It’s not like I was snooping, it was hardly hidden from sight.


I felt like I had barged into a secret diary, leafing through pages never intended for my eyes.

The words were to his Father…

from his Father…

and yet also for his sons and daughters.

The picture has hung for decades, but the words were freshly inked since Christmas. Except they’re Ancient Words and forever words, effectual prayer and promises claimed for his boys…and knowing my father-in-law (who is really my father-in-love) it was heart’s outpouring and  battle cry, intercession and outright pleading.

Teaching his children and grandchildren about the Lord has been his driving force and passion since he met Jesus on a Damascus-like road over 40 years ago.

It shouldn’t have surprised me , then, when he didn’t stop with his natural born sons, either…he loves his daughters as if they shared his blood and were carried nine months each in his bride’s womb.

Palace-polished cornerstones.  Who knew being called a rock could be such…



and beautiful reminder of Who we are and Whose we are?!

Words and pictures.  Prayers and promises.  Acknowledgment and declaration.

My father-in-law still teaches his children even when he’s not speaking out loud.

It’s his way of living out Deuteronomy 6 even when his babies are long grown up, moved out, with babies of our own–

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. ~ Deuteronomy 6: 4~ 9


My father-in-law is modern-day example of what that can look like.  It’s challenge for me to do the same.  The difficult part to live with is knowing I’ve missed so many opportunities, and yet?  I realize I never, ever, ever, ever EVER stop being my children’s mother.

This…this is the only legacy that matters!

* * * * * * *

Do you have parents or grandparents or other lovies in your life who’ve led by this type of example?  What things are you doing to “love, impress, talk, tie and write” spiritual heritage into your own children’s and grands’ lives?  I’d love to hear, and I think everyone would benefit!!

by Robin Dance, PENSIEVE

  • angelina Brignola

    Beautifully written post today. I felt this peice very deeply and I was inspired. One mans legacy, what a difference someone can make in the lives of those who matter most. Our children. Thank you for sharing this story today. I was blessed and encouraged by it.

    • Robin Dance

      Thank you Angelina :),

      Reading it again (I wrote it a while back) reminds me how blessed I am! I do NOT take it for granted!!

  • Katie

    This is super convicting simply because I think I spend more time trying to prove to my parents that I am grown up enough not to need them that I am missing out on their wisdoms. Truth is, as a new mom, I need them more than ever.

    • Robin Dance


      While “leaving and cleaving” is crucial to a healthy marriage, there are ties between parent and child that are important to maintain. I think it’s a mark of maturity to realize it’s okay to need your parents in certain ways…and yes ma’am–new moms NEED the wisdom of those who’ve “been there, done that”!! :)

  • lea

    what a blessed heritage you have in you father in law.
    such a gift!

    great post!!

    • Robin Dance


      I realize SO MANY do not have good relationships with their in-laws, so as I wrote this, I tried to be sensitive to that unfortunate truth; I pray it’s not hurtful to those who read!

      And I can’t help but want to gently encourage readers who might have a tenuous relationship with the extended family, to do whatever THEY can do to communicate love and respect….

  • Sarah

    I started reading my in-box update from this site and I thought – what rich writing – sounds like some awesome inspiring lady I know. And, sure enough, there you are. What a great post. Thanks for sharing.

    • Robin Dance

      Sarah!!! That just made my day! Thank you for sharing that with me :) :) :).

  • Jennifer Ross

    At the age of 29, this is my only desire…… to raise honorable God fearing men. As a child, I didn’t “grow” up in a church, or pray as a family. My parents believed in God and that was it. I didn’t know that I could have a relationship with the One who created me. Over four years ago, I “found” God and grew closer and closer, and I never wanted anything else.

    As I raise my boys, I share every part of God with them. I pray over them when they are sleeping, not just for safety, but that they are revealed their purpose that they were created for. That they will represent Christ in all that they do and say. That they will be strong, when their peers are living different, and may not even know or believe in our Lord.

    All in all, that I leave a legacy that will continue on in generations to come…….

