My Legacy

 
 

Angela Marie

Genealogy is more that just researching dates on your family tree.  It's learning of the choices that your ancestors made through their lifetime that contributes to your life today.  I have been blessed to have generations of God-fearing lineage that have influenced my life. 

 

My name is Angela Marie, and here is my legacy...

 

The Gifts and Challenges of Being Single

The fastest growing minority segment of the American population is not Hispanics, African Americans, Asians, or Europeans.  It’s singles!  Almost 40% of American adults are single – meaning widowed, divorced, or never married.  That’s the equivalent to the entire populations of:

 New York    Washington    Nevada    California    Idaho    Arizona    Oregon    Montana    Maryland

There are a lot of us out there!  And one IS a WHOLE number.

In too many cases we forget the fact that Jesus Christ may have been the Son of God, but he was also a single young adult.  And as such he experienced all of the feelings and asked all of the questions that single young adults have asked since the beginning of time.  If you are sitting out there today as a single adult, you are not alone!  And I want you to know that Jesus Christ walked where you walked.  He experienced the same loneliness that you experience sometimes and he struggled with the same temptations that you struggle with.

 I.  Committed to receiving singleness as a Gift from God.

According to the scriptures, there are some gifts that God gives to all believers.  The New Testament teaches that God does not give the same spiritual gifts to every believer.  He determines which gift or gifts He wishes to give and in what measure.  For example, the Bible says in Psalm 127:3 that children are a gift from God.  However God doesn’t give this gift to every one.

  • To some He gives children;

  • To others, He gives a few or only one;

  • To others, He gives none.

It is God’s right to determine this!  Like children, the scripture teaches that both marriage and singleness are gifts from God.  Jesus Himself referred to singleness as a special gift from God.  I reference I Corinthians 7:7 where Paul says, in effect, “I wish that all men could experience the blessings and joys that I have experienced through being unmarried.”

 Have any of you realized just how many singles are mentioned in the Bible?

  • Daniel, who was highly respected as a man of God.  He was a government leader for many years during the exile in Babylon.  Numerous prophecies were revealed through him.

  • Hagar, a single mother.  The Lord took care of her and her child.

  • Naomi, a resourceful widow who followed the Lord and cared for her daughter-in-law.

  • Ruth, who showed faith, courage, and loyalty as an adult single.

  • Mary Magdalene was an adult single with a past, and her devotion to Jesus was unquestioned.

  • Paul gave his life in complete dedication to the gospel.  He suffered unbelievable hardship as he went into Europe with the story of Christ.  Could he have done it as a married person?  Probably not. As a single he was free to do the great pioneer work of taking the gospel to the world.

At this point in my life, I am not single by accident!  I am not single because the “right man” has never asked me to marry him.  I am not single because I have made up my mind not to marry.  I am single because God has chosen it for me.  I don’t know if God will have me stay single or if some day He will choose marriage for me,

 

I do know that I will trust in Him either way!

 

I need to set my heart to respond as the words from Mary the mother of Jesus in Luke 1:38 – “I am the Lord’s servant…may it be to me as you have said.”  The man or woman who does not learn contentment, as a single is highly unlikely to be content once married.  To expect to find our needs met in marriage is to set ourselves up for certain disappointment.  The key to joyous living is to embrace the will of God and to receive with gratitude whatever gift He has given us.

 II.      Committed to moral purity

I have made only a few vows in my life.  A vow is a sacred, binding commitment to God.  It is NOT to be made lightly, breaking a vow can cause serious consequences.  There is no vow that I take more seriously than to be morally pure.  Although I grew up in a godly home, attended a Christian school, and have been graciously protected by God, moral purity is not something I take for granted.  I believe it would be foolish to assume that anyone is ever beyond sinning against God in this realm.  Over the years, I have received frequent suggestions from well-meaning friends and family about how to “find a mate”.  A single Christian needs to be on guard concerning this and not listen to worldly council or they will surely fall.  That is not our responsibility to “find a mate.”  Our responsibility is to walk with God with holy, humble hearts, and to love and serve others in a pure, selfless way.  If God intends for either or both of us to be married, God is the one responsible in bringing that about and introducing us.  So again, I will trust in Christ.

III.    Committed to honoring our parents

In our culture, God’s command to honor our parents is one of the most neglected commandments of all.  In countless ways, we have been encouraged to

  • Blame our parents for our dysfunctions,

  • To expose their faults,

  • To declare our independence from them,

  • And to leave them to fend for themselves.

In doing this, we have brought hurt to our parents and have also inflicted injury on ourselves!  To honor our parents is accompanied by a promise of great blessings.  Ephesians 6:1-2 – Children, obey your parents because you are Christians.  This is the right thing to do.  Honor your father and mother that everything may go well for you and you may have a long life on earth.

This is an important commandment with a promise.  To dishonor our parents, we forfeit God’s blessing, and we are bound to reap the painful consequences that scripture promises to those who fail to honor their parents.  Contrary to what the world tells us, this command has no expiration date and no conditions attached.  Whatever our age, whether we are married or single, whether our parents are still living or not, and regardless of our spiritual condition, God expects us to honor them.

