I wonder what she would have called my baby boy.
That’s what I decide.
My youngest daughter would approve. She likes to call him Andrew “Peanut” King and whenever she does I think, “Yes, Ms. Shirley would like that.”
Ms Shirley called my first baby, “Princess.” It was premonition, I think, knowing this tiny newborn would be a ballerina princess who only wore dresses from the ages of two to six.
Later, when I gently handed my second daughter to Ms. Shirley at the nursery door, our Church Grandma announced that her name would be “Precious.”
Then one Wednesday night my oldest daughter clung to Ms. Shirley while screaming in hysterics, wanting to stay in the nursery with her rather than come home with us—her very own parents!
That was the last time we really saw Ms. Shirley other than a hospital visit after her car accident on Veteran’s Day weekend all those years ago.
I guess Victoria knew in her Spirit that God was calling her Church Grandma home and didn’t want to leave her side one second too soon.
I think of Ms. Shirley all the time, certainly when I walk away from the nursery door and always on Veteran’s day weekend…
And when I held my third daughter as a newborn and thought, “Pumpkin. Ms. Shirley probably would have called you Pumpkin.”
Now my son. Surely she would have called him “Peanut.”
This is the power of legacy.
And I think, as I sit here now, that legacies so rarely involve fame on a grand scale or power or high position.
They involve people.
Ms. Shirley loved my children. That’s how she poured out a generous abundance of blessing on me, a young mom trying to serve in the church.
Yesterday, I sat in our church library overwhelmed by God’s goodness and the sweetness of our church family. Next to me sat a pile of my very own books on a table.
I signed copy after copy of that book for others, fully aware each time as I put the tip of that pen to the paper to sign my name:
How humbled I am.
How this is God’s grace.
Writing a book is a special God-blessing, but I fully realize as I cuddle my baby boy and as I kiss my daughters as they head off to school:
I’ve been writing all along.
The apostle Paul told the church in Corinth:
Your lives are a letter written in our hearts; everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you. Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts. (2 Cor. 3:2-3).
No matter how much I write in my life, no matter how successful (or not), no matter how much or how little impact my words may have, my greatest writing is written on human hearts.
So it is for you, as well.
Anne Ortlund wrote:
You know, the longer I live the more I realize that all that’s important in this life is God, and people, and connecting the former with the latter. I’m willing to shed a lot of things to strive after the Important (Disciplines of a Beautiful Woman).
I read this, too, in The Love Dare for Parents:
Your body will age. Your clothes will become dated…..But the waves of your life and influence will continue to live on and ripple through the hearts, minds, and faith of your children (p. 198).
We are so often glorifiers of fame and students of worldly success, but impact always trumps personal glory.
Ms. Shirley taught me that by serving in a church nursery.
I’m learning that every day as a wife, mom, and friend.
We all are writers on human hearts and the messages we imprint on the lives of others are the greatest ‘work’ we will ever produce and the most beautiful offering we could give to God.
Never forget what matters, not while you care for a newborn, potty train a toddler, answer a preschooler’s questions, help a child with homework, love them through the difficult days and the joyful moments.
Never forget it as you serve in the church for little glory or recognition that the letter you are writing is beautiful, precious to God, and worth more than any bestseller.
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2013 Heather King