A Legacy of Our Own

The same God who made promises to those in the Bible makes promises to us.  Are we listening?

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"I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing."
-Genesis 12:2

God promised Abraham to make him a great nation; that his offspring would be more bountiful than the stars.

Now let me pause right there.  This is not to say that we can directly apply what God said to a specific person/group to our own situation.  That's inappropriate hermeneutics, and as a proud Liberty seminary alumni, I wouldn't dare.

But this verse does show God's nature - that He can bless us with a legacy and that His desire and heart is for a strong family that He can move through.  That, I believe.

So when I had my own idea of my wife and I having 4 kids (3 boys, then 1 girl) by 28, I did what I always do - become bull-headed about the plan.

But when we turned 28 and had our first child a few weeks later, God was showing His own plan for our family.  We did have visions of having 4 children; that we were confident in.  But here came my first.  A beautiful girl, but not my boy.

Then another girl 53 weeks later.

And another girl 15 months later.

And then, finally, one boy 12 months after that.

Yep.  We had 4 kids in less than 3 1/2 years, and my order was all off - God blessed us with 3 girls, then 1 boy.

When we found out we were pregnant with our first, we had our boy name picked out as Giovanni Michael Tatonetti.  I was named after my dad, who I don't have the best memories of, and I didn't want to name my child after me directly.  I felt the middle name was enough of a nod, while still giving his own first name for individuality.

As we had our other 2 girls, that name stuck.  Each time, we found out the gender and realized we needed another girl's name.  'Giovanni Michael' was sitting on the shelf, collecting dust.

So when we found out that our 4th would be our boy, we were ecstatic.  My wife and I both really wanted at least 1 boy so we could experience both genders.  But then things changed.

First, my wife had a solid vision that God gave us 1 son so that I could fully pour into him as a man in training.  You see, our family has a lot of generational curses.  So much unhealthiness passed down.  And we are working hard to start a new legacy.  God had given me vision long before we had children that I would be like Abraham in that I would go where He called me (Atlanta) and start anew.  That I would be the patriarch of our family.  That generations after would point back to my wife and I and say "that's when it changed."

When she shared that vision, I immediately had chills and knew it was a fact.  It's taken so much work for me to get to where I am, and I'm still growing (aren't we always?) and for me to really train up my son as the next patriarch of our family, it would take real effort.

After she shared that, I had a major heart change.  God really put it on my heart to name him after me.  He took away my fear of my own negative experience and reminded me that this was something new, and my son would be proud to be named after me.

But we didn't do it conventionally.  After all, this was a legacy we were creating, and we decided to walk on faith.

We switched the order of his name to Michael Giovanni.  No, we do not share the same middle name, but in some cultures that doesn't matter much.  What did matter to me was that we not use Junior, but rather II after his name.

Why?

Normally, a child is a Junior until they have their own child named after them, and then they become II and their child becomes III.

For me, I didn't want to wait that long for him to be called II.  I knew this was a lineage that would carry on, and I have a strong vision that my son will continue our name on.  Sure, his future wife can change their son's middle name, too, but I'm already walking in faith that our family will have a Michael III, IV, and so on.

I'm already walking as if it is so, because the vision my wife and I have of training up our children is too important, necessary, and crucial to not treat it as such.

So here's to a legacy of our own.  And this fun, messy, tiring, joyful ride we have been on for nearly 4 years and will continue on for another 18 years as we train up our 4 kiddos in the way they should go.

"...so are my ways higher than your ways..."
-Isaiah 55:9
Michael Tatonetti