The Power of a Spiritual Legacy

Introducing this Week’s Guest

Every writer can look back to the start of their career and identify that handful of encouraging people who came alongside them, helping them learn and grow in their craft. When I think about those people who influenced my Christian writing career, four names come to mind. “The Two Lindas” (they know who they are), Ms. Gerry Wakeland, and my guest this week.

I first met Mrs. DiAnn Mills in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2017. Having read Pursuit of Justice, Sworn to Protect, Deadly Encounter, Firewall, and others, I never dreamed I’d one day meet this prolific writer. When I stepped into the opening session of the writer’s conference, I came face-to-face with a legend in the Christian writing world.

What I found was not a narcissistic, pompous, self-important so and so. Instead, I met a gentle, kind, wise, and caring lady who put the needs of others above her own. Her words and actions pointed to God and away from herself. In her lessons, stories, and speeches, I found pearls of wisdom that continue to help me navigate the world of Christian writing and publishing. Yes, without a Trace of Doubt, I’m a huge fan of this week’s guest.

Please join me in extending a hearty Cross-Dubya welcome to Mrs. DiAnn Mills.

God’s blessings,

The Power of a Spiritual Legacy

So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall
not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and
shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
(Isaiah 55:11 ESV)

We watch our children and grandchildren grow into special people with unique gifts and personalities. We often question what we can leave behind that will be beneficial to their spiritual growth, not just a physical item, a memory, or the many hours we’ve spent with them— although quality time and memory-makers are critical to our legacy.

We won’t always be there for our loved ones, so the idea of leaving a spiritual legacy meant a lot to me. And it may mean a lot to you too.

All of us leave a legacy—some are good, and some are not so good, and we build this through our actions and reactions to life, what we say and what we do. If we can show strength through our challenges and give God the glory, then our legacy is a spiritual one. We want to provide wisdom to our loved ones by showing how we learned from our mistakes and grew to become better people.

Our spiritual legacies are not alike. What’s important is laying the foundation for loved ones to see Jesus in us. We’re all different which makes what we leave behind a sweet fragrance of our faith.

Ever skim a stone across a pond? The ripples are like the impact of our lives on others. We have no idea how far the circle will extend. Neither is it our job to measure the ripples to make ourselves look good. Our spiritual legacy is a gift from God and when used to bring others closer to Him, we are blessed, and the glory belongs to God. Our actions and words, blessed by God, will not return void.

I thought about the above and how I could leave spiritual value to my sons and grandchildren. What was the one thing I longed to pass on to them? What paths had I taken and not afraid to talk about? Young people today want role models to whom they can relate to, people who talk their language. Recording our life experiences that make us real encourages them more than a list of rules that invites legalism and says nothing about love.

So how did I seriously endeavor to leave a tangible spiritual legacy for my sons and grandchildren? After much prayer, I chose journal Bibles in my favorite version for each one. I read through one Bible each year and personalized it with notes unique for that person, thoughts about Scripture, passages their father had memorized, truths I wanted them to remember, lots of love, comments I felt came from God, and ways to challenge them to live for Jesus every moment of their lives.

What happened is I grew spiritually in the process. Not sure why that surprised me.

I asked myself the following:

What is my life purpose?

Has it always been the same?

What have I learned as I journeyed through life?

What is my greatest achievement?

What is my biggest challenge?

What is most important in life and how has that changed over time?

What is the happiest moment of my life?

What have I learned the hard way that I want someone else to learn more easily?

What can I pass on to others that will make their lives better, easier, or deeper?

What role has God played in my life?

What stories from the past best reflect my faith?

We are complex creatures with different—

  • values
  • beliefs
  • insights
  • passions
  • actions
  • life experiences

Spirituality takes time, effort, and discipline in God’s Word – giving, sharing, and modeling Jesus to all we meet. Leaving a spiritual legacy means keeping our spiritual muscles in shape and never looking back.

Some of our life happenings are humorous. Others are not. The best-written legacies are those that use transparency and sensory perception to show us as real people.

God may be calling you to get serious about leaving a spiritual legacy. Don’t worry about whether the gift is well received or if you’re equipped. God doesn’t set us up to fail at something He has purposed. We must be willing to trust Him. When God says He’ll do something. He promises and then acts.

Leave the outcome to God. He already knows what He will do with our gift.

