We love books here at Anchored Voices, and we are busy creating a Summer Reads list for you all. Until then we leave you with this printable, of what may be C.S. Lewis’ s most comfort soaked quote, created by Sarah Dohman.
I know this wonderful man. A man that believed his efforts were good enough on their own, who thought he could determine his own destiny. He had prayed a prayer inviting Christ Jesus to enter in and take control of his life, but didn’t let go. Not fully understanding how that prayer he prayed would actually change his life he stayed in his sin. So this young man grew in the confidence that his self-efforts were making him successful. And he tried to find rest in his achievements: business owner by age 17, plus a husband, homeowner, and rescue dog by age 20.
While this man knew all along that sin broke the heart of God, but had a hard time being affected by that. The man believed he knew what was best and that surely God would agree with him. He carried on until the day when temporal triumphs crashed in, and all he thought secure threatened to fail. At age 22 he felt the severing cut of divorce, while business struggles constricted around the life he had built. To his knees he fell as he bowed before God, desperate for Him for the first time. He placed the motives of his heart on display to the God who already knew them, and got real. He literally cried out to God, questioning His goodness in this life. The man came to the place that God had wanted him to be all along, completely at his end and unable on his own.
There are many facets at work in this man’s journey and his learning to utterly depend on Christ. It is beautiful to see the incredible and deep healing that Christ did in his life, turning him around completely. This man has now led several people to the redeeming grace of Christ, and has discipled many in the ways since his own surrender.
I know this story well, for this man has been my husband of almost 7 years. The things that God has done to change his life have been a blessing to me and our children. He is a loving, devoted husband, a fun, caring dad, and leads in our church as one of the church’s pastors.
Two years ago my husband and I sat down with his grandparents to talk about the family tree. As we peeled back layer by layer of his paternal family’s history, we learned something that still brings us to tears. After years of feeling like the only pastor type in his family. My husband discovered what he thought to be true was a misunderstanding. In the retelling of generations past it was revealed to us that there is a long line of preachers in his ancestry. A great grandfather, a great-great grandfather, and many great uncles generations back. I think we may have lost count after seven different small town pastors / preachers in the family line emerged from the pages of his descendants. That day we inherited an old Bible that was preached from and written in by his great grandfather, a man who most likely planted seeds of prayer for those who would someday be born into his family line. Stories of joy and loss were listed on the front page, and it was absolutely incredible to read about the journey of faith that had been hidden from our knowledge, but that still wove a legacy.
As I think about the legacy we want to leave for our children and their children and down through the generations. I think of all the things I want to be known for. In actuality, it’s a little bit vain when I base the hopes on myself and what they will remember of me. However, when I look back down the line and see that people in my daughter’s ancestry, even hundreds of years back, loved Jesus and devoted their lives to serving Him, I am so overwhelmed with gratitude, and I too begin to pray for generations to come.
My husband is a living example of a man who lays down his life daily for his family, taking sacrifices upon himself for our well-being. I love that my children get to look at his life, and see Jesus reflected. I am deeply inspired that it is not just his life, generations of the faithfulness of God are intertwined with in their bloodline. It encourages me to dream about how the story of God at work in our lives will be told to those who may never know us. How curiosity may one day lead a young man or woman to look back with wonder about the works of our Mighty God.
Come what may, my prayer for my children is that they will surrender to Him who loves them most. That they will use the gifting God has given them in a way that will glorify Him as they follow fearlessly in the calling He has for them. And that they would open their Bibles in times of sorrow and joy to proclaim to the generations, “Look what God has done!”
“That the generation to come might know,
even the children yet to be born,
That they may arise and tell them to their children,
That they should put their confidence in God
And not forget the works of God,
But keep His commandments,” Psalm 78:6-7
Readers, Thank you for going through this series on legacy with us. What legacy would you like to leave?
Britney Bradley loves being a wife to her loving husband, Brian. She is mother to 3 girls (so far) Ruby, Cora, and Lily, as well as auntie to 8, and friend to many. She has always dreamed about marriage and motherhood, and is now navigating God’s will each and every day in these realms. She enjoys writing when she gets a chance, and of course, coffee.
Rebekah Lyons’s book, “You Are Free”, came into my life at exactly the right moment. I call these moments God-ordained, meaning it is only by His divine purpose and intention that this particular event happened at that specific of a time in my life. Much like God would be whispering, “Sarah, ya need to read this. It will awaken some good thoughts within your soul and cause an overflowing song in your heart. Read this now, as it will empower you to draw those around you to Me.”
One of the first excerpts from the book that intrigued me resided on the dust jacket.
“Freedom is for everyone who wants it–the lost, the wounded, and those weary from striving. It’s for those who gave up trying years ago. You are the church, the people of God. You were meant to be free.”
