As we sat chatting over my various summer projects in my Grandma Karen’s living room one hot day last June, Nanny (as we call her) managed to once again do what she was so incredibly gifted at doing.
The conversation between us had shifted along the way to my love for writing, specifically, journalism. Without missing a beat, my grandma dove headlong into an inspiring story filled to the brim with encouragement for me and my writing journey.
I listened as she spoke with her hands, pausing occasionally to adjust the bandana covering her balding head from chemo treatments.
I left Nanny’s house that afternoon admittedly careless. Her words had indeed exhorted me and made me even more grateful for her gift of encouragement. But it wasn’t until one week later that I truly began to cherish those words.
Nanny passed away unexpectedly nine days after that living room visit.
A Life of Encouragement
It is amazing how the simple words of encouragement spoken by Nanny on that Tuesday morning have not left my mind. Were she still alive today, I most likely wouldn’t have given her remarks another thought. Now I cling to them.
Nanny didn’t know she was going to die. Only God did. She had no viable way of predicting that those words would be her last earthly memory to me.
The riveting thing about this is that speaking words of encouragement and life into one of her grandchildren was no unordinary occurrence. Nanny could have left this earth a decade ago, and still her legacy of love would have touched hundreds, reaching far beyond her family. Her actions were taken out of love and selfless service for others.
It’s who she was in Christ. And it’s who I can only pray to be.
How Do I Leave a Legacy of Love?
A legacy of love.
How do I do that? How do I leave that behind when I am someday taken from this world? The simple answer is that I can’t.
Not without the Father.
I wish more people could see my Grandma Karen’s bedroom. You wouldn’t believe how many prayer journals one person could own. As our family has sorted through her worldly belongings, it is not uncommon to see any one of us distracted by a composition book filled with prayers for everything.
And I mean everything.
It was Nanny’s prayers that drew and kept her near to the love of her Father, whether it be a plea for a healthy pregnancy or a wish for new socks.
You see, it was by sitting in her little rocker every morning and pouring out her heart, her plans, and her wishes before the Heavenly Father, that she could walk out of her bedroom and pour that same love into those she touched.
Her relationship with Him is what enabled her to leave such a legacy of lasting love to those still mourning her loss.
An Important Question
With Thanksgiving fast approaching and memories of Nanny’s love near to my mind, I have found myself asking this important question:
What will my legacy be?
Am I striving to live a life that leaves people saying, “She was a good person”? Or is my heart’s desire to live in a manner so utterly and obviously dependent on my Father that those left behind can only raise their spiritual eyes in amazement and say, “She served an awesome God”?
Though I fall short every day, this is my desire.
It is only the reminder of the Father’s abundant grace demonstrated through the death of his Son that will ultimately deliver me from the world’s bonds of sin. And those words of loving encouragement from the Jesus living in my Grandma Karen continue to awaken my passion and desire to use the precious gifts bestowed by the Father to serve Him every day.
And one day, in the Father’s presence, I will join Nanny and all of the saints in humbled worship to the King of kings, where our legacies will ultimately be fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
This is why I give thanks.