This post was written by Marta Cortez, a member of the INCM Blog team.
I was recently asked to think of women in my family that had faced challenges, and how these women shaped their own lives and legacies. I pondered the question for a moment. This question was easy for me, but not in the way you’d think.
I don’t have many women in my family that I could look at for that answer. You see, I didn’t grow up around my maternal or paternal grandmothers, or any aunts. I emigrated from Cuba at 6 years old, with my mother and brothers (my father had left Communist Cuba for America one year earlier). Sadly, I never had the opportunity to get to know those women while they were living.
The answer to that question (found in Jo Saxton’s book, Ready to Rise) was simple for me. The woman that had faced challenges, and shaped her own life and legacy, was my mother. Mom faced so many challenges, but her life and legacy will forever be shaped by how she overcame those challenges by God’s grace.
Mom had a God-given dream of raising her children in a place where they could worship Him freely, have a better life, and succeed at whatever they endeavored to become. Her dream enabled her to persevere through the hardships in Cuba. Dreams do that when you hold on to them tightly in the hard times, and when you trust God with them.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18
Mom’s vision got her through six long months of working the sugar cane fields in a labor camp (the Cuban government required this of all those seeking to leave the country). Her dream of reuniting with my father in America, and being a complete family, gave her the will to survive the hardships of Cuba. She kept a tight grip on her vision, and it allowed her to keep her eyes on Jesus through the hardships.
Mom taught me what perseverance and resilience look like, and how to keep the faith in hard times. These lessons have served me well through the years. They especially serve me well now, in this difficult season of “pandemic ministry.”
As a pastor’s wife, my mom served faithfully alongside my father through many challenging seasons of ministry, always trusting God’s plan and character, even in the midst of hardship. She clung to and depended on the One who she knew could make beauty out of ashes–even if she couldn’t see how at that very moment.
What about you?
Consider your own story. How has your life been shaped by the legacy of another? Who has influenced you? Who has helped ground you in your leadership journey? And who has helped you rise into your leadership today? What vision or dream do you need to hold onto tightly in this season?
Give these questions some serious reflection. Take a moment to write down what God shows you. Thank Him for the legacy others have left in your life. Then ask yourself, What legacy do I want to leave for others? How can your dream help you to endure the challenging seasons of ministry, and also inspire the next generation?
Where there is no vision, the people perish. I suspect the opposite is true–where there is vision, the people thrive. Ask God to give you a vision that will sustain and grow you, as you worship, love, and serve Him.
Marta Cortez is an innovative leader with a passion for family ministry. She is dedicated to equipping leaders and seeing kids come to know Christ. She has served in many roles across her ministry career. Serving in churches of various sizes, including a megachurch, has developed her management skills and ability to tailor programs and leadership models to accommodate ministry needs. Marta has been married for 37 years and has two beautiful daughters. In her spare time, Marta loves baking, good coffee, and trips to the beach.