What Mama Did to What’s my Legacy?

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01I grew up in a family where story was important. My South African, Jewish and Irish ancestors were all about honouring the courage of the previous generations. These were men and women who didn’t just survive but made hard choices and because of them helped their country, themselves or their families towards brighter futures. These accounts were always told with awe, great detail and self-depreciating humour. There were stories of escape, war time bravery, name changing to avoid persecution, self-sacrifice and long journeys across oceans. Each character inspired me …..and as I look at the fabric of my life can see their stories deeply intertwined with who I am today.

So when Lisa-Jo Baker in her blog asked: “How do we moms want our kids to remember us?” it got me thinking about what I remember most about my Mom and what legacy I am leaving my own children?

The greatest bequest my Mom left me was the understanding that relationships were more important than being right, that living a life of forgiving others and loving (in spite of hurts) allows one more freedom. Then there was her courage to try new things, and fail, which was also so evident in the way she did life. These characteristics, coupled with a wonderful ability to tell stories and laugh at herself made her a special friend and a fun person to be around. I long for more of these qualities in myself and hope that somewhere a glimmer of her outlook is passed down beyond me to the next generation.

My kids are old enough for me to ask them what they think the lasting impact my life (so far) will have had on theirs…. and so I sound them out slightly and there are no huge surprises… …They know I am terrible with money, a demented back-seat driver, cannot read instructions, get my left muddled with my right and can drive them crazy with some of my more controlling behaviours. These are the things they laugh about when they are with one another. On a positive note, they say I have taught them to value people and their stories. I have stood up to injustice and moved in a direction not necessarily embraced my family and peers. This they admire as they struggle with their own issues of identity and fitting in. They have found it uncomfortable at times but through my example (and messes) have come to understand that having authentic relationships is worth the journey of open, honest communication and pain. Each one of their lives has, both positively and negatively, been impacted by my journey of church and faith. We don’t talk about this today but I hope that my transparency in wrestling with my faith will be the greatest legacy I leave behind: where our kids understand they have the freedom to question and struggle with the complexities of believing and still have a deep, intimate and personal relationship their heavenly Dad.

Reg Grace Carl

Living a Different Kind of Dream

Recently I have been unable to consciously give anything of myself and so I started to label myself, ‘selfish’! I noticed the sacrifice of others around me and the many compassionate lives I am fortunate to rub shoulders with and felt uncaring; Even the written word, usually a comfort, has made me feel inconsiderate and lazy… and so I have been experiencing great inner turmoil….
You see, my life has always been one of action, of doing. It has been fun and glorious. The last ten years were an eventful period of intense labour during which I thrived. I was living ‘the dream’. I never needed to go easy on myself. This was not a victory over selfishness but more the result of an energy that was not my own.
And then….. I entered a time of God engineered rest!
So the question for me is, why does this time of rest not feel like “the dream”? Why am I feeling as if this season of sitting on my hands is an indulgence? Why is the quality of solitude, that is bringing healing, starting to feel uncomfortable? Why do I feel as if my behaviour is confusing and is hurting the people I know and care about, but do not move towards? How do I know that I am not over-protecting myself from burn-out? How will I know when I am once again meant to move out of my comfort zone to actively love those around me?
For a performance-based-flesh-person trusting that He is saying: “Yes, my daughter. Rest, relax, and seek rejuvenation” is so much harder; I feel so much less prepared to believe Him than if he were currently calling me to another season of self-sacrifice.
Yet I do believe this is a season of allowing His Spirit the opportunity to rebuild Hope in me. I want to live this season fully and abundantly. This isn’t second best… this is what He has for me (and it may not be short lived). So the challenge is moving to a different way of viewing my interlude with solitude and quiet….
Three fellow Divine Divas helped point me towards truth this past week, reminding me in different ways, and with different words of encouragement, that there is never a time, never a situation, where God shuts out the potential for us to thrive, to have influence and be used of Him!!
I am beginning to understand that “living the dream” isn’t limited to my previous narrow definition.
I am asking Him to show me what “thriving” means for me in my current situation….
I want my real life to matter…
but more than that, I want to be able to count it all joy….
Because God is always working and I am always a container for His life, even when it feels like it’s a season of inactivity!