Enticing, yes? As this was only the cover, I wondered what else would I glean from these pages? Rebekah breaks down the book, chapter-by-chapter, and weaves her freedom story beginning in New York, and ending in Franklin, Tennessee. She spans topics such as what it means to have complete freedom in Christ, to what freedom looks like within the context of a believer’s faith. What does freedom look like when I am grieving, when I am waiting, when I am celebrating, when I am resting?
Each chapter unwinds a little more of a freedom song, and one particular passage that echoed truth was titled, Free to Ask (pg. 94-95).
“Maybe you’ve asked God for something, but only heard silence for many years, and it feels like your mustard seed of faith isn’t growing. Maybe you’ve felt faithless and condemned. Or perhaps you’ve felt as if God isn’t interested in what is happening with you. Maybe your heart feels abandoned, rejected.
I don’t know why God answers some prayers immediately and not others. It’s a mystery. What I do know with full assurance is this: God has given us the freedom to ask him for anything–anything. Perhaps in God’s economy what’s most important is that we have the freedom and faith to ask.
What if we lay aside our concern about the results of our prayers?
What if we simply confess and declare what we have been given–the freedom to ask?
What if we begin to confess our needs to God, to ask again, with our whole hearts, for whatever we need?
How many of us are slow to ask, whether out of doubt or fear or even pride?
Asking requires much.
For starters, asking often requires an admission and confession of need, an acknowledgment that all is not well. Asking also requires us to do something, to participate in whatever God wants to do. Finally, asking requires us to entrust what is beyond our control to the One who controls all.”
This chapter reiterated what I’ve been learning about God, specifically His desire for relationship with us. We are not only allowed to enter into His courts with praise, but also with fear, doubt, the unknowns in life. He longs to hear the desires of our hearts and does not shy away from the ugly, wavering in faith, lonesome, desperate, or aching prayers, but He commands us to come to Him. 1 John 5:14 says, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” As Rebekah reminds us, we can have blessed assurance that our prayers are never in vain.
“You Are Free” is a book that weaves together our freedom story with Christ’s gift of freedom. We are free to live without reservation, with conviction, and with the knowledge that we can be who God created us to be ultimately because of who God is: the giver of every perfect gift, including His son.
Readers, What are you reading right now? What should we add to our summer reading list?
Sarah Dohman is a nurse, kayak enthusiast, coffee addict, microbrew lover, globe trotter, adorer of friends and family. She has a weakness for donuts, runs in 5k races, and cannot get enough tea and books. She loves writing more than talking (and she talks a lot), can be seen at Target frequently, and is loving life in her thirties. She believes God has called her to this space to bring joy and encouragement through words to friends and family, near and far. You can find more from Sarah at her blog or on Twitter.
My daughter was born and abandoned. This is a fact I cannot change. It deeply affects her sense of the world and herself. She, nor I, can separate ourselves from this legacy—as painful as it is. In fact, disowning or denying it equates to putting a rock in a crack to create a path, only to find that the rock pushes the sides apart. Then we are left with a greater divide.
I too was born into a broken legacy. Adam and Eve brought forth this terrible break from the Provider of our needs, both physical and spiritual. We cannot separate ourselves from that which our forbearers passed on, nor can we change it, nor prevent continuing it, for that is a fact of the world until God’s kingdom comes fully.
We are sure to leave a legacy of need. Even beyond our physical, cellular level which clamors for touch, food, water, and shelter, our spirits are born with a screaming cry for care and connection.
God sees. God foresees. God made a way to rescue us from our old legacy not by removing our needs, but by meeting them. God changed our legacy by adopting us, giving us Himself, all His loving care, and all His delight.
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!” -Psalm 33:12
So Jesus came within our legacy of need and brokenness. Fully human and fully God, He experienced His spirit’s cry for connection. Each of his prayers a cord stretching across the gap connecting God and man. Each healing another cord of love drawing God and man together. Each teaching another cord of revelation of God’s heart to man. Then God wrenched those cords tight, drawing the sides together, closing the gap humanity’s fall had created. With the might of his self surrender and self sacrifice on the cross Jesus met our greatest need. The temple curtain ripped, the day turned to night, and God suffered so that we no longer had to. He gave us a new legacy.
To live into our new legacy we must still walk honestly through the old legacy—with Jesus. The more I bring my needs to God, or allow him to excavate them in order to meet them, the more I am able to say with words and actions to my adopted daughter: “I see you. I want to meet your needs so that you can feel safe and worthy, to be with you in the legacy you find yourself.” As I do so, I am entering the legacy of Jesus—the legacy of love, healing, and connection, and I am, with every prayer and participation in every healing, drawing the cords of loving kindness across the crevice in my daughter’s heart so that she too can grab hold of the legacy Jesus holds out to her.
Readers, How has your legacy been redeemed? Tell us in the comments.
