My Great Grandma Emory passed away last month. She was 96 and for 78 of those years allotted to her, she served the Lord with all of her heart, mind, soul, strength, breath, and life. She was fiery and passionate and knew her mind and her heart well, so to say that she passed away sounds kind of silly to me because she didn’t just let anything pass by. Especially not her life.

She lived a life full of faith with action.

Her faith was active as she responded to an altar call at the age of 18 and gave her life to Jesus like someone hands over a gift; completely and with no intention of ever taking it back. Her faith was active as she loved her husband with a Christ like love for decade upon decade and her faith was active as she gave birth to eight children.

Seven of them lived into adulthood and it’s in their lives that you see her actions speak. You see, for years and years, she did everything that a mother does. She cooked and cleaned and loved and taught. She did the hard things and the fun things. She cried the tears and laughed the laughs of a mother who is trusting the Lord with her treasure and after all of those years spent investing in the lives of those seven people, she let them go far away from her with only letters and love and the Lord to connect them. She saw that she had raised businessmen and pastors and missionaries and musicians and spouses. She saw that she had raised mothers and fathers.

And then she watched them do the same things. She watched them live out active faith all around the world. She watched as they walked in love and passion and answered the call of the Lord to build his Kingdom. She watched them raise their children, her grandchildren. They became business men and women, pastors, missionaries, musicians, mothers and fathers and so it went for generation after generation.

My Great Grandma lived to see 5 generations live lives marked by faith with action. She got to see the quiver of arrows that she had spent year after year sharpening with the iron clad truth of the word of God shoot out to the nations and build the Kingdom of God. She got to see her prayers become living, breathing, moving beings that impacted the world.

She got to see her legacy unfold.

I’ve been thinking a lot about legacy lately. I’ve been doing a lot of introspection and wondering if my life will mean all that much. I think about it a lot while I’m doing the hidden, motherly things like laundry or disciplining or changing diapers because, on the surface, those things seem so trivial.

But then I remember my Grandma Emory. She was a mother. A mother of seven which, to me translates into a lot of hidden tasks and moments where she probably felt unseen and tired. She probably wondered what it would all add up to and what her legacy would be because this woman, my Great Grandma, had visions and hopes and dreams for the nations. All while she stayed back and mothered. All while she prayed fervently.

When I begin to wonder if what I do each day matters, if all of the little tasks that pile on top of each other to form 24-hour periods of time make a difference, I remember my Great Grandma and her funeral.

There in the sanctuary that now houses the church that she had been saved in 78 years before, her people gathered. Five generations arose and called her blessed. Five generations sang and spoke and told of the hand of God that was upon her and of the fingerprints it left on all of us and five generations arose and praised the Lord together.

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This is only some of my Great Grandma’s descendants. Photo Credit: Melissa Yocum Photography

It was the most poignant and beautiful and breathtaking thing I’ve gotten to be a part of because there we all were, living out the faith that she had passed on. There we were honoring the woman whose legacy we get to walk in.

We were her heritage from the Lord, but her faith that now lives in the hearts of not only her descendants, but in the hearts of those they’ve touched all around the world, is ours.

We are her legacy and all because she was faithful to do the small things, to obey what God asked her to do, to pray fervently for her people, and to be diligent with the priorities she set before us.

Be faithful with what God has asked you to do. It doesn’t have to be grand and unique to make an impact but it does have to be done well. Let your assignment be your assignment because you never know what the ripple effect will be.

My Great Grandma Emory got to see her faith accompanied by action reach out into the hearts of her great, great grandchildren and that is a legacy worth living for.

“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things but you surpass them all.’ Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31: 28-30 NIV

  • Gina Emory

    What a beautiful post about an incredible woman. I wish I had known her sooner and lived nearer, because I could have learned so much from her example. She was quite a woman, but she left an incredible legacy in all of you, and will live on forever because of it.