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How You Can Influence Your Great, Great, Great Grandchildren, with Jani Ortlund
The things you do today could impact your great, great grandchildren! Consider your spiritual legacy with guest Jani Ortlund on Grounded.
Connect with Jani
Portia Collins: What will you or your family say about you fifty years from now? How about 150 years from now? You're watching Grounded. I'm Portia Collins.
Dannah Gresh: I am Dannah Gresh. As usual, we're here to give you your weekly infusion of help and perspective. And today, we're challenging you to just squint those little eyeballs of yours and try to look way into the future. Past your own generation, past your kids, if you have them, your grandkids, even your great-grandkids, and ask yourself, what …
The things you do today could impact your great, great grandchildren! Consider your spiritual legacy with guest Jani Ortlund on Grounded.
Connect with Jani
Portia Collins: What will you or your family say about you fifty years from now? How about 150 years from now? You're watching Grounded. I'm Portia Collins.
Dannah Gresh: I am Dannah Gresh. As usual, we're here to give you your weekly infusion of help and perspective. And today, we're challenging you to just squint those little eyeballs of yours and try to look way into the future. Past your own generation, past your kids, if you have them, your grandkids, even your great-grandkids, and ask yourself, what do I want my spiritual legacy to be?
Erin Davis: I know, I know the answer. I always say this, and I mean it. I want my tombstone to say, “She made the best chocolate chip cookies in the world.”
Dannah: Oh, okay. So, sidenote, it was national chocolate chip cookie week last week. I hope you had one. If you didn’t, today's the day to make up.
Erin: I missed it.
Dannah: Oh, Erin Davis. I want to say that just a few months ago, I was sitting in Erin's kitchen eating one of those best chocolate chip cookies. And I will attest to the fact that they are exceptional.
Erin: They're tombstone worthy, I think, but that's not all I want on my tombstone. I've a big tomb because I also want it to say, “She loved her people exceptionally well. And she loved Jesus and His Word with her whole heart.” That's it: cookies, love people, love Jesus. That's the legacy I'm building.
Portia: She's gonna need one of those tall tombstones
Erin: I’m going to need a mausoleum for all of that.
Dannah: Yeah, you know, I think as women write to me, women who read my books or hear my teaching, they tell me that I'm uniquely transparent.
Erin: Hmm. You are.
Dannah: And for a while, I was like, I want to be something else. I want to be super smart. You’re a deep theologian. But yeah, I think I'm gonna take it. I think I'm gonna take the transparency because Revelation says “they overcome by the blood of Jesus and the word of their testimony.” And I have testimony after testimony of how Jesus says He’s rescued me from myself.
Erin: I love that.
Dannah: So that fits on a tombstone. I think maybe I want that.
Erin: I’ll get with Bob and make sure that's on your tombstone, if you get with Jason and make sure that warm chocolate chip cookies are served at my visitation or funeral.
Dannah: You'll have to share that recipe though.
Erin: I will. Who's with us today?
Portia: Oh, let's do it.
Dannah: Who is with us today? Jani Ortlund is with us today.
Erin: Oh, man. Talk about legacy.
Dannah: Talk about legacy. Jani is the mother to four grown children. You probably know the name of one of them. I won't tell you who. But you might start rolling through your rolodex to see if you know. Fifteen grandchildren. Wow. She says it is possible to intentionally build a spiritual legacy that lasts to the tenth generation, and she's gonna show us how.
Erin: Oh man.
Portia: Amen. I'm super excited about that, and I'm super excited that Robyn McKelvy is back. You know she's got us all beat in the family size department. Okay.
Erin: Yeah, she does.
Portia: She and Ray currently have six but very soon to be seven grand boys. Oh, it's all boys guys. And she brings us a mother lode of wisdom every time she is on Grounded. So, get that notebook ready, get your pen in hand, you're going to want to take notes.
Erin: I don't have any Scripture to back this up, but I think maybe there's a special place in heaven for women like Robyn and I who are raising all boys or all grandboys. It's just a very quiet tranquil spot where no nerf darts fly.
Dannah: I gotta tell you, I'm gonna wholeheartedly agree with that. I had three boys under the age of four in my house for the weekend, and I'm still twitching, I’m twitching,
Erin: I get it. So, she's gonna bring us wisdom on how we can pass on some non-twitching lessons to those children in our lives. This is an episode that we call stacked. I mean, we've got a lot of guests. There are going to be heavy hitters, which we always try to do. But I'm confident this one's going to be one that you're going to be writing about how it impacted you in the comments.
