Tuesday, January 7, 2014

It's Not About You... Except When it is

Jen here. Being friends with a writer can be scary. Getting on their bad side... You may have heard the following:

furiouslytypingrevenge"Don't make a writer mad. They might put you in their book then slowly kill you."

Friends, don't think you're safe just because I don't write suspense. ;) Know you're safe because I'm a believer in Christ who'd rather love and unite than plot revenge.

But that doesn't mean I won't place you in a story, at least, a part of you. Similarly, just because you can deeply relate to a character doesn't mean I wrote about you.

Unless you're Mrs. Eldridge, Ainsley Meadows' mentor (from my debut  novel) and my former third grade teacher. Then yes, I created this character in honor of you and the impact you had on my life.

It's funny, it's been three decades since I've seen this woman, and honestly, I don't remember a word she said. I don't remember the lessons she taught or the homework assigned. But I do remember her gentle smiles and the love she showed me, day in and day out. She left a lasting impression, enough of an impression that her influence extended well beyond my life and into Ainsley's.

I thought of Mrs. Eldridge this morning, as I read Genesis 15. After a long and frightening journey (Gen. 12-14), Abram arrived in Canaan and pitched his tent. Now that Abram's there in the land God promised, God reassures him of His protection and blessing.

How does Abram respond?

"But Abram replied, 'O Sovereign Lord, what good are all Your blessings when I don't even have a son? Since You've given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherent all my wealth'" (Genesis 15:2 NLT).

Leaving a legacy, passing on your belongings to one who would continue your family line and carry on your name, was very important in biblical times. Because somehow, the patriarchs understood how temporal material things truly are. They worked too hard to see their earnings fritter away once they died.

They wanted to make a lasting impact, one that would continue for generations.

Isn't that what we all long for? But how do we do that? How do we become part of something bigger than ourselves? How do we make a positive, lasting impact, like the one Mrs. Eldridge had on me. And Ainsley?

Through love, my friend. Engaged, involved, consistent, intentional, and focused love.

Engaged. May we take truly listen when others speak.

Involved. May we carve time from our busy schedule to form and build relationships.

Consistent. May we persevere, even when things get hard or progress isn't seen.

Intentional. May we prayerful ask for God's guidance.

GrandmaandAshFocused. Reaching out to the masses is great, but I believe real change occurs through close and ever-growing relationships.

Let's talk about this! What can you do today to create a legacy of love, to leave a lasting impact? Join the conversation! I guarantee, someone will be encouraged by your journey, AND you'll be entered into the drawing for our lovely gift-basket give-away filled with:

Laughing With Lilly and Second Chance by Eileen Rife;Unconditional by Tanya Eavenson;  In the Shadow of Sinai by Carole Towriss; Yesterday’s Promise, Jewels of the Kingdom and A Cowboy’s Christmas and two beautiful jewelry pieces by Deliah Latham Sweet Freedom With a Slice of Peach Cobbler by numerous authors, Heaven’s Prey by Janet Sketchley; and Enemy in the RoomTen Lies, Ten TruthsOn the Edge, andThe President by Parker Hudson.

Engage regularly and receive multiple entries, one for each comment. :)

13 comments:

