What Is Your Legacy?

You will make known to me the path of life
Psalm 116:11(a) [NASB]

I love sailing ships. I don’t mean cruise ships with their heated swimming pools and all-you-can-eat buffets, but old, wooden tall ships, the kind with masts and cloth sails. A few years ago, at a tall ship festival, I sailed on a replica of a three-masted schooner. As I stood on the deck savoring the sounds of waves slapping against the hull and the coolness of sea spray on my face, I felt certain that sailing was in my blood. But why did I feel that way? Why did it feel so right for me to be sailing on an old wood ship surrounded by nothing but water?

Years ago, my mother had shared with me bits of information about her ancestors. They fought in the Civil War and traveled cross-country in covered wagons. Maybe they lived in the colonies, but Mom wasn’t sure about that. Since I don’t like missing pieces, I began searching for them, and when I found them and put them together, I discovered something amazing.

My great-grandfather’s name was William Doty. His father was Nathan Doty. Nathan’s father was Joseph, and Joseph’s father was another William. His father was Jacob, and Jacob’s father was Isaac, and Isaac’s father was Edward. None of this meant anything to me until I dug deeper into the lives of these men. There I discovered my legacy—the path God set for my very existence.

Edward Doty was one of the first emigrants to live on what is now U. S. soil. Almost four hundred years ago, in 1620, he stood on the deck of a wooden tall ship 95-feet long with a three-masted rig of courses and topsails. While sailing from England to North America, he heard the waves slap the hull, and he felt the sea spray on his face, just as I would in the twenty-first century. It must have felt good to Edward, my seventh great-grandfather. It must have felt right as he headed toward his destination. The name of his ship? The Mayflower.

See? Sailing is in my genes.

Generation after generation, since the foundation of time, we are God’s children. He sets the course of our lives from birth to eternity. In the beginning, God said to Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth.” Adam and Eve gave birth to Cain and Cain’s son was Enoch, and Enoch’s son was Irad . . . and on and on. The Bible says in Psalm 127:3, “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.” (NIV) Do you know your heritage? Who walked ahead of you on the path of your life?

Have you ever experienced a déjà vu moment that might connect you with an ancient ancestor?

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “What Is Your Legacy?

  1. Jean: One of my ancestors was James Oglethorpe, the man who founded the state of Georgia. He settled Savannah. He hired an Anglican priest to come from England to educate the Indians. The priest didn't feel he did well with his job. He eventually founded a protestant denomination, the Methodist church. My ancestor hired John Wesley.

  2. How interesting Quietspirit! Thanks for sharing your legacy.

  3. Great post, Jean. What an interesting heritage. I always look forward to reading your blog.

  4. Hi Jean -Wow! Your history here goes way back. Do you have any relatives, who were involved in the forming of the United States?My ancestors came here in more recent times. One of my cousins discovered that my great-grandfather (Dad's grandfather on his mother's side) stowed away on a ship to get here. Somehow he was allowed to stay, worked, married, and had a family.Blessings,Susan 🙂

  5. Hi, Susan.Actually yes, my many-times-great grandfather fought in the American Revolution. (If I wanted to, I could join the DAR). I'm also related to Colonel Elmer Ellsworth who was President Lincoln's close friend and a Civil War hero. I love it that I have so much information about my ancestors.Blessings!Jean

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