It’s simple. We want life to count. We don’t want our time on this earth to be wasted; we want it to mean something. We want to leave an impact. Without realizing it we ARE impacting those around us every day. Our children, our co-workers, our friends, our extended family…everyone we come in contact with we impact.
We’ve all heard the saying “caught not taught.” Our kids are watching us. Emulating us. They can’t help it. There have been studies showing how kids imitate adults. They are subconsciously watching us. Have you ever noticed how family members dress alike, look alike, have the same mannerisms, humor, like the same music or movies? We are weird creatures like that.
Our kids will grow up following our lead even if they don’t show it as teens. It will happen in the simple things for instance, the way you cook or clean your house, the way you handle friendships and treat other people, your love for certain music and entertainment. Your behavior will be handed down to the next generation naturally. This can also be negative so if there’s a habit that needs to be nipped in the bud do it now. A friend of mine recently shared how it’s been fun to watch her grown children take on the family traditions with her own family without even thinking about it. How we choose to live will be emulated. Choose how you want to live.
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Sometimes our training is intentional; other times it’s not, it’s caught. Let’s look at some things we can do intentionally to leave a legacy for our kids. It may not be as difficult as we think.
Love God. Two simple words with so much power and depth; love God. When we live our lives loving God we are setting an example for our kids. I need to be honest here. This article was very hard for me to write. The topic of leaving a legacy was on my heart but every time I sat down to write it nothing would come out. I finally realized I was struggling with guilt. As a single Mom I carry loads of guilt, thinking I’m not doing enough for them; after all, look at what they’ve been through. How can I write an article on leaving a legacy?
C’mon, I know I’m not the only one stuck here. Somehow, we think we are less because we are single parents. Or we need to work twice as hard because we are playing the role of both parents. Or we carry the burden of someone else’s sin. The enemy was glaring his religious eyes at me burning with lies about how can a single Mom leave a legacy for her broken family. Lies, lies, and more lies. Let me tell you how you can leave a legacy for your kids single mommas…..by loving God, that’s how! I’m loving God in the midst of brokenness. He’s my anchor, my salvation, my hope. I’m clinging to my savior and exchanging those lies for truth.
The truth is my kids are really not mine, they belong to God. He can speak to them and guide them so much better than me. He has plans for them far beyond what I have dreamed and can orchestrate their lives as only their Maker can. He can use me and equip me on their behalf, but ultimately they are His babies.
Let your kids SEE you loving on Jesus. Loving on Jesus doesn’t magically make us perfect people. Loving on Jesus looks different for everybody. For me it looks like a real person doing the best they can while leaning on Jesus for strength and wisdom. It’s ok to let them see us fail. It’s going to happen. They may even see us having to pay some natural consequences for decisions made by us. Just push delete and keep on loving Jesus. Let them watch as our character grows.
Romans 5:3-5 - Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Live with purpose. Everything we do has eternal value. I recently heard David Green, Founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby, speak at my church. He said every accomplishment he would bring to his mother she would ask if it had eternal value. We don’t always think about the fact that everything we do here has eternal value. Earth is not our home we’re just passing through. I really appreciate the simple question “does what you’re doing hold eternal value?” It can. It’s all in our perspective. This can be applied to any part of our lives.
Something I started for each of my kids before they before they were born is a journal. They each have a personal journal that I’ve intentionally kept for them. Through the years I’ve written prayers, cute stories of things they have done, thoughts I’ve had about them, even some of the hard times and how I see God working on their behalf. It’s intentional, not perfect, not consistent, but nevertheless a legacy of my prayers for them. It’s never too late to start this one.
Give back. Serving and giving extravagantly. Giving with a grateful heart and do so unto the Lord, not trying to earn favor or approval is a sign of health. We may not feel like we have what it takes but I guarantee it does something uplifting when we give back. Want to break out of victim mentality? Start serving somewhere. Out of our weakness He is made strong.
