Legacy

My past has occupied most of my brain space over the last month and, honestly, over the last twenty years. I can’t remember a time since 8 years old that I was not preoccupied by a mistake, a failure, an unfulfilled dream or desire. My greatest dream at that point was to be a cheerleader in high school (which didn’t happen, by the way), but I never fought to dream beyond pom-poms and tumbling practice — sad to say the least.

Since graduating high school I’ve had short term dreams: Dreams about designing t-shirts or going to the beach or one day writing a book. My journey on the World Race wasn’t even a dream. It was placed in front of me and I leapt after it, hoping I would find this illusive dream hiding somewhere among the passport stamps and bowls of rice along the way. Not so. Even then, even still, I was overcome with these holes in me: holes from being unworthy, making poor choices, feeling isolated in my sin and suffering, and holes from an overactive brain and words too full of feeling.

I’ve gone through seasons where I live more in the present than in the past, but rarely do I dream. “Strong desire” is as close to “dream” as I would ever come, perhaps out of fear that dreams would never come true, but more likely because the weight of my past still quietly held my arms by my side, unable to reach up for the whispy, dreamy things, those world-changing dreams we may whisper from now and then but rarely speak with any power, and sometimes even the simple dreams: marriage, family, community, stability.

A dozen times a week someone says the word “legacy” and I immediately sing Nichole Nordeman’s song in my head, always challenged by her words, but rarely in a place to explore them. Tonight on the way home from work it happened again- “it’s amazing the little legacies people leave behind,” somewhere between a story about a man and his mother and a song about change and I began to unpack.

I want to leave a legacy. How will they remember me?

How will they remember me? I told a story last night around a table full of strangers, one that rolls off my tongue with ease, about a worship night in a hostel in China and “but what does God really call you?” Amy asked, followed by nights and days of journal entries asking God that very question – what do You call me? What’s my name? – to find the answer written in the very evidence of who He is, whispered day after day to my heart:

beloved.
lionheart.

Beloved, the I AM loved, a literal outpouring of holy, faithful, uncontainable love.
Lionheart. Brave, courageous, generous.

How will they remember me? Right now, not as the physical representation of a holy love. Right now, more as broken and needy, selfish and conflicted. These holes in me hold ownership over me. Joy light doesn’t shine through them because I’m too busy covering them out of shame, regret, and self-doubt.

I don’t want to live life in a pattern, in repetition, season after season the same pain, the same mentality. We are bread and wine, broken and poured out for those around us, not for our own endless cycles. There must be growth, even in the midst of hard things.

Beloved doesn’t run, doesn’t hide, doesn’t wrap herself in scarves of shame and adorn with the jewels of pain.
Lionhearted doesn’t cower timidly in the corner of a room full of success and truth because she sees only lies.

Beloved is rooted, grounded, in Truth and faith. Beloved is a strong spine and she has open hands. Beloved comes alive with joy.
Lionhearted is wild and free… free. Lionhearted dances and sings; She is always in the presence of the Most High. Lionhearted praises and walks through fire upright, confident. (Read: The Lord is within her; she will not fall) Lionhearted comes alive with destiny.

That is the legacy I choose to leave. Today. I choose that today. And tomorrow, again, that is what I will choose. Yesterday is gone and matters no more.

In light of eternity I am this: lionhearted and beloved.

I want to leave a legacy. How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough to make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering: a child of mercy and grace who blessed your name unapologetically
I want to leave that kind of legacy.

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