For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well. 2 Timothy 1:5
This may be a week early. I wrote it thinking about someone else’s blog, but it’s still apropos for this one.
I must confess that I’ve always felt a little envious of my friends like Katy and Krystal who have a legacy of faith passed down to them through the generations from their mothers and grandmothers. But God has shown me that I have no need for envy because I have a legacy of faith of my own.
I have a long list of women who’ve come along side me as “spiritual mothers” throughout my walk with the Lord just as Paul came along side Timothy to be a “spiritual father” to him. There’s no way I could name them all, but I’d like to recognize four women who’ve been especially significant in my life.
First is my godmother, Lillian Holmes, or “Mama Lil” as she was known to all who knew her. Although she never gave birth to a child, Mama Lil and Daddy Harry raised fifty-three foster children, my brother and I included. She adopted two. We lived with Mama Lil until I was four and my dad returned from Korea because my mom worked nights at Bills Barbeque, and I was extremely ill as a baby. Doctors didn’t believe I’d live to see my first birthday. When my parents divorced when I was sixteen, they again moved in with us and took care of us. I owe my concept of love to Mama Lil. Love was a rare commodity in my house as a child. As a tiny tot, if you’d asked me to spell love, I’d probably have spelled it “m-a-m-a-l-i-l”. She loved me with a fierce love. I had no doubt that she would have tried to move heaven and earth to give me whatever I truly needed.
Next is Pat Harmon Dyson. I was about four, and Pat was a pre-teen when she took me and my younger sister by the hand and carted us off to church with her at Ramsey Methodist Church. She was faithful in taking us every Sunday until she married “Dump” Dyson and moved across town. By that time, I was old enough to hitch a ride with another neighbor or walk to the Baptist church a mile from home. I heard Jesus Loves Me, and I believed it because Pat and Mama Lil had so embodied His love. I couldn’t help but love Him back and want to be His child too.
Third is Katie Hash. Katie is my age, but at the time, she was much more spiritually mature. After my parents’ divorce and my own marriage, I had lost touch with my church. I hadn’t lost my faith, but I wasn’t following Jesus the way I should have been. That’s not to say I’d gotten wild or into drugs or anything like that. I simply wasn’t attending church on a regular basis. Katie and her husband Happy were missionaries with Campus Crusade for Christ. When they got ahold of folks, they made disciples in the manner of the early New Testament Christians. We learned what it truly meant to follow Christ.
And last, but certainly not least, is my dear Mildred Presson. Mildred taught me that getting old, or even God allowing horrendous circumstances to enter your life is no excuse for failing to serve Him. For most of her married life, Mildred had to care for an invalid husband while at the same time working to provide and care for three children. Even so, she continued faithfully in her service to the Father. She was in charge of the Wednesday night meals. She was the first person to welcome me to First Baptist Summerfield when we moved to North Carolina. Mildred was also the first person to read every single one of the books I’d written at the time. She believed in me as a writer, and I’m firmly convinced she prayed me into publication.
When my mom died, she lay in a semi-coma for three days. A nurse claimed she could hear us sharing the gospel with my sister, and maybe this was God’s way of giving her one last chance at redemption. I pray that nurse was right, and I’ll get to see my mom again in heaven. But I have no such assurance. However, I have no doubt that when my own “spiritual kids” get there, these four women will meet them and give them a great big “grandmotherly” hug.
Is there someone in your life who has been a spiritual mother to you? Or is there a child (or adult) like me who’s desperate for you to be a “mother” to them?
Thank You, Father, for all these women. God bless.