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Monday, May 7, 2018

The Legacy

“Not long after I'm gone...it will become abundantly clear that I left my heart behind.” 
― John Waire


This morning our world grew darker as Heaven grew a whole lot brighter.

This morning she traded in her earthly body which was riddled with excruciating pain for a body fit for the tremendous joy and love she carried for her Savior all the days of her life. 

While the world around us may try to comprehend our loss, they never truly will.

Because for all the things they think she was to our family-she was truly one million times more.

And as I sit here and try to summarize a life as great as her life, I find that it is an impossible feat-even for one like me who never seems to be lacking enough words.

But, as I consider her, I find there are three important things about her that I want you to know.

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I want you to know that she was our number one fan.

Whether it was cheering on her boys during one of their football games or watching her great-grand kids play any sport under the sun: she was there.

I'm pretty sure-according to her-my cousins, Ryan and Channing, were woefully overlooked by the NFL; that Lexi and Eli are already being scouted for basketball scholarships by the best schools in the nation; and that Mya should of received her phone call from the New York City Ballet like yesterday. 

There isn't a home volleyball game in my entire middle school and high school career that she missed, and those Camden Christian School boys basketball games-especially the years my uncle coached-were some of her favorites. 

There isn't a bleacher or a sideline in this town that has not felt her presence or heard her cheers. 

And while she loved to watch us compete, she wasn't just our number one fan in sports she was-more importantly-our number one fan in life. 

I don't think there was anyone more proud of Cassie for finishing school with two little kids in tow, or of my Uncle D for tackling night school.

And when Marlee FINALLY got accepted to her surgical tech program, I don't think anyone cheered louder than Gran. 

Or when my cousin, Taylor, and my sister, Randi, made the choice to stay at home and raise their families-in spite of her worry-I don't think anyone encouraged them more.

It didn't matter WHAT we did-her voice was always the loudest. 

The person we always knew would be in our corner. 

Even if we failed miserably, she was there: picking us up, dusting us off, and reminding us that the last thing we were allowed to be was a quitter. 

And when we were ready, she was there on the next go around-cheering for every goal, every point, every single college credit, and every single sleepless minute that would amount to our success. 

Our world will never be the same without her voice in it, but we will cherish the moments when we knew that she was the most proud of us, and from this day forward- no matter what we try to conquer-it will be her voice we will hear in the background always cheering us on.

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I want you to know that she was our safe haven.

While psychologists and sociologists analyze the break down of the American family, you could find mine having lunch at her house just about every single Sunday afternoon.

To this day, Sunday lunch is my families most prized and protected tradition.

Because on Sundays, we get to be us in our truest and messiest form.

Her band of misfits that she loved so much.

I cannot even begin to tell you how many problems have been solved sitting by her fireplace, gathered around her dining room table, or sitting by the pool on a Sunday afternoon.

And while we may have never solved world hunger, many of the most honest and genuine conversations I have ever had in my entire life happened within her four walls.

If you have ever shared an impromptu Sunday meal with my family at her house, then you know how true this is.

Her door was always open.

She never met a stranger, and because of that she quickly became "Grandma Amy" or "Fro" to so many people.

And whether it was just for Sunday lunch or the few of us kids who chose to stay there a little longer, I think we can all agree that we never felt more safe or more loved than when we were with her.

From the moment you set foot in her house, you were already forgiven even if she didn't know the sin.

Because to her, no sin or failure was too great for a little tough love over a glass of sweet tea.

And because of this, I hope I can learn to love and forgive just as she did: unconditionally, whole-heartedly, and without a second thought.

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The last thing and probably the most important thing I want you to know, is that she was our foundation.

An only child who gave birth to three children.

Children with Christ loving spouses who gave her ten grandchildren.

Ten grandchildren with spouses that gave her ten great-grand children and counting.

Jill Briscoe says, "Our greatest mission field is the ground between our own two feet."

And no one embodied that more than my grandmother.

Because to her-we were her greatest life work and she never worried that she should be doing "more" for God or "bigger" things for God.

Because to her, we were it.

The thirty-one of us.

And because she made her world all about US, and OUR faiths, and what WE are doing for Jesus, it is my deepest belief that her one little flame has sparked a fire that is becoming a movement.

A movement of pastors and worship leaders.

A movement of writers and prayer warriors.

A movement of healers.

A movement of people who speak the name of Jesus loudly and boldly for everyone to hear.

A movement of people who still deeply believe in the importance of missions and supporting those who risk their lives every single day for the Great Commission.

A movement of people who know this truth: that church is not four walls and pews, but it's what we are doing outside of those walls every single day.

Not just through the thirty-one of us.

But through every single person who ever looked at my Gran and saw Jesus.

Because while she was SO many things to my family, the impact she has had and will have as a result of her unwavering faith will be her greatest legacy.

The most beautiful gem in a crown that I know He has been waiting to bestow upon her.

Because unlike so many of us, my Gran never missed her call.

She heard His voice, felt His pull, and she followed.

And despite all of the hardship and heartache she endured in this life, she never once gave it up.

She never turned back.

She never wavered.

Because she was resolved in this one thing: that her people would love Jesus.

And because of that, loving Jesus is our BEST thing.

While it may not be something we get perfectly right every single time.

It is-without a shadow of a doubt-the most important thing she ever gave us.

And because of her faithfulness, today she got her promotion.

Her promotion to the BEST seat with the BEST view.

And when I consider that, I feel my resolve deepen and my feet become a little more secure on the path.

Because I know that I do not want her seat with the best view to go to waste, or her flame-the one that has already sparked a fire-to ever go out.

Today, she has handed thirty-one of us the baton and ran into the arms of her Jesus.

I don't doubt for a second that we are up to the challenge.

After all, she didn't raise a bunch of quitters.

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So, Gran, if you're hearing this, I promise not to quit. I promise to keep fighting the good fight. I feel that great cloud of witnesses, and I know now that you're at the helm.

So, tell Jesus I want my mansion to be right next to yours, because I know that while our earthly hearts miss you so-our souls know that this heartache will only be for a little while.

Just a glimmer in this grand scheme that will make up each of our lives.

So, tell Grandpa I love him, and be sure to give Eden a hug for me.

And, I don't care what you say.

From now on,  I love YOU more. 

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