Floyd County, Va is a small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. I traveled to this one-stop-light town this evening to pay my respects and celebrate the life of my Aunt Frances Wade. At the funeral home the line of friends and family wrap around the home, out the door and spill into the street. People from far and wide are willing to wait as long as 2 hours, proof that she was loved deeply and by many. As I drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, words to a Nicole Nordeman song fill my mind… “I wanna 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?” The Wade family is a legacy in that small mountaintop town. A legacy that began with my grandparents Andrew and Octavia Wade. They lived on a farm off Route 8 near the Floyd County, Patrick County line. My grandparents had 10 children, my mother Elizabeth aka Liz is number 8 out of the 10 kids. As a child I remember visiting my grandparents. My grandmother was fond of rocking on the porch surrounded by fragrant plum trees and beautiful flowers. When my grandfather wasn’t in the barn, he was in his room reading his favorite book, the Bible. Every time, I came to visit Grandpa Andrew would be in his chair next to a pot belly wood stove reading the word of God. Often times he sat with his head in his hands. Thinking he was asleep, I would try to sneak past him to get a peppermint stick. Grandma would give me a Pepsi (a big deal for me because we never had brand name soda at home) and I would use my peppermint stick as a straw and enjoy my soda. But Grandpa was never asleep, he was in prayer. When I gave Grandpa a hug he would set me down and ask me, “April, do you believe in Jesus?” “Yes sir.” I replied. “April, do you know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that if you died today you would go to heaven?” “Yes sir I do.” I answer. “Good, good, that’s good. Now April, did you tell anyone about Jesus today?” I always hated when he would ask me that, because as a kid I would feel guilty. Even as I type this I think to myself, did I share about Jesus today? The words of my grandpa Andrew Wade are just as fresh in my mind now as they were thirty years ago, “April, people need to know about Jesus. You must tell them.” Not a single person entered the Wade home without knowing about the saving power of Jesus Christ. That is an amazing legacy. Like any other family, my family has had it pain and sorrow. But Christ is always at the center. I am honored to be apart of Grandpa Wade’s legacy, blessed to be apart of this family. Just as God blessed the descendants of Abraham, he was also richly blessed the descendants of Andrew and Octavia Wade.
“They will know that your hand is in this, that you God have been at work.” -Psalms 109:27
The descendants of Grandma and Grandpa Wade now number over 100! If you live in Floyd or have traveled through the area, I guarantee you have encountered someone from my family. My extended family comprises of farmers of produce, cattle, and Christmas trees, florists, loggers, construction workers, several hair dressers, plumbers, and electricians. Others are in health care, or serve as teachers, musicians, and a photographer. While others own a garage, and serve in the military and in law enforcement. If you use a telephone, or drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway or any Va road, then my family was there working for Verizon, V-DOT, and as a Park Ranger. Most of my family are small business owners who have made a living using a skill and working with their hands.
“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, mind your own business, and work with your own hands.” -1 Thessalonians 4:11
“Whatever your hands find work to do, do it earnestly.” -Ecclesiastes 9:10
The words to the Nicole Nordeman song Legacy are the words on my heart. I also want to leave a legacy for my family. A legacy that honors God. So that one day, when I meet Christ, I will hear the words “Well done, faithful one.”
“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 apologetically And leave that kind of legacy.” -Nichole Nordeman (Christian songwriter and musician) ~April “May you and I be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” -Romans 1:12