In most families, precious treasures are passed down from one generation to another.
Such things are irreplaceable. Having been lovingly cared for over the years, they are part of an inheritance that goes from parent-to-child over generations. The number of generations that it is able to go depends on how well the recipient cares for the inheritance.
If it isn’t well cared for, there will be nothing left to pass on.
On Good Friday, as I was setting my dining room table for Easter dinner – I brought out the china, crystal and table linens that I inherited from both of grandmothers and my mother. There I stood, looking over things that at one time had belonged to them – but now they belong to me.
My grandmothers and my mom believed that, even though these treasures are precious, the china, crystal and linens were not to be hidden away and brought out only on holidays. They were used often and were on display in their homes until they didn’t need them anymore.
One summer, when I was in elementary school, my mom allowed me to have a fancy dinner party for my friends. We had so much fun planning it!
It was quite a girlie affair – we even folded the napkins into ‘roses’ and put pastel-colored dinner mints inside their petals for my guests.
We were SO fancy!
My choice for the main course was chicken pot pie. Even with my very non-gourmet choice of an entree, the table was set with mom’s antique tablecloth and the pot pie was served on her china. I will remember that little dinner party my whole life long!
There are so many sweet memories – but the china, crystal, and linens are not the most important things that have been passed on to me.
I have been given a much more valuable inheritance.
Over the past year, as I have gone through my mother’s belongings, I’ve come across things from my grandmothers, too. One afternoon, I found their wallets.
Inside, I found prayers and scriptures written on the backs of business cards or on little slips of paper – tucked away behind family pictures and the other kinds of things we carry in our wallets.
As I read them, I could clearly see that the verses and prayers they saved were reminders to be strong & faithful – and to not be afraid. There were prayers of thanksgiving and prayers for God’s peace.
It’s funny, but those are the very same types of scriptures and prayers that I have tucked away on my iPhone, in my Bible and on sticky notes around my house.
Like the women before me, they remind me to pray, to stay strong, to remain faithful, and to not be afraid. I thank God for my blessings. I pray for God’s peace.
Now, in case you are wondering, I did not pick this up from the gene pool! I learned to trust God with my hurts and fears because they did. I learned to thank Him, because I heard them do it.
Their example and commitment to be faithful offered me a spiritual inheritance.
It was my own decision to trust Him with my life – they couldn’t do that for me – but the seeds were planted.They left a legacy of faith for the next generation.
The number of generations it is able to go depends on how well the recipient cares for it.
If it hadn’t been well cared for, there would have been nothing left to pass on.
I am thankful that my grandmothers and my mother did not sleep in on Sunday mornings – but instead, made sure their family was sitting in God’s house every week.
Like their treasures, they did not hide their faith away – only to be seen on holidays. No, they used it well – serving God and His people in too many ways to count.
These were not perfect women – and we aren’t either – but they hung onto and trusted His promises until their faith became sight.
Let the same be said of us, too.
On the 13th of May, I will have been a mom for 30 years. There’s a flood of emotion that comes with THAT thought, but I won’t go there for now! Instead, I’ll share with you a few things I’ve learned about caring for and passing on the faith to the next generation.
- You can leave an inheritance even if no one left one for you
- It is never too late to plant the seeds of faith in your family
- You will never regret introducing your children to the body of Christ and making your way into the fellowship each week – even if you have to do it alone
- For some, it might be tempting to give up during the teen years when children are asserting their autonomy and independence. It’s NORMAL. Keep going – do not give up at this most crucial time in their life. It may be a thankless exercise for now, but God sees you.
- PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!
- Take care not to fall into legalism — people come to Christ by His kindness, mercy and grace ( and ours too)
- Never underestimate your influence as a grandmother, aunt, godmother or friend. Here’s the thing – like my inherited tableware, our faith is mean to be shared and passed on. Give it away.
Let’s do the hard thing, girls. Let’s stay faithful and strong, knowing that He never asks us to do anything He won’t give us the power to do.
In Exodus 20:6, God tells Moses:
“I lavish my love on those who love me and obey my commands, even for a thousand generations.”
PS. Welcome, May! The summer is finally in sight, and to celebrate, I am sharing one of my very favorite early summer recipes with you! Every single time I make this yummy strawberry salad, I am asked for the recipe. It’s definitely a keeper! You can find it by clicking the ‘freebies’ tab at the top of this page. Enjoy!