First, I would like to start this message off by wishing my father, my dad, my hero, my friend, a very happy birthday.
This is an old picture of him from the early 1970s. I shared it on my other blogs and social media, as a special memory for him and my mother. Only they remember that day. I could’ve shared a picture from my memories, but I wanted to share one from dad’s.
I wanted to look back at a time when I wasn’t even yet a baby, not in the immediate plans, while he was still thinking about school and career, and enjoying every minute of his youth. He probably thought he would live to be an old cantankerous man. But he didn’t. He was young and full of life and light. He still had great visions and goals to accomplish. We had family trips tentatively planned. After all of his years of business travel, he had finally resolved to taking a vacation. I couldn’t believe it. I was excited for him.
He transitioned from this level of existence 19 years ago, and when we celebrated his birthday on this day of that year, only God knew that it would be my dad’s last birthday in that body—celebrating with his family. Only God knew that July would be the last month that my sister and I would get the chance to hug and laugh with our dad. Only God knew that when my mom had me wait for hours to get our family’s favorite chili cheese dogs, that the next day my dad would be hours from taking his last breath.
We don’t know the minute, hour, day, week, month, or year that we will transition from this life. So we shouldn’t squander it. Even when you’re not feeling up to working, find it in yourself to tune in and be productive. Ask God what He needs you to focus on. You don’t want to leave this level of existence with regrets. You want to leave and say, “Ooh wee I did, saw, heard, experienced, and learned a lot. That was an amazing journey. Now I’m ready for what’s next on God’s agenda!”
That is what I think my dad said, mostly. I think that he left here wishing he had done certain things, but I don’t think that he had any genuine regret. Dad told me a couple of years earlier that he wasn’t going to live to be an old man. It would irritate me. I couldn’t see my life without my dad in it, at least up to a certain age that I was comfortable with—like in my 70s. I couldn’t see my sister growing up without our father by her side. I felt he was speaking something into existence that had no place here anytime soon. It hurt every time he spoke those words.
I should have seen it as prophetic, as God giving him the foresight to understand that his assignment here would be short. I should have seen that God was preparing my dad and my dad was trying to prepare me. He was trying to teach me how to run his business. I pushed back and actually told him to mentor this other young woman who was really interested in International Trade. Man, what an idiot I was. How naive. Dad knew. I couldn’t fathom it. If only I had the relationship then that I now have with God— then I would have been more receptive and obedient. My dad’s business died when he passed on. I couldn’t save it because I was clueless about import-export, tariffs, trading blocs, and the like. Silly me.
Think of the countless companies that go under because there isn’t a succession plan for when the owner transitions, retires, etc. Think of the dreams that simply fade away. Think of the hard work to glorify God, that settles like dust and then ceases to exist.
What are you doing each day to invest in, support, protect, build, and reinforce a long legacy?
What are you creating, doing, and investing in that will outlive you and generations beyond you? For many people, it’s your children. Their life is your legacy. But consider your investment in them. How are you pouring in your knowledge and wisdom, equipping them with the skills and resources they will need for their life, and in paying it forward into future generations lives? How are you educating them on the importance of leading and living with purpose and on purpose, with the understanding that you don’t know the day, hour, minute, or second that you will take your last breath? Will they be prepared to grab that baton and continue running the race, in your honor, and for God’s glory?
Think about it.
Live every day like it’s your birthday, because in a way it is. Every day God is birthing ideas into you for you to pursue, create, build, and embrace. You then must give birth to the manifestation of those ideas, in different forms. Every day is a new day of experiences and lessons. So I wish you a happy birthday too!
Today’s Breaking Bread message aligns with this birthday message. I hope that it resonates with you. I hope that it helps you or someone you know.
I share with love and hope!
Copyright 2020. All Rights Reserved. Natasha L. Foreman. BreakingBreadWithNatasha.com