“Momma.” I love that word! I love my momma. I’m no longer able to put my arms around her, kiss her, or tell her that I love her, but my love for her has not diminished since she went home to be with the Lord. I know the impact that mothers can have on the lives of their kids because I’m a living example. l want to honor not only my momma, but all of the moms who are with us today. I can’t speak for all of you. I can only share my own appreciation for my mom. Mom…
How can I even begin to thank you? You carried me around for nine months and never complained that I cramped your style. You welcomed me into this world with open arms. When I was totally and completely incapable of taking care of myself, you took care of me. If it was a diaper that needed changed, you changed it. If it was bed sheets that needed changed, you changed them. If you had a dollar for every time you had to clean up one of my messes you would have been one wealthy lady. Because you gave so much of yourself in caring for me, I am rich in love. Before I was ever able to fix myself a meal, you fed me from your own body. When I was unable to sleep in the middle of the night, you were the one who would sit up with me and rock me back to sleep while holding me in your arms. Throughout my life, when I cried out your name, “Momma!” you always came running. When I questioned myself, you reassured me. When I made bad mistakes, you corrected me in a way that never caused me to doubt your love. I’m much older now. Don’t get to see you or put my arms around you any longer, but I can still hear your voice and it is sweeter than a lullaby to a baby. Happy Mother’s Day.
Throughout history there have been many people who have been blessed with wonderful mothers. George Washington, the Father of our country, once said, “I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual, and physical education which I received from my mother.” The great evangelist, Dwight L. Moody said, “My Mother! All that is good in my life has come from my mother.” St. Augustine, the young man who lived the fast life while growing up in a Christian home only to become one of the greatest thinkers of the Christian faith later in life, praised the faithfulness of his mother. Augustine wrote, “It is to my mother that I owe everything. If I prefer the truth to all other things, it is the point of my mother’s teaching. If I did not long ago perish in sin and misery it is because of the faithful tears with which she pleaded for me.” Martin Luther King Jr. said that it was his mother who taught him that he was “somebody,” that he should never look at himself as inferior to anyone.
The gift of a wonderful mom is not a relic of past generations. There are still women of great influence who give sacrificially to their children in our day. Just this past week, Kevin Durant, was named the Most Valuable Player in the NBA. Kevin’s speech was amazing! He thanked so many people, named each and every one of his teammates and coaches and thanked them, but it was the last person he addressed that led to tears all across the nation. Kevin said, ,
And last, my mom. I don’t think you know what you did. You had my brother when you were 18 years old. Three years later, I came out. The odds were stacked against us. Single parent with two boys by the time you were 21 years old. Everybody told us we weren’t supposed to be there. We moved from apartment to apartment, by ourselves. One of the best memories I had is when we moved into our first apartment – no bed, no furniture, and we just all sat in the living room and just hugged each other. We thought we made it. When something good happens to you – I don’t know about you guys, but I tend to look back to what brought me here. You waking me up in the middle of the night in the summertime, making me run up a hill. Making me do pushups. Screaming at me from the sideline at my games at 8 or 9 years old. We weren’t supposed to be here. You made us believe, you kept us off the street. You put clothes on our backs, food on the table. When you didn’t eat, you made sure we ate. You went to sleep hungry. You sacrificed for us. You’re the real MVP. (Kevin Durant, MVP Acceptance Speech, May 6, 2014)
For those of us who have been blessed with a great mom, we should all give thanks for this undeserved blessing from God. How does a woman become a great mom? That’s a good question. For some, they had the blessing of watching their own mom as she sacrificed, cared, nurtured, prayed, and provided for her children. Some great moms are simply carrying on what they’ve had modeled for them all the days of their life. For other young women, you did not have the benefit of a great mom to learn from while you were growing up. What are you to do? Is it hopeless? Is there no possibility of you ever becoming a great mom? Can a woman who didn’t grow up in a strong family ever hope to have a strong family of her own? If you are one of the women that I’ve been describing who grew up without the benefit of a great mom then I want to assure you that it is more than possible for you to become the mom that you longed for as a child and it is more than possible for you to have a strong family.
I want to share with you the three things you need to become a great mom. I want to assure you that if you go to Barnes and Noble you will not find this advice in any of the “So You Want To Be a Great Mom” books on the shelves, but I feel confident that the advice I will share with you will be of far greater help than any of those books.
Get To Know The Mothers of God’s Word
First of all, you need to study the lives of mothers in God’s Word. There are some incredible stories of women who were mothers in God’s Word. You need to get to know Rebekah, the mother of Jacob and Esau, so that you can learn how not to show favoritism towards one of your children over another. Rebekah favored Jacob over her son Esau. Rebekah’s husband, Isaac, favored Esau over his brother Jacob. This led to problems for the family. You can be assured that favoritism will lead to problems in your family as well.
