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This week David Marvin taught from 2 Timothy, about how Timothy was impacted by his mother's faithfulness, and how God's grace will fill in the gaps where a father is absent.
Something Sweet out of the Ingredients of Sadness
Why Good Leaders Have Always Written Letters to the Church They Love
All In With Jesus
Outrunning Your Past
Faith in Work
Following Jesus: How He Changes Your Place, People & Priorities - Luke 9:57-62
Our Purpose in Life
Healing, Hearing, and the Hope of the Gospel
Money, Stuff, and Eternity
Living the Word
An Audience of One
Mother's Day Message
A Biblical Perspective on the Value and Role of Women in Ministry
Baptism Celebration 2016
Sabbath: God's Solution to the Addiction of Busyness
Inside Out Church
Awaken the Hope of the World
An Evening with the Elders
Easter: The Greatest Evidence That God Is Real, Good, Powerful and Trustworthy
Good Friday 2016
Resolve to Be Faithful
Todd Wagner: Good morning! We're glad you're here. If you have been tracking with us, you know we're in the book of Acts. We are not going to be in the book of Acts today, and I'll tell you why. Where we are in the book of Acts, Acts 2, has this story in there called Pentecost. In the church calendar, Pentecost is the first time the Holy Spirit came to the church, and he was accompanied by tongues of fire, and the disciples spoke in tongues.
It has led to all kinds of blessing and confusion, so I did not want to spend Mother's Day talking about the gift of tongues, explaining what it was and what it never was, and answering the question of, "Is it for today?" Next week, all right? Same bad time, same bad channel. We will deal with that topic. Jump in, invite your friends, and we'll teach you some truth, and it will be great and awesome. We're going to teach a different kind of truth this morning, a truth about mamas. We're going to use our tongues to praise mama. It's going to be awesome.
In 2009, I spent an entire Sunday talking about the role of women. In 2012, in a different way, I spoke about the role of women. You can go back and look at the 2009 and 2012 messages for a much broader, deeper touch on this topic, but today, I think you're really going to be encouraged, for a number of reasons, about what we believe about God's unique role for women in his church.
Let me say this as I get ready to get started. This is a day that, when you look at attendance records across the churches in North America (this is not true at Watermark), next to Easter and Christmas, this is the third most attended Sunday. That's because when people go, "Mom, what do you want for Mother's Day?" she goes, "Let's go to church. We need some Jesus in this family. Maybe you'll hear something that'll help me the rest of the year."
That's what Mom wants to do, so everybody shows up on that Sunday, but let me say there are a lot of folks who don't like to come to church on Mother's Day because they're not moms. For instance, we have a lot of women here in their late-20s, 30s, 40s, and older who have never married. They have been chaste, pure, and godly. They walk with the Lord and are used by him in amazing ways.
They are spiritual mothers, but this is a painful day for them. They're like, "This is a part of me I didn't get to experience, this thing I guess women are all supposed to do." No, you, Eve, don't have to be a mom to be the mother of all things and use the gifts God has given you. It will be the large percentage of women out there, and we're going to talk about that, but let me say this.
Watermark is uniquely blessed because we have a bunch of godly, spiritual mothers who model for younger women what it looks like to never buy the lie that anything or anyone other than Jesus Christ can satisfy. They have not lowered their standards. They have lengthened their patience.
They're not looking for some guy to fill their hearts. Christ has filled their hearts up, and they walk faithfully with him, and they're abiding with him. They're filled with joy, even as they would say, "Maybe, one day, I'd still like to be married." I want to say to you women, I'm glad you're here today, and I'm so grateful you're a part of this church. You are a blessing to us, so thank you. God bless you. I'm grateful for you.
There are other people who don't like to come here on Mother's Day because they've never been able to have children. They are married, but they don't have the blessing of having the womb opened up, to use biblical language. We have a ministry here made up of moms right where you're at. It's called Shiloh, a place of rest. If you're struggling with infertility, would you let us know so we can bring other families around you who have walked that same road? They'll minister to you, encourage you, comfort you, and grow your heart.
I want to let you know about another group of folks who are here today who aren't with their biological children because they made a decision. Maybe it was because of guilt and shame, or because of pressures of the world. Maybe they thought, "Gosh, I don't have a man I'm yoked with, I've now become pregnant, and I don't want anyone to know. I don't know if I can raise this kid on my own." Maybe it's a resource problem.