So, we count on you to spread the word. Did you know that not everybody knows about the ministry of Grounded, not everybody knows they can turn on their YouTube or Facebook every Monday morning and get that infusion that we all need or listen to the podcast say it, you got to tell people so hit that like and share button. It really does make a difference. I say sometimes I go back to the episode and I see how many people watched and how many people share it. I don't get it. Why didn't they all share? It's all good stuff. So, I hit the button little guilt trip for your Monday morning. We're gonna say sir, of our good news here in a second. And, you know, just to gather do that, Dannah. Go ahead.
Dannah: You know, here's the thing. I can almost hear the single girls scrolling past this episode, saying, I don't have any kids. I don't have any grandkids. Do not do it. Stop right now. Don't jump. We don't want to jump the gun. But here's some good news. You don't have to have children or grandchildren to build a spiritual legacy. Michelle Hill is with us today. She's one of my favorite people at Revive Our Hearts and also our favorite single woman correspondent.She's here with good news. Take it away. My friend Michelle.
Good News: Spiritual Legacy (15:38)
Michelle Hill: Thank you, Dannah for that introduction. You know, Dannah said it right. You don't have to have children or grandchildren to build a spiritual legacy. And I'd have to say that every woman in every season can build a spiritual legacy, whether she's single or married, young or old.
You know, the woman who builds a spiritual legacy, she's built countless legacies into other women through her story and through her books and through her radio broadcast Gateway to Joy . . . I'm talking about Elisabeth Elliott. And in college, the resident assistant in our dorm has all read her book, Passion to Purity. A lot of women in my generation have read that book. It's the sweet story of Elisabeth and her first husband, Jim Elliot.
But it wasn't until I was working in Christian radio a few years later, when I came to see Elisabeth in a different light. I listened to her share about her love story with Jim. I heard her talk about his death, because he had been murdered by the Auca Indians in remote Ecuador. And we know we know those we know the Auca Indians today as the Huaorani. I heard her talk about going back to minister to the same people group that killed her husband. And this was when Elisabeth was a widow with a very small child.
So, let's go back to the radio station that I was working at when Gateway to Joy came on at 11 o'clock every day. It was during that time, I was in the newsroom, and I was preparing for the news. And day after day, I listened to Gateway to Joy. It was on the speakers in the station. I would try to turn the volume down because anyone who listened to Gateway to Joy can remember Elisabeth having at times a gravelly voice, and sometimes she was hard to listen to.
But during that time, they're in those 11 o'clock hours Monday through Friday, I was being changed. And pretty soon, it became my favorite hour of the day. I was listening to Elisabeth’s strong, unwavering trust in our God, and she didn't bend. Again, this is a lady who took her baby girl back to the remote area of Ecuador. It wasn't easy. It was very hard on her.
She eventually did marry again, but it was during her single years where I gleaned from. She had a grit. She had this grit that I don't know that I could ever come up with, that grit. But God had used her during those single years for some very hard, hard things. She talked about this unwavering trust in God, and it changed the way that I saw God. I truly learned through Elisabeth about the cross and about my sin and about my Savior who loved me so much.
I could relate to being in a remote circumstance. I was living in a small fishing village in Alaska at that time. It was remote, and I was very lonely. And through Elisabeth, I learned how to get out of myself. I started Bible studies with some area girls, some junior high girls, from the church and through the community. Then when I moved down to lower 48, and to Arkansas. I started more Bible studies with young girls with young high school girls. Some were in the community, some were from my church, sometimes I would have four or five girls on a Monday night, sometimes I'd have five or six girls for breakfast on a Wednesday morning.
As I poured into them, they poured into me. We'd memorize Scripture together, we'd read the Bible, we'd laugh, we’d talk, we’d have fun. Then through that time, I also was teaching Sunday school. As the girls started getting older, and maybe I wouldn't get younger girls anymore. God moved me into leading women in church. As I look back, I'm just in awe of what God did and what he started.
Last year, I was contacted by a young woman that I had mentored probably about five, eight years ago. She wanted me to know that she had started a group of younger women in high school, and I now have spiritual grandchildren. It is such an exciting thing. God used someone else in my life. He could have taken my life in a different direction. I could have gotten married; He could have done all kinds of different things. But He chose for me to be working in a small Christian radio station in Alaska, listening to Elisabeth Elliot, who spoke many words of wisdom, and I've been able to share those words of wisdom with so many other ladies. And so, I've just got to say, if you're single today, I want you to be encouraged because you don't have to be married to leave a rich legacy, and that's really good news.
Dannah: That is good news. It’s a great reminder for all of us that we are leaving spiritual legacies, right. We have spiritual children and spiritual grandchildren. Thank you, Michelle. That was beautiful.
Michelle: You're welcome. Thank you.
Grounded with Jani Orlund: Leaving a Legacy (21:22)
Dannah: Well, friends, it's time to get grounded with God's people. I'm so excited about this. Because if you want to see a family that's built a spiritual legacy, one that will inspire you to do the same, look no further. I've got just the one—the Ortlund family.
