November is birthday month for me. Recently, I’ve been trying avoid my birthday as it just reminds me that the big 3-0 is inching another year closer. Although there are so many of you living post 30 in such inspiring ways, I’m still a little fearful of running out of time to live big dreams and losing the small amount of swag I have. All this fretting about getting old has got me thinking a lot about legacy. The dictionary defines legacy as a thing handed down by a predecessor and I can’t disagree with that, but as a visual person I prefer to see it as the canvas my story is being painted on. It’s the story behind the story. My canvas is woven together by my family, mentors and friends who are heroes. Champions of the cause of Jesus. People who are reckless in their generosity and passionate in love. They are steady and wise. They have taught me to dream and to love and to dare greatly. They are a continued place of safety and a fueling station for the journey ahead. Without them, I’m not me.
Far too often we celebrate the picture a life is painting and forget to celebrate the canvas that is creating space for the art.
Recently, I was telling the story of Moses to the 1st grade scholars. They were sitting on the edge of their carpet squares as we got to the part where Pharaoh changes his mind about letting God’s people go and decides to rally all his armies to chase after them and bring them back to be slaves again. It was at this point in the story I left a cliffhanger and said we’d pick the story back up next week. Their eyes were begging me for more, sparkling with curiosity, desperate for resolution. Suddenly, London blurts out, “When I get home I’m going to get that Bible your Nanny gave me and find out what happens!” Others committed to doing the same. My heart was wild with so many emotions. First of all, first grade kids were zealously committed to studying God’s word, to knowing how God works, to finding Him. Secondly, it was my grandma who had provided the tool they would need to do their seeking. Last year she demanded that she would give them an end of the year gift. If you know her at all you’ll know she wanted something practical and a tasty treat. So she gave each scholar a Jesus Storybook Bible and a pickle. She is leaving a legacy and my eyes get to see the fruit of it.
As I thought through this I began to wonder how many other people have moments in their lives where the legacy of someone dear to them made an impact in the world in an undeniable way. How do we celebrate these beautiful moments in a way that does them justice?
One way is to keep the legacy going. For me, it means I'm purchasing more Bibles to give to more kids, to honor the work my grandmother started. Giving is so often the heart's expression of gratitude.
UCA would be so blessed to receive a gift in honor of someone who has made an impact in your life and equally blessed to watch you give to another Kingdom advancing mission that has captured your heart. Together we can fund the tuition for 16 new scholars who will be saturated in the love and grace of Jesus and together we can remind a weary world of the only real Hope. And what a beautiful thing to see the stories behind your generosity. To know of the mom who worked two jobs, the aunt who made time to process your hurts with you, to hear of the teachers that inspired you to chase your dreams, the doctors who were unrelenting in their pursuit of your wellbeing, the child who never took a breath on earth but changed it in powerful ways. Those stories are the canvas that the UCA story is painted upon. We want to illuminate that reality and celebrate it.
So give, and when you do, tell us why. Post your story to our Facebook page, send us an email, comment on the blog. Tell us about the legacy that is inspiring you. We can’t wait to share your story, to cry alongside you, to celebrate God’s faithfulness, and to take a look behind the scenes to see how God is weaving together a grand story of redemption.
For the canvas and the artwork and the Artist that is painting the story, we are thankful.