When you’re raising children, it feels like the days are long and the years are short. You want to take advantage of each moment, even though it can become exhausting and difficult. You know the importance of training your children when they are young so that they grow up to know God, think biblically, and live wisely, and one of the frustrations in that is seeing less fruit than you’d like! Be patient. Don’t draw a verdict in the sand just yet. Even if you’re a mother who has to provide the spiritual foundation for your children on your own, there is hope.
From a biblical perspective, a godly mother is more interested in developing character than fashion. She challenges her child to pursue the approval of God over and above the approval of people. And she reflects a greater desire for treasures in heaven than treasures on earth.
A spiritually single mother named Eunice raised a boy to pursue such treasure. His name was Timothy, and he became an important leader in the early church. Timothy first appears in Scripture when Paul’s journeys take him through 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).
An earlier failure does not eliminate the potential for future success.
Eunice had either married an unbeliever or was an unbeliever herself until she encountered the gospel as a young mother. We don’t know when or why, but even before Eunice heard the gospel message, her heart had returned to the Old Testament Scriptures and the faith of her fathers and she was raising her son to love God. We know this because Paul affirmed that Timothy was taught the Scriptures from his earliest childhood days (2 Timothy 3:14-15).
Eunice had even named her son Timothy, meaning “one who honors God.” It’s as if Eunice decided, “I didn’t honor God when I married an unbelieving Gentile husband, but I want to honor God now that I am a mother.” She understood that her son could succeed in spite of her own past failure.
The absence of a godly father does not forfeit the potential of godly children.
By the time he met Paul, Timothy had already distinguished himself as a godly young man, dedicated to the truth of Scripture. In spite of never having a father who could give him spiritual advice or encouragement, Timothy’s faith followed his mother’s example.
Acts 16:3 implies that Timothy’s father was no longer around; perhaps there had been a divorce or death. Either way, the absence of a godly father did not erase the possibility of Timothy becoming a godly man.
The dedication of a godly mother can overcome enormous disadvantages.
It’s a wonderful blessing when children can enjoy spiritual leadership from their father; however, many single, divorced, or widowed mothers are raising children to love the Lord.
Like Eunice, perhaps you walked away from God in your past, but now that you’ve become a mother and you’ve returned to walk with God, you’re wondering if your children have an insurmountable disadvantage. Is there hope for your children?
Take it from Eunice. There is hope! By the grace of God, you can overcome great challenges by raising children who model your commitment to the Lord.
The involvement of older believers cannot be overestimated.
In his second letter to Timothy, Paul describes his young protégé as “my beloved child” (2 Timothy 1:2). Imagine what these words would have meant to Timothy. Imagine the joy it must have been for Eunice to see her son spiritually adopted by the apostle Paul. And don’t forget the added benefit of Eunice’s godly mother, Lois, in raising Timothy from childhood (2 Timothy 1:5).
Take every opportunity to allow other godly men and women to influence your child for Christ. Youth leaders, pastors, teachers, and neighbors who live for Christ will provide an essential complement to your own effort.
When it comes to teaching your children the Scriptures, it is never too early to start.
If you’re tempted to think you’re inadequate, you are right. But never forget that God chose to give you your child. In spite of who you are and what you’ve done, God’s grace is not exhausted. You are God’s chosen mother to pour into your children the treasure of His Word, just like He poured It into you. His grace is always sufficient in taking weak, needy, powerless parents and enabling them one day at a time to play their significant role, always keeping their eyes on the only perfect parent that has ever existed—our perfect Father!
Don’t hesitate. Get started today!