I have a really amazing family. There are so many people to look up to and learn from, but some of my family members that I have learned the most from are people that I never even got to meet. My dad's grandparents passed away before I was born, but I have still been able to learn about their life and perseverance from letters and stories from my family.
In the summer of 2016 and the summer of 2017, I was able to visit the Netherlands. One time was with my dad's side of the family and the second was with my mom's. Obviously, visiting Europe was amazing, but I especially loved the family history days.
I have always been interested in my family history, but during our trip, I was able to actually walk along the same street that my ancestors did and sit in the pews of the same churches my family of past generations has attended. Leading up to the trip, I learned as much about my family as possible. My grandma told me about some letters that my great-grandparents wrote while immigrating to Canada. Some of these letters were translated into English from Dutch and I was blown away by what I found. I gained a whole new perspective of their journey.
A few years before, at a family reunion in Canada, I was given the chance to explore the houses my grandpa's family had lived in after immigrating and heard several stories about their experience. But it was not until I was given the chance to read the words of my great-grandparents that I fully appreciate what they went through. I was blown away by their faith in God and His faithfulness.
They were going to a whole new country where they did not know the language and did not have any family. They had to leave their home country where their loved ones lived and their way of life was. If anyone had a reason to feel hopeless and despaired, it was them. Yet, with every letter, I read more and more about the faithfulness of God and how they were trusting him through it all. No matter how hard life got, they trusted in the Lord for their strength. What a legacy to follow!
My family, past and present, is the motivation for what I do. I love to learn and work hard at school in part because I have an amazing family history to follow. Whenever I think about all that my family has been through and has overcome, I am motivated to strive to be the best I can be. Opportunities are available to me that my great grandmother or even my grandma could only dream about. It is crazy to think that I get to pursue something that would have been all but impossible for women in my family three or four generations before me.
Whatever I do in my life, I hope to honor the hard work and sacrifice of so many people before me and to carry on their tradition of faith. God has been so faithful to me in my life. That is not to say that I have not had hard times in my life. The passing of my grandma has been especially hard. But throughout all the hard things, God has still been faithful. My family's legacy is the motivation for me pursuing the best I can be. If they were faithful through some extremely difficult times, then I can be faithful in the little things. Their story is an inspiration for me and hopefully be an inspiration for you.