Colossians 3:23-24 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
Let your actions be caught and not taught. Character matters in life. Remember they’re watching how we live and will naturally imitate us. What we do and how we respond to situations all reveal the degree of character in our hearts.
2 Peter 1:5-7 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
Colossians 3:12-15 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
Every single day brings with it plenty of opportunities to make right decisions and building character. Make a mental note this week while doing life. How are you talking to or about your ex-spouse in ear shot of your kids? How do we respond when we get cut off in traffic? (Gets me every time!) What was the tone of your voice when you asked the kids to clean up the kitchen? Your list will look different from mine.
How do we do it Mammas? The dirty diapers, endless hours up at night, nursing, tantrums, and fixing owies…… the list goes on and on. The older women in my life, the ones who had been there and done that, would tell me, “this too will pass”. Guess what? They were right. In the blink of an eye those cute little babies are full grown adults living their own lives. The reality of raising children is at the end of the day I just want them to be decent people and good citizens. That will be my legacy. What's yours?
Cheryl is a single mother of 7 young adult and teenage children. Originally from MN, Cheryl has lived and worked all over the Midwest in broadcasting. Missions brought her family to Kansas City in 2007. She sspent 17 years homeschooling and raising 7 children. Find her busy creating something from nothing. Currently resides in Lee’s Summit.
As I looked at myself in the mirror I thought “you’ve got it together, Misty”. I was a new single mom of 4 children, ages 2-13. I had lost weight, dyed my hair and looked better than I had in a long time. I felt pretty confident that I had it all together and could figure out this journey of single parenting. Then through the caverns of my mind I heard, “it’s time to grow up”. I decided to ignore the whisper because, after all, I was grown up. I was the mother of 4, home-schooling, and now doing it alone. What more did I need as a badge of honor that I was grown up; a woman and a mother. Then another thought raced through my mind as if out of nowhere. “when I was a child I thought like a child.”
I didn’t like where this was going because I knew that was a part of a passage from the Word, so I knew these thoughts about growing up were not my own, they were thoughts that the Holy Spirit was speaking, getting my attention.
When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:11
So, I began my dialogue with the Lord that morning as I looked in the mirror.
“What does it mean to grow up, Lord?” I inquired.
I heard in my mind, “it’s time to be a woman of God.”
At that moment, I kind of freaked out on the inside. I felt my temper rising as I pointedly asked the question; “And JUST WHAT does a woman of God LOOK LIKE LORD?”
In the flash of a moment, as I asked the question, images of every woman I knew raced through my mind. I searched to find ONE that I could look to that would show me, help me, lead me and guide me. Who was in my life that could show me what a real woman of God looked like. I obviously was going to need HELP.
Sadly, there was none. Not one woman I wanted to emulate. Why would God ask me to be something, do something and not give me the resources to do it, or become it. It seemed too much of a demand.
God knew my thoughts. He was in them, helping me navigate my emotions and frustration. I considered His request outlandish at best, and felt betrayed by the church, women, friends and God. Why would God ask me to be something when the resources didn’t seem available?
Then God began to speak to me about Naomi. I challenged Him because Ruth is the hero of that story. But He insisted that I study, and identify with Naomi to learn what it means to be a woman of God and grow up. God had the resources available for me; He wanted me to learn from the best…from HIM. He wanted to be my teacher and my resource before the things of the world. God would and is teaching me about true spiritual motherhood.
As I continued to gaze in the mirror, confronted with all of my shortcomings, knowing the Lord wanted more for me, with a heavy heart at the reality of lack in my own life, I asked the Father: “Lord, give me the grace to be a woman of God and a true mother, PLEASE GOD don’t let any generation coming up after me stand in the mirror looking for women they can call mentors and mothers and find none. USE ME GOD, make and mold me into the Woman you say I am.”
This request would lead me into the study of Naomi first, then an in-depth study of the Song of Solomon, Esther, Deborah and other such women. This request has led me time and time again to turn to Proverbs 31 and hold my life up against the Woman of Excellence mentioned there and study what her attributes mean and pray that the Father would make me this powerful woman who laughs at the future.