I actually discovered this gem of a clan way back in the 1980s. I was a teenage girl and reading a copy of my mom's book, Disciplines of a Beautiful Woman. It was written by a woman named Anne Ortlund, and she was the husband of Pastor Ray Ortlund. They may be familiar names to some of you. Together, they have produced some beautiful children and grands.Perhaps you've actually read the 2020 breakaway bestseller, Gentle and Lowly, authored by Dane Ortlund. Does that sound familiar? Well, that man is Anne’s grandson. Do I have your ear yet? Well, I'll tell you. I'll tell you what I do have. I have Dane’s mom on the line today. Jani Ortlund is with us to get grounded in God's people today. She's the vice president of Renewal Ministries, which was started by her in-laws, Ray and Anne Ortlund. Talk about legacy work for the kingdom. She is living it. Good morning, Jani.
Jani Ortlund: Good morning, Dannah. And good morning to all your listeners. Thank you for having me. It's wonderful to be here. I love it when you talk about any of our children. So just keep going.
Dannah: Well, I could do it because I really do love your family. And Jani, I've been more fruitful because of your family. And what another great example of what Michelle was talking about. I am a spiritual daughter or granddaughter, I'm not sure which, of Anne Ortlund. So maybe that kind-of makes me your sister.
Jani: Absolutely, absolutely. Or maybe my niece I think I'm a little older than you.
Dannah: Well, either way, teach us today about building a spiritual legacy. Why does it matter to you and your family so very much?
Jani: Oh, thank you. It matters so deeply to me. Because we're all leaving a legacy of one sort or another. Whether it's a spiritual legacy or not, we are leaving a legacy. We who know Jesus Christ had the privilege of leaving His legacy to those all around us. So, I'm so excited about this topic.
Dannah: Yeah, I think that it's from the very beginning. The Bible tells us be fruitful and multiply. And then in Deuteronomy, it says, when your kids are walking, standing, sitting, everything they're doing, plant the word of truth in their hearts, that is our responsibility. As moms and dads as grandmas, let's talk about the children first. Those that are our offspring, whether it is biologically or by adoption. What do parents need to do? What do they need to plant in their kids’ lives today to be bearing fruit, spiritual fruit in the future?
Jani: That is a really good question. It goes very deep. I want to speak, first of all, to those who are listening or thinking, Oh, that's just too huge for me to even begin thinking about. I want to say that, really, the Bible doesn't give us guarantees that if we behave A, B, C, live out this before our children, then the absolute promise result is what we want. There are no guarantees. No. So where does that leave us? As I think of it, as a grandmother, a mother, an aunt, a Sunday school teacher, a friend? Where does that leave me? It leaves me thinking about not guarantees, but investments. I can invest in it, as in any investment. Dannah, you know, I know our listeners know, all we can do is seek out God's wisdom, invest, and leave the results with Him. The best investment, I believe, and my husband Ray believes, and we learned this from Mom and Dad Ortlund, whom I'm so glad you learned from as well. The best investment we can leave is our own personal love of Jesus Christ, when those around us whether they be six months old, 16 of our kid at 46, whatever. The best investment we can give them is to show that no matter what, no matter what this life offers us, no matter what we are facing, we can get through it with joy and peace, through Jesus, He is the answer.
We want to make Him beautiful, enticing. We can do that in a lot of ways. I mean, we do need to teach the Word. But we can live it. We want our homes to be kind of a foretaste of heaven. Where our kids, if they love our homes, they'll be more likely to want to lean toward heaven and go that direction. We want our marriages, those of us who are married, to be an example of Jesus. We want to be in love with His Church, and His Bride, the Church passionately in love with Him and longing to serve Him beautifully so that the those around us can see our marriages, our homes. We can speak into that if you'd like.
Dannah: Well, you know, I think what you're saying is something that's near and dear to my heart is so much of what we need to teach in God's Word is better caught than taught, don't you think?
Jani: Yes. Oh, I really believe that. And that can be tricky, because I can talk better than I can control my actions.
Jani: It's always easy to say, “Hey, you do this.” But it's a little harder to say, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ.” I want that. I want that for my children, my grandchildren. I want them to have a visual, as well as an audible memory of me serving the Lord, loving the Lord in ways that are enticing to them.
Dannah: Yeah, me too. Me too. Now that gets really hard, because your children are great observers, but not always the best interpreters. So, on our bad days, they might misinterpret things. How important is it to slow down if we want to build a spiritual legacy, and ask for forgiveness, or say, “I'm sorry, I didn't get that right. Like when we blow the example, are not following Jesus on a certain day or in a certain situation, how important is it in our legacy leaving to stop and say didn't get it right?
