14 July 2015

Of My Legacy

At the beginning of the year a sweet friend asked if I would join her in memorizing Scripture*. Always being an item on my wish list, but lacking the accountability to follow through, I accepted. As we thought upon what it was we'd like to memorize, God led me to Colossians 3. And I almost feel as though I should apologize to her, because He has been speaking to me so much through this dedicated time of committing His Word to my heart that I'm beginning to wonder if this passage was meant specifically for me and my poor friend is just along for the ride (though, given His promise that His Word does not return to Him void, I'm almost positive He's reaching her through these words, as well).

The two of us took off at a sprint in our endeavor before we realized we have crazy lives and maybe we needed to turn things down a notch. Slow and steady and all. So, it was around April that I reached verse 8: "But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander and obscene talk from your mouth." And back then, they were just words to memorize. I was on a mission, I had an item to check off my list: memorize Colossians 3. Because, you know, it's good to have Scripture to call upon when needed. But, it's not like I need it now.

Oh, dear, sweet Angela.

Now, anyone who has read my words for any length of time might recognize, maybe, that I've had a problem putting away these things labeled above. Anger? Pretty sure I lashed out at my kids just this morning. Wrath? See item A. Slander? Was that me judging others as I gossiped with my husband just the other day? Do you see what I'm saying?

This is my struggle, defined perfectly clearly right here in this Scripture. And, to be fair, I come by it honestly. My ability to lash out verbally, in great force, and with astounding volume, is my grandest inheritance. I gained it from my father and his father before him (and his father before him, so I've heard). It feels an impossibility to overcome such an ingrained family trait, though I have fought over and over to weed it out.

I pondered this genetic code of anger just last evening, while I sat at my sewing table, mindlessly stitching, Spotify playing in the background, when I heard words that pierced me to my soul: 

"You didn't ask for this
Nobody ever would
Caught in the middle of this dysfunction
It's your sad reality
It's your messed up family tree
And all you're left with, all these questions

Are you gonna be like your father was and his father was?
Do you have to carry what they've handed down?

No, this is not your legacy
This is not your destiny
Yesterday does not define you
No, this is not your legacy
This is not your meant to be
I can break the chains that bind you"

And right there, he answered the very question of my soul: Can I change this legacy? 

The answer: I am a child of the King. That is my legacy. This anger, wrath, malice, slander, obscene talk from my mouth - this is not a part of me. For I have died and my life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is my life, appears, I, also, will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:3-4). This is the family tree into which I was grafted the day I accepted Christ.

And the most beautiful part of this passage is that it doesn't just tell us what not to be - what to weed out, leaving merely an empty patch of fallowed ground - it then comes in and tells us what we should be. "Put on, then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience" (Colossians 3:12). Oh, that I could parent like that. That I could be a friend like that, a wife, a daughter.

That I could be one who is known for compassion, kindness, patience. This is my heart's greatest desire.

And then we move to verse 14: "And above all these, put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony." 


The beautiful ribbon that ties all these characteristics into one beautiful package. Were I to only begin each day, each moment, each opening of my mouth, with the decision to love. 

I'm breathing deeply in pure, sweet relief as I type these words. 

He has chosen me. And I am choosing love.

He is not finished with me yet.

*On a side note, I highly recommend ScriptureTyper.com, and its accompanying app, for Scripture Memory. It has really accelerated things for me in the past few weeks as I've started using the app each morning.

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