NOTE: The names of the winners of the Wednesday Legacy giveaway are posted on the Wednesday post. If you did not win, be sure and enter the other giveaways that will happen today and next week!
The word legacy is never used in the Word of God, yet the concept permeates the Bible. Synonyms for legacy include inheritance, birthright, bequest, and heritage. The words inheritance, birthright, and bequest cause one to think of money or property being handed down. In contrast the words ‘legacy’ or ‘heritage’ bring to mind things handed down that lie in the realm of the spiritual or moral.
Today I would like to share part of the legacy that I call my own. On April 7, 1936, Wayne Edward Colwell was born to Frank and Eula Colwell in Blairsville, GA. He would be their only child and was watched over and protected fiercely, especially by his mother.
Only moments old, he struggled to live, and at one point was wrapped in a blanket and “laid out for dead,” as the old-timers used to say. It was only when one of his aunts noticed the blanket moving that the family realized he was very much alive. A few months later, he would struggle with a serious case of pneumonia that threatened his life. Yet by God’s grace, he overcame that as well.
In June of 1952, Wayne became very sick and was diagnosed with polio at the age of 16. He spent weeks at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, where he endured excruciating spinal taps and other medical procedures necessary to diagnose and treat this horrendous disease.
Ultimately, polio would leave him unable to walk without the aid of a full leg brace and crutches. His parents could only see him once a week while he was at Grady, and this contributed all the more to his mother’s overprotective spirit. After several weeks at Grady, he was moved to Warm Springs Rehabilitation Center, where he spent several months learning to live with the residual effects of polio. He was told that he would never walk again and would be forced to spend the rest of his life confined to a wheelchair.
After coming home, Eula would have waited on Wayne hand and foot had she been allowed. However, Wayne had learned a measure of independence at Warm Springs, and he was determined that he would not allow his handicap to disable him. He finished high school, attended Young Harris College, and obtained his broker’s license to sell real estate. In his real estate business, he often needed to walk the properties that he was buying or selling, and with the aid of the full leg brace to keep his atrophied leg straight and crutches to keep him upright, he did just that. He achieved great success in the real estate business and also served a term as the sole commissioner of the county where he lived.
Not only was he successful in business, but he was a wonderful father to his two daughters and husband to his wife, Bobbie. His life evidenced his love for Jesus, and he volunteered untold hours mowing the grass for First Baptist Church in Blairsville. His passion was to see young people encouraged in their walk with Christ, and he gave generously to the youth program at First Baptist.
On the day of his memorial service in October of 2004, over 800 people stood in line for several hours to pay their respects to Wayne. His family heard story after story of how he had helped people in the community in a very quiet way.
“He paid my mortgage payment to keep me from losing my home.”
“Wayne came by the appliance store, purchased a washer and dryer, and told me to deliver them to so-and-so. He told me never to tell who paid for them.”
Over and over, the stories were shared. These stories evidenced a life well lived—a life that left a legacy of hard work, integrity, perseverance, wisdom, and love for his Lord and his fellow man.
Wayne was my Daddy, and over the years, I watched him function as well as any man who had two good legs. He provided very well for our family, when he could have easily given up and depended on charity or the government to support us. He was a respected businessman whom people trusted because of his honesty and integrity. He worked hard and persevered in spite of his handicap. God gave to him wisdom, keen insight, and vision, and he used them to be the man God desired for him to be. It was from my daddy’s example that I learned about perseverance, hard work, and integrity.
People are watching us each and every day of our lives. As we go about our days, we are—either consciously or unconsciously—setting an example for others. In the things that we do and say, we are writing our story on the lives that surround us.
Have you considered the story you are writing on the lives of those surrounding you? Share a legacy story from your family with us in the comments today.
This story is found in week 1 of the Legacy Bible Study.
Today, I am giving away two copies of Legacy (one print version and one Kindle version) over on the Legacy FB page. Simply go to the page and LIKE it, then leave a comment on the page telling me whether you prefer the print version or the Kindle version and you will be entered to win when I draw two names on Sunday morning.
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