An Ode to Mothers – Our Source of Strength

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In 2 Timothy 1:1-7, Paul gives us insight into the source of strength that Timothy, a servant of God, has to do what he does.

Paul mentions it was Timothy’s grandmother, Lois, and his mother, Eunice, who inspired Timothy, who helped form his sincere faith, and lives on in him as he has become a servant and minister of the gospel.

We can’t ever underestimate the power of parents.  We can’t ever underestimate the role that parents play in our lives.  Whether it be negative or positive, your parents have made an impact on who you are.

Timothy happened to have two very strong women in his life that influenced him in a very positive way.

The Bible doesn’t say much about Timothy’s father.  This does not mean that Timothy’s father was a loser or a dead beat – but what we do know – Timothy’s faith was a result of the upbringing he had from his mother, and from his grandmother.  His father was a Greek, and it is implied in Acts 16 that he was not a believer.  Because of this, and because his mother was a Jew and a believer in Christ, she took on the responsibility of his Spiritual upbringing.

Mothers often are thrust into spiritual leadership roles, even though the Bible clearly asks the Fathers to do this.  However, there’s not always a father in the spiritual picture, is there?

I know there are mothers and fathers alike reading this today who feel they are doing this all alone, that you are the one that makes sure your children are at church, that you are the one that makes sure that the spiritual side of things is taken care of.  My heart goes out to those of you who fit this example.

But for those of you who are mothers doing this spiritual journey alone with your children – whether the father is no longer in the picture or the father just doesn’t care about church, or about God, or maybe just the father doesn’t see a need to be a part –  for whatever reason that the father is no longer in this spiritual picture, I want to commend you.  Please, know that you’re making a difference.  Know that you’re doing the right thing.  And know, that a faith like yours is the one who Paul calls out as being sincere, as genuine, and commendable.  

I was fortunate to have a father that loved his children, and took a very active, spiritual leadership role in the family.  But that doesn’t mean my mother didn’t do her part.

I was the baby, the last of 3 children, and my mamma means everything to me.  My earliest memories are of being with my mamma.  At night, I remember she would lay down on that old scratchy couch we had, and I’d immediately go over to her and ask if I could lay down with her.  We’d curl up on that scratchy couch together till I fell asleep.  I was, indeed, a mamma’s boy.  And there’s nothing wrong with that at all.

Mamma did everything she could to help the family.  She stayed at home with the kids as a homemaker until I was in 7th grade.  But you see, that was what she wanted to do — she wanted to be a full time mother.  And to prove that, she majored in home economics in college.  For those of you don’t understand what that means – it basically means she majored in wanting to be a full time mother.  Taking classes on cooking, sewing, and other things.

Today, there are great resources a mother can turn to, but social media conglomerates like Pinterest have nothing on the skills my mother possessed.

If you needed something sewn, mamma was the lady to do it.  I had many outfits that she sewed, some specifically for me, most specifically for my older brother, and I’m fairly confident that I may have worn an outfit or two that was sewn specifically for my sister, since my folks tried to make sure they were good stewards of what they had been blessed with.

She didn’t just sew our outfits, though.  I remember her sewing dresses, for weddings, for banquets, and for other various events.  She had a skill unlike any other when it came to sewing.

But that wasn’t her greatest talent – not by a long shot.  Her greatest skill was cooking.  She could take a refrigerator full of leftovers, and make you think she was cooking a brand new feast planned specifically for that day.

A few of her meals that I remember vividly, so much so that I can still taste them to this day, were items like her fried chicken, her made from scratch biscuits, and her homemade lasagna.

My favorite meals she cooked though were her Sunday lunches, and most often it was Roast Beef, with mashed taters and gravy, carrots, and maybe some of her sour dough bread.  This was a real treat, after having been at church for a few hours, coming home, and smelling the roast that had been slow cooking for several hours.

Of course there were a few items she made that I didn’t care for, such as her fried Salmon patties, but for the most part, I enjoyed what she made.

One of the things I admired most about my mamma as I was growing up, was how she truly loved my father.  You could tell she was smitten.  She walked side by side with him, supported him every step of the way, and helped in whatever way possible.

I never once heard her complain about lacking something.  She never complained about having to shop at the discount stores, or having to buy our bread from the day old bread store.  She never complained about him having to put in extra hours at the school, where often he had to attend sporting events, drive the bus, or a ton of other things he had to do.  She supported him through all of that.

This is a picture that is painted in Scripture.  In Ephesians 5:21, we are told to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.  Specifically Paul goes on to lay some guidelines out for this to work best.

In verse 22, he tells the wives to submit to the husband as they do to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the wife, the family, as Jesus is the head of the church.  And as the church is to humbly submit to Jesus, so too should wives submit to their husbands in everything.

Men, husbands, sons, — understand something here.  This only works when you do what Paul tells you to do:  love your wives just like Jesus loves the church.  How much did Jesus love the church?  Well, he died for it.  

