“Once upon a time.” We’ve all read books that open with the familiar line. And most likely with the ending, “And they all lived happily after.” According to Wikipedia, “Once upon a time” has been used in some form since 1380 in storytelling and it simply means, “at some time in the past” not to be confused with a long time ago in the past.
Storytelling. We love to tell stories. Stories of events from years gone by, last month, yesterday or five minutes ago. Memories put into words allow us to connect, provide sweet recollections and remind us of God’s faithfulness. Good ones or not-so-great ones, memories help us tell our “Once upon a times.”
As I think about stories and the telling thereof, I am forced to ask myself, “What kind of story am I telling?” More importantly, “What kind of story do I WANT to tell?” And, even more significantly, “What will my children’s ‘Once upon a times’ sound like as they tell their own stories?”
None of us can change or undo any point in the past that created our “Once upon a times” but we can certainly live in such a way that guarantees that we live happily ever after. What does YOUR “Once upon a time” sound like?
Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)
Clunk…clunk…clunk!! For the past three weeks this sound has resonated throughout my house. Every few moments…clunk…and again…clunk…and again. “From what?” you might ask. From the beak and head of a bird who has incessantly flown directly into the dining room window! Seriously! Over and over and over again. The first time I heard the noise I wasn’t sure where it was coming from. Upon closer examination I learned that a bird, normally perched on the bush right outside the window was repeatedly flying from the bush to the window, back to the bush and to the window again. Three weeks today. Clunk…clunk…clunk.
Yesterday I decided that I would video the entire scenario and zoom in on all the marks left on the glass, some of which include spots of blood. As I carefully walked to the window and retrieved my phone to capture the incident, the bird immediately flew away. I had other things to do and never attempted to film again.
Throughout the remainder of the day I thought about that bird and how, as Christians, we are sometimes just like the creature. Trying to go places where God never intended us to go. Repeatedly banging our heads hoping to achieve different results. As much as the bird wants to bust through the window pane, it won’t happen. It isn’t intended for the bird to go there. Don’t we, like the bird, often wear ourselves out when we are so determined to do a certain thing?
If you are like me, you often pray for God’s will in your life. What He wants for you. And has for you. How He wants you to live. Seeking. For direction. Guidance.
Have you been repeatedly running into a dead-end? Banging your head? Into a situation that you cannot penetrate? Perhaps it’s time to examine the marks that are left behind and as the bird did, fly into the open sky that was there for its fulfillment and freedom all along.
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Is. 40:31 (KJV)
My grandmother would have been 104 years old today. Born on April 11, 1911, Maggie Aline left her life on earth in August, 1995. Better known as Big Mama to her grandchildren, she was beautiful, feisty, and determined. Although her last days were spent in a nursing home and her body had exhausted its strength, there remained a spark in her eyes until she took her last breath. She lived. She loved. She died. And now she’s living it up with Jesus.
I recently ordered a new wallet which arrived yesterday. As I sorted through the various items in the old wallet preparing to transition them to the new one, I ran across a piece of paper that I have carried around for years. As I smoothed out the wrinkles and began to read the words, my mind turned to Big Mama and I thought, “She was like this. She left this kind of legacy for me. I wonder if I’m living out – right now – that kind of legacy for my children.” Here are the words:
The Proverbs 31 Woman is:
- Constant in her love
- Willing to do hard work
- Willing to work long hours
- Willing to do monotonous work
- Prepared for the future
- A good seamstress
- Married to a leader
- An entrepreneur
- Not swayed by circumstances
- Wise and kind
- Blessed by her family
- Not satisfied with the mediocre
- A woman of God
- A woman of means
- A woman of great skill and ability
- Dedicated to her home
- Clothed with strength and dignity
Taken directly from Proverbs 31 in the Bible, these qualities define the type of woman who God desires for each of His daughters. And, although my grandmother did not exemplify every single one of these traits, I know that she aspired to become a Proverbs 31 woman. I witnessed her as she pressed toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, as described in Philippians 3.
My grandmother created a legacy. Was she perfect? No way. Did she live – and leave – a legacy for her children, grandchildren and generations to come? Absolutely. And for that, I am forever grateful.
I want to create, live out, and leave behind a Proverbs 31 legacy for my children. Won’t you join me in creating, living and leaving your own legacy? Together, we can make a difference for generations to come.