The spiritual legacy you leave behind is built from the life you lived. #SpiritualLegacy #LifeOfFaith Share on X

If you haven’t planned a special spiritual legacy for your loved ones, now may be the time to begin.


About DiAnn

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She is a storyteller and creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels to thrill readers. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers. DiAnn continues her passion for helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

Connect with DiAnn on her various social media platforms here: DiAnn Mills – Expect an Adventure! 


65 thoughts on “The Power of a Spiritual Legacy”

  1. I smiled and hung on every word in this post. I did the same with a journaling Bible and gave it to my oldest granddaughter when she graduated from
    High school. It became a spiritual exercise for me as I pondered and wrote my application notes. I’ve maintained journals for each of my grandchildren- prayers and Bible verses that I pray when they start school and on their birthday- and record special times together. One of the most comforting comments made to me at my husband’s memorial service was,”his work isn’t finished. I heard your daughters speak and your grandchildren sing Jesus Loves Me” —legacy.
    Thank you for beautifully reminding us.DiAnn.

    1. J.D. Wininger

      Wow! The journaling Bible was a new concept to me, and I love it so much. Next time we’re all together, I’m going to have to learn more from you ladies about this. Thank you Ms. Marilyn. Always the encourager ma’am.

    2. Thank you, Marilyn. I love what you’ve done for your family. Life is so much more than tangible items, and our spiritual reminders for our loved ones keeps them rooted in Jesus.

  2. J.D. Wininger

    I can’t thank you enough for graciously sharing your wisdom with all my friends Ms. DiAnn, of course, you’re among them too. I so love the idea of a journaling Bible that us customized for each child and grandchild, I’m thinking I may want to extend it to other family members too. Of course, the most powerful spiritual legacy is the life that we’ve allowed our family and friends to see us live out. Not always perfect, but certainly faith-focused and Spirit-led. Among my most cherished memories will always be laying in bed and listening to my adopted mama praying in the darkness of the pre-dawn hours before her family arose. God’s blessings ma’am, and thank you again for your kindness.

  3. Well, if this doesn’t cause us to stop and ruminate someone needs to call an undertaker.
    DiAnn’s questions are so thought provoking I want to write an essay for each one.
    Thanks for sharing this beautiful post, J.D.

    1. J.D. Wininger

      I agree Ms. Connie. In fact, I printed them out so that I can use them as an outline to update my “Memoir for My Family”. I don’t want the history that I know, along with the history I’ve lived, to be lost to the generations. I include it as part of my estate planning documents so it’s available upon my death or rapture, whichever comes first. 🙂 Thank you for commenting ma’am.

  4. I absolutely LOVE this and it thrills me to know I did the very same thing for each of my children! This was a gentle nudge and reminder that perhaps I need to begin doing the same for each of my grandchildren.

    1. J.D. Wininger

      Wow! Yet another friend who has written a journaling Bible for their children. Love that you want to do the same for your grandchildren. I can see some great entries about their parent (son or daughter) in there from when they were a child. LOL

  5. Like J.D., the idea of a journaling Bible is a new one for me, and a very intriguing thought. The older I get the more concerned I become about what I’m leaving behind, especially to the seven grandchildren coming along behind me. They will know nothing about the world I grew up in or what life changing lessons God taught me through the often rocky journey to where God has brought me to today. I met DiAnn Mills at a Blue Ridge Christian Writer’s Conference years ago and the more I learned about her work and her heart for other Christian writers, the more I have grown to appreciate her and thank God for her. Thank you, J.D. for blessing us with this inspirational post.

    1. J.D. Wininger

      Thanks Mr. Ron. Ms. DiAnn is truly a gem sir; and has been such an inspiration for so many of us in the Christian writing world. What a great example of that Paul-Timothy type relationship we wrote about last week. How important it is that we look to help those coming behind us in the same way those who came before us has helped us. God’s blessings my friend.

    2. Ron, you bring tears to my eyes. Thank you for your kind words. When we think about it, everything that we tangibly leave for our loved ones will face destruction, but not a spiritual legacy. That lives into eternity.

  6. What a neat idea! I’ve thought of writing down family stories, lessons learned, etc., for my kids and grandkids. Your questions give me some great ideas of what to include.

    1. J.D. Wininger

      Oh, how this is going to bless your family Ms. Barbara. I pray Ms. DiAnn’s post gives you the impetus you need to get started on this most-important task. Thank you ma’am.

