Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Close Enough to Forget: The Legacy

About this series:  We all need encouragement, to be reminded we matter. Sometimes the nearest and dearest to us get the least of that needed encouragement. We've all spread ourselves too thin at times leaving little reserved for the ones we've committed to give to most, our spouse. So we're going to do something about it. We're going to focus on the ones living right under our own roof, sleeping in our own bed. But no worries if you're spouse-free. You can apply the encouragement to someone in your life who needs it: children, co-workers, friends, family members. Any soul will do because we all long to know we are seen and heard. Wherever you see "spouse," substitute someone else's name.  So grab a cup of coffee or whatever it is you're drinking today, and get ready to give a little. You'll be glad you did.
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Photo by Candida Performa/Wikimedia Commons.
She sits in the chair, working on something important. Her daughter, a beautiful 8 year old, who looks just like her mother, comes over.  She has questions and needs some answers.  She trusts her momma, she treasures her, and goes to her for answers.

She knows she will also get a strong dose of love served up with them.

The momma looks at her little girl, her one precious daughter.  She loves being a mom, being the one to pray for this baby girl, to hold her tightly every night and sing old songs to her—songs from her momma.  Her daughter’s coffee brown eyes look up at her, and she melts into them as the little one asks her burning question.

"What was it like growing up in your house as a little girl?"

The mom stops for a minute and thinks.  She instantly transports herself back in time and memories flash in front of her eyes.  She remembers playing in the big barn with her sisters, chasing the cats and trying to find the kittens that the mommas always hide.  She remembers going to church (she loved to dress up) and singing songs about Jesus and then watching Him live through her parents at home.
The memories come flooding back with that one simple question.  The innocent inquiry from a little girl who wants to relate, wants to know her family, the legacy that has been handed down to her.
The momma brings the daughter onto her lap, and gets ready to pass on the baton, the love, the memories, the entire life that was built for her.

She tells her precious one all about growing up with her mom and dad.  How they protected her, loved her, taught her all about Jesus and then showed Him to her through their marriage.

Her memories of that are especially vivid.

Dad would always hug and love on Mom and she relished it.  She would laugh and they would share private jokes that only the two of them knew.  Mom tried hard to honor and respect him and would become especially upset if any of her girls disrespected Dad.  That was one thing you didn't do!
She remembers it all, the feeling of security these two people gave her.  She knew that no matter how hard it got, how much her own life seemed to be in turmoil, her mom and dad would always be together and always be there for her.

They were one.

One flesh--one person almost--moving together as one, loving each other more than themselves, spilling that love out onto the children.

The girls soaked it up, lived in the light of their parents’ marriage and grew up always wanting that kind of love.  Yes, they argued and didn't always agree, but they always loved.  That was what bound their family together and held them tight through the hard times.  Her mom, who didn't always have it all together, tried her best and she saw it.

Tears spill down her face as she recounts for her daughter the precious marriage of her parents.  Her own marriage is starting to look the same, even though there are fault lines along the way, places where they've hurt each other, places built up with forgiveness.  But she loves her husband and they figure it out and remember to always love.

She had a great model. 

The first marriage book she ever read was her parents’ marriage. 

No, love doesn't put food on the table, but it sure does make the scarcity of it easier to bear.

This marriage inheritance is what makes her fight, what makes her hold on to her own marriage.  She loves her memories, loves sharing them with her own baby girl, loves that her parents gave her something to hang on to.

Something to pass down.

She wants that for her own children, to continue the legacy of showing Jesus through her marriage, living out the forgiving gospel of the One who loves her more than anything.

Her questions now answered, the little girl jumps down after a quick hug to her momma and runs away to play out her grandparents’ lives with her dolls.  She will think on this for many days, remembering the warm feeling her heart had as she listened to her mom and watched her happy tears roll down. 

This scene--this future script being written out--can be reality for me.

My legacy, the one I leave and the one that is handed down, will be my marriage, my life lived out behind closed doors. 

There will be generations of children, people affected by how I treat my husband today.  Walking in obedience to Jesus towards my husband can replay through the lives of my grandchildren.

I gasp for air as I think on this, try to wrap my heart and mind around it.  I have messed up so many times, showed my children just the opposite of all they should be seeing.  My marriage has been one of struggles, tears and frustrations.  But it’s also been one of mercy, grace and healing, as I walk in step with the Word and let it guide me. 

