I Want to Leave a Legacy
Melanie Chitwood

"I will sing of the lovingkindness of the Lord forever; to all generations I will make known your faithfulness with my mouth." Psalm 89:1 (NAS)

What do your children think of when they think of you? Their answers would be very revealing, wouldn't they? One day in early elementary school, Zachary came home with a Mother's Day picture he'd created for me. In the middle was a lovely portrait of me, wearing a dress made in my favorite colors of pink and purple. Then around the picture his teacher had told him to write four different words to describe his mom. He wrote: reading, napping, chocolate chip cookies, and laughing. His words made me smile with their accuracy.

Every day we are leaving our fingerprints on our kids. What do we want our children to think of when they think of their parents? A mom who was gentle and firm in her discipline or a mom who flew off the handle easily? A mom who seemed permanently attached to her phone or a mom who was available for life's big and small moments? A mom who occasionally went to church or a mom whose love of God was a part of her everyday life?

A legacy can be defined as "something handed down." Every day through our words and actions we are developing a legacy to be carried in the character of our children. It's easy for the busyness of life to keep you from being purposeful in your parenting. Let's decide today to leave the legacy we really want. Let's make sure it's a legacy not born of busyness and urgency, but one born of purposefulness and prayer.

It always helps me to remember that God is a parent too. So who better to turn to for parenting advice? It also helps me to know that God loves my children even more than I do, and He will fill in the gaps for me and Scott as we seek Him first. No matter what kind of parent you've been, today you can decide to add to and improve the legacy you are leaving. These are the only days we have with our children. We don't get them back. Let's begin today to be the parents we really want to be.

Dear Lord, thank You so much for each of my children. I need Your help every day to be the parent You want me to be. Lord, I'm human and I know that as a parent, I've made mistakes and will in the future. Lord, redeem the past and strengthen me for the future. Lord, thank You that You will give me Your love, wisdom, strength, direction, and patience to be the best parent for my children. Help me to leave a legacy that brings You glory and one that will enable my children to know how much You love them. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
This devotion was adapted from What A Wife Needs From Her Husband by Melanie Chitwood

What a Husband Needs from His Wife by Melanie Chitwood

Season of Change: Parenting Your Middle Schooler with Passion and Purpose by Rebecca Ingram Powell

Check out Melanie’s blog – What Matters Most for information about her upcoming marriage conference call, "Building a Marriage that Will Last a LIfetime." She'll be giving away a free conference call!

For more encouragement, read A Legend of Faith

Mining for Gold in the Heart of Your Child Character Chart and Message on CD, by Renee Swope

Application Steps:
Your children will learn to pray as they hear you pray. Pray with them on the way to school, throughout the day to thank God or to ask for His help, and tuck them in each night with your prayers. And don't stop praying with them when they're teens. Even though your teens may be pulling away from you, they still need to know you're covering them with prayer.

Choose a verse for the whole family to memorize each week. Display it in the kitchen or some other visible place.

Reflections:
Think about your everyday actions. Which of your actions point your children's hearts to the Lord?

Think about your attitude in frustrating or stressful situations. Are you modeling Christ's attitude in these situations?

What is one action step you can take this week to leave a legacy of faith for your children?

Power Verses:
Deuteronomy 6:5-9, "Love GOD, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that's in you, love him with all you've got! Write these commandments that I've given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates. (Message)

Proverbs 22:6, "Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it." (NLT)

Psalm 79:13, "So we Your people, the sheep of Your pasture, will give thanks to You forever; to all generations we will tell of Your praise." (NAS)

© 2010 by Melanie Chitwood. All rights reserved.

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10 Comments:

Anonymous Jennifer said...

Last night I prayed to God to help my son work through a difficulty he is having. I also prayed to God to help me be a better parent.
And I woke up to read this wonderful column about leaving a legacy for our children.
Thank you!

Blogger Gail said...

today I will be serving at a Women's resource center- I pray that I can share this with the young moms I will be meeting with. Thank you!

Anonymous llafontaine80 said...

I'm expecting my first child in August. Since the day I found out I was pregnant, I have been thinking about what kind of legacy I hope to leave for him or her. Thank you for this message.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this wonderful devotional. I prayed through it for my children and their spouses and also, for my grandchildren and their future spouses. May God bless you. It is so wonderful to have our great God who is our Father, the Best Parent ever!! Thank you for loving us, O my Father!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really needed to hear that. I am a parent that flys off the handle but I am changing because I don't want my kids to be that kind of parent. I want them to want to be like me. So I need to be caring, loving, calm, and PATIENT. I want a leagacy that my children can have. Thank you for sharing and touching my life.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I was in tears reading this thinking of fussing at my 3 year old this morning with a voice that was louder than I wanted it to be. I pray every night for guidance and wisdom and the knowledge to be able to be that wonderful parent that God wants me to be. He has entrusted me with His child and it is a blessing to be her mother. Thanks for these words of wisdom.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My daughter is grown now, but this really hit home to me today, I remember back to the time she was small and how I reacted to situations and sometimes they were not good. So I really have to ask God to forgive me for those times. In spite of that she has become a very strong Christian woman and I am so thankful to God for that.

Amen!! Thank you for this encouragement! Hope you have a very blessed day.

Blogger MrsLouis01 said...

This is my daily prayer to God. That my children will know beyond anything else that "Mommy loved God!" And if I love God more than anyone and anything, then I will be a good steward over everything He has given me, including the legacy that I will leave behind for my children and their children.

Blogger Denise Warweg said...

Melanie,
I would like permission to reprint this in our church newsletter please. (In honor of Mother's Day.)
Denise Warweg
(well done!)

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