Have you heard the news? I’ve taken Your Life a Legacy – Explore & Record the Times of Your Life out of print so I can give it away to you free. Learn more here.
Your Life Story Matters. This belief is the driving force behind all of these words.
Writing the good, the bad, and the lovely . . .
It takes courage to write about our shame and regrets like the times we walked away, the words we wish we hadn’t said, and the awful stuff we’ve done, we start to see the value in our messes.
That’s when the real adventure begins and the trash in our lives becomes a treasure.
It still amazes me, but every time I share my less-than-stellar-moments, the words bring healing to others too.
Is there is a life story nudgig at your soul right now? Jot it down. You might not want to, but that elbow in your spirit is there for a reason. At least, consider it. Pray about it.
As a child, I was a strong-willed, friendly, sometimes sweet, often sassy, insatiably curious, always talking or laughing or crying, and energetic. Mama said I was also, for the most part, a good girl.
For the most part.
Here’s one of the Legacy stories that tugged at me. I recorded it in this book for the first time. I wish it weren’t part of my past, but it is.
When we lived in what we called “the stucco house,” there was a grocery store of sorts across the street called the Ranch Market. It had scarred floors, a sagging roof, and smelled of fresh produce, old wood, and dirt.
One day I crossed the hot, soft, sticky, smelly tar road, and stole a bag of Sweet Tarts.
Mama saw me with the package and asked me where I’d gotten the candy. I lied and told her a friend had given me the treat. She believed me.
The relief I thought I’d feel didn’t wash over me as I opened the packet of candy. Guilt-driven nausea hit me at the same time the smell hit my nose. Stubborn girl that I was, I put a piece in my mouth and chewed. Before I could swallow, I threw up.
To this day, all it takes to make me slightly sick is the sight of a package of them.
I wonder what Mama thought when I was in the sixth grade, and she found several packs of Sweet Tarts in my wastebasket after Halloween. When she asked about them, I said, “I just don’t like the way they taste anymore.” I think she knew.
For me, the very sweet, slightly sour candy smells and tastes like guilt.
You know what I did, how I felt, and how it affected me. It’s not a happy story, but after asking God to forgive me (again!) and writing it all down here for you, I felt the shame roll away. Immediately.
For years, the guilt was an awful burden. I thought I was the only thief in my family. I was wrong. In my family history, there are a couple of livestock rustlers, and there’s a story about a kid who stole a watermelon.
Their actions don’t cancel mine out, nor do I consider theirs worse than mine – stealing is wrong, but knowing I wasn’t the only one with this on her personal rap sheet was a relief. I found comfort knowing I was born into a family of imperfect people who sometimes made rotten decisions, got caught, confessed, and took their punishment.
For me to know this about them and be helped, their stories had to be told.
Here’s a statistic that shakes me up: If you don’t write your stories down, they will vanish in as little as one generation. Already, so many Legacy stories are gone.
Your story doesn’t have to end that way. If you choose to explore and record the times of your life, the generation behind you and those to follow will not have to wonder about you. Take a moment to ponder that. Your life story will not be limited to the dates on your gravestone and old, forgotten photos.
You might consider your life ordinary and even boring, aren’t you glad Anne Frank didn’t think that?
Legacy Giving is an opportunity for you and your Receivers to get the best from the times of your life. This exploration into your past and present may take you places in your life you have not yet gone. Unlearned lessons will be revealed, and hurts not yet healed may find their cure. Things once not seen as funny may now be hilarious.
One Legacy Giver told me, “As I write, something unexpected is happening. I own my life — all of it. When I started, I was afraid of what my mistakes and failures would look like in words. I worried about what family and friends would think if they read about my secrets and struggles. What has surprised me most is the discovery of consistent progress in several areas of my life I hadn’t noticed. And, when I wrote the negatives along with the positives, I have a more balanced view of myself. I also noticed that the things I was afraid of have grown far less frightening.”
This adventure requires that you walk your personal hills and valleys and preserve the most important steps of your life in a written Legacy.
You may wonder why I call those who decide to write their life stories down Legacy Givers and not Keepers. After working my way through the first four drafts of this book, I realized that anyone writing their stories with the intent to share them with others is a person with a truly generous heart. This person is a Giver. The ones waiting are Receivers.
When we combine the good with the bad, the result is very often lovely.
Your story matters!
Until Next Time,