Happy Birthday!–The Legacy We Live

Whose birthday is today? For all of those out there celebrating (or not), I’d like to sing The Beatles Birthday Song (click the song title for the tune). Hum along with me…

You say it’s your birthday
It’s my birthday too yeah
They say it’s your birthday
We’re gonna have a good time
I’m glad it’s your birthday
Happy birthday to you!

Happy Birthday to you!

This weekend I’ll be in Nashville celebrating my grandmother Bubba’s 101st birthday. Now that’s a milestone worth celebrating! Bubba is hilarious and it only takes a few minutes in conversation to start loving her. Many people have now adopted her to be their unofficial grandmother. Bubba still lives in the house that she and my grandfather built over 70 years ago. She struggles with a century-old body that doesn’t like to cooperate, but mentally she’s as sharp as ever. And oh, how I love to hear her laugh!

Bubba tells vivid stories about when she was growing up. Trying to stay warm by the old potbelly stove in their one-room school house. Covert operations with her brothers to heist the neighbor’s watermelons on hot summer days. Catching minnows in the creek and eating them like sardines. Things kids did before TV’s, computers and iPods. Yes, the world has changed a lot in the last 101 years. What amazes me is that not only has Bubba seen it all, she remembers it!

But what’s makes Bubba truly special is the way she has loved and helped others throughout her entire 101 years. Her mom and baby brother died when Bubba was seven, and Bubba was left to raise four younger brothers, and later two other siblings, as her father went to work on the farm.  She poured her life into them and the families they eventually raised. Her house was always a safe place where anyone was welcome. It became the gathering place for family and “like family”. Her life––her story––is now her legacy handed down through two daughters, six grandkids, nine great grandkids, and one great great grandchild.

Bubba is the only grandparent I’ve known in my adult years. The time we’ve shared together has been an incredible blessing to me. Bubba is a quiet woman of strength and perseverance, even in the toughest of times. She never gave up. She never gave in. She never let the unfairness of life deter her resolve to love her family and make life fun, even without money to spend. She loved. She laughed. She stood firm in the storms of life. She was the glue that held our family together as we spread out across the country.

So today I want to honor you, Bubba, as we prepare to celebrate your 101 years. You shared your love and kindness to everyone you came across. You opened your home to many. You’ve walked 101 years in shoes that few can understand, and no one will ever be able to fill. And through it all, you have instilled in us the importance of family and close friends.

Bubs, it takes a strong woman to make it to 101. I doubt that my race will last that long, but I’m following in your footsteps.

Here’s to you, and your legacy of love.

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” John 15:12

May I pray?

Dear Jesus, we don’t often think about what kind of legacy we want to leave when our time on earth comes to an end. So today, please help us to think more in terms of the legacy we’re living day by day, not the legacy we’ll leave sometime in the future. And Lord, I ask that you would heal the brokenness in our families. Help us find the courage and strength to honor our parents and grandparents, even if they have said or done things that hurt us. May we learn to love others and give freely to them as we follow in Your footsteps. Amen.

Q4U: Who would you like to honor today and why? And if today is your birthday, please let us know!

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