How To Leave A Spiritual Legacy

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‘The Lord knows the days of the upright, and their inheritance shall be forever.’ (Ps 37:18 NKJV)

Whether your life touches few or many, you can leave a spiritual inheritance for generations to come.

Last night, my husband Malcolm and I returned from Auckland, New Zealand, where we farewelled his Mum, Rosemary Calder. She passed away last week after a 6 year battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Rosemary is now free at last. Today, on her birthday, I reflect on the spiritual legacy Mum Calder has passed on to me personally, and what I have learned from her example.

What Mum Calder Taught me about Passing on a Spiritual Legacy

1. Be Devoted to Family

‘But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)

Mum Calder loved and valued her family—her husband and 3 children—with a passion. And as that family grew—with three spouses and 5 grandchildren added, she embraced each of us as her own.

In 1979, Rosemary was on a visit with friends at a small Presbyterian Church in Auckland, when she spotted me on the worship team. She later said to Malcolm, her oldest son, ‘When you marry, I hope your wife will be like this girl.’

As a result of that conversation, my future husband sought me out when he visited our church. 30 years of marriage later, I reflect on the significant role she played in our relationship.

Even the smallest words, actions and examples, when directed by the Holy Spirit, can have a lasting effect on your family and people around you.

2. Invest in People

‘For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy.’ (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20)

Mum Calder had a passion for the presence of God, for prayer, and for prophetic ministry. She became a prophetic mentor to me during the 1980’s and into the 1990’s.

Through countless conversations, books, audiotapes, taking me to visiting ministries and to prophetic training, as well as through her own example, Mum Calder invested in my life. And, unbeknownst to both of us—my calling.

Sow seed, and invest what you carry into the lives of those God gives into your care. For possessions pass away, but people are eternal.

3. Be Bold about your God-Given Passion

‘Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.’ (Romans 12:11)

Mum Calder’s chief passion could be summed up in her favourite quote, ‘evangelising the unbelieving heart of the believer.’ [1]

Rosemary believed that her calling was to bring healing to the hearts of Christians, so that they could know God’s love fully and reach their fullest potential in Him.

However, her favourite line was a source of irritation to me throughout the years that we were involved with world missions. ‘What,’ I wondered, ‘could be more important than evangelising the heart of the unbeliever?’

Some 20 years later, during devastating burnout, I had a life-changing encounter with the love of the Father. I finally grasped the truth she had tried so valiantly to share over the years. However by then she was in full-time care, and Alzheimer’s had robbed her of the ability to rejoice with me.

Has God given you a unique passion and vision? Discover it, own it, and share it. You may never know how it will impact those who are listening.

4. Be an Example of Faith

‘Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.’ (Heb 11:1)

Mum Calder was a consistent encouragement and support to us, during our own faith journey—especially in the early years of our ministry.

At the funeral, Dad Calder paid tribute to his wife Rosemary as a ‘woman of faith.’ He described the moment when, late in life, they lost their house due to a business downturn.

As they stood outside their family home for the last time, she said, ‘David, God will take care of us.’ And He has—every step of the way.

Being an example of faith and trust in God, through all the ups and downs of life, is one of the greatest gifts you can give to others.

5. Pray for Those you Love

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. (1 John 5:14)

In the early years of our marriage, my husband Malcolm and I wandered far from God. During those years, Mum Calder would often say to us with a twinkle in her eye, ‘God has got His net over you.’ Sure enough, the day came when, weary of our backsliding, we recommitted our lives to Jesus, going on to passionately serve Him in Christian ministry.

How did Rosemary know God had His ‘net’ over us? She knew because she was praying. Her prayer for our recommitment and salvation made the net of God’s grace inescapable. [2]

Mum Calder’s prayer life also provided an example to us as we in turn pray for our family members and children.

The power and results of your prayers for your family and others will endure beyond your lifetime.

It was this last memory that was foremost in my mind as our family gathered, holding hands, around her casket for a final farewell. ‘Thank you,’ I said, ‘…thank you’ and as I turned away, it was with tears of both gratitude and grief.


The photo is of Rosemary Calder with our children Stephen and Amy, taken in 1993.

[1] ‘Evangelising the unbelieving heart of the believer,’ is a quote by John and Paula Sandford.
Sandford, J & P.  The Transformation of the Inner Man. 1982. Bridge Publishing.

For more of my story, read the article 1 Father, 2 Sons, 3 Positions

[2] This is an excerpt from my e-Book ‘Pray For The Lost.’

Related Posts:

Pray For Those You Love And Unleash The Power Of God

The Spirit Of Encouragement: Are You A Barnabas?

© Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching

Enliven Ministries: in the David McCracken Ministries family

8 thoughts on “How To Leave A Spiritual Legacy

  1. Steve McCrackrn

    As always Helen, your words of wisdom are beautifully written. It’s powerful to see you teaching others even during your own difficult time. You truly are a great woman of God.

    I’m blessed to journey with you.

  2. malcolm Calder

    Helen, I am deeply moved reading your tribute to Mum. Thank you so much. I know many 100’s of people will be blessed & encouraged by this!!

  3. Faye

    our thoughts and prayers are with you all at this sad time. she is free now and God will take care of her. Big hugs to you, Malcolm and your kids, it is hard to lose someone you love, even when we know they are going to a much better place

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Thank you so much Faye, all hugs received and returned! Greetings and blessings to your family from over the Tasman 🙂

  4. Judith Cummins

    I booked my plane ticket back to New Zealand the day your Mom passed; I’d left a message at the Baptist Tab (where I met her & the other ladies of a prayer group there). Rosemary & David took me home & asked me to stay with them. I gave her a book by Mark & John Sanford that I still value highly… have not one myself due to giving so many away!
    I’m in Wellington since Dec 4 for a much needed vacation myself. Have been battling with leukemia/lymphoma for 10 yrs and mostly successful (only due to the grace of God since they sent me home to die in 2003)…
    I’m flying home to Canada on the 7th & am so sorry to have missed her smiley face and good company! They were both so very kind to me…
    Isn’t it odd how giving love to one another (as they did me) keeps us strangely connected forever… I’m so very sorry to have missed her “home coming”. My decision to come to New Zealand was largely due to Rosemary & the ladies because New Zealand (like Psalm 139: flying to the far side of the sea… was and still is my “healing place” .. in large measure due to your wonderful Mom! Please convey my greetings & love to your father David … who loved planes and Eric Clapton too.
    Blessings to you
    Judith Cummins

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Hi Judith, we certainly will!
      Sorry to hear of your battle with leukemia/lymphnoma, may you continue to know Jesus’ healing and empowering grace: ‘But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.’ Rom 8:11

  5. Qiniso Mogale

    A dear friend of mine Pastor Siboniso Mngometulu recently passed on. He has left a huge void in my life but also a spiritual legacy. God told him what I had been called to do for His Kingdom. I’ve grown tremendously with him as a friend and spiritual advisor. May he rest in peace till we meet again.

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