I need to silence the enemy's accusations that it is too late to start over, too late for our marriage.  I want a marriage full of love and harmony.  I want to fill my children's memories full of the good things we shared as a couple.  I'm going to blink and it'll all be over.  I have to live in Today and hold on tight to my husband.
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Three things you can do to intentionally love your husband and make this a reality for your marriage.

1).  Remember, always, that Jesus is your first husband.  He loves you with a perfect and everlasting love.  You are His and He can love you perfectly, filling up all the cracked areas in your soul, the ones your husband can’t fill but you want him to.  Jesus.  He is the one to cling to, to turn to when you can’t even breathe one more moment in your husband’s presence.  Please, please go to Him.  Spend time every day with Him, reading His life-giving Words, studying His blood shed for you and relishing in His forgiveness and grace.  You will be rewarded with words like these when you obediently go to Him first: 
"I came by again and saw you, saw that you were ready for love and a lover. I took care of you, dressed you and protected you. I promised you my love and entered the covenant of marriage with you. I, God, the Master, gave my word. You became mine.  Ezekiel 16:8

2). Walk towards your husband.  No matter how he has treated you.  No matter what he has done to you.  He is not perfect and he deserves as much grace as you do.  Jesus gave you grace.  Give it to your husband, too.  Don’t turn away from him.  Don’t’ shut your heart off to him.  Don’t close up and turn inside yourself.  Stay outward, always moving toward him, always holding your heart in your hand, like a gift you want to give him.  It’s OK.  Jesus is with you, walking with you, ready to catch your heart in case your husband mistreats it.  But don’t stop.  Don’t give up.  Always continue walking towards your husband. 
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. I Peter 4:8

3).  Forgive.  Forgive him, even though.  Tell him out loud that you forgive him.  Tell yourself that you forgive him.  Do it every day, every minute if you have to.  There is no successful marriage that is not built up by a thousand bricks of forgiveness.  This will take tremendous amounts of humility.  It’s OK.  It’s OK to not always be right.  It’s OK to not always win.  It’s OK to let go of the bitter grudge that’s lodged itself in your heart and has been there for a long time.  Jesus will heal that wound.  He’s got this.  Your marriage is not too big for him.  Remember how much you need God’s forgiveness.  Remember you are not perfect.  Remember how you cannot survive without daily doses of Mercy and Grace.  Your marriage cannot survive without your daily doses of oxygen in the life-giving form of forgiveness.
…he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.  Titus 3:5
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.   Colossians 3:12-15

 
 About Amber:
Amber has a deep love for coffee, running, reading, her 4 girls and her husband, but probably not in that order.  She spends most of her days homeschooling her children and trying to keep the house somewhat picked up for her husband.  Her other love of cooking is what makes him OK with a messy house.  Amber is a new blogger and you can find her at Composing Hope.  She meets Hope in that writing place and wants to spread His healing words to the hurting world.         
                  

29 comments :

  1. Amber, I love how you focus on how what happens today not only affects tomorrow, but generations to come. And even when what happens today is not good, we can trust that we serve a God that brings redemption to all things in some way. Thank you so much for your words here!

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    1. So thankful to be sharing here today! Thank you, Jen for this opportunity and for your kind words.

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  2. "The first marriage book she ever read was her parents’ marriage." Beautiful, Amber. Just beautiful :)

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    1. Thank you and thank you (again) for putting this up at your place. So thankful for this community!

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  3. Yes, loved it! Grace and forgiveness are hard in a marriage at times. If we have that for our husbands (and really anyone we have a relationship with), though, there's nothing holding us back! I just hope that my children see that as well.

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    1. Grace and forgiveness are the hardest for me most of the time. I'm praying my girls see my heart, my attitude of repentance. Sometimes pride gets in the way and that's all they see. Praise God that He covers my mistakes!

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  4. One thing that God always reminds me of on the days that all I can see are my failures is that He covers our mistakes with His grace. I am not a perfect wife or mother by any stretch of the imagination, but thankfully I am not building this legacy alone. Such a beautiful post, Amber.

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    1. Thank you, Andrea. It's funny how I just posted that line in the comment above and then read your comment, exactly echoing my thoughts! Yes, thank you God for covering our mistakes. I love how you say we're not building this alone. So true. I need to remember that.

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  5. "The first marriage book she ever read was her parents’ marriage." this is an absolutely brilliant line, and it really sums up the way i feel about marriage, and explains i think why i always wanted to be married.

    my parents were not perfect and their marriage was flawed, as all are, but watching them love each other, prefer each other, serve each other, left indelible marks on me.

    thanks for sharing here. peace - s.

