Photo by Jake Thacker on Unsplash
I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience as my ancestors did, when I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day. Remembering your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy. I recall your sincere faith that first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and now, I am convinced, is in you also. - 2 Timothy 1:3-5
Mother's Day is upon us.
This Sunday, some churches will honor oldest mothers and youngest mothers. Some will offer a carnation, bookmark or other memento to mothers as they leave that morning, which always leads to awkward moments for single women, women who struggle with infertility or women who have lost their children. (This may be a whole different blog post for an entirely different day, but please, please do keep these women in mind, along with women who have recently lost their mothers, on Mother's Day. It can be a difficult day.)
This year, when you're thinking about the mothers in your life - yourself, your mother, your mother-in-law, grandmother - take some time to reflect on the mothers of our faith.
Often when we are asked to think about the mothers of our faith, we think rightfully about the Sunday school teachers, youth group leaders and women who were role models in our families and in our local churches, much as Lois and Eunice were for young Timothy.
I'm asking you to take a moment and think back a little further.
I'm fascinated with history, and did a series on my personal blog awhile back about women who shaped Christian history. That introduced me to so many mothers in the faith I never knew I had.
They were women like Katherina von Bora Luther, who escaped from a convent in a fish barrel, married Martin Luther and became what one biographer called a “Proverbs 31 woman on steroids."
Katie Luther has an extraordinary story. Her escape from the convent is extraordinary. Her ability stand as a equal with her larger-than-life husband is extraordinary. Her wisdom in running her household was extraordinary.
But, on that latter part, Katie is so much like so many women I know today. Mothers who are taking care of toddlers while pursuing a career. Widows who have raised their children and now focus their energies on volunteer service in their community. Single women who tend to their aging parents.
And all of them doing so while making sure there’s food on the table, the house is clean and warm, the laundry is done and everyone in the household is healthy.
Or, when I think about mothers in the faith, I think about what our hymnbooks would look like without the works of Fanny Crosby and the hymns she wrote, including Blessed Assurance, All the Way My Savior Leads Me and To God Be The Glory, among almost 9000 others.
Or, thinking of our own denominational history, what would have happened if Clara Landed had refused to answer the call to go to India in 1896, and thus establish the first Churches of God General Conference mission in that country?
Her faith shined in a story in a Harrisburg newspaper in 1925, when she said, "I never regret any step I have taken with Christ."
This is what our mothers teach us.
For those of us who grew up in a Christian home, we've seen our mothers and grandmothers read Scripture, pray and walk daily with the Lord, never regretting a step. They took us to churches where spiritual mothers helped to develop our faith, teaching us to follow Christ with no regrets.
This is our legacy to hand down.
Let's teach the next generation they need never regret any step they have taken with Christ.