The Apostle Paul called Timothy“my beloved and faithful son in the Lord” (1 Cor. 4:17, New King James Version). As a spiritual father, Paul trained and encouraged Timothy in his faith. In his second letter to Timothy, Paul honored the faith that was handed down to Timothy by the mothers in his life. Paul told him, “I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day when I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience as my ancestors did…. I’m reminded of how sincere your faith is. That faith first lived in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice. I’m convinced that it also lives in you” (2 Tim. 1:3 and 5, God’s Word Translation).
The greatest gift we can receive from a mother, after the gift of life, is the gift of faith. In my own life, the faith of my grandmother was like a letter from Christ to me, written by the Spirit of the living God (2 Cor. 3:3).
I grew up in an atheistic home. Consequently, my family and I only went to church for memorial services and weddings. My Sunday mornings were not very spiritual. Instead of church, I would stay in bed, reading comic books and eating toast with strawberry jam. I enjoyed the leisurely pace on Sundays, but when I would watch other girls wearing pretty Sunday dresses on their way to church, I felt like I was missing something. But at the time, I didn’t know God had a plan for my life.
I spent many summers at my grandma’s house, and her kitchen became my first church. It was there that I heard the Gospel for the first time. I would hear her sing praises to God while her pet parrot would chime in on a different key. I remember the time when a friend asked my grandma to pray for her daughter who was dying in the hospital. My grandmother spent all night praying in tongues. A couple of days later, we received the news that the young lady had recovered. Her faith helped me to see that God was alive and that He loved people. My grandmother’s life was the seed God used for my salvation.
Faith is generational. It is comforting to know that we all can participate in the chain of generational faith. Whether or not we grew up with an example of faith to follow, we can choose to be the first link in our family’s chain, living our lives in such a way that we can hand down a sincere and rich faith. Mothers are gifts, but they are not perfect. When we focus on the influence our faith can have on the next generation, we are free to honor our mothers with pure hearts—despite their imperfections.