Thursday, August 11, 2011

You Can't Ruin Your Life

Recently, I've been finding myself praying the oddest things--for example, yesterday I was praying for spouses. For my children. Who... don't exist yet. And I'm not even married!

Apparently, this is what happens when you think rather far into the future... I can only imagine what it will be like when I actually have children-- I'll probably be praying for spouses for their grandchildren and that my great great great grandchildren will follow God. (Provided, of course, He hasn't yet come back.) o.0

Um... I think I am just a little odd. Mayhap I've thought about the pilgrims too much...

Stepping stones.

That's what they saw themselves as. They were willing to give up their own lives for the sake of giving those who came after them a better life. They did that for... us.
[Insert a decision not to go into a rant about "what-we've-done-with-the-country-they-died-and-sacrificed-to-start" here]

Completely foreign, isn't it? Nowadays it's all me, me, me. It's all about here and now.

We think we're doing pretty good if we manage to get our focus far enough off ourselves to think about the person sitting right smack in front of us. Or if we actually manage to plan out our whole entire day. (Yes, this is where I'm at... *sigh*)

Not these people. They looked way into the future: they saw how their choices would affect their posterity... their great great great great great [okay, I'll stop] grandchildren.

[Disclaimer: yes, yes, I know they didn't all have this vision. Perhaps only one or two did, I don't know. Nevertheless, a few had it, and it is inspiring. So there.]

Regarding all this, I had a rather shocking thought: I can't ruin my life.

"Sure you can!!" you say. "Lots of people do it!!"

Oh yes, certainly. I can ruin my life.

"But I thought you just said--"

Okay, you got me. That was only a partial thought. There is a word missing:

I cannot ruin just my life.

You see, my choices affect the people around me: my siblings, my parents, my friends, my... [fine, I'll say it] blog followers. :P Okay, yes, you knew that...

But the really scary thought is that not only do my actions affect the people outward from me--the people I can see, the people I know-- they also affect the people beneath me, so to speak. My actions affect my children and my grandchildren and on down the line. Yikes.

I can see it in my own family...

My great grandma is very caring and loving towards others: and she passed that on to her daughters--one of whom was my grandma. And she, in turn, passed it on to her daughters--one of whom is my mother. And, by God's grace, it is being passed on to my sisters (and me, sort of. Though it seems to be taking longer for me... :P): and, I hope, will someday be passed on to our daughters.

I can also see how the sins of the people who have gone before me have been passed down:
6 And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, 7 keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.” Exodus 34:6-7
It is sobering, definitely. Thank God for the hope we have in Jesus of conquering that sin! We actually have a chance! Still, however, it is a struggle to overcome these "inherited" weaknesses.

My parents have come very far in just one generation. The way my family is currently is vastly different from the families they grew up in. Praise God for His goodness!!

And now, it is my earnest desire to take what they have begun to the next step: to provide an even better foundation for my children and their children to build on.

And what I do now is so incredibly important to this. I say that, but it hasn't quite sunk in yet, I'm afraid. I am praying that God will continue to show me the importance of my present actions and guide me in making choices that will be a blessing to those who come after me--not a curse. If you would like to pray that with me, I would be most grateful. And if you'd like me to pray for you about that as well, just ask.

Stepping stones.

I am a writer in ink and typed words, yes. But I am also writing with other materials: another kind of story all together.

Yes, it is comprised of words--and actions, experiences, choices... It is a story that my children and grandchildren will "read"-- and enter into through no choice of their own. It is a story that will either be heaped on the already enormous pile of sad, "normal" ones, or it will be a story that will stand apart: a story that will bring glory to The Story Teller.

My life on earth will be so brief--even if I live to be an "old woman". I only have a very limited time to make an impact here. (A few days after writing the first draft of this post, I was reading "And God Changed His Mind" [A rather shocking book on prayer by Brother Andrew] and it talked about how our prayers can go on to influence many generations following us--and even eternity itself!! What an amazing thought, isn't it??)

What kind of legacy will we leave behind? When the last page of our life story is "written", how will it impact the "readers"?

Life is all together too short to focus only on our lives.

Lord, let my life be a stepping stone.


  1. Love this Carissa!

  2. Carissa, have you ever heard the song "Generations" by Sara Groves? (She writes contemporary "Christian living" songs, and I often enjoy her lyrics.) It addresses what you are talking about here.

    Remind me of this with every decision:
    Generations will reap what I sow.
    I can pass on a curse or a blessing
    To those I will never know.

    How true, and we all need the reminder - thanks for this post.

    Love in Christ,