Your Ancestral Legacy
by Lillian Penner
Published on April 22, 2024

Your Ancestral Legacy

One generation will commend your works to another;they will tell of your mighty acts.” Psalms 145:4 

Have you shared your family history with your children and grandchildren? Next month is Thanksgiving and many families will be gathered for the big feast. This would be a good time to talk about your families legacy.

Everybody’s ancestry includes two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, 16 great-great-grandparents, and on and on through the generations.  Have you ever wondered who might have been your lineal ancestor living in Jesus day? What do you know about any of your ancestral lineages? What kind of people were they?  Where did they live? What did they believe? 

The events of our lives, our parents’ lives, and of those generations preceding us make up our life blueprint.  As grandparents, we are a vital link between our grandchildren and our family history.  How are we affecting that blueprint for future generations?  Do they know their family stories and history?  Have you shared pictures of family from previous generations?

Why not write a story with pictures of your parents (your grandchildren’s great-grandparents) to share with them?  You might also take out a map and show them where you lived, where your grandparents lived, and from where your ancestors came.  I found it interesting to read stories about my ancestors, their struggles in Europe before coming to this country, and their challenges of starting a new life as immigrants in a new country in the late 1800’s.  I soon realized these were real people – my family – making a life for themselves and future generations like me. 

When we preserve our family roots, it promotes the importance of the family. When we are diligent to maintain our family history, we pass on to future generations an understanding of who they are. Very often the younger generation is not interested in listening to stories of family history until they’re older.  That’s why it is so important to put these stories in writing so that they will be there when they are interested and those who know are no longer around.  

At one of our family reunions, my husband and I developed questions about our children’s grandparents and us. We had three multiple-choice answers, and they were to choose the right one. It was surprising how little they knew about their family roots, a time to teach them and an enjoyable activity. If your family has a Christian heritage, it is important to write about that so succeeding generations can see how powerfully God has worked in their family. If you do not have a legacy of Christian family members, but you are walking with the Lord now, you have changed the blueprint for future generations.  Now, that is exciting and worth passing on! 

Deuteronomy 6:5, 7 says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart . . . Impress them (these commandments) on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”  This command is for parents AND grandparents.  We are both responsible to intentionally and purposefully impress God’s truth, values and purposes upon the hearts and minds of our children and grandchildren by our talk, our actions and our prayers. 

One generation telling its story to another is powerful.  While grandparents contribute much to a grandchild’s life by sharing their story, it is the godly example and prayers of grandparents living as conduits of God’s grace and love that opens the way for the Spirit of God to perform in our grandchildren His transforming work and keep the legacy alive through their story! 

Passing The Baton:

1.  Questions to ask yourself:

•    How am I passing on my family’s history to my children and grandchildren?

•    Does my family know my life story and that of my parents? 

2.  Suggestions for prayer:

•    Ask God to show you how you could share your family history with your family.

•    Pray for each member of your family to know and walk in God’s grace and truth.

•    Pray for generations yet to be born to continue the legacy of life in Christ.

Lillian Penner is the author of Grandparenting with a Purpose: Effective Ways to Pray for Your Grandchildren in English and Spanish. She is on staff with the Christian Grandparenting Network prayer ministry, developing prayer cards, grandparents@Prayer groups, and the Grandparenting Day of Prayer. She has a passion for praying intentionally for her grandchildren and desires to share that passion with other grandparents. An avid blogger, Lillian breaks into smiles if you ask about her thirteen grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. She and her husband, John, live in Portland, Oregon, where they are active in church ministries. She and her husband enjoy traveling, Southern Gospel music but most of all, enjoy spending time with their family.

Photo by Luana Azevedo on Unsplash

Photo by Tony Eight Media on Unsplash

1 Comment

  1. Robert Arthur Marzullo

    Lilian: I don’t know if you watch, or have access to the PBS Network (Public Broadcasting System) where you are, but my wife and I watch Finding Your Roots weekly, where they have guests
    Shown a history of their ancestry. They have recently opened it to the public to come on the shiet, and I have applied to the show.


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