As I watched ten little children stand in front of their great-grandparents' church singing "Jesus Loves Me" on Sunday morning, I thought to myself "this is it." This is truly the meaning of life. Fancy vacations really don't compare to this. Carefree Labor Day weekends at the lake can't compete with the sight of four generations joined together with a legacy of faith and prayer binding the past to the future. People matter. We can spend our lives chasing money, fame, and comfort, but they are all so fleeting. What matters is people and their souls. When each generation pours into the next with love and grace and the good news that Jesus loves us and died for us and lives for us, that matters more than anything. Every conversation seasoned with the salt of grace, every laugh and tear shared, every burden shouldered, every dollar given out of generosity, every hurt covered with love and forgiveness, every meal shared and diaper changed with love and humility. Those are the moments that build a legacy.
Micah's great-great grandparents moved to barren and cold North Dakota in the 1850s to build a better life. They homesteaded on some of the world's richest soil, facing brutal winters while living in sod huts. A hundred years later the Russums had a thriving farm which still remains in the family. While the family history is astounding, the most interesting highlight is how each generation prayed for the next. And this weekend Micah's grandparents saw the answers to those prayers as they were honored and celebrated by their five children, almost all of their 17 grandchildren, and 21 of their great-grandchildren. I hope to someday witness such a sight in our own family. The days are hard right now. The laundry and the errands and the toys scattered on the floor combined with whiny voices and runny noises are enough to make me feel insane some days. But I know what to do... pray, laugh, forgive, preach the gospel to myself and others. Someday the whiny voices will be no more and instead I'll join my family in singing "It is Well with My Soul" so loudly that even my nearly-deaf ears can hear it.