For whatever reason, you got pushed into the lie of believing that terminating that child in your womb would make you an un-mother. You're here this morning, and this is painful day, because you know that while you became un-pregnant, you didn't become an un-mom. In an amazing act of confusion, you terminated the life of your child. I want you to know we love you.
There are other women here who have found the forgiveness Christ offers them, through the sin of abortion, in a ministry called Someone Cares. It's the largest abortion recovery ministry in the country, and it's right here, available to you. If you would let us know, if you would take that little perforated section of the Watermark News and write on there, "Does someone care?" we will follow up with you.
Not me, but women who have been through this and walked this road will follow up with you and love you and let you know, Mom, that God is not angry with you. He cares about you deeply, and he wants to bring healing into your life. Your story is not over. If Mother's Day is painful for you because it reminds you of what you did as a mother, what no mother should ever do, would you please know the grace of my God?
I want to tell you there's a lot of grace available for moms. Some moms are going at this thing alone, and we have a unique ministry for you. We want to care about you, and I want you to see God is not done with you. Whether it's through great sadness and disease or some tragedy, or whether it is maybe through sin that has separated you from a man, God is not done with you, and I want you to hear this morning from one of my friends.
I'm going to introduce him to you here on Sunday for the first time. This is a guy who has a significant ministry. He is the leader of our young adult ministry along with Luke and JP. He's still serving there on The Porch on Tuesday nights. This is David Marvin. He's one of our most gifted teachers at Watermark, and he's going to walk us through a picture of a single mom and how God used her for his incredible glory. Meet my friend David Marvin. He's going to teach you from God's Word.
David Marvin: I'm almost a little sad we're not talking about tongues, because that would have made for such an exciting Mother's Day brunch conversation after this. Like he said, my name is David. If I can live up to that introduction, I feel like I'll be in a good place. I'm excited to get to hang out with you guys. I do hang out on Tuesday nights with our friends at The Porch.
As we explore the topic of conversation and look at a mother in Scripture, I'm going to start by telling you a little bit about my world right now. We are celebrating, for the very first time, our first Mother's Day. This week, my wife and I have a 5-month-old son named Crew, so we are not sleeping very much. You can clap for that. Procreation, I love it.
Here are Crew and my wife Calli. He is a ton of fun. He's at that stage where all these rolls look like he has rubber bands snapped all over his legs and arms, like the Michelin Man. Although my wife is able to handle not only the joys he brings but also the life changes he has brought into our world, it has been very challenging for us.
I'll say this about moms, and about her, specifically, to celebrate her. There's something about moms, as we are struggling to get the sleep thing down, where they have this supernatural ability to push through any level of exhaustion. I walk around at night, now, and I'm like a zombie in the fog. "Oh, my gosh. Life is horrible."
I'll make comments about being so tired to her, and she's like, "Really? Were you up six times last night feeding? Really?" I'm like, "Could you keep it down in the other room, at least? It's so loud." That's not at all what I say, but it is amazing to see the way God has woven women together, and the way she has become a mom.
Although she is an amazing mom, we're still in a season right now where we're trying to crack the code to the sleep thing. Before you email me or send in some sort of social media thing, we have tried everything out there. We've done the Babywise thing. I have Babywise on my phone. We've done the Healthy Baby Happy Sleeping Habits, Happiest Baby on the Block…
We brought over a sleep trainer. What is a sleep trainer? I'm still trying to figure out. It's $120, is what it is. The sleep trainer comes over, and they teach you how to sleep. We've done all these different things, and we still can't seem to crack the code on trying to get him to sleep. We have friends who are like, "Look, we had four kids and slept all the way through the night two weeks in. Here's what you have to do." Then they'll give us this advice, and I'm like, "It didn't work." They're like, "You know, every kid is different." It's like, "Thank you." Nothing is helpful.
Anyway, we're trying to crack the code in this new stage of parenting, and I know most of us in the room, whether you're moms or parents in general, are not in the stage of infancy, but I think all of us have experienced trying to crack the code and the different phases and stages of parenting in general, whether you're a father or a mom. I'm going to address all of us here in a second.
As you parent, whether your kids are entering grade school and you're trying to figure out what that looks like or your kids are in middle school and hormones have arrived and you're trying to figure that out or they're in grad school and you're waiting for the paycheck to arrive and for them to leave the home and get out on their own, there are challenges that come in parenting.
What makes a great parent, a great mother or a great father? Today, we're going to look at, specifically, a great mother in the New Testament. In other words, I'm not going to give you my tips and tricks. How offensive would that be if the guy who's been a parent for an hour and a half tried to tell you how to be a mom. "Let's go to brunch, honey."