Kimberley Mulder is a contemplative at heart who deeply enjoys the company of Jesus in the day-to-day of caring for her family of 5 (plus a dog and a cat), teaching English to immigrants, growing her garden, and writing. Currently, her walk with Jesus is taking her more deeply into writing as she leads a spiritual formation group at her church, and records the reflections and connections Jesus gives her to share with others. She treasures the truth that God’s Word does not go back to him without accomplishing the purpose for which he sent it, and that that Word is embodied in our lives. (Isaiah 55:11)
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”-Hebrews 12:1-2
A dear, dear friend of mine, Carol, joined this great cloud of witnesses on March 19th. Carol was a quadriplegic and our friendship began when she hired me to be her personal caregiver. Over the last 7 years, conversations,visits, and most importantly, our hope and faith in God deepened our connection. At her recent memorial service, I was struck by the legacy she left behind—a legacy of faith, hope, and love.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” –1 Corinthians 13:13
Carol’s faith was unshakeable. At the tender age of 18 her life was changed by a devastating spinal cord injury, and though she never married or had children she had many who drew near. She changed lives due to the way she followed Jesus under trying circumstances. She never turned her back on Him.
Before her accident, Carol was quite the athlete. She played both basketball and volleyball in high school and loved long runs around her home town. For anyone, quadriplegia would have felt like torture, but particularly so for such an active young woman. Many would have lost hope and succumbed to bitterness and resentment, but Carol spent 41 years in a wheelchair and still shined.
Carol demonstrated a joyful attitude and lived with a fervent hope in Jesus, and she went to him in prayer constantly. She was a cheerful soul who loved the balmy days of summer and cherished spending time in her yard amidst her vibrant flowers. I recall many an afternoon spent on her back patio sharing lives, watching hummingbirds swarm the feeder, and discussing the things of God. A true prayer warrior, Carol frequently asked me for prayer for herself, dear friends, and family. I asked for prayer as well, knowing she would be sure to pray for me.
I will especially miss how Carol loved those around her, myself included. She shared the love of Jesus with everyone she came in contact with, especially the many women who became her caregivers over the years. She loved big, and I always left her house feeling the warmth of her love.
At the memorial service, a short video clip was played in which my friend shared her testimony of unending faith and hope in God which had been undeterred by her trying circumstances. It will always be treasured in my memories. She truly lived her faith out loud, leaving behind a worthwhile and lasting legacy—a life devoted to Christ.
Sarah Clews is a wife, mother of two little girls, and prolific reader. She received her BS from Corban University in English and still loves writing. She helps her husband run their martial arts school, and in her free time, enjoys sewing, experimenting with makeup, and reading blogs.
Snuggled in my bed, surrounded by the soft comfort of an old down blanket, I stared at my phone watching the playback of a month old live-stream from Inglewood Baptist Church.
My Great Uncle Don Jones and his friend (another retired missionary), in a beautiful crescendo, gloriously sang the words:
“No more death when we get to heaven. No more death when we get to heaven…Hallelujah, Hallelujah…no more death! No more death, but life forevermore.”
Earlier that day my Great Uncle stepped into that life forevermore; for him death is no more. He is in the presence of the Savior to which he dedicated his life, and for him there could be no better day. Those of us left behind feel the pain of loss; for him there is no more pain. I am so thankful for the prayers he prayed for me, and the support he gave me in the ministry I have had the privilege of being involved in. My thoughts of him that night were tainted with grief, yet sweet and hopeful for his new home. As my eyes became heavy with slumber, my last thoughts settled on, “What a well lived life.”
He was 88 and was still teaching, singing, and serving others because of the love first given to him by Jesus. Prayers swelled in my heart to my Savior, that I too would live a life with that type of legacy. Loving God and loving people, knowing God and making Him known, a legacy of Philippians 1:21, “To live is Christ, to die is gain.”
His wife Nita was likewise filled with bold gentleness, and together they were missionaries in South Korea for 36 years as they raised their two children. I still remember her hugs… for some reason that is my clearest memory of her. It wasn’t really the hug itself but the feeling of deep comfort wrapped within them. She died in 2004, but the love they shared didn’t. You still saw and felt it when he spoke of her.
I remember sitting with my grandmother and my mother huddled around our giant box of a TV watching the 1988 Seoul Olympics where Don and Nita were serving as translators. Every time their event would come on someone would yell, “Hit the record button!” as we tried to catch a glimpse of our family members on the sides of the diving pools of the world-wide competition. With such a small view of his life and his impact for God’s kingdom, I naively thought this was the coolest thing about my Uncle Don. I shrugged my shoulders at the work he was doing in Korea, that he held a Masters and a PhD, and that he had walked faithfully with Jesus since childhood. The Olympics, that was what impressed 6-year-old me. But what sticks with me now, and will remain until my own walk into eternity, is the race of faith he ran.
