McDowell Technical Community College

Marlene’s Meditations


by Marlene Houk

Burke County

Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

I remember my mom’s potato salad, rich and creamy with a mound of such bright yellow covering that it yelled, “Come and get it!” A rare dish, apparently unknown to Southern Living Magazine and internet recipes, it resides within my heart, a sweet legacy of Georgian comfort. What was the secret of that golden topping? She mashed a hard-boiled egg yolk through a wire mesh strainer onto the top of the prepared potato salad, its sunshine softly plopping on top. This is my legacy. Filling me with comfort and delighting me with endless tales, it forms the warp and woof of who I am.

A legacy is the sum of our ancestors’ remembered stories as well as their values and ways of life. These ideas drift down through the generations, brimming with life and clamping the years together with a sense of connection and identity. Ultimately, a legacy can yield fruits of uniqueness, wisdom and pleasure as well as being enriched with our own stories.

Such was the case with Sarah, the Chieftain Princess of God’s people. Her historical legacy was rich in stories, drawing us into them through a sense of identity. For example, we can identify with Sarah as her husband Abraham deployed himself and his 318 regiment to fight four kings and their soldiers. (Genesis chapter 14) We feel the same heart-thudding adrenalin-pumping plummet of our fear when our own husbands are deployed overseas as we listen to ominous news reports. Sarah eventually recognized that God places us in an environment and then uses that world as a stepping stone to greater faith.

How does a Spiritual Legacy bolster my own faith?

Legacies are not always about end products but about lessons learned. Everything in which I’ve had a part has not been successful, but the lessons learned are priceless. If we do not have a legacy of spiritual value, there is no need to frantically find or create one. God has already given us the framework for a great spiritual legacy (the Bible).  In one of the legacies bequeathed to us in the Scriptures, rules a feisty woman called Sarah who encounters primitive conditions every day and yet maintains her beauty. But, she goes beyond that incredible earthly loveliness to create a spiritual beauty of faith. It shines forth, breath-taking in its glorious reflection of her God and poignant in its depth. Sarah’s faith rises in splendor, and she offers its glow to light our own paths. What can we learn from her stories, her actions, her decisions?

I watch as Sarah waits for 25 years for her baby Isaac. Can I at least wait for an important answer to a serious question and watch God at work in my life while waiting for the answer?

I observe Sarah, smiling as her husband acquires yet another group of maids and menservants and a 500-herd camel caravan. (According to, “An Arab sheik is considered rich who has a hundred or two hundred tents, from sixty to a hundred camelsa thousand sheep and goats respectively. And Abram being very rich, must have far exceeded that amount of pastoral property.”)  And I think, can I possibly look over the current crisis to a place in the future where God smooths out my story and brings glory to Himself?

I see Sarah developing as a remarkable woman of faith who assesses God through His many promises in Hebrews 11:11 and decides to rely on Him, without facts, maintaining a certainty that God is Who He says He is. Can I do the same?

I gape at Sarah’s accomplishments in 1 Peter chapter 3 as the Lord pours forth His praise of her and think that, if I keep studying her story, I could perhaps emulate her. Sarah can be used as a springboard when I jump into my waters of faith.

We are influenced by our legacy. As a Southerner, I am predisposed to liking sweet tea, finding creative ways to cope with heat, and enjoying various eccentricities of Southern life. And my faith encourages me to find spiritual analogies to my earthly life: For example,

  • Jesus is the sweet satisfying eternal drink that my soul craves.
  • When the heat of life bears down upon me, I can cool down in the shelter of His wings.
  • And when life takes an odd turn or two, God is there ahead of me.

Similarly, Sarah’s legacy, (the parts of her cultural, genetic and historical past) became a stepping stone to her magnificent faith. And her faith shines onto the path of our own journey. Through her legacy we can emulate her faith! Study her story and follow her steps to a faith that will become your unique legacy to those in your world!