Leaving a Legacy

Well done, good and faithful servant… Matthew 25:21

The last few weeks have been filled with a flurry of travels, memories, and moments I will treasure. My computer and I have greeted one another only briefly in passing, and I am, therefore, sadly behind in my blogging. I share with you today a Legacy…

Early Friday morning, March 25th, I received the call from my sister that my grandmother – my “Granny,” as we affectionately referred to her – had passed away. The strong and independent 100-year-old matriarch of our family was now Home with Jesus. My family reassured me that I should carry on with my plans that morning to fly to Detroit, MI, for a weekend women’s retreat, since the funeral would not be for several days. During the retreat that followed, many amazing Michigan women ministered to me every bit as much as I ministered to them. Sharing the love of Christ was an even richer experience, coupled with thoughts of my dear Granny, who now rested in His loving arms. During the retreat, a woman shared these words with me (at least, this is how I remember them): The thoughts on our hearts give way to words; words to actions; actions to life; and life to a legacy. She explained how we look at the legacy that a loved one has left behind; peering backwards, we see how their legacy reveals much about the life that they lived by their choice of actions, their words and even the thoughts on their hearts.
The legacy of love that my Granny leaves for us is rich, indeed! Hers was a life well lived: A gifted young school teacher during the Dust Bowl of the 30’s; a hard-working farm wife and devoted mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother for many decades; a wise and articulate Christian woman, loved by all who knew her! Granny enjoyed an incomparable quality of life as a centenarian, active and living alone in her South Dakota farm house until a few short months ago, when she suffered a heart attack.

With Gran at her 100th Birthday Celebration!
Throughout her life, Granny’s thoughts were articulated clearly and precisely in her wealth of words (many of which we could not comprehend!). Our family proudly called her the “Walking Encyclopedia,” as she thirsted for knowledge and enjoyed sharing what she learned. Her love of learning was exceeded only by her faith in the Lord and her adoration of her family. Gran’s words to me were always full of grace and charm. My high school graduation gift from her was a study Bible. Enclosed was her gentle nudge to me: “When you have occasion for Bible study, perhaps you will find this helpful, as I have.” At age 100, she penned my birthday card with these opening words: “Birthday felicitations, Deb! Perhaps I should learn to spell better before I use less-commonly-used language, but I hope my version carries the idea. I have recently learned that standardized spelling is quite a recent development of our wonderfully diverse vocabulary.” (Ah, my Granny! I still smile at her marvelous words!)

 Gran’s “walk” matched her “talk.” Though she tackled trials and endured more than her fair share of suffering over the years, she faced her days with determination and joy in the Lord. During a phone conversation this winter, she told me, “You know, Deb, a positive attitude and a sense of humor are essential to enjoying life.” (I can hear Gran’s easy laughter, even now.)

A few weeks ago, my son and I ran to my parents’ farm to see Granny for what we knew could be the last time, because her heart was failing quickly. After a few memorable days with her, I sat by her bed, holding her hand as I said good-bye and prayed with her. I was praising the Lord for His love when Granny gently interrupted me with these words: “Yes, Debbie, you know God’s love is what makes everything else possible. And He said, ‘Love one another’.” (Check out John 13:34-35) What better words could she leave me with?

This is the legacy of love I hope to give to those who come after me. Like Granny, I want to live a life of love, that it may be a fragrant offering to the Lord. What about you? As I wrote today, through tears of gratitude, a song has continually played in my head. “Legacy,” by Nichole Nordeman:
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
Your name unapologetically,

And leave that kind of legacy.

Yes, Granny, you left quite a legacy of love to your beloved family and to all who knew you. Thank you for always pointing me to Jesus. You left a noticeable mark on this world, good and faithful servant.  Well done, Gran, well done.


  1. Deb, what a beautiful tribute to your grandmother!! I pray that writing and sharing this with all of us has brought you peace and comfort in your time of mourning. Thank you for sharing her story with us and allowing us to be blessed by her faith walk in this life!

  2. Oh, Deb, what wonderful news that your grandmother is with God. What a wonderful life she lived, and continues to live in him. Thanks for sharing her with us. (Great picture - you have her nose.)

  3. How beautiful! An inspiration to us all to leave a godly legacy!

  4. Deb - this is such a beautiful tribute to your Granny. I know, even though you have comfort and peace knowing she is in the arms of her loving Heavenly Father, you will miss her still. My grandmother lived with us until I was 13 - they do leave a lasting mark on your life - a legacy. It sounds as if you were truly blessed by her. My heart goes out to you and my prayers go up for you.

  5. What a blessing. Thanks for sharing! How awesome to have the hope of heaven! Praying that God will hold & comfort you & your family as you miss having Granny here.