I can’t begin without wishing Happy Mother’s Day to my mom and to all the other women who exemplify Christ to younger generations. Whether you have children of your own or not, God has graced you with distinct characteristics which you have most certainly used to care for, teach, encourage, and pray for a child or teen whom you love deeply. I hope the Lord blesses you by showing how important your acts of love are in building His Kingdom.
Every day I praise God for the life He’s given me and for the parents who raised me. It’s fun to think back now as an adult on all the small things my mom did to live out her faith in front of me and my siblings, possibly without realizing it would have such an impact.
My mom has always shown an eagerness to dig deeper into God’s Word. Her seat at our kitchen table always had her Bible study notes, highlighters, and Parallel Bible in front of it, ready for opportunities to study throughout the day. I remember asking about the notes she had to fill in and questioning the size of her Parallel Bible. It occurs to me now that by working on her studies during the day and in a busy area of our house, my siblings and I got to view how the Bible should be read. It wasn’t one of the daily chores to check off, but something to be studied, highlighted, and cross-referenced. It can be difficult to teach someone how to study God’s Word effectively, but being a visible example can have a powerful impact. The next time you need to work on a Bible study lesson, head to a coffee shop or go to the kitchen table. Show your passion to study God’s Word to those He has placed around you.
Throughout my life, I’ve been involved in many areas of ministry, but this wasn’t a result of my own desires. The love of service was started at home (even before I was a believer). My mom involved all of us kids when she committed to serving in areas of ministry. We set up bereavement dinners, helped new moms with laundry, loaded moving trucks, and delivered gifts to international students during finals. Every opportunity was a family service project. My siblings and I still recall great memories from times we were serving together. I encourage you to include others when God puts an area of ministry on your heart. Moms, find ways to include your kids. Ladies, include your adult friends. Many times, friends have the desire to serve but don’t know how to get involved or don’t want to do it alone. I encourage you to keep your family and friends involved, start planting the seeds of ministry, and reap the joys of serving God with others!
Now God has given me a wonderful opportunity to serve by helping and encouraging Westwood’s high school ladies as they grow in their walks with Christ through Small Group. It has given me such an appreciation for parents who desire their students to go deeper than surface Christianity and who are leading them in that way. I am convicted that sometimes as a teen I didn’t always appreciate having to think deeper when my parents would want feedback about a sermon after church. However, I’m thankful that they regularly asked for it, because along with asking deep questions, they also showed me grace. I can guarantee my answers were not always correct, but I was always encouraged to think and share. That safe place is often lacking right now in the public, and because of that, we can avoid going deeper or encouraging others to do so. But ladies, we need to challenge one another, ask hard questions, and then be quick to display grace as we all work through understanding the answers to important and eternal matters.
I know my life would look different without the foundations my mom laid for me to grow upon. But I also acknowledge that my sanctification didn’t end when I left home. God has brought some tremendous ladies into my life through the doors at Westwood who have continued to display these actions that my mom introduced to me years ago. I continue to praise God for those who have cared for, taught, encouraged, and prayed for me as I pursue Christ in my life, and I pray God shows you how important it is to carry on this legacy to the next generation.
Bible Study Tip
Cross references help us understand a passage within the larger context of the Bible. They can also offer guidance on how that passage is meant to be interpreted. God’s Word is not contradictory, and cross references can help us see that. In the “Interpretation” stage, note the cross references and how they relate to the passage in question.
Links in this section are Amazon Affiliate links to books we find helpful
Spiritual Mothering: The Titus 2 Model for Women Mentoring Women
by Susan Hunt
Many churches lack a crucial element central to the flourishing of women: older women mentoring younger women. Using Titus 2 as a guide, seasoned author Susan Hunt casts a biblical vision of what the church can be when women invest in vibrant relationships with one another. Featuring inspiring stories from the Bible and from women today who have faithfully embraced Scripture’s command, this book offers readers an abundance of practical insights, ministry-tested how-to’s, and personal encouragement. Now featuring a new cover, this classic book will inspire a new generation of women to seek out the blessing of godly relationships that will encourage and equip them to live for God’s glory.
Gladys Aylward: The Little Woman
by Gladys Aylward with Christine Hunter
Gladys Aylward is a wonderful example of a faithful spiritual mother. With no mission board to support or guide her, and less than ten dollars in her pocket, Aylward left her home in England to answer God’s call to take the message of the gospel to China. With the Sino-Japanese War waging around her, she struggled to bring the basics of life and the fullness of God to orphaned children. Time after time, God triumphed over impossible situations, and drew people to Himself. The Little Woman tells the story of one woman’s determination to serve God at any cost. With God all things are possible!
A true story of a determined missionary, Gladys Aylward : The Little Woman will challenge you to bold and expectant faith.
The Inn of the Sixth Happiness is a 1958 Hollywood film made about the life of Gladys Aylward. As with all movies, some creative liberties were taken and not all of the amazingly faithful acts of Aylward’s life (which you can read about in her autobiography) are included, but this movie is still a great watch, especially if you like older movies. It can be rented for $4 on most streaming platforms. Check your cable provider to see if they offer it free to their customers.
For the Kids
Seeds creates Scripture memory songs for kids by setting verses from the Bible to music. They have a library of 167 songs and videos written to word-for-word Scripture and that are made to be enjoyed by all members of the family. They also have free resources available for family devotions and Bible memorization.