It goes on to say that we should present our wives, the mother of your children, as Jesus presents us, his sheep, to His Father in Heaven — Radiant.  Without stain or wrinkle.  Without blemish.  Holy.  In the same way Jesus does that for us, we as husbands are to do for our wives.

That’s why it worked with mom and dad.  My daddy loved mamma more than life itself.  He built her up.  He made her spotless.

Husbands, sons, fathers — we have a responsibility to help make the women in our lives great.  We have a responsibility to help them, to walk in hand in hand with them, to support them, and encourage them.

I would be missing a great opportunity here today if I didn’t mention Proverbs 31 – the famous “virtuous woman” chapter in the old testament.

However, I want to look at it a bit differently.  Recently, I read an article in a ministry journal that talked about mistakes made in a church service on Mother’s Day, and one of those was the misuse of scriptures such as Proverbs 31.

The article states that too often, we use Proverbs 31 as detailing what the ideal woman looks like in God’s eyes.  That being a wife, and being a mother, is the “blueprint for true biblical femininity.”

And while Proverbs 31 does talk about a great, virtuous woman – it does not mean a woman must be a wife or a mother to be the exemplary woman for God.  It’s simply not true.

The article then goes on to point you to a woman in Scripture that fits that description – a woman by the name of Ruth.  A woman who was by all practical purposes, not the Proverbs 31 lady.  For a large portion of her account in scripture, she is neither a wife nor a mother.

She is a hard worker, but she did not make clothes for her husband, because he had passed on. Her children did not rise up and call her blessed as it states at the end of the chapter, because she didn’t have any.  She didn’t spend her time shopping for fine linens, or keeping her house tidy, but instead, she spent time working hard, in the sun, in someone else’s field, and ate the remnants.  She was poor.

Yes, Ruth does go on to remarry, and to have a family of her own, but I love what Boaz, her eventual husband, says in Ruth 3:11 — he says “All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character.”  This is before she is married and before she is a mother.

The author stated that Ruth is identified as a woman of valor, not because of a check list from Proverbs 31, not by getting married, keeping a clean house, and producing children, but because she lived her life with bravery, wisdom, and strength.  So ladies, don’t feel like the only way to be a virtuous woman in the eyes of God is to look for a husband and have lots of kids.   There are many women in the Bible you can look to in order to find women of fine character.

In fact, I know there are people reading whose mothers have passed on.  I know it hurts.  I know its hard.  I know that physical relationship is gone.  You can no longer call them, text them, drop by and visit with them.  

But you need to know something — there are women you know who want to help fill that void.  There are women you probably know, some who never had children, some whose children have moved away, some whose children don’t ever call or visit, who would love to bring you into their fold.  To walk with you on this journey.  To be that mother figure to you.

I know, it’s not the same – but it’s not supposed to be the same.  No one can ever replace your mother, but you can allow someone to be motherly to you.

I love my mother – and I know that there is a very special woman in your family, whether now or in the past, whether by blood, by adoption, by inclusion, that you consider your mother.

I’m blessed not only with a mother in Nashville, TN, but I’m blessed with a wonderful wife who just happens to be an amazing mother as well.  I adore watching how my wife is so patient and loving with our little girl.  I’m confident my daughter is in great hands with my tremendous and talented wife as her mother.

Jesus had a very special mother as well — Jesus loved her dearly.  He even made sure that someone would take care of her after he had been crucified.  

But as much as Jesus loved his mother, he tells us something that we have to remember — in Matthew 12:46, Jesus is speaking to a crowd.

During this time, his mother, and his brothers, were waiting to talk to Jesus.  A person in the crowd came up to Jesus, and said “Hey, Jesus, your mom and your brother are over there and they’re waiting to talk to you.”

Jesus at this point looked at the person and said “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?”  He then pointed at his disciples and said “Here are my mother and my brothers.  Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

Jesus loved his physical family — but Jesus knew that the body of Christ was important as well.  And emphasized that we all need to follow the Father, God.

This isn’t the only time Jesus does something like this.  A few chapters earlier in Matthew 10:32, Jesus says that whoever acknowledges Him before men, he will acknowledge before his Father in Heaven.  Shortly after that, he emphasizes this by demonstrating how much more important it is that we love God, even over our own mothers and fathers.  He says in verse 37 “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”

In reality – as much as we love our mothers — we need to love God more.  And in reality – mothers, as much as you love your children, your family — you must love God more.

I’m convinced that a mother who loves God rejoices when her child loves God more than they love her.  A mother who loves God desires for her children to place God above her.

For those of you who just went to church today to honor your mother, know that what your mother wants more than anything is for you to know God, to love God, and to be HIS child.

Because that’s scripture.  That’s what Jesus wanted.  I am no longer a child of Elaine Widick of Lebanon, TN.  I am a child of God.  And I am now her brother instead.  And together we are co-heirs of what God has promised.

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