write about.

What really drew me here was fear. I'm scared. Not scared of dying, but scared of failing. Failing my kids, failing my family and friends, failing God with my life. You should hear all the things everyone is saying about this woman who died...what a wonderful mother she was, a devoted wife, a woman of God. She touched so many lives and made such an incredible impact.

And it makes me I making the impact that I so desperately long to? Am I a blessing to my kids? Do I care enough about others? Am I the loving wife that I long to be? Do I truly have a spirit of love and grace that blesses others? Do you see Jesus in me?

What will people say about me when I am gone? Are they true about me now?

Legacy by Nichole Nordman

I don't mind if you've got something nice to say about me
And I enjoy an accolade like the rest
You could take my picture and hang it in a gallery
Of all who's who and so-n-so's that used to be the best
At such'n'such ... it wouldn't matter much

I won't lie, it feels alright to see your name in lights
We all need an 'Atta boy' or 'Atta girl'
But in the end I'd like to hang my hat on more besides
The temporary trappings of this world

I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who
blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy

I don't have to look too far or too long awhile
To make a lengthly list of all that I enjoy
It's an accumulating trinket and a treasure pile
Where moth and rust, thieves and such will soon enough destroy

Not well traveled, not well read, not well-to-do or well bred
Just want to hear instead, "Well Done" good and faithful one...


  1. Wow, that woman mirrored my life in so many ways. It does cause me to pause and wonder. You have wonderful insight.

  2. Lisa!
    Wow! What a post! I was brought to tears by the end. Probably because so much of this is right at the surface for me right now as well. So much of what you're saying applies to what we're studying in Esther right now too. After I read your post I went to finish my homework (from last week :( we've had a few sick days in our house and now it's finally time to catch up!) and I wanted to share two quotes that really stuck out to me:

    "This is the stuff of ordinary life. We have trash to take out. Bills to pay. Mortgages to meet. Make no mistake. Extraordinary things happen around us continually. We just don't always recognize them. The thought occurs to me afresh that great lives don't always seem great while we're living them. They may seem embarassingly regular. Seeking to be extraordinary isn't the answer because great lives are never achieved by making greatness the goal." from page 171 of our study guide.


    "Christ, the very One who called us to abundant, effective life and commanded us to splash in the cool springs of joy while living it, announced the following secrets to the great life without a hint of contradiction."

    Beth then refers to Matthew 16: 24-26: Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?" and Mark 10:43-44: Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all."

    She then finishes with this,

    "Christ summons the disillusioned to the paradoxical bliss of spilling life lavishly, sacrificially for the glory of God and the good of man. Those with presence of mind and semblance fo health are called to pour out the drink offering of their lives until the cup is overturned and every drop of energy slips ~ perhaps unnoticed, uncelebrated ~ into the vast ocean of earthly need. The last imperceptible drop or your well-lived life will sound to the hosts of heaven like a tidal wave hitting the floor of the Grand Canyon.

    In effect Christ says, "I'm already great enough for both of us," relieving the willing of their woeful burden. 'Just follow Me.'" from page 173 in our study guide.

    Sorry for such a LONG comment but these two paragraphs really spoke volumes to me and I felt they were related to what you were talking about. Thanks for being so open and honest. You truly have a gift for writing. Do you mind if I link to this post on the CHOC'olate Blog? I think it would speak so much to many of the women in class too.

    Blessings Lisa,

  3. Jenni,
    Thank you so very much! Wow. You have blessed me beyond measure. I can sometimes get into a "poor me" funk, and then I realize again that it's not about me. It's not about what I do for God or for anyone's about what God does through me. I just need to be the open vessel that He desires so that His love and life can flow through me. Thank you for reminding me.

    I soooo wish I could be in the Esther study with all of you, but having you share it with me is (almost) as good! Thank you for taking the time to write this, I will read and re-read it many times I'm sure.

    Yes, feel free to link this to the blog! If someone can be blessed by my ramblings, then praise God!