Another challenge on our walks is her frequent need to stop, sniff and squat. This is what dogs do, right? She leaves her mark all over the neighborhood - making her presence known and perhaps even staking some territory along the way. Even the simple act of her walking leaves a trail of her essence behind because of having scent glands in her paws.
On one of our walks, I started thinking of how we, as people, leave marks throughout life. The Bible says we were made in God's image. As Creator, He has left His mark in us and we take on His characteristics, such as being compassionate, loving, kind, forgiving, faithful and creative. As man, we pass on distinguishing traits and tendencies to our children using the genetic codes God created us with. If you look at our kids, you'll see dark hair and brown eyes. You'll see they all got the tall-gene from Dave. Once you get to know them, you'll find that they each picked up musical abilities from me. Each one unique, yet we all share similarities.
We have no control over the genetic markings in our lives and in what is passed down through the generations, but we do have a hand in the heritage that is passed on to future generations. What do our words say about who we are? What routines do we have? What do our actions say about us? How we live will leave a far greater impression than our spoken words. These are the things that reflect the mark in our lives from time spent with the Father.
I've been blessed by having a godly-heritage in my family. Earlier this year, this world lost the champion of all prayer warriors and our family celebrated the life of a patriarch of faith. My grandfather never missed an opportunity to tell someone about Jesus. On visits to see him, I would lay in bed at night and listen to his prayers for his family travel through the walls. As he lost his eyesight to macular degeneration, he passed the time by reciting scripture and singing the old hymns. To this day, I have the image of my mom kneeling beside her bed to pray at night...she was probably unaware that I took notice. While we were growing up, there was seldom a time that the church doors were open that we weren't there. I didn't appreciate that so much at the time, but looking back now, I can see the significance of that in my life. In our home, my parents modeled grace, unconditional love, dedication and commitment.
And so I wonder...what marks am I leaving as I walk through this life? Am I living and loving well? Do others see Jesus in me? What is the legacy I'll leave behind?
"We will not hide these truths from our children, but will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD, about his power and his mighty wonders." ~ Ps. 78:4
In his memory...an excerpt from a letter I wrote to my Pap-pap a couple years ago:
"Thank you for the life of faith you have modeled so beautifully for us. Your love for the Lord has left an impression on my life that time cannot strip away. His praise has always been on your lips regardless of the circumstances in your life. I loved hearing you sing hymns while I played the piano on our last visit...such a sweet sound! I’ve seen the significance of having His Word hidden in your heart. Your loss of vision may keep you from being able to read the Bible, but nothing can steal what you have stored up deep within.
Thank you for the prayers you have continually offered before the throne on behalf of your family ~ for health and healing, for salvation and for all the many things that we will never know. What a blessing it has been to hear your prayers carry through the walls on our visits...a memory that will stay with me forever.
Thank you for the godly example of marriage that you and Grandma showed to us. I can only hope that Dave and I are blessed with as many years together as the two of you shared and that I love him with as pure and deep a love as you have for Grandma...and I say “have” because she is still very much alive in you.
Thank you for scrambled eggs (yours were the best) and chocolate pop-tarts (one of my earliest memories from your townhouse in Cincinnati- strange thing to remember, but I do). Thank you for back rubs and warm hugs. Thank you for stories and laughter and teaching us to work hard for what really matters.
Thank you for being you and for loving so selflessly. You are an amazing child of God, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, and I think the world of you. "
March 6, 1915 - January 26, 2015