You need to get to know Hannah in the opening chapters of 1 Samuel. She wanted a child so badly, but was unable to conceive. Hannah poured her heart out to God and He blessed her with a son named Samuel. Hannah had promised the Lord that if He would give her a child she would dedicate him back to the Lord. When Samuel was old enough to be weaned she took him to the temple and left him in the care of Eli the priest. Samuel grew to become one of the great prophets of Israel, but can you imagine the emotions Hannah must have experienced as she took her son to the temple to fulfill her promise to God? Because Hannah fulfilled her commitment to the Lord she would not get to see Samuel grow up in her own home, but we get an idea, from 1 Samuel 2:19-21, that Hannah never stopped thinking about her son. Read along with me.
19 Each year his mother made him a little robe and took it to him when she went up with her husband to offer the annual sacrifice. 20 Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, saying, “May the LORD give you children by this woman to take the place of the one she prayed for and gave to the LORD.” Then they would go home. 21 And the LORD was gracious to Hannah; she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the LORD. (1 Samuel 2:19-21 NIV)
I would imagine that Hannah prayed for her son with every stitch she sewed into that little robe she made for her son each year. The lesson you can learn from Hannah? How about, God’s purpose for your kids is more important than what you desire for your kids.
There are other moms you need to get to know so that you can learn what it means to be a mom after God’s own heart. There is a dynamic duo in Scripture that you need to get to know. Their names are Eunice and Lois, the mother and grandmother of Timothy. Timothy, more than likely, grew up in a home where his mother was a follower of Jesus, but his dad wasn’t. In Acts 16:1 we read,
1 He came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was a Jewess and a believer, but whose father was a Greek. (Acts 16:1 NIV)
There are many women who find themselves in this situation today. You love the Lord with all of your heart, but you are married to an unbeliever. You want more than anything for your kids to grow up in a Christian home, but your husband doesn’t share the same passion you do for the Lord. What are you to do? Learn from Timothy’s mom. Evidently she didn’t sit around and whine about being married to an unbeliever. She was devoted to the Lord so she set out to “train up her son in the way he should go.” There is something else she did; she called upon her own mom to help her out. Paul wrote to Timothy and said,
5 I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. (2 Timothy 1:5 NIV)
Eunice’s mother, Lois, was a help in teaching Timothy about the faith. We don’t read it anywhere in God’s Word, but you can bet that she was also a woman of prayer and she prayed for Timothy, as well as for his mom and dad. As a result of Timothy’s mom and grandmother, he was taught the Scriptures from the time he was a little kid. In 2 Timothy 3:14-15 we read,
14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:14-15 NIV)
Maybe you are a young mother who doesn’t have the benefit of a godly husband to help you teach your kids about the Lord. Well, you have a choice. You can either feel sorry for yourself and spend all of your time wishing you had what you don’t have or you can be the godly woman God has called you to be and trust Him for the results.
Moms, you need to get to know the moms of the Bible. They have so much to teach you, both good and bad, if you will only spend time with them.
Find an Older Mother as a Mentor
Secondly, you need to find an older mother that you respect and spend time with her. There is a Bible study that takes place here every Monday morning for young moms. I’ve never attended the study but I can tell you what is going on in that class. Those young moms are learning God’s Word and they are spending time with Alyson Geister, a mother who has three grown sons, and they are gleaning from Alyson’s experience. What takes place on Monday mornings is biblical. In Titus 2:3-5 we read,
3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. (Titus 2:3-5 NIV)
You can see from these verses the kind of woman that you should be looking for if you want to spend time with a godly woman who can teach you about how to be a godly mom. Look at verse 3 with me. The kind of woman you are looking for is a woman who is not a “slanderer” or a woman who is addicted “to much wine.” The word that is translated “slanderer” is the Greek word, “????????” (diabolos) and it means, “prone to slander, a false accuser, a busybody.” The same word is translated, “devil,” in other places in the New Testament. Neither is she to be a slave to alcohol. She is to be a woman of reverence, a woman who sees her life as set apart for the purposes of God. It is this kind of woman that can “train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one can malign the word of God.”
Moms, I would encourage you to see yourself like an athlete. How does an athlete learn what they need to know to succeed in their sport? They find a great coach who will teach them the fundamentals of the game. A coach who will continue to work with them to examine their game, offer them correction and encouragement, and help them to become what they can only dream of becoming. Moms, you need “coaching.” You need someone who is seasoned in the game of raising children, someone that you can receive feedback from about situations you are facing in daily life with your kids, husband, and life. There is a goldmine of resources for you right here in this sanctuary this morning. You might say, “But I don’t know many of the older women.” Well, then let’s get to know them. You will be blessed beyond belief and gain so much support and insight that it will overwhelm you.