  7. The idea that each of our legacies will be different resonates with me. Being able to take creative risks can be a gift handed down, even it it’s not specifically about words.
    Thanks, both of you.

    1. Great point Ms. Gail. If we stop to think about it, each of our children/grandchildren are different and unique. By doing a journaling Bible for each one, you can help direct them in alignment with the needs, strengths, and weaknesses you see in each one. Won’t it be something to see when, some day in the future, a grandchild in distress reaches for their Bible from their grandmother and they turn to find your note to them that points to exactly the passage they need? Oh, the joy I think that would bring.

  8. What a delight it is to meet you here at J. D.’s place, Diann! I’ve been wondering, too, about how to leave my grandchildren a legacy of my life that will point to the great power of God working in and through me, and pointing toward how He can use them for His purposes. The Bible journal sounds great!
    I’ve signed up for your newsletter, so will be looking forward to getting to know you better.

    1. I’m doing the same here Ms. Vera. Much to consider isn’t there? So pleased you enjoyed the post ma’am, and thank you for commenting and sharing. What a team!

  9. Thank you for sharing this wise post. I admired Ms. Mills very much before and now I admire her even more. The thoughts of ‘what legacy I’ll leave my grands’ has been at the forefront of my mind lately. I will take this wisdom to heart.

    Thanks to you both!

    1. Candyce, I appreciate your kind words. I encourage you to consider a spiritual Bible. I first wanted to leave my grands something about my faith, but then I created one for their parents too.

    2. I’m right there with you Ms. Candyce. To view a bit more of Ms. DIAnn’s heart for God and love for her family is indeed, heartwarming. Her genuineness only endears her to her fans more. So pleased you enjoyed her post.

  10. Every part of this post is beautiful, encouraging, and wise. The questions are powerful to ask ourselves. I pray that more than anything my children (and grandchildren) will think of Jesus when they remember me. This post brought to mind this song, which is now playing 🙂

    Thank you, both Diann and J.D. for sharing this post with us all! Blessings!

    1. Joanne, Casting Crowns has been one of my hands-down favorite groups since their first CD. The church where Mark Hall works is just down the road and I had the chance to interview him and a couple others for a magazine feature years ago. They’re the real deal and their songs show it. 🙂

      1. J.D. WIninger

        Wow! How cool is that? And I thought having an article that shared a cover with MercyMe was “livin’ large.” LOL They are indeed Ms. Leigh.

    2. The blessing is certainly mine to share Ms. DiAnn with you ma’am. And thank you for the music video. Love that song. Casting Crowns is a great source for worship. “Only Jesus” ma’am. Thank you!

  11. There are so many beautiful, wise words here (from DiAnn and the comments) that I don’t know which to sit with and mull over first.

    But I’ll start here: “Our spiritual legacy is a gift from God and when used to bring others closer to Him, we are blessed, and the glory belongs to God.”

    I’ve often thought of (and prayed to be) the kind of example God wants me to be for my family and others. But for some reason I’ve not usually thought about that example, those everyday things, as a spiritual legacy. It’s easy to focus on “all the things” when the things aren’t really what matter in the end after all.

    Thank you for that powerful reminder and the challenge to think through it on a personal level. You’ve planted a seed in me that needs the chance to grow.

    1. I hear you Ms. Leigh. I’m going to spend weeks praying over the post and the many wonderful comments received. I pray your legacy extends for many generations to come ma’am.

  12. DiAnn, I am sure your grandchildren will always cherish those Bibles. What a thoughtful and brilliant way to share your heart and your faith. J.D., thanks for inviting DiAnn to share. She was my writing mentor!

    1. Wow! Ms. DiAnn has been an inspiration and guide in many writer journeys. That too is perhaps a part of her “legacy of love” that she’ll leave for a great many of us. Have learned that Christian writing is indeed a “family.” We all have he same Father. 🙂

    1. So glad you enjoyed Ms. Mimi. Like your posts, we can learn so much from one another, as long as we’re focusing back to the source of our joy. God’s blessings ma’am.

  13. DiAnn,
    When you shared with us at the Marketing Retreat the journaling Bible you were creating for your granddaughter, I knew it was something I could do. Thus far, we’ve finished two for two of our four sons and the remaining two will be completed before Christmas. We are so thankful for this idea. You are a jewel among writers and teachers.
    Forever grateful,

    1. What kind words Ms. Debra. Thank you ma’am. Sounds like you are well on your way to creating a lasting legacy. Won’t it be something to learn one day that perhaps your great, great, great granddaughter found her way to Christ through the old, worn Bible that you had lovingly left behind for them. The generations you might impact with your gift ma’am. A beautiful legacy.

