Recently, I was rereading a copy of an 11 year old Focus on the Family article entitled “Footprints of Faith.” The author, Wendy Lawton told the story of a priceless family treasure that came in the form of a yellowed hand written note attached to some old photographs. It was a prayer that was written by her great-grandmother.
The note read, “This day, July 10, 1912, I hereby sign and give my son over to the Lord, for the Lord to redeem his soul from sin and to make him an earnest Christian, all through life and take the whole care of him until he is landed safely on the other side. This is the earnest prayer of his mother, Elizabeth Coats.”
Although we could learn a great deal about the effective prayers of caring parents from this note, I was particularly struck by the power of this “resonant testimony” as it reverberated down through the generations of this family. That great-grandmother started a stream of spiritual witness to the grace of God for her children and grandchildren. Her testimony was captured and the effect of her prayer life became a real milestone for that family’s spiritual journey.
It got me to thinking about the spiritual footprints that you and I should be creating for our families. Recording our own spiritual journeys is a powerful way to influence the generations to come. Your children can probably reiterate the tenets of your personal faith, but can your grandchildren? And how about your great-grandchildren? Will they know of the importance Christ played in your life and the life of your family? How can you capture that message and save it for the generations to come?
An easy way that was mentioned in this article is just making sure you keep your bibles. And, make sure you write in them. Those notations will be a real blessing to those who come after you. Journaling is another powerful way to chronicle your spiritual walk. And make sure your first person account is honest and open. Through your vulnerability your family will learn much about the grace and faithfulness of the Lord.
You might also consider gathering together and storing some of your personal correspondence. Letters to your children and grandchildren can form a significant window into your walk of faith. If you paint or draw, store samples of those works as well. Make sure and leave a listing of why you did that work of art and what you were learning from that experience.
If you have a hymnal that is precious to you, make sure and mark it up. Note the hymns and choruses that were particularly meaningful to you. If your voice is a whole lot better than mine, you might consider leaving a recording of you singing some of your favorite spiritual songs. What a blessing that will be in the years to come.
Each of us can leave a trail of the stories, songs, people and events that shaped our spiritual formation. Such a trail will be a major blessing to your extended family. And most importantly, it won’t just record who we were or what we did, but for Whom we lived. So this week, be intentional about your spiritual footprints!
Warmest regards in Christ,
Sherry L. Worel
Stoneybrooke Christian Schools