Jani: Oh, I think that's so important. Because then through that, children can begin to understand their relationship to the Lord. When I can see myself as I really am, and I feel that little off, why did I say that? I lost my temper again. Or why didn't I do it this way? And we look that child or grandchild straight in the eye and say, “I am so sorry. This is what I did that was wrong.” And I know the Scripture says, where is it Dannah? Ephesians 5, I think it's verse 10. Try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. “I wasn't discerning what was pleasing to Jesus, I don't see his smile on what I just did, how I treated you. Will you please forgive me? Please forgive me. I want the Lord to forgive me. And I want you to forgive me.” That sets a pattern before a child of vulnerability, openness, no shame in admitting who we really are. We're all sinners saved by grace. I'm not any better than you are. We are. We're all in need of His forgiveness.
Dannah: Right? You know, I love what you're saying. Because if we do that, that's also modeling something that's really important, which is repentance? If we don't model that, how are they ever going to really be able to have an authentic relationship with Jesus? I've had the privilege through the years of mentoring a lot of teenage girls. And one of the things that gets in the way most of their relationship with mom, is this very thing. They don't come to her and say, “Hey, I messed that up. I yelled at you. I shouldn't have said this. This is how I should have handled that. “
And then when that girl messes up, whether it's lying to her mom or dad or doing something she shouldn't have done with a boyfriend or cheating on a test, she doesn't know, oh, I'm supposed to tell someone. And then she doesn't have the wisdom and the accountability that she needs to walk through that well.
Hey, I want to ask you a question about time. How much time does it take to invest in the next generation? My husband, Bob, has a special passion for this. Right before we became grandparents, just three years ago, he said Dannah, we need 10 hours a week in our schedule, somehow. That's what I want to set aside to invest. That's the word he uses, invest in the hearts and lives of our grandchildren.
So, coach me up. I'm only three years in. How much of a factor is time in grandchildren? Look at that beautiful picture of all your grandchildren. Remind us again, how many you have?
Jani: Fifteen. Two of them didn't make it into that picture yet, but it's from a few years ago. But we have 15 grandchildren. Time and investment is so important. All of our children live far away from us. We're in Nashville. Some are in London, California, the Chicago area—eight of our grandchildren live up near Chicago. So, we've had to make a commitment to invest in them. At least once a year, we go and visit each of our families.
Jani: It's different. It's different if they live near you. It sounds like your grandbaby is near you. Is that right? Ten hours a week?
Dannah: Fifteen minutes away. Well, he's thinking about all of the grandkids, when they're all here. It's gonna take some time is what he's thinking. But in our busy, get-it-done culture, we want to skip past that sometimes. We want to leave a legacy, but we don't necessarily want to invest the time as fun as those grandkids are. And what you're saying is that I imagine getting to all those different places around the country is quite a commitment.
Jani: A wonderful privilege. It really is a privilege.
Dannah: I love that.
Jani: God gave us those children and grandchildren. I'm the only maternal grandmother they will have.
Jani: And so, I really want to invest in them for Jesus's sake. Not for our sake, but for their sake and the sake of the kingdom on out into the future.
Dannah: Yeah, I love it. All right, the woman that's hearing this concept for the first time . . . Maybe she's a new believer or maybe she just has been the busy woman, the busy mom, the busy grandma. Where does she begin to build a spiritual legacy? What's her first step?
Jani: Meet with the Lord every day. Make sure that your own heart is right before the Lord. He will show you He promises. He always fulfills his promise. He will show you how to lead the life that he wants you to live. He'll guide you. He'll Shepherd you. He'll take care of all your needs.
So, meet with the Lord first. Lay your life before Him and say, “I want to leave a legacy. I've no idea how to do this; help me.” He loves to answer that prayer.
Dannah: Amen. What a good way to land our time together. Jani, what projects are you working on? Right now? I understand you're working on a book related to this topic? Does it have a title?
Jani: Oh my, Ray and I are working on a book together, our first coauthored book, Dannah.
Dannah: Oh, we'll pray for you.
Jani: Yeah. The working title is, To the Tenth Generation: Building a Legacy of Faith for Their Future.
Dannah: I love it. We're going to be looking for that.
Jani: Thank you, Dannah:
Dannah: Well, Jani, thank you for spending time with us this morning. And friend, if we've just whetted your appetite for Jani Ortlund, she is attending True Woman ’22 In Indianapolis with us next month. She's providing a breakout session on this very topic, building a spiritual legacy.
