Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Springfield Today May 8, 2018

May 13, 2018 by  
Filed under Blog

Good Moanin’ Springfiedians,

Mother’s Day is this coming Sunday, So let me ask you a question, even if you’re not a mom:

What kind of legacy are you building, by the life you’re living?

I’ve told you before that my Dad was the one who broke the generational pull of alcoholism that plagued the Prince family for generations. And for my immediate family that’s true. But before my Dad, his sister, my Aunt Alice, is the one who really broke that scourge – and then she spent years praying for her little brother, my Dad, before he, finally came to his senses and came to God.

Now my Aunt is the kind of hero we should all aspire to be, and she built the kind of legacy we should all want to build. She dealt with more stressful times, more grief, and more unimaginable hurts than anyone I know. But I never would have known it if my parents hadn’t told me about her life. I never heard her mention her pain. She never mentioned the hurts or grief she endured. She never complained. Not once did I hear her say life was unfair. Or God wasn’t fair. By all appearances she was one of the most joyous and contented people I’ve ever known. And best of all she loved little-always-ornery Freddy Prince with an unconditional love.

Let me try to condense down just some of what her life included. She grew up in the depression in Detroit and would help collect coal that had fallen off the coal cars of the train, so they’d be able to heat their house in the winter. She grew up in an alcoholic home – both mom and dad were alcoholics and her mom died because of it; she fell out of a second story window drunk as could be.

At that point she assumed role of homemaker even though she was still a child herself, and assumed the role of mother to her two brothers. My Uncle Jim was an epileptic and had frequent grand mal seizures. He contracted polio that left him crippled, and after a brain injury from a fall he had the mental capabilities of a small child. It wouldn’t have been easy task to be his primary caregiver as an adult, but she was a young teenager.

In her late teenage years she got married to her sweetheart and, knowing the home life that she was leaving, she invited her brother (my dad) to live with her and her brand new husband. How many young newly weds would want an eight-year-old kid hanging around? My dad moved in with them, but during his teen years started following the example of his father before him and dropped out of high school, joined a gang in Detroit, and became an alcoholic. I’m sure he was the cause of much anxiety and sleepless nights for my aunt.

My Aunt Alice’s problems and concerns weren’t limited to her siblings and an alcoholic father. With two young children at home and my dad a rebellious teenager, World War II began, and her husband, now over 30 years old, was drafted into the army and was quickly shipped overseas to fight the Nazis.

One day, a telegram came telling her that my Uncle Dick was killed in action. So, as a young mom and widow she went about planning a funeral. Two or three weeks later she received another telegram telling her the army had made a mistake and my uncle was actually a prisoner of war in Germany. Imagine the two terrible weeks of thinking you’re a widow with two small children to raise, followed by months and months of worrying about the torture and hardships that your husband was being forced to endure.

At the end of the war, when the Americans finally liberated my uncle, he weighed less than a hundred pounds. He returned to the States and soon afterward, my aunt became pregnant. Life seemed to be improving. But the baby she was carrying died soon after birth, and one week later, her 12-year-old daughter also died from rheumatic fever.

How did she not only endure but was able to live a joyous content life?

How come she didn’t follow in the footsteps of her mother and father and become an alcoholic? Most alcoholics grow up in alcoholic homes.

How come her pain, her grief, her hurts, and her family didn’t define who she was and what she became?

How come she didn’t rehash and rehash all the hurts?

As a teenager she had a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ, and was radically, forever transformed. She had that lifechanging encounter because a boy she liked (who would become my Uncle Dick) invited her to attend a church picnic with him – she went and that started her incredible journey with Christ.

Was it really that simple?

Yep! When Christ came into her life she was transformed. She didn’t just go to church. She didn’t just say she was a Christian; she didn’t just act like it on good days. She lived it out every day of her life.

She knew exactly what the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote, “I have learned the secret of being content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”  (Philippians 4:11-13 NIV)

And because of her example, because of the legacy she created by the life she lived – it made it very easy for those who knew her to follow after her.

My dad, because of a sister who never quit praying for her little brother, became a Christ follower who was redeemed and rescued from alcoholism. And my brother, my sisters and all of our children, except one right now, love the Lord and serve Him.

All of my aunt’s children are also serving the Lord. Her oldest son accepted the Lord just before his death a few years ago, and so her prayers were answered for all of her children’s salvation. One son is a pastor and two of her grandchildren are also serving as pastors.

And I tell you her story to tell you it can happen in your family! On this coming Mothers’ Day – Moms I want you to know it can happen in your family. Dads it can happen in your family.

You can be the one who changes the entire direction of your family if you’re willing to learn the secret of being content in whatever the circumstances. If you’re willing  to make the decision to live by faith – no matter what. If you’re willing to live a life that creates and builds that kind of legacy.

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