A Legacy Worth Leaving

I counted the pews leading up to ours, like I did every Sunday. It wasn’t Sunday, and there was nothing familiar about the sanctuary today. This church held so many memories for my life; dragging a bag full of coloring books and projects to work on during the sermon, racing with all my might to show everyone the date that parents wrote in my Bible on the day that I was saved, inching closer to my Mom so I could hear her sing. So many vivid, velvet memories, but not today. Today felt like burlap, my skin raw from tears. Today was stale, today was confusing, today was different.

That day was 7 years ago. And today I still feel as much loss as I did then. At the front of the sanctuary lay my dear friend, Gizella Rudolph, and behind me sat pews, fuller than I had ever seen them, full of all her children. Yet Gizella, and her dear husband Earl, who had passed away two years before, had no biological children. They had something far greater: A legacy worth leaving.

Childless Proverb

I remember when I was little, gazing up at them, wondering if they were angels, and sometimes I still wonder. How could two people could make me feel like I was the only one in the world that they loved, yet fill a church with everyone who thought the exact same thing?

I’ve been reminded of her time and time again over the past few years, but never so strongly as I have now. God gave her to me and my family for a time, but he’s giving her to me again in my struggles. I’m desperately struggling with how small I am, how fast life goes, and what that means. Where is there meaning in life? Everything that consumes me daily will be forgotten in an instant. I’m no stranger to funerals. From 18-85, I’ve seen them all. I have seen the vulnerability of life, I know that it can be gone in the next thought, the next breath, the next heartbeat. No warning.

Once I’m done here, I’ll spend eternity with God. Why am I afraid? Shouldn’t death, to me, be more of the same, just in a different place? I spend my life avoiding death, but in the end, it’s something I’ll have to do anyway. In the new testament, Paul writes,”To live is Christ, but to die is gain.” For years, I’ve thought What does that even mean? Even writing it now, I wonder if I’m starting to get it. I should view death as just a closer alk with my Lord. But as I wonder, my mind and body shriek, clinging to more of the familiar, more of the physical.

a legacy worth leaving

There’s a man in the Bible, named Enoch. He shows up for four sentences in a page full of names and numbers. These four sentences have been haunting me for weeks. First in my own study, then in a group study that we are doing, and now in my own private thoughts.

Everyone is listed in rhythm:
This guy lived for this many years, these were his kids. Then he died.
This guy lived for this many years, these were his kids. Then he died.
When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.
This guy lived for this many years, these were his kids. Then he died.
This guy lived for this many years, these were his kids. Then he died…
(Genesis 5, paraphrased)


I’ve been having such a stale view of life, displeased, but accepting that I am going to be one more “this guy lived, then he died” in a group of everyone that is just the same. But God has something different planned for those that love him, those who are faithful. He wants me (and you!) to be an Enoch in the middle of a repetitive lifeless lives! Even the number of Enoch’s age matters! 365 says perfection, completion, meaning. Everyone else’s age was just a tally of years—Enoch’s meant something.

Sure, Enoch did things; he had kids and I’m sure he did lots of other things in his life. But what matters, his legacy written down for generations upon generations, is that he “walked faithfully with God,” and even more captivating is the idea that he might not have experienced death! Yes please—sign me up! But when I step back and look past that, the transition from life to death was seamless for Enoch, God took him away; it really wasn’t death, it was just a closer walk with God in a different place.

It’s funny, I sat down this morning, rapidly typing out my memories of her, feeling like I needed everyone to understand just how special of a lady Gizella was. Now, it has turned into showing you what God has been teaching me through her life and the lives of other people who had left a legacy worth leaving. And that makes perfect sense. Every sprig of mint set perfectly on the edge of my tea glass, every caramel candy that she had picked just for me, every chat we had—no Bible thumping, no lecturing, no sermons–pointed me to God. He flooded her with grace and love for me, like I was the only one in the world. It brings tears to my eyes when I think of her human love, but how much bigger and deeper is God-love?

contagious love

Some of you are probably reading this, wondering what any of this has to do with interior design, sewing, quilting, or anything else I write. Honestly, it has everything to do with all of that. Those things are fun, and I think God created creatives to do just those things. But those things aren’t everything, and they certainly aren’t the most important things. They are just things. But how we use those things can change the world. Don’t believe me? If you keep reading that story from Genesis 5, you’ll see that Encoh’s Great-Grandson was Noah. Keep reading my blog, you’ll see pieces of Gizella tucked in every page. Use your craft, your designing, your whatever for the less fortunate, the forgotten, the unloved. The human love you show to one person is contagious, and the world can’t help but change, it can’t help but burst with God-love.

So this is my charge:

Walk faithfully with God, like Enoch, like Earl, like Gizella. Walk faithfully with God, and suddenly, death might start looking not-so-bad afterall. Walk faithfully with God, and you’ll lead others to do the same. Walk faithfully with God, and you’ll leave a legacy worth leaving.


  1. I can think of so many verses to offer comfort, but clearly you don’t need them. This is beautiful.

  2. Thanks Rachel! God has used you to encourage me to keep on fighting the good fight of faith as we minister His love to those we know & don’t know. I personally appreciate your boldness for Jesus Christ! As we continue to live life abundantly, in this ever increasing unGodly world, remember that God is with you and will keep you as He divinely guides you. You are deeply loved and favored by Him. Your passionate love for Him is and will continue to be a beacon of light. 💗

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