Now, our workshops, our breakout sessions are only available at the live event in Indianapolis, we won't be live streaming them. So, if you haven't already registered, you better do that today, if you want to hear Jani Ortlund and some of the other workshops that we'll have. With that I'm gonna hand the program over to our dearly beloved, the one, the only Robyn McKelvy for some practical ideas about how to serve those around us as we leave a legacy.
Be Imitators of Christ: Robyn McKelvy (35:50)
Robyn McKelvy: Well, thank you, Dannah. Wow. I am sitting here marveling at the Lord. When you guys told me the topic weeks ago, I started jotting some notes. As I hear Dannah talk to Jani, I'm marveling that the Lord has put together this entire videocast for today. And so, for me, the verse that I would use, and I've used it in different versions, I would do that because sometimes another version says exactly what you needed to say. And it's saying the same thing if you're in a good version, but I'm going to use three of them today. So, I'm going to begin with First Corinthians 11:1, it says, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”
To begin a spiritual legacy, you must start by modeling a spiritual legacy at home, where you live. When my children were younger, I would see them talking on the phone. They would have the same voice inflection, they would have the same idioms, they would have the same slang, as I would have when I talked on the phone. Your children are watching you. And they should be able to follow you in everything.
In the words that you say, in the encouragement you give, in the kindness you display, be their example of Christ. Those who live with you should be able to model and see the influence you have of your personal relationship with Christ, your husband, your children, and those that may be like roommates or your family members, even us single women should be able to follow, we should all be able to follow the example that we have as we follow Christ. Now, First Corinthians 11. ESV says, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”
Building a spiritual legacy is more than those that you disciple or attend church with those in your neighborhood. Those at the grocery stores, do you frequent girls who are mentoring or living life with you everywhere you go? Books should desire to imitate you and your love for the Lord. How are you sharing God's love with those that may not even know you? What does your face say? Is it pleasant? Or is it sour? What do your words say, are they encouraging? Are they kind? Or do you have sarcasm in everything that you say? Or how about put downs?
Everyone you meet should know something is different about you, the way you speak to others, even your words with your children, your loved ones, and your spouse should build them up. Even in correction, your words should have a tone of kindness, because God commands us to be kind one to another.
And then finally, 1 Corinthians 11, in the KJV says, “Be followers of be even as I also am of Christ.” Everyone should be able to follow you as you follow Christ. Ladies, you don't get a day off, because following Christ is who you are. Learn to ask for forgiveness when you misrepresent Him, and then learn to grant forgiveness when others misrepresent Him before you. You will not represent Christ perfectly.
I'm gonna say that again. You will not represent Christ perfectly. Yes, there will be times when you need correction or admonishing. But you cannot decide to put off or take off your relationship with Christ. It's who you are. When I was growing up, I would hear different people say things like this, I might have to put down or lay down my religion. And they would do that to tell a person off or to do something not Christ. Like, as you build your spiritual legacy, there should be no gaps. Being a follower of Christ should be ever present in your life every day, all day. And when you meet Him face to face, His words to you will be “well done thou good and faithful servant.”
Portia: Amen, amen, amen. Oh, so I need you to go ahead and unlock your door and get your couch ready, because I'm about to drive up and come to sit on the couch and hang out with you because I need this type of wisdom and just pouring into me. I'm so grateful for you, Robyn, I am really so grateful for you.
Robyn: Come on up. But today's laundry day, so we'll be folding clothes on the couch. As we talk.
Portia: Give me a couple of days. Let me know when you’re done with that.
Thank you so much, Robyn.
Well, guys, I am learning so much. But honestly, I am wondering how can I fit mentoring others into my life? All right. And guess what? Kelly Needham, my friend Kelly Needham says it's not as complicated as we sometimes make it. So, check out this short clip.
Video: Kelly Needham: Lifestyle Mentorship (41:37)
Kelly Needham: There are two women in my life in particular that have been really shaping. And what's interesting is neither one of them sat me down across from a table and went through a book with me. We didn't go through a curriculum or Bible study. It was really women that I watched their lives. And that's really shaped how I've thought about mentorship as well.
The first was a lady named Toni Peeler. She just passed away this past year, actually. She was a Sunday school teacher of mine from the time I was in ninth grade and through high school. I had so many questions. I was hungry. I wanted to know every answer there was to know about the Bible. She stayed after every Sunday school class and talked with me. She was late to service herself to stay and answer my questions and fuel that desire. That modeled for me; she was a kind gift of God.
As a graduation gift from high school, she bought me a very early edition of Logos software—one of the first ones that was out—just to send me off to college to dig in more on my own. When I think about her influence on my life, I don't think about even the specifics of what she taught me but seeing her love for the Word and her take the time to pour into me and then, of course, out of the corner of my eye, watching her interact with her own kids and her husband and friends in the church. That really ministered to me.