  1. What can you do today to create a legacy of love, to leave a lasting impact?

    My mom and dad (in their mid-80's) live with my husband and I. My mom has dementia and is now under the care of hospice with little time left due to cancer. Her aide is coming today to give her a shower and then it's "Patti's Beauty Shop" time. My mom has always been one of those women that had a hair appointment every week. Although she goes in and out of lucidity, it seems like when I'm setting her hair she is alert and we have the most wonderful talks ... moments I will cherish always. She really enjoys the pampering but I'm the one that is blessed, having the opportunity to continue learning from her savoring all the precious moments we have left.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Beautiful post, Jennifer! I love your breakdown of ways to love. What can I do today to create a legacy of love? Hmmm...so many possibilities! There's an entire, hurting world out there, longing for someone to show them a little love - "engaged, involved, consistent, intentional, and focused love." :) Well, for today, I believe I should do something I'm not fond of - make a phone call. (Anyone who knows me knows I detest being on the phone.) I have a loved one who is going through a very tough time. I can't actually get to her, since she lives about an hour away from me. But I can give her a hug over the phone; I can listen while she shares her heartache; I can pray with her; I can LOVE her.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks, Delia, and what a lovely friend you are! Those encouraging calls can sure mean the world to one who's hurting or struggling! I need to be more intentional about connecting with distant friends and loved ones by phone!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh, Patti, what a blessing you must be to your parents! Such a sweet way to show your love, and I love that you gave your time together such a fun name! And that you cater your expression of love to the uniqueness of your mother's heart. I imagine this new journey can be very painful, but it sounds as if you are grabbing hold of every ray of sun that comes your way.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you for sharing you thoughts. I'm an aspiring writer and this has been very illustrating in the way you write and there are many things I can use in my own writings.
    The way you describe your teacher is very lovely. I wish to be able to be a person like her some day.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi, Joanna! I'm so glad you stopped by and joined the conversation! I'm glad you found today's post inspiring and helpful. :) What genre do you write?

    Mrs. Eldridge was a great teacher and person. I wonder how many teachers realize how much they impact their students. Considering all the lives changed and dreams launched in our school classrooms, I wish our teachers were paid much more than they are! But I do know God sees every smile, hug, and carefully planned assignment they give, and everything done in obedinece to him will be rewarded.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great post, Jennifer!

    In this season of life, my greatest contribution, I believe, is in the lives of my grandchildren. Since my husband and I get to play Bed & Breakfast for our missionary children over the next couple years, I have an even greater opportunity to instill biblical values in the hearts and minds of the little ones. But it also cuts both ways. The little ones lead me as well. Lately, grandson Gabriel (3) pulls me aside each morning to reenact the David/Goliath story. "Who will come out and fight me?" he roars, holding his sword and shield. "I will!" I counter, then charge toward him twirling my sling (sock :). "I come to you in the name of the Lord, the God of Israel, who will this day deliver you into my hand." The rest is history, and so is big, ole Goliath. Gabriel jumps up and says, "Let's do it again, Grandma!" Lesson: God uses the simple, foolish things of the world to confound the strong and wise. So, if you're feeling weak and inadequate today, take heart. God can use your simple sling and few stones to conquer the enemy! Just give Him what you have and watch Him do extraordinary things!

    ReplyDelete
  8. […] Please note, she’s giving away a copy of Shadowed by Grace to one of you, randomly selected from the comments below. Also, don’t forget about Faith-Filled Friends’ month long give-away. If you haven’t been over there in a while, now might be a good time. Tuesday, I talked about some of my friends’ greatest fears–finding themselves in my novels. ha! You can read this fun yet thought-provoking post here. […]

    ReplyDelete
  9. That is so incredibly beautiful! I'm very blessed our daughter has wonderful, involved grandparents. There are many times, when my daughter's struggling, I'll call my mom and say, "Would you mind shooting Ash some texts today, get her giggling, maybe pray with her? She's having a tough time with..." Because I realize, there are times when momma's hugs or words aren't enough. And amen!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wonderful post, Jennifer! The legacy I leave is my children. I pray that when they're older they will not depart from following after Christ. Then when they have a family, they will teach their children about the Lord.

    I'm also reminded that the greatest legacy we can leave is by sharing the Gospel with others, it isn't our legacy, but Christ's. For His word will never come back void.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Was it Maya Angelou who said, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”? Mrs. Eldridge seems to be a perfect example of that. You are so right. Real growth happens through relationships, one connection at a time. How many opportunities do we miss throughout our busy days? Thanks for reminding me to slow down, to be "engaged, involved, consistent, intentional, and focused." Beautiful post, Jennifer!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Love that quote! And thanks for reminding me of my reminder today. :) It's so easy to slip in the busy, to-do list mode! So glad God is never too busy for us!

    ReplyDelete