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Riding on Coattails of Love and Lessons

Gratitude for those who have helped shape a life of faith.

Legacy of family love and lessons, riding on someone's coattails
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

As a child, I remember first hearing the expression, riding on someone’s coattails. That sounded so funny to me back then. But as an adult looking back over my life, I’ve ridden a lot of coattails.

There were the dedicated teachers from whom I learned discipline, commitment and character as well as reading, writing and arithmetic. I’m grateful for their influence and wonderful memories of time spent in their classrooms.

I’ve ridden the coattails of family members who came before me, people I’ve traced back to the earliest days of our country. There’s the Civil War grandfather on my husband’s side of the family who died from his wounds in battle, but before he died, wrote a letter telling his wife to raise their children for the Lord. Because of their faithfulness, my children have had a wonderful, godly dad.

There’s my maternal great-great-grandmother. Family members tell how as she was dying, she was praying for her children, grandchildren and future generations. I wonder how many times I’ve ridden on the coattails from that sweet woman’s prayers? It brings tears to my eyes as I think about this and look at my sons. Two of them are in ministry today preaching the gospel. The other is active in his church’s music ministry. They’re still riding on her coattails, on her prayers that have reached through the generations.

I’ve ridden the coattails of my daddy, uncles and aunt who served in the military—and thousands more just like them. Because of their sacrifice, we have the priceless gift of being free. We can sleep at night in peace and safety. And we can celebrate the 4th of July with family, fireworks and picnics of hot dogs and hamburgers, watermelon and homemade ice cream.

I’m grateful for all of these coattails—for all who’ve touched my life—but as I sit here writing today, it makes me consider the coattails that I, in turn, will leave behind. 

Please, God, let future generations remember a woman who loved You, her family, country and others. Help them know that I prayed for them and that I was faithful to serve You. If others grasp my coattails, help me to lead them toward You. Amen.  

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