I look to them, this generation that went before and I dream for my children and their children. When we lose a family member who reaches the end having truly glorified Christ, we are compelled to ask: “How did they get there, and how can I do the same?” My Great Uncle and Aunt did it, my Grandparents did it, and I want to do it. Legacy doesn’t mean dying after a long life and being fondly remembered, but living well and making an eternal impact.
Now he sings a new song, one too beautiful for me to yet comprehend; it harmonizes with what his life sung of the grace and glory of God.
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Colossians 3:1-4
Readers, This month we will be diving into thoughts on legacy. Who has left a lasting mark on your life in a way you would like to do for others? Join the conversation and let us know in the comments.
Chara Donahue enjoys freelance writing, Biblical counseling, and speaking to women when her four kids are out playing with dad. She holds a MSEd from Corban University and is passionate about seeing people set free through God’s truths. She is a regular contributor at Portland Moms Blog and her words have appeared at (in)courage, Christianity Today: Women Leaders, and The Huffington Post. She longs to be a voice that says, “Hey we are in this together, and there is room for us all.” You can find more from Chara at One Anchored Voice, on Facebook, and on Twitter.
Life always seems to move in cycles of intertwined seasons.
The ebb and flow of laughter, pain, anger, loss, hardship, joy, love…it weaves us into the tapestries that we are—complex and colorful.
As a parent of a child with special needs, there is a sorrow too deep to voice and at the same time a thriving hope and optimism that runs parallel to the difficulty of watching my child struggle. The beauty and pain of my soul’s winter season is a complex entanglement, where icy blues are folded into joyful pops of bright spring colors. Even as my heart breaks, hope and happiness burst through.
There are everyday reminders: The number of the hospital saved in my phone, the seizure log my daughter packs for school, and the medications with their side effects. She wants to climb the playground equipment, ride a bike, and swim but it’s complicated. Each day is marked with exceptional difficulty and challenge.
My daughter is 8 years old and has Epilepsy, ADHD, and learning disabilities. Her seizures are uncontrolled, and every day I watch as she struggles as medication after medication remains ineffective. I watch as she tries to understand and control her emotions. I watch as her mind gives up and begins to seize when presented with difficulty and stress. I watch as she cries and laments the difficulty of school as she becomes frustrated with her inability to engage in all the activities she wants to pursue.
I’ve read, researched, and studied. I’ve pleaded with God to give us a cure, to find something that works for her. And yet…the struggle remains.
As I watch, my emotions range from anger to sorrow, to helplessness, to hope, to perseverance, to acceptance, to positivity, encouragement, and back around…
But…I watch something else as well.
My daughter, in all her struggle, has the most amazingly sweet and compassionate heart. She sees people. She wants people to be happy and is deeply saddened by their pain. She prays for the “bad people in the world” because… “They need Jesus too.” When I’m angry that a kid at school hurt her feelings, through tears she asks me for guidance on how to love them better. She ponders that kindness is the best response and laments at how difficult kindness can be. She amazes me.
I don’t know why God hasn’t healed my daughter yet. I don’t know why she has to struggle so much. I don’t know why he gave her to me when I am so fallen and struggle so often to control my own emotions.
At times when my heart cries out “WHY?” God softly reminds me that he loves her deeply, that he sees her and that he sees me. He speaks quietly into my heart the understanding and hope that he has a specific plan for her and that her life has a purpose I cannot understand or fathom. When I stop and listen, what God says to the deepest corners and hardest places in my heart is that her pain and difficulty is not for nothing. Her struggle is not pointless, meaningless, or unseen.
Ultimately, his game plan and end goal is for a beautiful child of the King to immerge from the ashes triumphant and victorious in Christ Jesus. What he beckons us both toward is closer relationship with him as he sweetly says, “Lean on Me, trust Me, wait on Me.”
I don’t know what the LORD is doing. I don’t understand it. I don’t like it, but I do believe that He is good. I do believe that He knows what he is doing and that hope, redemption, and goodness will ultimately be revealed. So, in the moments of deep sorrow, fear, and “winter”, I hold tight to hope in Christ and to my belief that God is our defender and the only real source of rest. And, the peace I find as I soak in the rays of God’s truth is as warm and glorious as the first sunny day of spring.
Jacqi Kambish is a Christian mom to three spirited children striving to balance the daily demands of parenting a child with special needs and meeting the needs of typically developing siblings while working full time and writing. She earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Bible Theology and Youth Ministry from William Jessup University. Jacqi lives with her family in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado and enjoys reflectively writing about parenting, faith, and the joys and trials of life while leaving her readers with hope and encouragement. Her blog The Presumptuous Ladybug can be found at http://thepresumptuousladybug.com/ and you can connect with her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thepresumptuousladybug/ .