A Life-Giving Legacy
In August, a few months short of her 92nd birthday, the woman who made sure I lived knowing I was fully loved, died.
I’ll admit, it took me a while to collect all the scraps of paper, journal writings, and notes I’d collected in preparation for this article. Deep down, I knew this season’s MomLife contribution would be about her—the woman who has had the greatest impact on my “Momhood.”
I’m writing this from her Red Chair—the one from her living room where she hosted parties and get-togethers—where she sat every day with a crossword puzzle and a good book. I remember talking with her while she sat in it, listening and sharing like it was her only care in the world.
We lost my Grandma Betty to a years-long battle with Parkinson’s. And during her Celebration of Life, I was struck by how each person described her—as someone who was vibrant and fully alive. Reflecting on my life, Grandma Betty made a mark on every season, and not because she was trying hard; instead, it was because she was a mom. She was a beautiful example of a nurturing, loving, and fully present mom. Grandma didn’t serve others loudly or preach sermons from a platform; but her quietness and gentleness were easily observed—and felt—by everyone who met her. She left enough love for each of us to hold onto, even now 5 months later.
A legacy that lasts
As 2023 approaches, I’ve looked back on the years and done more than reminisce. I’ve wanted to remember and retrieve the lessons of Grandma’s life—and then, begin to incorporate them into my own life and family.
But, somewhere along the way, I realized those lessons were already there. Her legacy as a mom—her steady, calm, reassuring presence—is being borne in my own life and parenting. As I’ve considered the theme, God makes all things new, I’ve meditated over and again on Isaiah 43:19.
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert..
Amidst grief and loss, I began to understand that looking for the new thing He is doing can mean recognizing the influence your loved ones had on you, and embracing the love they instilled in you.
Grandma Betty instilled in me the love of moments. I remember watching her clapping along, laughing, enjoying, savoring, holding faces, giving long, lingering hugs, and not wasting a single moment. She taught me to dance and genuinely care for others. She showed me how to learn and write—and rewrite and then write some more. She taught me to live fearlessly and seek out and embrace new adventures.
The lessons instilled by Grandma reflect how God births new life in all of us. He does it over time and through simple, ordinary, everyday moments; and often we are unaware of how He is really changing us.
The Scriptures often hint at this, but James clarifies that “perseverance must finish its work so that we are mature and complete.” No matter the situation, two truths walk side-by-side: we must press on and walk forward; and the Lord is always working to make us new.
I’m reminded of the song from Pocahontas, “What I love most about rivers is, you can’t step in the same river twice, the water’s always changing, always flowing.” Aren’t our lives like this, too?
As we press on into 2023, I’m reminding myself that God’s hand in our lives means we never live the same moment twice. And as life is always changing, so are we.
So what is the Lord creating or making new in you? Do you perceive it? What has He instilled in you over the past year? How have you changed?
Let God do His work in you. Don’t forget your influence as a mom is great. And your family’s legacy just might become reminding others to live knowing they are fully loved.