Monday, July 2, 2012

The Purse

Children are an inheritance from the Lord.  They are a reward from him.  The children born to a man when he is young are like arrows in the hand of a warrior. ~ Psalm 127:3-4, GW

Facebook is a great tool.  Our ministry uses it to connect many isolated parents to resources and hope.  But it can also be haunting, bringing people from our past back into our lives when we perhaps haven't been connected to them in years.

About a week ago, I had a person whose children I had once babysat for, whom I worked side-by-side with at my first real job, and whom I had sung in the church choir with suddenly send me a "friend" request out of the blue.  Strange, I thought, as I hadn't been in touch with the person, probably in three decades.  Abandoning any hesitation, I accepted her request and found myself chatting with her again.  She is still in the area where I grew up, so much of our conversation centered around the sudden death of my father this past year and the moving of my mother into assisted living.  At one point, she asked me my current address so she could send me something regarding my father.  I gave it to her, and we concluded a pleasant time of catching up with one another.

A few days later, I was shocked to see a huge padded envelope arrive from this woman in the mail.  As I opened it and read her letter, I was brought to tears.  This woman had visited my parents' estate sale and purchased all of my father's ties.  Her cousin is a gifted crafter, who makes old ties into purses.  These ties of my father's were destined for such a use, and I was the blessed recipient of one of them.  I hugged the small satchel to my chest as I wept.

I remember seeing my father in the very tie that was used for this bag.  He was a frequent wearer of this accessory which most males now despise.  He was a co-owner of a car parts business for most of his adult life and wore a tie to work every day in his warehouse.  Every Sunday for church, every special occasion, he was nicely dressed like a responsible, respectable gentleman of his era would be known to do.  

While a neck tie is just one of life's many "things," it is yet another reminder of a person we treasure.  I know that for me, this purse made out of a piece of his attire evokes strong thoughts of my father's personal character.  It reminds me of much of the powerful legacy he left me.  My father was all about pressing on in hard work.  He believed in applying oneself and using the gifts God gave us in honest effort.  He was a man of quiet, but solid faith.  Personal prayer and steady service at his church were something to which he was always committed.  He was also devoted to simple, quiet, selfless giving.  "What can I do for ya?" was a phrase that frequently came from his mouth.  And in the ways he knew how, he was there to carry a person through life's difficulties.

Looking at such a gift I can't help but wonder, what sort of legacy my scarves or my husband's ties would remind our children of.  Would they evoke thoughts of a good God or false faith?  Would they remind our children of the hope we have tried to share during the hopeless seasons of our lives or disappointed bitterness?  Would they bring to memory acts of selfless devotion and reckless obedience or selfish indulgence and a lack of love?

Being so close to our children with special needs gives us a unique opportunity to leave them a powerful inheritance beyond what typical kids enjoy.  We are much more available to model the hope, grace, joy and faithfulness of Jesus than those who don't walk in our shoes.  I pray that when I am finally home praising God in His glorious heaven that my own children will be left with as precious and inspirational memories as I had evoked by that sweet purse.  How about you?

PRAY:  Lord, help me to be a good steward of the precious child(ren) you have given me to raise.  When I want to give up, help me to recall how I would want my child to remember me once I am gone.  And help me to treat them like the precious inheritance You intended them to be for me.


  1. Barb, thanks for this awesome post! My own heart is heavy for my dad who is still with us but so very fragile. What a wonderful idea!

  2. Barb we just got back from our place in Crivitz. I am glad the purse got to you and I knew it would spark many fond memories

  3. Barb, I am so glad you are enjoying the Purse and the memories it evokes. What a beautiul post. Peggy's cousin Betsy (the Purse maker)