Unlike many people, I have been blessed with a heritage of godly, devoted parents.  But they certainly were not perfect.  Like the rest of us who strive to do God’s will, they are in the process of being conformed to the image of Jesus.  Regardless of their successes or shortcomings, God’s Word says that I am to honor them.

When I refuse to make them a prisoner of my expectations

or to hold their failures against them,

when I seek and value their counsel,

when I choose to pattern my life after those areas where

they set a godly example, I am honoring them.

IV.   Committed to relating to families

It’s easy for a single person to feel singled out in a church.  Kind of like the Bible story of Noah and the Ark where the animals went into the ark two by two – male and female.  And if you weren’t paired, you were impaired and weren’t welcome to get on board. 

Those singles whose lives are characterized by chronic loneliness probably have not discovered their place in the Body of Christ.

We must realize that we are a part of an incredible family of faith.

And that family includes far more that just other singles.  One of my concerns about church programs designed solely for singles is the danger of isolating them from the Body of Christ.  I believe God intends for our lives and gifts to operate within the family as a whole…young and old, married and single.

Those of us who are unmarried have an obligation to our church families.  As single members of the community of faith, we bear responsibility for the lives and marriage of other believers and for their children and grandchildren.  We have an opportunity to pray for and encourage and invest our lives in those families.  Although I may not be married, when another marriage fails or another teenager rebels, I bear the pain.

Time spent with families has been one of the most

valuable influences of my life as well as the most rewarding.

It is an investment.  I have discovered that regular involvement with families is a safeguard against selfishness.  For those who will one day be married, there is hardly any better preparation for marriage and parenting.  In a family setting, we can witness firsthand the blessings of obeying God’s plan for the home and the consequences of disregarding it.  Nothing will rid us of unrealistic notions of marriage and parenting faster than in-dept involvement in REAL homes!

When singles are incorporated into families, everyone benefits!  Single adults can have a strong spiritual influence on children that will reinforce the training provided by their parents.  Both families and singles can offer each other mutual support, counsel, accountability, and prayer.  I know single men and women who would love to spend time with families and who become resentful when families don’t think to reach out to them.  My personal experience is that most married couples just aren’t aware of the value of including singles in their life and just don’t take the initiative to do so.

V.     Committed to leaving a spiritual legacy

There are two holidays that I struggle with as a single adult each year.  One of them is Mother’s Day.  At the beginning of the morning service, all the mothers are asked to stand as the church honors them.  One such Sunday, I realized that I was one of the few women in the room who was not standing.  All of the sudden, a waive of sadness came over me; my eyes filled with tears, and I felt a sense of loss, a sense of longing.

 Genesis 1:28: God bless them and said: be fertile and increase in number.

I believe there is a God-created desire deep within us to reproduce ‘after our kind’ – to continue the family line, to pass on our family name, our heritage, and our likeness to offspring who will do the same.  Back in 2000, I had a hysterectomy.  Ever since then, I wrestled with the fact that, God designed women to be a bearer and nurturer of children.  Yet as I sat in the church service this past Mother’s Day, I was reminded that God’s essential purpose for my life and all of ours is still to be a bearer and nurturer of life – whether physical or spiritual.  Every one of us preserved a heritage of godliness to hand to the next generation.

How can we leave a legacy for the next generation if we have no children of our own??

 We can do so by praying faithfully and fervently for the children and young people growing up in our “extended families” – our church families.  I carry a burden on my heart for the spiritual well being of each child as well as all six of my nieces who are prayed for by name regularly.  Those prayers are one way I can leave a legacy that will outlive me.  We can also invest in the next generation by making sure that our lives model purity, humility, and wholehearted devotion to Jesus Christ.  We can take time to serve, love, encourage, and disciple those who are younger than ourselves.  In other words, letting others see Jesus in you!

I often think of Lillian Wagner, a dear friend of the family. Since the day Lillian Wagner came into my life she became a mentor to me and impacted my growth as a young woman.  Even today I have a few of her letters saved and re-read them periodically to remember her words of wisdom.  Lillian never had children, but she was a spiritual mother to countless children who became godly men and women.  Now as I find myself an adult, I am reminded of her example and pray that God blesses me with her legacy so that I can pass it on to those children around me.

Think back in your life.  Each of our lives has been molded and shaped by individuals who have already run the race of the Christian life.  Now they have handed off the baton to use.  Now it is our responsibility of safeguarding it and handing it on to the next generation.  Whether you are married or single, there is a blessing in reaching out to each other.  I may not walk down this church isle wearing a wedding dress someday, but I do know this: that one day god is going to turn to his son, Jesus Christ, and say, “Go get your bride.”  And what a wedding I will have that day!  Will you be a part of the wedding guest?  God does not promise that we will never be needy or lonely.  So if you are widowed, divorced, or never married and aren’t sure if you’re suppose to be Young and Restless, Sleepless in Seattle, or just Home Alone here is your answer:

 

At this point in your life try saying “God is enough for you.”

 

Be willing to let Him meet your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs?  Do you trust Him to satisfy the deepest needs and longings of your heart?  It’s important that you do.  It will make a huge difference in your life.  It will bring contentment and a serene peace that only God can give.  What a gift that is.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Page created November 2006

Last Update January 2010