I saw a beautiful post on a friend’s facebook page this past Easter weekend. It had a large, smiling, beautiful family in a very green backyard. Children giggling, parents wrangling babies and toddlers, and siblings with arms around each other. All of this beauty was surrounding a very stunning patriarch and matriarch.
The picture was beautiful. The tribute describing faith, persevering love, and commitment to family was touching. And although I don’t know the eldest patriarch and matriarch, I was so proud of them and their beautiful legacy that they’ve given their kids and grandkids. It is truly amazing. What a gift?!
I’ve been thinking a lot about legacy lately. Partly because it’s a buzz word, and partly because my eyes have been opened to many stories who don’t have pages like the one described above.
I sat rocking our newborn last night, looking at his toes, kissing little fingers, running my hands through his amazing hair. And I thought about the day he would ask me about the beginning of his story. I was praying and dreaming about how we would tell him that on his first day of life both joy and grief were so very present.
How loved he was, by two moms.
How sometimes our stories aren’t always picture perfect, no matter how much we want them to be.
How our history, where we come from matters and how details lost can become hurts.
But mostly I prayed that he would know that these wounds, although they will shape him greatly, they don't dictate who he becomes. I prayed that the hard things he would face one day would push him to know and understand how loved he was by his earthly family and heavenly father. I prayed that we would value and give importance to his biological legacy, while at the same time acknowledging that adoption changes it. Sometimes he might love that, other times he might hate that, but that process of understanding identity will be one that we wrestle with as a family for years to come.
And if you’re a believer, the same can be said of you.
What if your story doesn’t have a safe beginning?
What if your story doesn’t have a set of parents who still love each other? Or beautiful kids or a spouse to surround you and fill the photo?
What if chronic sin plagues your family history?
What if your legacy was birthed in ruins?
I have good news for you friend! We have a good Father who has taken our biological legacy and given us an adopted legacy, His legacy. We don’t ignore or deny our earthly legacies, but we cling to a greater one given to us by a good Father.
Your picture, although maybe not quite as put together as the one discussed above, is just as beautiful. Your story, the one with all the cracks and the bumps and bruises, is a story that points to His healing hand. Your pages, with all the hurt and pain, are pages that displays His goodness. Your identity, the one that shows your weakness, is an identity that shouts His greatness.
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! FATHER!’ The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ…” Romans 8: 14-17a
For those of you who spent Easter weekend saddened by what was or wasn’t in your Easter photos or your legacy, know that the grave is empty and you’ve been adopted. And whatever is plaguing your past or future legacy has already been overcome.