The Spring 2012 reunion was flowing with hugs and laughter. It was a celebration! I recognized some faces. A few I remembered pinching my cheeks as a child. But I only have one vague memory of Granny Bennett, my great-grandmother and the one we were celebrating. She died when I was almost three. My great-grandfather died of meningitis long before I was born. So what I have of both of them are a few pictures and stories passed down.
Arvie Lucora Greenway Bennett, my great-grandma, was “mama” to eleven children and devoted her whole life to God, her family, and her church. She walked a mile to and from Gillsville Baptist Church every time they had a service for 76 of her 88 years.
That’s amazing to me.
But even more fascinating were the stories shared by representatives from each of her children. In a room of about a hundred people, the stories were consistent. If you ever spent the night at granny’s, at sundown you read the Bible and prayed. And often you were asked to recite your favorite Bible verse. As one shared, “Most of the children fought over Jesus wept, and often got in trouble for giggling during Bible reading.” The room filled with laughter over these and similar stories.
My grandma always said of her parents, “If my daddy and mama aren’t in heaven, I don’t have a chance.”
My great grandparents left a legacy as they taught their children and grandchildren to… love the Lord their God with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength.
They taught the importance of prayer and hiding God’s word in their hearts.
I recently read a devotional by Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of Billy and Ruth Graham. She wrote how the light in her mom’s bedroom always indicated that she would more than likely find her mom there on her knees in prayer. I love that!
Our stories are really God’s story. He knew all along how our story would play out. He determined before our time how He would use our stories in His. He determined how He would be glorified through our lives, no matter how bumpy or smooth our existence.
Truth is, some of us haven’t had a pretty story. The beauty is, God wants to use it anyway. For every person with a difficult past, there’s another person–or several–with difficult pasts. God uses our bumpy stories to help others, AND He calls us out to be chain breakers for future generations. If some dark, secret sin has been passed on from generation to generation in your family, pray that God would help you break those chains. The enemy wants to use those sin-chains to hold you, and future generations, back. Don’t let him. Pray against it in Jesus’ name. Offer your story to God. Dark as it may have been, will you choose to trust and glorify God with your story? You never know who you might help set free just by sharing.
With every decision, we’re writing the stories of our lives. Every time we choose to be honest. Each time we open our Bibles. When we seize opportunities to teach or have God conversations with our children in the ins and outs of our days. Each time we bow our heads or get on our knees to pray.
Just as the most vivid Bennett reunion memory is one of Bible reading and prayer, we create memories for our children. I’m blessed with a Godly mama who was blessed with a Godly mama, who was also blessed with a Godly mama! I want to bless my children and their children’s children.
You may not have children, but God has surely placed younger ones in your life. You probably have opportunities staring you in the face to leave a legacy.
What kind of story are we writing with our choices? Are we choosing to leave a legacy of blessing or curse? A hundred years from now, what will they be saying…or writing… about us?