This afternoon Jamie and I made halupkis for dinner. For those of you who don’t live in my neck of the woods, a halupki is a traditional Czechoslovakian/Polish meal of meat wrapped in cabbage and cooked in tomato sauce. Since my grandmother was a Czech immigrant, it was a family tradition at our house. It’s also a lot of work to make!
As Jamie and I were working together, delicately wrapping and sealing each individual halupki in cabbage, my mind wandered toward my Mom and grandma and all of the hours that they spent doing this same task. I wondered, "What they were thinking about when they made this meal? What were they concerned about? What was going on in their lives?" I remembered hearing them mention what a labor of love this meal was to make because of all the time that it took. I also remembered why they put forth the effort—-because it was part of a tradition—-a family recipe passed down from generation to generation. A legacy of good food. (Because trust me when I say, the women in my family were REALLY good cooks.). As I was pondering the heritage of the halupki in our family, I started thinking about legacy—-all the things that are passed down to us from our Moms. Yes, I am very blessed to have an entire recipe box filled with recipes that my Mom copied over for me. Although I’m grateful for this, I must admit that this is really a minuscule part of the real legacy that she truly gave Jamie and I. When I think of the legacy that she left us, the first thing that comes to my mind is her love for Jesus. She loved Jesus with all of her heart and she taught Jamie and I to do the same. She passed on to us a love for God’s Word and a desire to learn it and live by it. When I think of legacy, I think of the attitudes our Mom passed onto us: -a love of life -the ability to laugh and have fun -a devotion to family and loving the people in our lives . My Mom taught us that nothing was more important than following Jesus—-and that whatever it took, the greatest rewards in life came from the things we give to His kingdom. Of course, one of the biggest legacies that she left us was the ability to look at life through the eyes of faith. Honestly, when I look back on her life, I am still amazed at her ability to trust God, to believe that He had a purpose and a plan for our lives, and to follow Him in obedience even when it looked completely nuts. I don’t know what gave her the motivation to live this way except that she was simply passionate in her love for Jesus. The funny thing is that now I see Jamie and I following directly in her footsteps—-taking crazy leaps of faith just because we know it’s God’s will—-even when it doesn’t make complete sense. Why do we do it? Because it’s who we are, it’s what we do.
As much as it’s a legacy to take the time to cook and eat traditional Czech food, it’s a part of us to follow God in faith. It’s our legacy passed down from one generation to another. I’ve been thinking about this a lot this Spring, as Jamie and I are once again taking a major leap of faith and following God’s lead into the major construction project of creating office space. Whenever I start to doubt or feel afraid that God won’t provide for this project, I remember my Mom and all of the times that she followed God in faith believing that He had a plan and a purpose even when NO ONE could see it. I remember all of the times that He came through for her and the miracles she, and we, have seen in our lives. This legacy helps me keep moving forward knowing that there is no safer place than following God’s plan (even when it feels like we’re jumping off a cliff.) One of the memories that is flooding my mind through this process is that it was always my Mom’s deepest dream that our home would be used as a place of ministry. She wanted it to be a place where people were reached for Jesus, because to her, that was the most important thing in the world. Although she went to Heaven before that part of God’s plan was actually fulfilled in our lives, I am always amazed as I see God fulfilling yet another part of the her vision. That’s the legacy Jamie and I inherited and are proud to carry on. So today, while I’m wrapping halupkis, I’m feeling sentimental.
I’m thinking about the legacy of food, but even more the legacy of faith that I’ve been given. Honestly, I couldn’t be more grateful and I couldn’t be prouder of the heritage that I was given by a Mom who loved Jesus, loved her family, and was passionate about living out the love she had for both. This Mother’s Day, this is what I will be celebrating: The blessing of a legacy of faith. If you’re a mom reading this, I want to encourage you to leave the same legacy to your children. It really is the best thing you can ever give them. Teach them to love Jesus. Train them to live by His Word. Help them understand the truth that this is no greater adventure than finding their passion, place and purpose in God’s kingdom and living that purpose every day. Live a life of faith in front of them so that when the are presented with challenges in the future they will know that God can be trusted, that He is faithful, and that His plans are always the best path for their lives. As someone who inherited this legacy I can tell you, there is no greater gift you can give them. Also, leave them your recipes!!! And lots and lots of photos and family jokes---because these things are SO important. Give them the best you have to offer—your love for them a life lived well for Jesus.
Happy Mother’s Day!