Creating A Legacy of Beauty from Ashes

A testimony of God’s faithfulness and freedom in generational trauma.

By Morgan Dufault

When my husband and I decided to get married, the Holy Spirit put the word legacy on our hearts in a deeply profound way. We had both come from broken families filled with unhealthy cycles, toxic patterns, and poor life choices. So as we joined together and became one flesh, we drew our line in the sand and declared that generational trauma would end with us. We were determined to create a new legacy for our family. Sounds so poetic, doesn’t it?

God is such an intentional Creator, and he created everything with a divine purpose. It’s not happenstance that he created the roles of both mother and father. My husband and I were determined to embrace the roles God had designed for us as parents. 

While I knew it would not be easy, I had no idea the depths and the work it would take to live out this mission that God had clearly put on our hearts. But God knew what lay before us, and he orchestrated every step of the process in ways only he could.

I wasn’t supposed to be able to have kids biologically, so when we found out we were pregnant on our first wedding anniversary, my heart leapt with a disbelief that was coupled with insurmountable joy. A mere sixteen weeks later, it leapt again with the same disbelief and joy as the ultrasound tech announced it was a girl. I looked at the black and white screen of our daughter’s little side profile while two competing  thoughts flooded my mind—the time for redemption is here, and am I going to screw this up? 

Five months later, our daughter was born, and a piece of me was too. With that came a whole new level of redemption. I knew raising my daughter in a healthy manner would lead to healing in my own life, and I was filled with hope and anticipation. 

While healing did happen, so did new levels to my trauma that I didn’t know existed. There were places in my heart and soul needing healing that, prior to her birth, had not surfaced. And now, as a mother, I was processing them in a different light. As a result, I simultaneously found myself picking up the pieces of my broken childhood while trying to create and mend together a much different childhood for my own children. 

It’s been almost three years now and a whole lot of therapy. There have been great days, but there have also been moments when I’ve sat on my kitchen floor sobbing with a righteous anger that we are in this position in the first place. Thankfully, God continues to shepherd me as I live out the ups and downs, fully wrapped in his presence.

Legacy simply requires determination and perseverance.

At times it has been a lonely road for me and my husband. So as poetic as “legacy” sounds, in reality it’s nitty and gritty and requires determination and perseverance. It takes a resounding “You have our yes, Lord, and we will follow your lead—regardless of our circumstances.”

Throughout this experience, my eyes have constantly seen how God can create beauty from ashes. Our daughter’s middle name is Ivy, which means “faithfulness.” We chose that to serve as a reminder of how God continually displays that in our own lives. For example, we sometimes feel lacking as parents, but God continues to fill in the gaps for us. 

The intimacy with God that this whole journey has produced in me cannot be matched and it is something I would never trade. For decades, my experience with my own family subconsciously painted a picture of who I thought God was, and it was terribly wrong. Over time, I have learned to break down my own walls, built out of self-preservation, and let him come in and show me who he is—a keeper of his word, unconditionally loving, and a true father.

If you are fighting to replace the trauma that has gripped your family, please know that as isolating as the journey can be, you are seen and you are not alone. Keep fighting the good fight, knowing the seeds you are planting now will bear fruit for years and generations to come. Allow God to fill in the gaps where you are lacking and comfort you through the ups and downs. And know that regardless of your upbringing, God can create a new legacy for your children. 

I believe God’s heart breaks when he sees the brokenness in our families, but I also know he rejoices as we press on to leave a legacy that honors his kingdom and will change the course of generations after us. He is the author of our stories and is not finished with us yet. Watch and see! He will make beauty from ashes.

A testimony of beauty from ashes, Morgan Dufault is a proud wife, crunchy mama, artist, and professional Enneagram 6. @sheisofthesea

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