Another woman is a friend of mine named Crystal. She’s a mother of six and the contentedness of that woman is something that really shaped me—that contentedness to submit to her husband, to love her kids, to be okay to say no to things that she wasn't able to do.
Again, it was nothing that she did. She didn't teach me anything that was profound in words, but the way that she lived was shaping to how I wanted to live my own life. She modeled for me what I see a lot of in Titus 2. She didn't sit down and exegete the passage for me. But she walked it out in front of me and gave me some visuals for what that could look like in my own life. That's something that I won't forget. And now it's changed my own perspective on mentorship and discipleship.
My husband and I are the leaders of our college home group through our church. So, we have a lot of college students in and out of our life on a weekly basis, daily basis. They're very hungry spiritually. And the primary thing we get asked is to sit across the table with them and teach them. I think it's been really a grace that the women in my life that have been most influential were the ones that didn't do that, that lived with me that led me into their lives. And so that has now been something that I am excited that I have the opportunity to do when a girl will come and ask to be mentored.
And I even get the requests of what books should we study? What should we do? My response will be, “Well, would you like to come with me to the grocery store this Thursday, and you can help me with my kids. We can compare prices. We can talk while we're shopping.” Usually that's not what they want. And what's funny is that's not what I wanted, either. I was hungry to be taught the specific things, and instead, I was met with life. And that became something that I realized now is way more valuable to have that experience and to walk alongside. So, it's been really a neat privilege for us to work that out in our local church.
Leaving a Godly Legacy, Even When You Fail: Erin Davis (45:16)
Erin: If you miss this gold nugget from Robyn, let me remind you to write it down, which is that you don't get a day off from leaving a spiritual legacy because you don't get a day off from following Jesus. I love that approach.
Well, it's a big week on the Davis farm, because this weekend, we have something we look forward to all year, cousin camp. So, I have six nieces, I have two nephews do the math there, that’s eight. Then add in my four. They all converge. One week of year for cousin camp. Why do I do that? In fact, this morning, I thought, why am I doing cousin camp, because it is exhausting. We plan nonstop fun. They eat so many groceries as you can imagine. And there's an investment there.
But part of the reason I do that is because one of the women who's built a spiritual legacy into me is my Aunt Rhonda. When I was a kid, it was hanging out at her house. It was swimming in her backyard pool; it was doing fun things. But now that we're both adults, she is one of the first women I call when I need prayer. When I'm in a valley of some sort, her spiritual legacy of just letting me in her life and loving me has led to so much fruit in my life. And I hope camp means that someday those sweet nieces and nephews of mine will look to me as I look to Jesus. So, it's exciting to think about all of this. This is exciting to think about how what we do today can impact many generations.
But you know, my job here on Grounded is to shoot straight, to keep it real. It can also be really discouraging. What if you don't have a strong spiritual legacy in your family? What if your own parents weren't followers of Jesus? Or maybe worse, what if they claimed to be followers of Jesus, but they did more harm than good to help you see that God is a good Father?
One of my closest friends have has this amazing relationship with her parents. Her Mama is always praying for her sending Scripture to her, helping her clean out closets. And as that friend tells me about it, there's part of me that just feels like, “Ah, I don't have that.” I haven't had that.
Y'all know my mom is sick. I'm estranged from my dad, have been for years. So, when I think about my own spiritual heritage, it's messy at best. And yours might be messy, too. What if here's an even more personal question that has risen up in me as I've been preparing for this episode. What if you've blown it, really blown it with your own children, with your own nieces and nephews, with the children in your life? You can't look in the rearview mirror without seeing those moments when you did set aside time for them.
What if you were a yeller when your kids were young? In my house, we have four boys. As you know, we call them the bigs and the littles. There's about a five-year gap between them. And if I'm honest, the bigs had a very different early experience with me than the littles did.
I so struggled under the identity shift of motherhood and learning to manage all of that with Eli and Noble. I lost my temper regularly and not just in like kind of mid ways. I mean, I'm talking about extreme ways.
What if you look at your rear child rearing years or even with your grandkids, and you see a temper that was like a wildfire, burning things down. What if what you have in the past or currently struggle with being chronically harsh or chronically critical? What if you can look back at the formative years of your family, when you were parenting little ones, and you know, that that legacy that you established is not what you want it to be? Maybe guilt just comes with motherhood. It just comes with grandmotherhood. I'm not sure why that is a product of the fall. I know it's not as God intended.
But for some of us, it's not just irrational mom guilt, we really did make mistakes. What if now your grown children aren’t walking with the Lord? What if?
I want you to open your Bible to Deuteronomy 5, I'm going to read you verses 9 through 10. It might be a familiar passage. But let's think about it in terms of spiritual legacy, “You shall not bow down to them or serve them . . .” It’s talking about idols there, that's the them. We all have idols. It could be any number of things as you are building your own family.