    • Robin Dance


      What a depth you will offer your boys not afforded to you! Here’s a confession for you: when my children were younger and we said nighttime prayers together, I typically prayed for their eventual mates, too. Of course, I prayed that more so outside of their hearing, but they did hear me praying future wisdom with regard to their spouses.

      Now that they’re older–closer to adulthood and conceivably marriage one day–I’m not as diligent to pray those prayers….which is kinda BACKWARDS! Anyways, your comment reminded me of that. I’m grateful!

  • Jennifer Ross

    I got so wrapped up in writing about raising my boys, I forgot to tell you how wonderful your post was!! lol I pray that this post touches those who read it. :)

    • Robin Dance

      Ha! I should’ve waited to reply to you :).

      THANK YOU, though; I’m prayer-filled for that as well :).

  • Sandi Cooley

    I loved your post Robin! You are BLESSED to have that in your life! I also loved the scripture taped to the pictures, I will have to take that one and use it myself. As far as my “legacy”, I LOVE to scrapbook, and found the Bible study written by Lisa Welchel that is also a scrapbook project. You get to journal about your Spiritual journey along with your life and leave that for a Conversation starter on your coffee table and a legacy. I have facilitated the study once and am now going to do it again this fall at a Ladies retreat. Great stuff! God Bless!!

    • Robin Dance


      What a wonderful way to intersect your passion and God’s Word! I love it! This sounds like the kind of thing that will bless your children…grands…and beyond. :)

  • Beth Werner Lee

    Legacy of faith, that is what my mom wanted to leave us more than anything. She also left us Dad, who lives with us most of the year (he visits at my brother’s house too) and has been a blessing. He asked for chores to do so he would feel part of the household, he listens to history lessons while he eats lunch and frequently comments, and he aids us when we’re stuck in Rosetta Stone Greek because he has a PhD in Greek (ancient and Biblical) and learned modern on the two week boat trip to Greece in 1957 where in Athens he met my mom, an American born Greek and evangelical missionary. He’s always available to tell a story and he reads his Bible in the original languages daily, prays not just for us but for all the neighbors. Legacy of faith. He’s a gentle man; I can talk with him privately about what’s bothering me and receive insight and the assurance of his prayers. He is 80, and I wish I could go with him one last time to Greece and hear his memories there.

    I guess that was more about parents than about how I seek to tie God’s word in my child’s heart. Bedtime Bible stories were so important, at one time I’d slipped from it and my child said, “But Mom, I need to hear the Bible before I go to bed because that’s when God enters my heart and I can sleep without being afraid.”

    Prayers at meals, sounds so simple. Scripture memory, hymns that embed scripture, and we’re at a liturgical church, so following the church year follows the story of Jesus. Also there’s a difference between the church year and the Biblical feasts, the Jewish holidays, and once we learned of them we want to keep those too because they are lovely, and because Jesus did.

    • Robin Dance


      Wow…what a rich heritage you share in your parents, passing that onto your babies! All of these things are beautiful aspects of cultivating a faith that will withstand time and circumstance. The intention in your parents lives on in and through you.

      Your father sounds precious…. :).

  • Fiona’s Mosaic

    Awesome post! The legacy of parents and grandparents is SOOOO important!

    Hmmmm…….we started praying with and for them when they were babies. When they became toddlers we began memorizing scripture, bible stories, actual bible study (kept very simple of course) and prayer as a family every evening before bed. When they were school age we got up and had a bible study time and prayer time together, then I also would write a “napkin note” in their lunchboxes every day. It would be a scripture, or just encouragement, or an I love you, or whatever the Lord told me to put on there.

    Our evening prayer time became popular with their friends too, so did the napkin notes. When they were in high school sometime I would end up writing several “napkin notes” because the kids would come home with a list of who wanted “napkin notes” at school. And with the new thing called “skype” we were actually able to pray together in the evenings (when they headed to college), and sometimes the kids who were going to college out of town could join us on the computer for prayer time.