I believe God is calling the matriarchs, the spiritual mommas to arise in this time
and raise up a generation that KNOW THEIR GOD.
Unfortunately, some of us are still struggling with our own identity as children of the Most High God, and as children, we cannot raise children.
Let’s explore what spiritual adulthood is all about so that Mothers can and will ARISE.
Bob Sorge, in his book “In His Face” lays out the 3 stages of maturity that John points out in 1 John 2: 12-14
ii.Provision: they trust God for daily bread
iii.Identity: children take on the surname of their father. The emotional nurturing of a father gives a child a healthy sexual identity and a proper self-image
Unfortunately, because many of us did not receive this from our own fathers, we struggle to allow God-the Father be this for us. Many of us continue to struggle with our identity as children of God, resting in His redemption. The enemy continues to keep us tied to our past; guilt and shame keep us in bondage.
As LITTLE CHILDREN of God, we are confident and secure in these three things, even if we didn’t have them as a part of our past we can find them in Christ.
This is often seen as the highest goal, to attain Spiritual adulthood. Bob Sorge goes on to say, “it is sad to acknowledge that many believers never grow to this spiritual level, and it is not even the highest plane of maturity.” (pp. 151)
If we want to raise spiritual sons and daughters, our own in our house, we must set the vision before us of Spiritual Adulthood. We can’t be children raising children.
The journey into Spiritual Adulthood is not about defining our destiny
…it is about building a dynasty;
Learning to GROW UP IN GOD
1.Realize it is HARD
We are made for it but not trained for it. My story at the beginning of this article conveys what I have heard over and over from women my age. That was 20+ years ago. Paul told Timothy (his spiritual son)
For although you could have countless babysitters (tutors, teachers) in Christ telling you what you’re doing wrong, you don’t have many fathers who correct you in love. But I’m a true father to you, for I became your father when I gave you the gospel and brought you into union with Jesus, the Anointed One. 1 Cor 4:15
There are many who want to teach, preach and share the gospel, but not many who are willing to change dirty diapers, love through rebellion, believe in God’s faithfulness when things don’t look like they should. THIS is a spiritual mother/father.
There are stages of development for all things. We must be willing to acknowledge where we are at in the journey and ask the question, “Lord, where am I still behaving like a spiritual child, where do I need to embrace growing up?”
3.Understand the Journey
We must embrace the crisis and use the crisis to lead us to the Lord.
Bob Sorge says,” every new level of spiritual maturity is developed through PAIN.”
Shelley Hundley from the International House of Prayer once said, “allow your pain and suffering to escort you into His presence.”
Spiritual Mothers know that pain is God’s refining fire, they rest in the love of the Father during difficult seasons and understand that the absence of His presence does not always mean something bad.
Spiritual adults have walked through a season of darkness where the Lord has withdrawn His presence, not because of sin, or ignorance, but because of His kindness. They have walked through the fire and come out not even smelling like smoke (Daniel 3)
As we say yes to all God has for us, the journey won’t always be easy but the fruit (our sons and daughters walking with Jesus as spiritual adults some day) is worth the price we pay.
Let’s join together in one accord and raise a “YES LORD may it be unto me as you desire.” Let’s sign up for the journey of spiritual growth and be willing to let the Lord raise up matriarchs (Spiritual Mothers) that will in create the atmosphere for spiritual sons and daughters to arise.
Misty Honnold is the President and Founder of the international organization Mountain of Myrrh Ministry (M.O.M.). She is a Visionary Leader, national speaker, writer and transitional life coach. Her greatest life work has been loving and leading her family well. She has raised 4 amazing adults and is lovingly known as Grammy to her 2 grand-daughters. Misty has blogged for over 8 years on the triumphs and trials of being a single mom. She currently blogs for Crosswalk on all things related to our spiritual journey. Misty's passion for life is infectious. Misty loves to lead leaders, equip women and impart value to others. Misty has learned through experience how to dance through the rhythms of life and loves to invite others into the joy of learning how to celebrate in every season.