Blog Article

Looking Back & Pressing Forward

Written by Deb del Villar, Director of Communications

As another year comes to a close, it has become a habit to look back over the year. As you assess and reminisce, many memories both good and bad may come flooding in.

They may have been hardships where health scares became health realities, financial woes grew deeper, and the number of empty chairs around the holiday table increased. These realities cause us to think deeply and longingly about the past.

Yet as we look back, may we not forget to look forward with great anticipation and hope. In fact, may we press forward with eagerness – a sense of urgency – to make this next year count!

This article will walk you through an exercise to assess what’s in your life. I challenge you to think through each point and then make a plan to press forward!

What are the things you need to store, give away, or throw away as an act of intentionally building your legacy of faith?

Things to Store

First off, the things you need to store may not be physical items at all. Think about those memories that you never want to forget. How can the memories be stored so they are preserved for those who follow?

Scrapbooking, journaling, and writing out your family story are great ways. Legacy Coalition also has a way to capture those highlights of 2023 in one place. Learn more about our new product, the Legacy Planner, and purchase it here!

Of course, there may be physical items you want to store, too.

Nativity sets are something I have collected for years. As I unpack them each year, a flood of wonderful Christmas memories comes cascading into my mind. There are certain ones that each grandchild seems drawn to, and I will mark the set with the appropriate grandchild’s name. The idea is to give them a nativity set when they are on their own. Certain furniture pieces have been designated the same way.

What are some items you can store or have stored away that could be passed on to your grandchildren? Do they know the stories that accompany the items?

Let’s not forget those spiritual truths you want to store up in your heart. Memorizing scripture is a great activity to keep our minds active and attentive. It is also a great family activity. Challenge your grandchildren to memorize a scripture passage with you. Have them quiz you to see how you are doing.

Consider doing a devotional with your grandchildren. Choose an age-appropriate devotional and meet to discuss what you are learning. This is great because it can be done in person or online.

What will you store up this year in your heart and in your grandchildren’s hearts?

Things to Give Away

This is a great time to clean out those closets and open those abandoned boxes in storage. From clothes to household items, these could benefit your family or others.

Several years ago, I split my china set in half, giving each granddaughter enough for an eight-piece setting. In our downsizing, we did not have room to display or store it. They were both thrilled and have even used it on occasion for a family special meal. Many a family holiday meal was shared on these plates and will be in the future.

God also calls on us to share the gospel – to give it away to everyone everywhere.

First, start with your own family. Have you shared how you came to faith with your family? Be willing to be vulnerable as you reveal your faith journey. Believing in Christ for salvation is just the beginning. There is so much more believing that occurs as you journey through life, trusting and depending on Him every step along the way. Do not hold back from sharing how God has been sovereign, good, and faithful through it all.

Give away your unconditional love too! Many years ago I was told that John 3:16 was translated in an African tribe as “God loved us plenty too much…” Do your grandchildren know that you love them plenty too much? Think of ways you can demonstrate that kind of love to them.

Things to Throw Away

Are there past words, deeds, and emotions that are keeping you from pressing forward? It is much easier to say than to do, but maybe it is time to forgive and move on.

May 2023 be the year that you eliminate these issues from your present and leave them in the past. Discard them so your present and future will not be cluttered leaving you tripping and stumbling over them at every turn.

Allow God to do the healing in your heart and soul, whether that forgiveness is for you or another. You can teach your grandchildren to do the same.

Help your grandchildren throw away ideas of the world when they are contrary to God’s Word.

A good passage to teach is Romans 12:2. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

New Things to Add?

Have the attitude of Philips Brooks who said, “The only way to get rid of your past is to make a future out of it. God will waste nothing.” Think about your past and prayerfully and humbly ask God to make something new from it.

Maybe you need to add extra hope. Lamentations 3:22-23 says, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

God is sovereign, good, and faithful.  Because we can trust God’s heart of unfailing love, His authority as all powerful, and His actions as always good; we can rest and have peace. May we add this to our attitude each day so that our grandchildren know they too can have hope- all because of God!

Add more urgency of being intentional. There is no telling what truths will be attacked with the hope of modernizing them, in the future. The changes already occurring are mind-boggling and beyond what many thought possible in our lifetimes. However, we can help prepare them by arming them with the truth of God.

Add greater confidence in God and His Word. Show examples from the Bible where God said something was going to happen and it did! Christmas is a great example of this. So many parts of the Christmas story show that God’s Word can be trusted. Teach them that what He said has already happened, is happening, or will happen. They can count on it! It is as good as done, complete! God is faithful to keep His Word.

Add a deeper love for Scripture. May your 2023 reflect this quote from Thomas Merton:

“By reading the scriptures I am so renewed that all nature seems renewed around me and with me. The sky seems to be a pure, a cooler blue, the trees a deeper green. The whole world is charged with the glory of God and I feel fire and music under my feet.”

Conclusion

As you enter 2023, do you need to store, give away, or throw away?

Let’s live out 2023 with purpose, pressing forward with a sense of urgency so our grandchildren and their grandchildren will follow Christ.

2 thoughts on “Looking Back & Pressing Forward”

  1. Very timely article and challenge. I want to share this with some of my other grandparenting friends.
    Blessed 2023.

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