Sweet Memories of My Godly Heritage

Sweet Memories of my Godly Heritage by Karen Jurge

My great-grandfather’s birthday was always celebrated at a big family reunion over Labor Day weekends. So, in honor of the holiday, I am sharing my memories with you. The family has gone on to be with the Lord, but I am looking forward to that family reunion in heaven when we will all be reunited forever. (First published on Heartwings Blog.) 

As I look back on my childhood, I am very thankful for the godly heritage on both sides of my family. But sweet memories of visiting my maternal great-grandparents’ farm stand out most of all.

Bumping down the back roads of eastern Kentucky was like traveling on top of a long, curvy snake with clouds of dirt and loose gravel boiling behind us. Hours later the white farmhouse would finally appear around a bend, its white pillars and open porch extending welcoming arms. I would embrace my great-aunt Rosie first—a schoolteacher who never married—followed by my great-grandparents.

Sweet Memories of My Godly Heritage by Karen Jurgens

My great-grandparents , great-aunt Rosie, and Pal

Welcoming company meant sitting down at their dining table laden with bowls and platters of everything imaginable, fresh from their garden and animal stock. We all bowed our heads for Grandpa to offer a long prayer of thanks. As I enjoyed the succulent food, I digested the adult conversation that mostly revolved around God and His Word. Those seeds of God’s goodness were planted in my soul from a young age.

Sweet Memories of My Godly Heritage

My great-grandmother sitting down at her Thanksgiving table, surrounded by five of her eight daughters. My great-uncle George is holding me on his lap.

After dinner the adults would rock on the front porch to visit and enjoy the sunset. I would play with their dog, Pal, or try to catch one of the wild kittens who lived under the house. As the dark of evening rose, I chased fireflies that dotted the air with their diamond-brilliance. When I tired of my games, I, too, would rock and listen as Rosie discussed who-married-whom.  Eleven children and their descendants spanning several generations were challenging to track. That was how our family tree’s knowledge was passed down in those days, albeit orally and memorized.

Sweet Memories of My Godly Heritage

There is no holiday table as delicious as this one. That’s me on my Uncle George’s lap.

Everyone retreated into the house by the time the trees blended into darkness and the volume of chirping crickets and hooting owls turned high. My mother always brought a gift of fruit, cheese, and crackers for munching late at night. It was a favorite time for us to sit together in our robes and slippers and share a bedtime snack.

But no one went to bed until after evening prayers. First, Grandpa would read from his huge, thick Bible and the adults would discuss the meaning of the verses. Sometimes they would tell stories of testimonies they had heard—the ones about missionaries in foreign lands especially held me spellbound. Or sometimes Grandpa would tell about his dream where he had witnessed Saul when he was converted on the road to Damascus—a dream so real, he insisted it must have been a vision.

Then we would all get down on our knees, facing our chairs, and each person would take a turn to pray aloud. I especially remember my grandfather lifting up all the family’s generations—all his seed—asking God for His salvation and blessings to rest on each one. I would often fall asleep to the lull of those sweet prayers ascending to heaven, sensing the presence of listening angels who gently wafted peace through the house with their feathered wings.

The most precious realization of my godly heritage has been experiencing those prayers as my life’s bedrock. Grandpa’s words still ring in my memory, and I know I am walking down long halls of prayer laid by him and generations of godly family before him.

Sweet Memories of my Godly Heritage by Karen Jurgens

My great-grandparents on their farm

The comfort of knowing how God has worked in my life through this foundation underscores the importance of its continuance. I, too, am laying another layer of prayer on top of this mountain as a path for my children and future generations to trod.

Isn’t that an important assignment for all of us to embrace?

How are you thankful for memories of your godly heritage?

6 thoughts on “Sweet Memories of My Godly Heritage

  1. I love reading this! Knowing that our great grandfathers literally prayed over their future generations (us) is honoring… especially because I know God is faithful and he ANSWERS those prayers! And thank you for doing this for me and teaching me how! I love you! xo Meghan

    • Yes, God is so faithful down the generations. Those layers of prayer are each laid with a lifetime of supplication before God’s throne. Not an easy task, for sure, but looking back, so worth it! My job continues on … I love you, too, Meghan. Hugs.

  2. Oh, what wonderful memories. I too remember farm life as a youngster. I remember sitting on the porch and listening to the conversations, the animals, the chores, and the food when we would visit or guests would arrive. I can’t tell you of a godly heritage from those days, because there wasn’t one. I grew up seeing false Christianity, one whose goal was to deceive for gain or hypocrisy. Then, after my adoption, God redeemed those lost years through my new parents. In them, I found a legacy of praising, worshipping, and revering God that I hold onto much as you have the memories from your youth. Two “legacy thoughts” for me are of my mama rising early before everyone else for her “God time” each day. I vividly remember seeing her reading her Bible, hearing her praying for each member of her family, and softly singing praises to God in the still darkness of the morning. The other, is how my dad lived out the characteristics of Christ he was growing in through his life. He did more than talk about God. He did more than led the family in prayers. He showed his family what being a Christian (one who is like-Christ) looks like, both in their personal lives and in the way they conducted themselves in all aspects of life. Thank you for stirring those precious memories of where my godly legacy stems from. I pray that others will see God’s presence and teaching in my life one day also. God’s blessings dear sister.

    • What wonderful memories you have of your godly adoptive parents, JD. Those days past held a special awe and reverence where life was peaceful and worship sweet. God was so close, so present, so glorified through lives as well as nature. I think farm life is the closest way to understanding the Lord on this earth. There’s something about the sweet smell of the land, the lowing of the cows, the crowing of the roosters, the rhythmic slapping of fresh milk singing against a metal pail, and the clucking of hens pecking at corn while their nests are emptied of their warm eggs. God’s love and His presence is in every tiny detail. I’m glad that you share that deep bond with me and others of enjoying the slow, steady beat of farm life. There’s nothing better on earth. God bless your parents for giving you such a wonderful upbringing and making up for the lost years. And yes, we all see God’s teaching and presence in your life. You are a wonderful blessing to each life you touch. Thank you, dear brother. Praying for you and Ms. Diane to receive a double blessing this Thanksgiving.

  3. I am thankful for my family. The precious times of sharing fellowship, meals and church together make me smile. So many relatives have passed on to Heaven now. I am thankful for their love and how they showed the love of Jesus.

    • You have such a sweet family, dear Mimi. Those who have passed on have left their mark of legacy on your life. I appreciate how you communicate the love and inspiration you share with your family. Wishing you a Thanksgiving full of more sweet family blessings!

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