As most of you know I am a single Mom of a super cool young man whom my ex-husband and I adopted from China before he divorced me. I love my son very much and I probably worry over him more than I ever did my three biological daughters. I think I am more concerned for several reasons. First of all he is a boy and I had no experience raising a boy. Secondly he is being raised as an only child since there are no other children in the home and that is something new to me as well. Also he is adopted which can come with problems that need more patience and understanding. Another reason is that when I was rearing the girls I had a partner in life to help me make decisions and so forth, now I have no one but myself and God! And finally I am no spring chicken any longer and I view life from a much different vantage point than when I was younger. I am also a Grandmother that wants to be actively involved in my grandchild’s life. So when I read what the Apostle Paul says about Timothy’s Mother and Grandmother, I pay attention!
I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:3-7, (English Standard Version or ESV).
There are several encouragements to my heart in this small passage. First of all raising a good son can happen now just as it did then and that is encouraging. Secondly I am not alone in parenting my son because God is with me guiding me as I serve Him. There are some who are also praying for me and for my son as Paul prayed for Timothy and that is encouraging to me. Also God brought Paul into Timothy’s life to be his mentor and friend and so I can rely upon God to bring a Godly man into my son’s life as well. Timothy obviously loved Paul very much for at their last parting Timothy, a grown man in his forties, shed tears. This is encouraging to me as well because tears are so often seen as a weakness for men to shed in our culture today but Timothy was not that kind of man. Tears are okay! Paul obviously loved Timothy as a Father loves a son or as brothers love each other and that is encouraging to me as well. This is a good reminder to Christian men as to the importance they can have in a young man’s life. But the next part of this passage really speaks to my heart.
I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.
As I struggle to be a good Mom and Grandmother these words are extremely encouraging to me. I hope they are encouraging to the many other single Mom’s and Grandmom’s out there. You see for me the spiritual education is on my shoulders because I am the head of my household. My granddaughter may have more than one grandmother but my son only has me. My granddaughter has loving parents who are Christians and are teaching her about the things of God but my son only has me. My example to my son must be righteous and holy and honest and filled with integrity and love and forgiveness must be modeled daily. Look at what the Apostle Paul says about Lois and Eunice. They were women of faith and not just any kind of faith but sincere faith. They took the scriptures seriously. They walked the walk, talked the talk, and were faithfully righteous. What an encouragement to me that it has been done before and therefore I also can walk the walk faithfully. Oh to be like them. But they had no problems to face in their life you might say. You are wrong.
Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium. Acts 16:1-2, (ESV).
I can tell you that Timothy’s Mom was in a mixed-race marriage, something that I know a lot about since I also was in a mixed-race marriage for many years. Right there I can guarantee you that there were differences to be overcome. I don’t know what type of relationship Tim’s Mom had with Dad but Dad obviously didn’t mind his son Timothy learning the Jewish religion. Greeks were open-minded about many gods at that time and so perhaps Tim’s Dad was open as well. The Bible is pretty much silent about Timothy’s Dad so I don’t want to speculate further. I just think it is an encouragement to me that my faith in Christ can be taught and instilled in my son and so I strive to do so. My son’s Dad is pretty much absent from his life and so the responsibility to rear him to become a healthy man physically, emotionally, and spiritually, falls completely upon my shoulders. I am thankful for Paul’s description of Timothy’s faith and how faith was in his Mom before him and in his Grandmother before his Mom. You see I also have a heritage of generational faith passed down to me through my Mom and a long line of Grandma’s.
To the single Mom’s out there I want to say a word. You can rear good decent children that walk with God because you walk with God. If you want your kids to be good then you be good as an example to them because they are little sponges taking in everything you say verbally and non-verbally. If you are fortunate enough to have parents who are good examples for your children then God has truly given you a great blessing. Go to them for advice and help and use their experience because you are not alone on your life journey with your children. Read the Bible and talk to God about the things in which you need guidance. Go to church and develop a good relationship with your church family because they also can be a great help and source of encouragement to you. Pray for your children, and then teach them the way of righteousness.
To the single Grandmother’s I also want to say a word. You are standing in the gap spiritually for your family and that is not an easy task but it can be done. Stand tall, rely upon God to guide you in how to proceed, when to say something and when to say nothing. Be a strong and good example to your adult children and to your grandchildren as well. Be available to listen to them and their little problems while they are young so that they will feel comfortable in coming to you when they are older and have grown-up problems. Allow your adult children to make their own mistakes in child-rearing just like you did and don’t interfere unless there’s a real reason to do so. Keep your faith, live a righteous life and be a great example just as Grandmother Lois was to her daughter and grandson. Pray for your children and grandchildren and love them to pieces.
To the married Grandmother’s I also want to say a word. Be a friend to the single Grandma’s out there because they need your friendship and companionship. There is nothing more daunting than being alone while standing in the gap spiritually for your family. Encourage them and walk beside them. Also be a great example of righteous living to your own family of adult children and grandkids. Pray for them and love them and bake cookies for them and babysit for them and enjoy your grandmotherhood! I love spell-check as it tells me that the word grandmotherhood should be written one of two ways, grand motherhood or grandmother hood! I find that funny.