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Living Legacy

Written by Susan Carter

When I was a child, my maternal grandmother lived about a mile away from my house, so I saw her almost every day. She was a no-nonsense country woman who wore sleeveless shirts, Bermuda shorts and Keds Grasshopper shoes all summer long. When she wasn’t outside in her vegetable garden hoeing rows for seeds, chopping down weeds, or shucking corn, she was inside shelling butter beans, snapping snaps (“snaps” is Southern for green beans) or canning tomatoes. Grandma Ruby had a true farmer’s tan.

She taught me to shell all kinds of beans, dig up potatoes, and sew a button, but she also taught me to be kind to others, go out of my way to help someone else, and to be respectful of the authorities in my life. She did not let me get away with being disrespectful.

At the end of a day of gardening, she would fill a basin with warm soapy water and soak her tired and dirty gardening feet which gave me solid, uninterrupted one-on-one time with her. She would tell me about how she was 14 when she learned to drive a Model T Ford that had to be started by a literal crank on the front of the car and how she graduated from high school at the end of 11th grade because there WAS no 12th grade at her school. I learned that she and her sister were raised by their aunt and uncle, who had no children of their own, because her parents were too poor to take care of all six of their kids.

During these foot-soaking discussions, I felt comfortable enough to ask her any question at all that was on my mind. We talked about everything from what it’s like to grow up to be a woman, to my relationship with my parents, to my relationship with the Lord. She would answer me with an honesty that showed me that she thought I was valuable and worthy of an honest answer even though I was a child.

I loved her and loved being with her and I knew she loved me. I can still taste in my mind her homemade chocolate pies, her homemade chocolate cake and her homemade hot chocolate (see why I loved her?!)

Now that I have four grandchildren of my own, I find myself thinking back to my relationship with my Grandma Ruby and the memories I cherish of my time with her. I realize that I want MY grandchildren to have fond memories of being with me and Jeff, but we also want to leave the legacy of our faith in Christ and our love for Him to our kids, grandkids and all the generations that come after them.

We have learned that our grandkids love hearing “life stories” (as the oldest, Caleb, has titled them). They love hearing about what Jeff and I were like as kids and some of the things we have gone through in our lives, as well as stories about their parents as kids and young adults.

Life Stories, such as the ones we tell and the ones my Grandma Ruby told, interject reality into our walks of faith and remind all of us that none of us is perfect, and that we are not alone in this spiritual journey and that’s it’s ok…we’re all in this together.

This verse from 2 Timothy 2:5, where Paul is talking to young Timothy, is what we hope can be said of our grandkids when they grow up:

I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.

A couple resources that we have enjoyed using as grandparents are Fruitfull Kids Fruit of the Spirit dinner plates and books by Josh Mulvihill of the Legacy Coalition.

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