I have this cutting board table. The legs are from an antique Singer sewing machine with a hand-crafted butcher block placed on top. My Papa made it for my Mimi decades ago, and I watched my Mimi make countless meals atop this cutting board. After they both passed, it was something I wanted to bring into my own home. There are probably hundreds of cut marks on the surface. Each one a reminder of my Mimi’s labor of love in the kitchen.
While her legacy to me includes this table, the table is simply a reminder of the real legacy she passed on to me.
The word looks too simplistic typed on the screen; after all, my Mimi’s legacy of love to me has been profoundly important in my walk as a Christian and as a mother. The importance of love in a child’s life cannot be understated. The Bible tells us that one day we will know and understand God clearly, but until that glorious day there are three things we can do: “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 12:13. The greatest thing we can do is love. Love extravagantly. Love unselfishly. Love.
A legacy of love isn’t difficult to create. (Please don’t add “Create Legacy” to your to-do list!) I can look back on my childhood and see the legacy passed on to me and, most importantly, the simplicity of its creation.
My Mimi would tenderly take my hand in hers anytime I walked up to her chair. When I stayed at my Mimi and Papa’s house, at bedtime Mimi would tuck me in, say a prayer, and then lay curled up at the foot of the bed until I fell asleep. In the morning, I’d come down the stairs to the smell of pancakes or French toast, a stick of mostly-gone butter sitting on her Singer cutting board. To this day, the smell of butter cooking on the stove makes me think of her.
My Papa would take me for rides in his truck. We’d drive with the windows down and sing “our song” together: “Some days are diamonds, some days are stones….” I don’t remember where we’d go but I remember the way it made me feel – a man of few words who hardly showed emotion was telling me he loved me in his own way.
My Grandma took me to eat at our “usual places”. The places weren’t anything fancy, but it made me feel so important to sit down at a restaurant with my Grandma. Someone I admire and think the world of wanted to sit down and share a meal with me.
My mom. The strength of my mom is her legacy of love. She raised five children on her own. She made sure we had everything we needed, and she never complained. She is my living proof that I can handle anything because of the strength Jesus supplies us daily.
None of these memories include extravagant trips or gifts. The legacy of love I received is made up of little acts. So little that my family probably never realized that they were making deposits into my faith walk. My Mimi’s bedtime prayer, driving in the truck with Papa, sharing a meal out with my Grandma, my mother’s unswerving grit in the face of loss….all of these “little” things would help me one day accept God as my loving Heavenly Father.
Because whenever we display acts of love such as these to our children, that act is a reflection of God’s love. After all, we are only capable of love “because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19. While our love for our children is just a fragment of God’s incomprehensible love for them, it opens the door for our children to better accept God’s love. Because God’s love is so gracious and unconditional it can be difficult to understand and hard to accept when we become adults. But the good news is that our children are better equipped to accept that love when they see it on display through their parents. Through YOU.
So when your day seemed simple and oh-so routine, and you feel like you accomplished nothing, remember this: an act of love for your child doesn’t have to be extravagant for you to be loving them extravagantly. Take a drive, sing a song, hold their hand, and look them in the eyes. You are creating something today. Something beautiful. Something eternal. You are creating your legacy of love.
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