I'm going to look with you at a woman from the New Testament who lays out three things I think are really relevant to all great moms. What does a great mom look like? These three characteristics define and mark a great mom. They really mark all great followers of Christ. In general, these three qualities mark great fathers, disciple-makers…
We're going to look at this amazing mother in Scripture. Her name is Eunice. I know Eunice is probably everyone's favorite Bible character… No, no one has ever even heard of Eunice. In fact, we were joking earlier about how this will be the greatest sermon you have ever heard on Eunice, because it will be the only sermon you have ever heard on Eunice.
Here's who Eunice is, so you know why we should even listen to this woman. Eunice raised a son, and the impact she had on his life, the apostle Paul said, was instrumental. She not only had an impact on her son, and we're given in Scripture some of the things she did to raise him, but she ended up raising one of the greatest missionaries the world would ever see, one of the greatest people who has ever had an impact for the kingdom of Christ, a man named Timothy.
If you are familiar with Timothy, here's a recap and reminder of who Timothy is. Timothy was one of the leaders in the early church. His mother was Eunice. Timothy would go on to lead the largest church in the ancient world, the church in Ephesus. One of the most significant churches in the ancient world was the church in Ephesus, and Timothy led it. He co-authored six books of the Bible.
If your son writes the Bible, I feel like you're getting an A in the parenting class. That's who Timothy was. Paul was Batman, and Timothy was Robin. He was his right-hand man. Paul said about Timothy, "I have no one else like him. In all the church, you have Peter, John, and all these great men, but nobody is like Timothy." Who was the mother behind this amazing man? Today, we're going to look and hear and see who this woman was and what, exactly, she did that had such an impact on her son.
We're going to be in 2 Timothy 1. If you have a Bible you can flip there. Second Timothy is Paul's second letter to Timothy. Timothy, like we said, was his protégé. Paul writes a number of different letters throughout the New Testament, and he wrote two to Timothy, called 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy.
Second Timothy contains information about Timothy's home life. We're going to pick up on some of the last words the apostle Paul would ever write to his close friend Timothy in the second letter he wrote him. Shortly before Paul would die, he penned these words, and he tells us something about Timothy's past, about his mother.
We're going to pick it up and look at three ideas of this mother. The three ideas, which we'll explain more fully, are the love she modeled for him, the lessons she taught him, and the legacy she left him. We're going to pick it up in 2 Timothy 1:3. Here we go. Paul, writing to Timothy, says this:
"Timothy, I thank God for you—the God I serve with a clear conscience, just as my ancestors did. Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. I long to see you again, for I remember your tears as we parted. And I will be filled with joy when we are together again.
I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother…" Here's our girl. "…Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you."
1._ The love she modeled for Timothy._ Paul just told us faith in Timothy's life was a family affair, and it didn't even originate with Timothy. Timothy had a mother, Eunice, who had shared in this sincere, genuine faith. It was the quality that marked her life, and what marks a great mother is the love they model.
Here's what we just learned. I think it's common to believe, but when I think of a great mom, part of me thinks, "They love their kids over everything else." What Eunice displayed is, "No, no, no. Great moms love Jesus above everything else. They love their son or daughter or those they're raising or discipling out of an overflow of their first love being Jesus."
The love she modeled was that Jesus is first and foremost, and out of that, "I know I can love you most if I love Jesus first." She modeled this authentic relationship with Jesus inside the home. Timothy saw it, and he caught it. He uses the word genuine there. You may have sincere. It's this unhypocritical, authentic relationship, Paul says. Day in and day out, everyday, in the ordinary moments at home, what marked Eunice was this authentic faith or trust.
The word for faith isn't just a noun; it's a verb. She was marked by this authentic trust in God. "What's going on? I'm going to trust God. We're going to move in God's direction. God says this, and I think we can trust him." This authentic faith marked her, and Timothy grew up and saw his mom embody not just a Sunday faith, which is really not a faith at all, but everyday faith in ordinary moments.
"God is at work, and we can trust him." Timothy saw it, and like a cold in the home, he caught it. There's something else interesting about this. Sincere, authentic faith is like anything else that's contagious that enters the home. There's a good chance you're going to catch it. We're not just thinking about faith, now.
If you have kids, especially little kids, and they come home, and one of them has strep throat, you're like, "It's a matter of time. I'm on the clock. We're in a petri dish, essentially. This strep throat is going to get passed to me and the next one. There's a high chance I'm going to catch it. It's not guaranteed, but there's a good chance."