Let me speak to the men while I’m at it, even though it isn’t “Father’s Day” yet. Men, we need the same kind of coaching. We need to be around men who are men after God’s own heart, men who are seasoned in their walk with the Lord, men who have spent time on the battlefield of family life and still wear a smile on their face and can testify to God’s faithfulness. This is vitally important for you and me.
Pray at all Times
Last of all, moms, you need to pray. I can’t begin to stress to you the importance of prayer, both for you as a mother seeking God’s strength and guidance, and for your children. As a mom you have to deal with all of kinds of situations that break your heart, stress you to the breaking point, and challenge your ability to cope. Being a godly mom has nothing to do with your I.Q., your glowing personality, or any other attribute that society appreciates about you. Being a godly parent is rooted in your reliance upon, confidence in, and understanding of God’s Word more than anything else. Let me give you an example.
As parents we have to deal with situations in our children’s lives that keep us up at night. Those situations are legion—they are too numerous to count. What do you do when you face those paralyzing situations? Well, you can try to sort it out on your own, find answers to fix the problems as quickly as possible, or search far and wide to find someone who can help. The answers to the various problems you are facing will vary, just as your children’s problems are varied as well. I can tell you that there is a commonality shared by parents who have to face these troubling situations and it is anxiety and worry. We can worry ourselves sick. I know this to be true because I have been there. Rather than making ourselves sick with worry we can pray Philippians 4:6-7.
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV)
Whenever you feel anxiety begin to rise in your heart and mind you can pray these Scriptures knowing that God is true to His promises. Make no mistake about it, worry and anxiety will come again and again. Each time they pay you a visit you can counter them with God’s Word.
Another great verse that you can pray when you face uncertainty as a parent is Deuteronomy 31:6. Listen to this great verse.
6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV)
In the middle of the night when you are crying, worrying for your child and the health issues she is facing, or because you have gotten another call from your son’s school, or she is being bullied by a group of “mean girls” on Facebook, or he has come home drunk once again on a Friday night, you can pray… “Father, I’m scared. You have told me to be strong and courageous. You have told me to refuse to fear or be terrified. Father, I am terrified and I need You to strengthen me. You have promised to never leave me or forsake me. Lord, be my strength and courage in this situation because I feel so weak.”
Don’t just pray during the crisis moments of your life as a parent. Pray at all times. Confess in prayer before the Lord that He alone knows the plans that He has for your child and ask Him to make those plans known to you. It is such a temptation for us, as parents, to make plans for our kids. Dr. Darnell told me one time about a friend of his who was a doctor in Perryton, Texas. Perryton is a farming community and the doctor’s son loved working with his hands out on the farm, but his dad wanted him to go to Medical School. After the first year of Medical School the young man quit and came home to work on the farm. Dr. Darnell got a phone call from the doctor one day asking him to talk some sense into his son. David agreed to talk to the young man. David went out to pay him a visit and while they were talking, the young man said, “Dr. Darnell, I never wanted to be a doctor. I love working on the farm. I’m happiest when I’m working the land.” David told his father that he should let him pursue what God had put in his heart. God knows the plans He has for our kids, but oftentimes we can get in the way. Praying Proverbs 16:9 can remind us that it is God’s plan for our kids that is most important. Proverbs 16:9 says,
9 In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. (Proverbs 16:9 NIV)
Another expression of prayer is for your children’s growth in all areas of life. Before they are even born begin praying for them. Pray for their growth. We read in Luke 2:52.
52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. (Luke 2:52 NIV)
Pray for your kids to grow in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and people. This is an important prayer that is appropriate at all times. I would even encourage you to put your child’s name in the Scripture you are praying. Let me give you an example. Paul wrote this verse to Timothy, but you can easily pray it for your own child.
12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12 NIV)
You can pray, “Lord, I pray that Annie will never let anyone look down on her because she is young, but that she will be an example for all believers in her speech, in her life, in her faith, and in her purity.”
Paul prayed this prayer for his spiritual children. You can pray it for your biological children as well. Listen to this great prayer from Colossians 1:9-12.
9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. (Colossians 1:9-12 NIV)
Prayer is a powerful tool in the hands of parent who is seeking God’s will for the lives of her children. I would encourage you mothers to pray and pray often. Last of all, you need to know that none of this will make any sense to you unless you are first surrendered to the Lord. Moms, you need the Lord. I’m not talking about needing Him to raise your children, although that is certainly true, but you need the Lord as your Savior and Lord. You are at odds with your Heavenly Father until you confess your sin, ask His forgiveness, and surrender to His will and purpose for your life. All of this begins at the foot of the Cross where Jesus died so that you might be reconciled with God. Won’t you invite Him in this morning?
Britton Christian Church
922 NW 91st
OKC, OK. 73114
May 8, 2011
2 Timothy 3:14-15