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    1. Wow! Thank you for your encouraging words! I love how you see your parents flaws but could see the love anyway. I hope I'm showing that. It seems my kids only see my flaws and not my trying. I so appreciate your words here.

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  6. Thanks for sharing your thoughts in this space, Amber. And continued blessings as you try, by God's grace, to live this out in your own marriage.

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    1. Thank you, Diana. It's nice to meet you here. :-)

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  7. Amber, I agree wholeheartedly that we leave a legacy to our children and their children. We determine what type of legacy we will leave.

    Great post!

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  8. Amber, I agree wholeheartedly that we leave a legacy to our children and their children. We determine what type of legacy we will leave.

    Great post!

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    1. Thank you! Yes, we do determine it. With God's grace covering our decisions, we can decide what our childen will remember, what kind of childhood we will leave them with.

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  9. "He deserves as much grace as you do." Amen to that! Why is it that we often expect and demand that husbands be absolutely perfect, and then dun them privately and publicly as lacking when they don't measure up to our impossible standards?

    Amber, this is a lovely post and a great reminder of how important our words and behavior are to our children. I, too, think this speaks volumes: "The first marriage book she ever read was her parents’ marriage." Children do learn what they live, and it sounds like you had an outstanding teacher in your parents. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Exactly! I don't know why women tend to do this, but it's something I find myself doing too much. God has been teaching me this concept, that my husband also deserves grace, not just me. When we get outside of ourselves we can see our husband the way God sees him. As a man who's just trying to do his best, just like we are.

      Actually, my parents are divorced and my step-parents were both very abusive to me. I didn't meet my true Husband until right before I married my earthly husband. The outstanding teacher I have had is Jesus, although I've learned from my parents, too, especially what not to do. He has used it all to teach me. This post was written from the perspective of my daughter being the mom in this and her future child (my future grandchild) being the object of this legacy that I am RIGHT NOW living out. I can choose today what my legacy is going to be. Is it going to be similar to the one that was handed to me or what can I do to give my future grandchildren a strong foundation? So, complicated, I know. Thank you for your kind words here!

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  10. Amber,
    So nice meeting you through this space! Oh, and I hopped over to your place too. Love the shot of you and your husband holding the mirror and your family looking into it...how cool!

    Anyway, I am like Lori, I also thought you nailed it with what you said about the first marriage book she ever read was he parents' marriage. How true, right? The things we teach them every day!

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    1. Thank you, Amy! It's nice to meet you here as well. Yes, I love that picture, too. It turned out so great! Thank you for your encouraging words here and for taking the time to visit my place. So appreciated!

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  11. ah, amber. love the beauty of your testimony. not one of perfection, but one of living in grace and moving--together--through the everyday redemption that God offers us. isn't it GOOD to walk through life with Him??? you've offered too many beautiful reminders here to list, but the encouragement was a very sweet way to start my day as i'm sipping my morning brew here. :-)
    blessings to you this day!!!
    steph

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    1. Thank you, you have blessed me with your kind words. Yes, it is SO good to walk through life with Him. I don't know how I could do it any other way.

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  12. Amber . . . this post arrived at a tough season in my marriage. I just love this line: "The first marriage book she ever read was her parents’ marriage." I realize how true this is in community too. Our neighbors and friends see our marriage and it's our responsibility to model what a God-focused marriage can look like. Beautiful encouragement, Amber! Thank you for sharing!

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    1. My blog and this post have come out of a season of marriage troubles as well. I am sorry that you are going through this hard time. Belive me when I say I've been there and in places I never thought I would be. I am so blessed that you found some encouragment in these words. I try to be faithful to what God is giving me and let Him do the rest. Thank you for commenting here and letting me know that I can pray for you. Please contact me if I can do anything else.

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  13. Those three things are very important. Thanks for the reminder.

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  14. A very wise woman once told me "The best thing you and your husband can do for your children is to love each other" It truly is a legacy! Thanks for sharing today!

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  15. Beautiful encouragement, Amber, and wise words. Thanks for sharing your heart here.

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  16. Amber--yes, this is very wise for someone so young. Hope you'll excuse that........I've been married almost 40 years and I took way too long to learn these--especially the 'walk towards your husband' truth.
    Thank you for sharing.

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