What will be the legacy you leave to your children? What will they remember you for? What of you will they take and incorporate into their lives? And if you don’t have children, what will your relatives or friends take from your life to apply to theirs?
Today, I was convicted down to my core. I was asking God about what generational curses I have. He answered my question with a question. “What generational blessings do you have?”
As I began thinking I believe the Holy Spirit gave me a word that summed up the blessing of the lives of the mothers on whose shoulders I now stand.
As the oldest grandchild, I was privileged to have had four great grandparents alive when I was born. However, the one I knew best was my great-grandmother, Mary Jane White, whom we called Mam,maw.
The picture embedded in my mind of her is walking into her house in Yates. We’d come through the front room to the dining room. We’d open the door and see her reflection in the mirror of the buffet. She’d be sitting at the dining room table reading her big black Bible. She would be so absorbed in the Word of God she wouldn’t even hear us until we came in the room.
Her life showed she had incorporated His Word into her life of faith, living submitted in mind and will to her Master.
My word for her is faith and it is a foundational blessing I stand on today.
“If you loved me half as much as I love you, it would be enough.” My grandma, Maydene Carr, used to say to me every time I’d visit her. It was her answer when I’d say, “Grandma, I love you.”
It’s one of those sayings a child has to ponder to get. I always knew if no one else in the world loved me, grandma did. She supported everything I did, encouraged me, prayed for me and taught me how to love Jesus.
Her love was one of action, serving, caring, hugging and comforting. There was nothing like snuggling up next to grandma on a cold night. It was a place of ultimate peace and love.
My word for her is love and it also is a foundational blessing I stand on today.
I viewed my mother, Donna Shields, as a weak woman for most of my growing up years. God reminded me today of the strength it took her to battle her emotional illness. It was only through His strength that she was able to do that.
When you have a weakness that seems to zap every ounce of strength, what can you do? My mother, after a speaker gave her a word of healing, began a difficult journey of matching her life to the Word of God. The speaker told her she had been trying to find excuses in the Bible to be able to do want she wanted. She had to reverse that to claim her healing.
I never wanted to be like her when I was a child. However, when I became an adult and realized food addiction was my weakness, I understood I could overcome it by God’s strength because I had seen my mother overcome.
I was 19 when this happened. I saw her battle her way to sanity clinging on to God for strength and hope.
My word for my mother is strength and it definitely is a foundational blessing I stand on today.
I never understand the power and beauty of grace until I pulled together the pieces of my story and began to write. Along the way, I began to see clearly that it is because of God’s grace that I am alive today.
“We have forgiveness for our failures based on his overflowing grace, which he poured over us with wisdom and understanding.”1
God knew I had a lot of failures and needed a boatload of grace and mercy to turn my life around. But I also know beyond a shadow of a doubt how much I stand on the generational blessings of my mothers.
It took faith to step out and do what I felt God was telling me to do. Perfect love drives out fear.2 And although my grandmother’s love wasn’t perfect, she mirrored God’s love for me in many ways. And of course, I could not have lost 260 pounds without the strength my mother showed me comes only from God.
My word for myself is grace. It is a foundational blessing my daughter stands on today.
My daughter, Jenny Church, is the oldest daughter of the oldest daughter (me) of the oldest daughter (my mother) of the oldest daughter (my grandmother). And she is the first of us all to go overseas on a trip, but also to live overseas.
She lives her life with joyful abandon, going where none of her maternal ancestors have gone before. She did it not in fear, but in excitement and a sense of adventure.
Scripture is clear about God’s blessings. The failures of the parents are laid on children to the third and fourth generations. However, that same passage also says, “But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.”3
I feel privileged to have Jenny in my life and to understand that she stands on my shoulders as I stand on my mother’s and my grandmother’s and my great grandmother.
My word for Jenny is freedom. It is a foundational blessing all of our future generations will stand on.
I am sure there are many other blessings operating in our family line, but today God reminded me of these tangible ones that I have seen and been a part. However, there is one more.
My daughter recently got married. She and her husband are back in Japan and don’t have any plans of starting a family for a while, but they do plan to do that one day.
It is for the future that hope is strong. Can you imagine what a woman could accomplish with the blessings of faith, love, strength, grace and freedom on her side?
She could change the world. Just as I could. Just as Jenny could. Just as you can.
All of us who have accepted Christ have the greatest generational blessing, than of the Holy Spirit.4
We are not cursed. We are blessed. With the Holy Spirit on our side, we can not fail.
My word for all of you reading this today is hope. It is a foundational blessing we stand on today.
1 Ephesians 1:7-8 Common English Bible
2 1 John 4:18 NIV
3 Deuteronomy 5:10 NLT
4 Galatians 3:15 NLT
Teresa Shields Parker is an author, speaker and coach. Her bookSweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds is the #1 Christian weight loss memoir on Amazon. Sweet Grace Study Guide gives practical tips on weight loss. Her new book, Sweet Change: True Stories of Transformation, published Dec. 2014, shares the stories of 17 individuals on the weight loss journey and includes much information from Teresa. Downloadable pdfs of all books are available under the products tab.
Sweet Change Weight Loss Coaching and Accountability Group provides support, encouragement, weekly videos, action steps and an online group for those wanting to be intentional about their weight loss efforts.
To request Teresa to speak at your event, please contact her here.