Lily's Legacy

In 2018, Redeemer introduced Faith and Service Captains as part of our student leadership team. Part of their role has been to share their faith among the community. At the close of our school year, Lily Oxford, one of our Captains shared her Redeemer journey through her devotion to the Senior School community.

Lily's moving speech has had such an impact on those around her, that it was featured in ABC Brisbane's Evenings with Kelly Higgins-Devine on Monday 11 February 2019:

Five hundred, twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes.

If you know me, you’ll know how much I love musicals.

And this lyric counting the number of minutes in a year is what’s going through my head as the remaining minutes of my life at Redeemer are fast disappearing.

As one of the inaugural Faith Captains, it’s been my honour to lead you this year.

In this, my last devotion, I wanted to reflect on what I’ve learned about faith.

When I started at Redeemer as a wide-eyed, slightly terrified Year 3, I had more than five million minutes still ahead of me, and I had to learn most of these reflections as I journeyed through school.

A lesson I brought with me from my first school at St Mark’s Lutheran was the power of a simple prayer. All through Junior School, I have memories of us, as Redeemer students, sharing our simple needs and praying for each other.

1 John 5:14 tells us that we can have total confidence in approaching God—that if we ask anything, he hears us.

I don’t remember much about what I prayed about. I only remember always wanting to keep it very, very short since I once read that long prayers can be hypocritical if they’re not honest. The length doesn’t matter. Just keep praying.

Two and a half million minutes in, it was a new challenge—coming into the senior school from the protection of the junior school. It was a time of change at Redeemer and some of the fun things I’d been expecting were no longer on offer. I felt a little alone, unsure, worried.

It was here I learned the power of service.

Library Assistants, choirs, concert bands and just helping out—in all of the areas I’ve served, I’ve learned the joy of serving in community.

I’m not a particularly loud person. I’m an introvert. I can go a long time without needing people around me. Yet by serving, I’ve learned how to be part of something bigger than myself and achieve more than I can on my own.

Hebrews 6:10 tells us that no act of service we undertake for God’s people—which, for us, are the people around us at Redeemer—goes unnoticed. “He will not forget your work and the love you’ve shown him as you’ve helped his people and continue to help them”.

This year, my people have been the captains, my friends, Senior Concert Band and Chorale. My people are also my teachers—who have given up so much time for me and for my classmates—and my mentors.

Whatever the future holds for me—uni or TAFE, church, work, volunteering… I’m going to take what I’ve learned about service and keep paying it forward.

And now to this year. I started with five hundred and twenty five thousand minutes… and now, with just four weeks left of Year 12, I’m down to forty thousand.

Now my thoughts turn to legacy: what’s the legacy Redeemer is leaving in me, and what legacy do I want my life to have?

My grandfather loves the evangelist, Billy Graham. He and my grandmother both became Christians through his crusades here in Brisbane in the 1950s.

Billy Graham wrote: “The greatest legacy one can pass on is not money or material things accumulated in life, but a legacy of character and faith”.

That’s a pretty good aim for legacy. It’s certainly proven true for me—first my grandparents, then my parents and now I have embraced the Christian faith.

From Redeemer, I have in me the legacy of character.

Redeemer’s definitely built my character—I’ve learned to hope, to persevere, to be patient, to show self-control.

I’ve experienced generosity and—yes—plenty of patience towards me, too.

I’ve also discovered faith.

I’ve learned that faith can overcome every challenge I encounter.

Year 3 was entering a terrifying, massive school.

Year 4 was, unfortunately, bullying—but then, at the end of it, a teacher who believed in me and advocated for me helped me overcome that.

Year 5 was learning alto saxophone, and that’s been a constant in my journey, especially as I’m the only original alto saxophone left from that year’s Year 5 Band.

Year 6 and Year 7, a transition into Middle School and the fallout of the breakup of my friendship group. That was hard.

Year 8 was one of my worst years for Maths… and pretty much every year since.

Year 9 was surviving Tuchekoi.

Years 10, 11 and 12 have been all about leadership and being part of the Senior School, and the stress and challenges of more expectations and more assessment.

But, through it all, I’ve overcome it all.

I overcame my bullies, continued with alto sax, built up the strongest bonds I have outside of family with my best friends.

I went blazing through Tuchekoi, gained a crush and left a better person.

And, of course, now, I’m standing here in front of you as Faith Captain, the culmination of my leadership journey from petrified 8-year-old to an 18-year-old captain.

I don’t know how many more years you have left in your life at Redeemer.

You might have hundreds of thousands of minutes or—like me—just a few.

My prayer for you is that you’ll allow that no experience of your time at Redeemer to be wasted.

1 Corinthians 15:58 tells us no moment is ever wasted. It tells us: “Stand firm, don’t be shaken. Keep busy working for the Lord. You know that everything you do for him is always worthwhile.”

Through faith in God, I have learned that He’ll make everything right, and that He’ll use every experience to build your character.

Embrace God first, and let Him build in you the character and life lessons that one day you will pass on to others.

That’s the legacy I’m taking from Redeemer, and the legacy I hope to leave others, too.

Lily Oxford
Class of 2018

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