  14. Yvonne Morgan

    DiAnn is such a wonderful example to me too and I love her thoughts on spiritual legacy. It is important for us to make sure our children and grandchildren see our faith lived out daily. Thank you for sharing

    1. J.D. Wininger

      Absolutely Ms. Yvonne. Both as a writer and as a mature Christian, Ms. DiAnn serves as an example for others throughout her life. Not perfect always, but redeemed and sacrificing. God’s blessings ma’am.

  15. DiAnn, you left us important questions to ponder regarding the influence we leave behind. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and thank you, J.D., for hosting DiAnn on your site. She really is a treasure and I am blessed to have met both of you in person.

    1. J.D. Wininger

      I could not agree more Ms. Barb. And yes, for me, it was wonderful to see both you dear sisters-in-Christ again last month. There were some questions Ms. DiAnn asks that I didn’t like my answers to, so while there’s a little time left, I’ll be working to improve the legacy I leave behind in those areas. So pleased you enjoyed the post ma’am. When are you going to go Around the Cross-Dubya with your guest post ma’am?

  16. Thanks for this thoughtful post that gives practical examples for us consider, DiAnn and J.D. We need to be intentional about passing on the legacy of our faith.

    1. Great word Ms. Annie, “intentional.” Something about that word that perhaps we should apply to all aspects of our lives. Thank you for commenting ma’am; always a blessing.

  17. Your message is beautiful, DiAnn, and the questions you ask are compelling. Thank you for sharing and thank you, J.D. for hosting. As with your experience, J.D., and so many of us, DiAnn has had a powerful impact on my writing journey. May God continue to bless you both.

    1. Yes ma’am. Like you, Ms. Diane is a blessing and a half. 🙂 Have a wonderful week ma’am and, as always, thank you for stopping in.

  18. Thank you, J.D. for hosting DiAnn.

    DiAnn, It’s been a while since I’ve seen you, but when I think about your story, your writings, and the times I’ve heard you speak at Blue Ridge conference, I smile from the fond memories.

    Your message here is fresh insight when it comes to leaving a spiritual legacy. Particularly like these powerful thoughts, “What’s important is laying the foundation for loved ones to see Jesus in us. We’re all different which makes what we leave behind a sweet fragrance of our faith.”

    1. J.D. Wininger

      What a great point Ms. Karen. Our legacy of faith will look different for each one of us, but they should all point to Jesus. Always appreciate your insights and deep thoughts. God’s blessings ma’am.

  19. Wow! DiAnn Mills? You got some swag, J.D.
    I have thought about her topic for some time. Not having children, this is a matter of concern to me. I have determined two primary things about my leaving my legacy: first, through the relationship with my friend (and co-author) who basically has no family; and second, through my writing. My missions work also enters in but it’s not quite as specific. Of course, God’s work cannot be underestimated. What a great idea DiAnn had about the Bibles. She sounds like a wonderful person. I am currently reading one of her books she co-authored with Edie Melson.

    1. Yeah, how bout that. When a celebrity like Ms. DiAnn is willing to pay a visit, you feel like “you’ve arrived.” Granted, I’m a guppie swimming in the ocean of the Christian publishing world, but as I was reminded by a friend this morning, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog that matters.”

  20. I remember that Albuquerque conference well. That’s where I first met you, J.D. And DiAnn’s encouragement was a great blessing to me then as is this post on leaving a spiritual legacy. Thank you both!

    1. Aww shucks. I remember meeting you and thinking, “what a quiet yet sweet lady this is.” God has proven those thoughts out through the years. What a blessing it’s been to have met you ma’am. My family’s life is enriched by having you and Mr. Kenn in it.

  21. Thanks and blessings to Mr.J.D. and Mrs. DiAnn for this exciting post. I plan to follow through with this idea for the 16 members of my immediate family.
    This is so exciting! But I must pray for guidance and listen to His nudges as I begin. I get chill bumps while thinking of this project

    1. Thank you Ms. Ethel. I’ll be praying for God’s guidance in your endeavor and am certain Ms. DiAnn will also. Thank you so much for reading my friend’s guest blog. And come by to visit anytime ma’am.

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