    But my children seeing answers to their prayers, and seeing the struggles of life day to day and how God always walks us through has done SO MUCH for their faith. Sometimes the “stuff” of life just isn’t about us at all……….it’s about walking it out in front of our kids, and showing them how to walk in peace and grace right through adversity.

    But one of the biggest breakthoughs came when I began to ask the Lord DAILY for “the keys to my children’s hearts”. And the Lord was faithful each day to show me what they needed.

    Sorry for the book, but this is something I am passionate about.
    God bless!

    • Robin Dance


      Beautiful…simply beautiful. Your comment gave me shivers! You also gave me a new prayer to sing, asking the Lord for the keys to my children’s hearts; gosh that’s lovely. :)

  • Linda

    What a lovely post. It resonated with me, for sure! About five years ago, Deuteronomy 4:9 jumped off the page for me. It tells us to always remember, and never forget, what we’ve seen God do for us and to be sure to tell our childrlen and grandchildren. At that point I started developing materials for memoir classes based on that verse. Your verses from Deuteronomy 6 are companion verses, of course. I’m still teaching those classes and rejoice to think that class members’ families will be blessed for generations to come because of their stories. What a joy!

    • Robin Dance

      Oh, Linda!!!! There’s no telling how far the ripples are with that ministry! Yes! To God be the Glory for inspiring you to action! :)

  • Jennifer

    What a blessing to have such a father-in-love in your life Robin! Such a special man. Reminds me of my grandpa. He has been gone now for 10 years… and I miss him so, so much. His faith was beautiful and inspiring and he was so excited about it. Wonderful lessons he taught us!

    • Robin Dance


      That you continue to miss him so deeply bears wonderful evidence of the impact he had in your life. He helped shape your life! That’s a precious thing to consider :). xo

  • Cari Rumohr

    I didn’t and don’t have that kind of example in my immediate family. God has helped me to break generational chains and he’s given me a husband that is such a humble and quiet man who loves with his life. Unlike what was modeled to us, we have truly tried to be intentional with our kids.
    I have been keeping a journal for each of my four children since the day they were born. I usually only write in the older ones’ once a year and the younger ones’ every few months. It is a chronicle of obvious memories but also it is my prayer for them in each stage.
    My husband and I have always prayed that God would give us insight into their “bents” and He has been faithful. I do Bible time in the morning with them, during the Christmas and Lent seasons we do activities and read scripture to prepare our hearts. In the evening, my husband leads a little worship, Bible, and prayer time and once a week he does an activity that brings the Bible “home”.
    Although we are doing our best to provide fertile soil for the Spirit of God to grow in their hearts, we acknowledge that the real “test” will come when they choose for themselves whom they will serve as adults. My prayer is always that it will be Him. I sure wish we had a guarantee : D

  • Aimee

    My mother has told me that when she was a little girl, *her* great-grandmother, whose name was Spicey, would pray and pray for her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and their children. She knew the power of prayer and prayed for her descendents and legacy.

    My grandfather was a prayer warrior and I love to leaf through his Bible to read his notes. I am really blessed to have a long line of prayer warriors and loves of God who have prayed for me through the years–even before I was born.

  • Kristen@Chasing Blue Skies

    I absolutely adore your words here today, Robin. I am especially moved by the reminder that I never ever ever stop being my young’un’s Mama, even when they are grown.

    One way I have recently encouraged my children’s walk with the Lord and tie the Word in their hearts is by asking them to write in their own gratitude journals (thank you Ann Voskamp). While all 3 are doing it, one of them has taken off like a madman and is on gratitude # 223, which he proudly declared was :)

    {Made me feel good since an hour earlier I had fussed at him somethin’ fierce over dirty socks left all over the house. :) }

  • Sue@housepretty

    This so inspired me. Thank you. Every night on my way to bed, I have been praying over my daughter’s (3 1/2) salvation and protection. Never thought of praying over her purpose or her future spouse. Thank you for adding two other prayers to my night time list for her! God bless!