For I the LORD your God, I'm a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, or sin, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
Now, something this verse does show us is the impact of our actions on the next generation. I hope you're not believing this lie. But let's debunk it. How I act today doesn't matter in the future? Of course, it does. I think we tend to dwell on the first part, the sins of the father, or in our case, the sins of the mother, have ripple effects into the lives of our families for many generations.
Let me tell you what I don't think that means. I don't think that means that on Judgment Day, every sin that our parents and grandparents have committed will be added to our rap sheet. Not on Judgment Day. What matters is that we wear the robes of righteousness of Christ. I don't think it means that on Judgment Day your sins are going to be added to the rap sheet of your children.
But here's what I know from life. We've all experienced this on some level, which is that our sin puts shrapnel into the hearts of those we love. That's my one of my least favorite things about my sin. The most least favorite thing is that it separates me from my God who I love. But my husband, my sons, my nieces and nephews, my friends, many of them are walking around with pieces of shrapnel in their hearts, because of my sin. And that doesn't just go away. That's the bad news.
Let me get you to the good news. You sit in that for hope and perspective this morning, or sin, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love Me and keep My commandments. Thousands of generations. Jani was talking about ten generations. God is talking about thousands of generations. Linger there. Our love for Jesus, our adoration of Jesus, it can impact our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and whatever comes after that. That's true of our sin. But the impact of a woman who loves Jesus will send shockwaves through a family line for thousands of generations. If you've been listening to this, and up into this point, you felt mostly sad or angry about your own spiritual heritage, or the ways you've modeled the Christian life in front of your own family.
Hear this. God is in the business of redeeming family lines. I mean, Christ's own heritage include the Jacob the deceiver, Rahab, the prostitute, David, the adulterer. It wasn't a pure line of perfect followers. But God used each one of them in the overarching redemptive story.
So, I guess my challenge to you this morning is this. Realize that yes, your own walk with the Lord does impact those who come behind you. But I don't believe that passage in Deuteronomy is about us. It's talking about what the Lord does in family lines, not what we do in family lines. It's not all about you, and if you've blown it, what an opportunity to live out the Gospel. Dannah said this, and I just want to put my aim in there. Tell God and then tell your children and grandchildren, “I've got some course correcting to do.”
I feel like I have some course correcting to do with my own children this week. I'm convinced they learn more from me messing up and repenting and throwing myself on the mercy of Jesus than they do from the days I get it right. So then praise the Lord that by loving Him, you've created a conduit of blessing for a thousand generations. How many years is that? 30,000 years? That's what Scripture says, should the Lord wait that long. You have planted a flag in the ground for your future, future, future family by loving Jesus. That's the power of one godly woman. Actually, that's the power of one loving God.
Portia: Love it. Erin Davis, as always, you take me straight to the Word and make it personal, and I love it. Thank you.
Erin: It’s my ray of hope. Thank you.
Portia: All right, guys. So, we want to give you some tools to help you stay grounded, especially after Erin just blessed us by walking through the Word. One of the first tools we want to mention is Adorned. This book is by our very own Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. And I personally think that it is a good woman-to-woman book.
So, for the older ladies, that's something that you can pick up and read it with the younger women in your life. Or the younger women, you can go to that older lady in your church or maybe a family member and say, “Let's read this together. I think it is perfect. So, check it out. We'll drop a link so that you will know where you can get it. Itis also in the Revive Our Hearts store. So it’s not really hard to find.
Also, I want to remind you that Jani Ortlund will be at True Woman ’22. And I'm so excited, because I want to meet her in person, right? Today was good, but I want to see her in person. So I can hug her neck. True Woman ’22 will be happening in Indianapolis this September. That's like next month, guys. And workshops are only available on site. There are a lot of great ones, like 28 to choose from, including Jani’s workshop on spiritual legacy. And, you know, I think I might know two other breakout session speakers really, really well. Hmm, I wonder who those ladies are?
Erin: Cause you spend every Monday morning with us, Portia.
I’m trying to figure out how do I teach my breakout at the same time I'm attending Jani’s breakout.
Erin: If you can figure that out for me, let me know because I don't want to miss it.
Portia: So, Erin, what's your workshop about?
Erin: It's on fasting, a really practical guide to fasting. I'm on a mission, get the women of the church fasting, because it changes things. So, it's about fasting.
Portia: Beautiful. Dannah?
Erin: How about you D?
Dannah: Well, during two workshops, one is that a book that I'm releasing in February called Happily Even After: Letting God Redeem Your Marriage. The world is all about recovery. It doesn't work. You need redemption. When sin happens, you need redemption, nothing else. And then with my true girl team, I'm doing a workshop on how to talk to your daughter about all of this gender confusion happening in our world. So I’m pretty excited about both of them.
