Last week on Wednesday evening, a family friend, Dale, was driving home after a normal day of work. A drunk driver was on the road beside him, lost control, and swerved toward Dale... Dale hit a concrete overpass and was killed instantly. One moment here on earth in his car, the next at home with Jesus.
Last night we went to Dale's memorial service. The church was packed, there was so much love and so many lives the Lord touched through Dale's faithful service and devotion. He will be GREATLY missed, but his work here on earth was done. He was called home.
At the service last night, I was struck by how many people he touched, and how many he will continue to touch for the Lord on this earth, even after his death.
The tributes others spoke of him all rang true to his loving and encouraging and gentle personality. He left a legacy not only with his family and friends, but he also left a legacy for YOU.
He was the host voice of Downtown Bible Class and he also recorded audio versions of the entire Bible available on the YouVersion App and also on Bible Gateway (HCSB and NASB versions).
Dale LOVED the word of God and made the time to minister to us in his life, and leave a legacy for all of us. His smooth and calm voice is truly like a friend reading the Word to you. He had a gift and he used it well.
Last night made me think about legacies... and the fragility of life. And to wonder what kind of legacy I'm leaving for my boys. I want to write that legacy. I want to live that legacy. I want to be intentional about what my legacy is going to be, just like Dale was.
Dale recorded the entire Bible (twice!) on audio for us. He also taught hundreds of believers the word of God through classes he taught at church.
And while I probably won't be able to record the Bible, there are numerous other things I can do to be deliberate about my legacy. I made a list of 7 things that came to mind, though I'd love to hear ideas from you too!
1. Tell your story. Talk about your past. Talk about the fun times, the sad times, the hard times. Tell your family how Jesus saved you. Tell them about what He has done personally in your life. Talk about your childhood, your teen years, college, and beyond. Bring them into your story.
(Some friends of ours make it a point each night at the dinner table to talk about either a childhood story, or a current event, or a biography. I love this idea!)
2. Write out your story. Write out your story. Write a few sentences a day, or get away to a coffee shop for the afternoon and pen your history. If it is overwhelming, divide your life up into each 10 or 15 year segment and write a bit on each period of that time in your life.
3. Write out a personalized Bible commentary specifically for each child. I wrote out the book of Proverbs for my oldest son, and am working my way through it again for my second son. God willing, I will also do the same for my third. I write the verses on the right side page of a cheap composition notebook and then write my thoughts, prayers, instructions for my son on the left.
5. Journal. I, personally, don't really enjoy journaling... partly because if I journaled what was really on my heart at the moment, it probably wouldn't be especially beautiful or edifying to anyone else reading it. And, I tend to journal only when stressed out or angry, and I don't want to revisit those memories walking down memory lane. But I have found a way that works for me. It's one line a day journaling. It was inspired by a book I read called Sarah's Seasons, about an Amish woman's simple diary on a feed calendar. They were usually only one or two sentence summaries of her day, but they were a powerful insight into her everyday life and what was important to her. So I started something similar with a cheap journal and a date stamp. I can't wait to see what it will look like in 5 years!
6. Take pictures of YOU. Most of us moms take a lot of pics of others, but hate pics of ourselves. I am definitely with you on that one, sista. But, it is so important to let others take pics of you and to let pictures be a part of your life. Let others remember your face with a smile and laughter. Take a thousand stupid selfies, laugh, smile, who cares if you need to lose weight or have bad hair or a million other things. Take an obnoxious amount of pictures.
7. Start traditions. Last night, when Dale's daughters got up to speak, most of what they said were traditions that they remembered about their dad. His common response to good news, his joy, pats on the back, nicknames, late night ice cream trips. Make some traditions. Make "traditional" traditions: Christmas treats, Birthday specials, but make some silly traditions too. We have a red plate for birthdays and breakfast in bed, but we also have an annual camping trip (with plenty of near death experiences and traumatic injuries to remember) and just plain fun ones like pizza night on Friday night, Board Game night (invest in good games!) High Tea on Tuesday, fires in the backyard firepit in the summer and indoor fireplace in the winter. Read alouds. These are the things that family and friends will remember. These are the legacies that will last beyond your lifetime and touch others.
But none of these, not one, will ever happen by accident.
You have to be brave.
Have crazy goals (like recording the Bible or writing out books of the Bible), and have fun (read alouds, backyard campouts, stargazing from the roof). Go out of your way to bravely get up a little earlier, watch a little less TV, and make your legacy happen.
I'm still learning and thinking about all this. What traditions or steps are you taking to leave a legacy? What are you convicted to do more of? Please let me know so I can continue to grow here too!