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There are days the book’s title overwhelms me: Only One Life: How A Woman’s Every Day Shapes An Eternal Legacy. With three, soon to be four, little ones ages six and under, my “typical” days don’t often look impressive.

My head knows what I’m doing is valuable, even if I’m not accomplishing anything beyond the most mundane basics of life, but my heart sometimes fears I’m only leaving a legacy of being overwhelmed by piles of laundry.

It’s not just this season of life, either. Even when I was single a good deal of my time was taken up with household chores, because that’s the way life works.

For the vast majority of us, life is not an endless parade of epic adventures and life-changing experiences.

I worked at a crisis pregnancy center. Was I counseling clients, wrestling for the lives of the unborn, helping desperate women find resources? Yes, but I spent many more hours sorting donations of used baby clothes and updating our filing system.

So how can any of us hope to leave a legacy?

Jackie Green and Lauren Green McAfee paint an inspiring picture in their book Only One Life: How A Woman’s Every Day Shapes An Eternal Legacy. It’s a collection of stories of faithful women from all walks of life, and how God used them for His kingdom. Some were married, some single. They lived in different life circumstances and eras, from the Old Testament all the way to the present. Some were born into wealth and chose to abandon everything for the sake of God’s calling. Some struggled through heartbreaking circumstances.

The common thread holding them together? They left lasting legacies of faithfulness, built little by little through choices made every day.

Be encouraged, friends. Your every day life is building a legacy.

I appreciated the way the book was organized, with chapters highlighting different character qualities that were the foundation of the beautiful legacies left by these women. It was easy to see that being faithful in prayer, for instance, blossomed into ministries that were blessed by God. These character qualities are things I can work on regardless of what else is going on in my life.

And the best part? These traits, which include courage, compassion, faith, and wisdom, are often best developed in the everyday mundane. Remember Jesus’ words? “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much.” (Luke 16:10 ESV)

Be encouraged, friends. Your every day life is building a legacy.

“Faithfulness isn’t reserved for people who are ready for brave, high-level stunts or dramatic, life-changing decisions. Faithfulness is for all of us when we simply say yes to God and do the next right thing.”

Only One Life, page 145


Comment with the name of a godly woman whose legacy is an inspiration to you.

(Disclosure: Icon Media Group provided the review and giveaway copies of Only One Life in exchange for an honest review. Congratulations to Laura for winning a copy of Only One Life.)

Photography: JenniMarie Photography

22 Comments

  1. I already commented, but completely forgot to mention the person who’s left a legacy I want to follow.

    There’s been several women in my life who have shaped me in numerous ways. My mind always goes back specifically to my Pastor’s wife growing up. She exemplified joy, casual hospitality, and grace. Second would be a mother figure in my life who took me in as a teen and exemplified intentionality in her mothering and everyday living.

  2. This sounds like exactly the book I need right now. After years in the mission field as a single girl to moving into life as a mom of four, still in the mission field, but much less involved. I’m in that wrestling season exactly like you said above “where my brain knows how valuable this work is, but my heart struggles to feel it”.
    Also, if I was so blessed as to win the giveaway, I do live overseas, but have a US mailing address?

  3. My Grandma. She was married to my grandpa for over 60 years and remains faithful in little acts of love to her family. She is a great example of God’ love and grace.

  4. Kami R Williams says:

    This is a lesson that I have been dwelling on as I had to let go of my mother and watch God use cancer to take her to heaven. THANK YOU!!!

    1. Kami, I’m so sorry. Wish I could reach through the computer and give you a hug. Praying for you right now.

  5. My pastor’s wife, deanna, is leaving an amazing legacy of grace for everyone around her!

  6. Terri Lewis says:

    I love the thought behind this book. I teach a group of women in church once a month and this topic will be perfect. The name of the godly woman that has left a legacy in my life is Ruth.

  7. This post is so encouraging! I’m a stay at home mom, and the daily tasks can be tiring. Thank you for the reminder that it’s important work!

    My mom, Vicki, inspired me to love the Lord. She gave me a great spiritual foundation. I want to do that for my kids!

  8. Shelia Morris says:

    My sisterin-law Anne. She always lived her faith and through her example, made my hunger for the Lord become my desire to find Him. Which I did and now we are truly sisters in CHIRST! Shelia Morris

  9. Susan Garner, my Pastor and mentor!

  10. My grandma, Ruby’s legacy is an inspiration to me!! If only I can be half the godly woman she was.

  11. My Paternal Grandmother was an inspiration to me! She paid for my piano lessons (YES, I do play in church!) she was my Junior Sunday School class teacher & taught me about the importance of habits, of daily prayer, daily Bible reading, giving tithes & offerings, fasting & testifying to others about Christ! She & my grandfather founded a Bible School, and were still teaching when I attended (they were in their late 60’s then!) I was very blessed to have her as my grandmother! 🙂

  12. My grandma Helen is an amazing example of trusting the Lord in every detail of life. The big things and the mundane. Her simple faith acknowledges Him in everything she does!

  13. My friend, An older woman at church has a simple ministry of encouragement. Whether it be sending cards with quips she’s found on the internet that inspire little giggles or creating a newsletter for shut-ins, she’s always about loving others in small, seemingly insignificant ways with enormous impact.

  14. Virginia left a beautiful legacy as a mentor to a small group of young mothers. She taught us by example of the importance of being in the Word and how to pray for our husbands and kids. I gained so much thru her sacrificial life spent for us – harried moms! Our small group became “known” in our community and other moms with kid or marriage struggles would just show up to be prayed for or with. What a band of sisters she formed. Sadly she was taken from us with early onset Alzheimer’s. But after her death one Sunday morning during worship in my church – while singing Holy, Holy, Holy,…….I had a vision of her “casting down her golden crowns upon the glassy sea”! Virginia’s legacy lives on.

  15. Carol is an older lady that I’ve known for years, and she has blessed me so much. Mostly by taking the time to listen carefully before offering advice and praying for me. I want to be a wise mentor to younger women as she is to me!

  16. My grandmothers… Vera Ballard and Cleo Allgood. They left me a huge legacy. But, the most of that legacy being to be content in simple things.

  17. Today, my mother in law went to be with Jesus, at only 59 years old. her faithfulness and godliness are a beautiful legacy to my husband, children and I. Although we don’t grieve as those without hope, we still grieve.

  18. I am so inspired by the Catholic saint Therese of Lisieux. She was just a young nun who died from tuberculosis in her twenties– never lived outside the town she was born in– but her writings now are known all over the world and her spiritual philosophy of “The Little Way” is very much like you’re describing here: following Jesus in the little ways that come to us each day, simple faithfulness in the small things. 🙂

    1. Congratulations, Laura! You’re the winner of the giveaway. Watch your inbox for an email from the Kindred Grace Team to claim your copy of Only One Life. Thank you!

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