Portia: Yeah. I'll be hanging out. Y'all will see me. We want you to register for True Woman ’22 if you want to be in all the great breakout sessions that's happening. Register today? Okay. The rest of the True Woman ’22 will be broadcast live but just be reminded, breakout sessions are only available on site. So, I hope you can join us in Indy.
Erin: Well, we’re going to stream two breakouts but it's the whatever has the highest attendance because that'll be Oh, we don't know what those are yet. So, it's like a grab bag.
Dannah: Oh, so we don’t know.
Erin: It might be Dannah’s or mine; we will see. But I hope for Jani’s.
Dannah: Okay. My brain is exploding Erin, because you're doing a workshop on fasting, but all I can think about is those chocolate chip cookies at the top of the hour. I did say you're gonna have to share that recipe. You tasked me with having them at your memorial service. I know if you don't know what I'm talking about it’s because you just didn't hear the beginning. That's not a morbid thing. Erin asked me.
Erin: I want those cookies at the funeral. I do.
Dannah: So, I need the recipe. Are you gonna share it?
Erin: Okay, yeah, we'll drop it. We'll drop it in the Episode Notes after we drop it in the chat. Now, I don't know how our wonderful social media team handles those drops.
Well, I gotta tell you a couple of secrets. One is your butter has to be room temperature. It has to it has to it has to do not use cold butter. And you need to whip it for a lot longer than you think like 10-15 minutes and whipping the butter and sugar is the secret but you got to pull them out when they're just barely browning and let them continue to cook on the cookie sheets on your counter. They're so good, I want to go make some right now. But we'll drop the recipe and if you make it, tell us about it.
Well, I woke up this morning and thought, Oh, this is a good day. I'm gonna have a Grounded episode I don't cry on, but I'm not. Not sure I'm gonna actually make it through because normally I cry because I need some accountability. If you'll put up the picture of my family, people behind the digital curtain. The Lord has been really convicting me about that issue of time Dannah that you mentioned, I have not had consistent quiet time for many months, not been opening my Bible consistently and that impact.
So, I already had the idea that I was going to tell my family that at 6 a.m. every morning I will be in the living room with my Bible open if they want to join me, but I haven't taken that step. So there I am surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses ,and I want them to know I really am a woman of the Word. So hold me accountable, Grounded family. I didn't cry. I do feel really convicted about that. That's an area where I want the Lord to help me. Dannah, what's one thing you want to leave to your family in terms of spiritual legacy?
Dannah: I think I want them to know that they're loved. Yeah, I think that's what Jesus wants. He wants us to know that we're loved. And He loves us too much to leave us in our sin and our sickness, our emotional and spiritual sickness, but He loves us when we're sinful. The Bible says He loved us when we were sinners. He died for us. Yeah. So, I want them to know they're loved. And that means I'm gonna pour my heart and my life into each and every person in this picture. Two people are missing there. We have had two new family members since then. But that's the Gresh clan.
Erin: I don't think we've announced on Grounded about your new grandbaby, why don’t you tell them the news?
Dannah: We will have to show a picture of baby Stella Bella. I call her Stella Bella. I always wanted her to be a China doll. My sweet adopted Asian daughter Autumn and her husband Jacob have given me a literal China doll. Every picture is evidence.
Erin: Oh, my goodness, Stella.
Portia: She is gorgeous, Dannah. She is gorgeous.
Erin: P, what’s one thing that you want to be a part of your spiritual legacy. Yeah, there's Emmi.
Portia: I know, little all-the-sass, and I love it. But I really want her I want her to be a woman of the Word and not just to be a spiritual-know-it-all. I just know that that's where God reveals Himself. I want her to know the Lord just deep down in her soul and her bones. And now I feel weepy. Yeah, I want her to know the Lord. I want her to be able to pass that along to her children and to everybody around her.
Erin: And if Emi and Ezra happened to get married in 25 years, then think of the combined legacy of those two, I'm ready for it.
Dannah: We're not going to make a match this morning here on Grounded. But what I am going to do is challenge you to go out there and leave a legacy. If you're going to do that, you're going to have to spend a lot of time with the Lord. He's the only one that can empower you to do it. And to that, you have to be in your Bibles. So, I want to ask you, are you experiencing a Bible reading drought? If so, you're gonna want to join us next week when our guest is Courtney Doctor. She's going to give us a little bit of water for that soul space that needs the Word of God. I hope you'll wake up with us next week where we can experience help together on Grounded. See you then.
Erin: Grounded is powered by Skype. Grounded is a production of Revive Our Hearts calling women to freedom, fullness and fruitfulness in Christ.
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