It was kinda cool, when we were growing up, to know that our great-great grandmother was a Native American who had been rescued from a massacre by Lloyd Merrill, a U.S. militiaman, and raised as one of his children. The story about Frances (as her adoptive parents named her) was interesting and inspiring enough that an adult Sunday school paper accepted my father’s version of it and published it as a four-part series.
Fast-forward thirty years. Dad—then in his eighties—decided to spiff up the manuscript, add some fascinating background information about Black Hawk—the war chief of Frances’ Sac and Fox tribe—and publish the tale in book form. At this point, a great revelation came to him. This was not just an interesting narrative—it was an inspiring example of the far-reaching influence of one life. Within six generations, twenty-five of Frances’ descendants had served as ministers and missionaries in nine Christian denominations in nineteen states and nine foreign countries. The re-mix of his story—newly titled The Legacy of Frances—contained this information. What an impact the Merrill’s love and faith had on traumatized, displaced Frances! And what genuine faith she—an “ordinary” pioneer woman—passed on to her children!
But that wasn’t the end of Frances’ influence. After Dad’s book was published, a distant cousin of my dad’s learned about the book and bought 12 copies to give to relatives for Christmas.
One copy went to a niece in Oregon. This woman, who had been raised in a foster home, had just lost her second husband. In her distress, she was asking the Lord, “Who am I?” The book gave roots and meaning to her life—as we found out from her appreciative phone calls.
Another woman who received a copy of the book was caregiver to an elderly couple in Kansas. She loaned them the book. They wrote my father ordering a copy for themselves. They had both had been foster children, they explained. They were touched to see that foster/adoptive children are amazing too.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations. . . .
7 Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours (Isaiah 61:4, 7 NIV).
Making It Personal
- Are you “just a mom”? A salesman? No one special? Think again! You are a person of influence.
- Do you feel like a second-class citizen because of your family background or history? Join the Lord in rebuilding the ruins in your life. He will replace the devastation with “a double portion” and “everlasting joy.” That’s how much he loves you.
COMMENT ANY DAY THIS WEEK FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A BOOK—The Legacy of Frances or From the Trash Pile to the Treasure Chest.
***Check on Saturday to see if you are the winner.***