Today, on the eight week anniversary of Jimmy going home, I attended the celebration of the life of another young man I knew, Nate Stutzman. A few years ago, he was my dad's assistant basketball coach for our girl's team. I remember his bright smile and encouragement. I remember how funny he was, and how my dad loved working with him because of his dedication and sincerity, but also his constant inward and outward joy.

Listening to the stories and the memories of his friends and family brought the memories of Jimmy's funeral flooding back as well. And combined, I was reminded once again to remember that one day, I'll be there too. Or, more specifically, some day the funeral will be mine. Some day it will be yours. And I want to live a life that is ready for that day. I want to live so that the people who knew me will be able to say things like those spoken of Jimmy and Nate. I want to leave behind a legacy, just as those two men have.

Their legacies continue in small ways. A friend of mine realized that he'll never shoot a basketball without remembering Nate, who taught him. And he'll remember to love everyone like Nate did. Every day when I see the feather in my hair, when I see the picture on my desk, when I play the guitar, I remember Jimmy. And I remember to live my life surrendered, and to love now.

I've heard people talk often about what they want their obituary to say, or what they want said about them at their funeral. I used to think that was just plain morbid. But now I'm realizing more and more how absolutely necessary it is. I've learned that if you don't know your goal, it's hard to achieve the goal. But if we can determine what kind of impact we want to leave, then we will be able to live it out more fully.

I heard this song a few years ago, and the lyrics of the chorus have stuck with me because of their truth and their importance.

"I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? 
Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering,
A child of mercy and grace who
blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy."

"Life" is made up one day at a time. To live our lives in order to leave a legacy, we have to live every day with Jesus as our focus. With Him, all things are possible. With Him, our weaknesses are our greatest strengths. Jimmy and Nate demonstrated these things for so many of us. And now it's up to us to take the baton and continue the race. We must carry on their legacy until we leave one of our own.

What mark will you make? What impact will you leave? Whose life will you change?

What will be your legacy?


  1. Oh Shelby, thank you...this has been really hard for me and it's just what I needed!

  2. Amazing, amazing post. Definitely been on my mind a lot lately.


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