A Lasting Legacy

It’s been six months since I turned thirty. I feel like now that things have settled into a new normal after welcoming our third baby in the spring, I can actually think about what that means to me. I’m no longer just out of high school. I’m not even just out of college. My twenties were marked by a lot of steep learning curves in every way. At age 20 I was a sophomore in college worried about making it through Organic Chemistry, and 10 years later I am married with three children and worried about my four year old’s asthma. We bought a minivan this spring after the baby was born, and there are times when I will be driving down the road and think, “Am I old enough to have a minivan full of kids?” “Who let me have a minivan full of kids?” Haha. A lot has happened in the last 10 years complete with re-routed dreams, suffering, wrestling with identity, discovery of new dreams, getting married, having babies, and learning, learning, learning through it all.

I have been struck with a thought recently, not just about everything that I am leaving behind as far as experiences and lessons learned in my twenties, but about what I am pushing toward going into my thirties and beyond. Within the last few weeks I have attended a funeral and heard of the passing of several other beloved people from our community or church family. People from my grandparents’ generation continue to leave us as time marches on and we all move up in line. This picture of being in line so to speak came to me after the funeral. Before you are like, “Oh my goodness Sophia! You are so morbid!” hear me out. I don’t mean that we are all just marching along toward death, but as we continue to mature and get older, it is important that we take our place, not just in society, but also in our generation and in the body of Christ.

The funeral I attended recently was for a dear high school teacher. She was a beautiful, spunky woman who loved big. She loved God, her family and students. What stood out to me from her funeral and her life was that she was a woman who was intentional about leaving a legacy of faith for the next generation. She had the future and heaven in mind. My grandparents and others I have known were the same.

So now what? It’s my turn. It’s my turn to take the legacy of faith left to me by these followers of Jesus and those who went before them and pass it on. I feel like I am moving up or being promoted. What an honor. I want to take my place as a thirty year old having graduated from one decade and being welcomed into another. I don’t have to pretend to be as mature as I hope to be at 40 and 50, and I don’t have to bemoan not being 20. I want to look ahead to the future and toward heaven by looking behind me at my children and their generation. I may not have a million dollars to leave them, but I have my eyes on an inheritance worth far more than that, that will never tarnish or fade.

What does it look like for me to take steps in building that legacy this year? It looks like me seeking Jesus like the great treasure He is, loving big even when no one is looking, being wholehearted and fully present in what I give my time to, being willing to be vulnerable by sharing my process, taking faith filled risks, and not letting fear be the loudest voice. I want my children and their generation to be able to say of me the same things they did about my high school homeroom and English teacher, that I lived with gusto and passion for Jesus and loved people well. I want to be a good example having learned from some of the best. I am looking forward to all that I will continue to learn on the path. Cheers! to being thirty… and a half.

—Sophia Howard