Right now my wife is sick, and I know I'm on the clock. I'm like, "Yep, I'm going to be experiencing that in a few days, this cold, or whatever she's walking through." When something contagious enters the home, there's a high likelihood it will be passed on. Timothy encountered this authentic, sincere faith, and it was contagious. He saw it modeled for him, and he caught it.
It doesn't catch every single time, but this authentic, genuine faith marked her life, and like a cold, it got passed on. It wasn't just a Sunday faith. The reality is, I think hypocritical faith gets caught on, too. It's equally as contagious. If what marks your life is, "Church is a hobby we do on Sunday. My dad says it's a big deal, but really, it's not a big deal at all…" Let's be honest. If that's the perspective kids see, that hypocritical faith gets passed on, too.
Hers was an unhypocritical faith. Todd says something around here all the time that's so convicting. "Kids will often fail to do what you say, but they will rarely fail to do what you do." Children will often fail to do what you say: "Treat your mom nicely. Don't cuss. Don't abuse alcohol." They will rarely fail to do what they see you do. Timothy saw this genuine love modeled for him, and he caught it, and it got passed on.
2._ The lessons she taught to Timothy._ Timothy's mother apparently did something else inside the home, and Paul refers to it two chapters later in chapter 3. The second mark of this great mom was not just the love she modeled, first and foremost, for Jesus, but the lessons she taught him. This comes from 2 Timothy 3:14-17. Paul continues writing to Timothy, and he says,
"But you [Timothy] must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you." He's talking about Timothy's mom. You'll see why I'm saying that in a second. "You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood…" You may have from infancy. "…and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus."
"All Scripture is inspired by God [God-breathed] and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work."
Paul just referred to something that happened in his childhood. Paul just said, "From very early on, your mother, Eunice, has taught you God's Word. Continue doing what your mama taught you. Continue walking in God's Word." From very early on, Eunice was a mother who surrounded her child with God's Word. She said, "This is going to be the thing we're going to lean on, go to for instruction, and live by, Timothy."
The reason I say surrounded by is he uses a really interesting word when he says, "You have been taught," in verse 15. He uses the word surrounded or covered in, as though his mom, from a very early age, said, "I'm going to cover you and surround you in God's Word. In everything we do, we're going to include God's Word in it. We're going to go to it and say, 'What would God's Word have us do?'"
From very early, Eunice surrounded Timothy with God's Word. The lessons she taught him were not from some opinions or some parenting magazine, but from God's Word. Paul said, "Continue doing exactly what your mom did by surrounding you." Here's why I think it's so important. Here's what Eunice did. She surrounded her son with the only thing that would allow him to have peace, no matter his surroundings.
Very early on, she covered him with God's Word. She surrounded him with the only thing, God's Word, that would allow him to have peace in the midst of any surroundings, no matter what he faces, what comes ahead of him, or what he walks through in life. She surrounded him with God's Word, the thing that would give him peace no matter what surrounded him in the days ahead.
To go back to an illustration in my own life, a metaphor for how this has taken place, my son, like I said, is not sleeping. We are in that season like, "What can we possibly do to make him actually go to bed and fall asleep?" He doesn't like his crib at all, so he knows what's going on when we begin to move him toward the bed, and the lights are going down. He starts to lose it when we're getting him ready.
He hates his SleepSack, which is this weird pillowcase you put babies in, I guess. You're supposed to. It's not just a pillowcase where you're like, "Put him in again." He knows what's coming, so we try to do anything we can inside the crib and in the room to get him ready. We have not one, but two Sleep Machines. We're those parents. We have stuff that's hanging from the ceiling that moves, like a mobile. We have not one, but two sets of blackout curtains.
We've attempted to do everything we can to surround him with anything that will bring him peace, because he'll start wailing and crying in his crib. We're trying to surround him with anything, and I think we finally found what could work. We've had two nights of good sleep. The search may be over. I'm going to let you guys in on what we found, but keep it our secret.
We put this on, and it goes from crying to quiet. He's zoned and locked in, and he stares at it. It's this little aquarium that is not impressive at all, but it's like he's watching a TV show, and it just goes back and forth. The fish are moving. It's the same thing, and he'll watch it until he falls asleep. The search may be over. We have found the thing to surround him with to bring him peace in the midst of his surroundings.
In that same way, from Eunice's perspective, from very early on, she said, "The search is over. I know the thing that will give him peace. I know the thing I will surround him with so, no matter what his surroundings are in the days ahead (if his wife dies of cancer, if he loses his job, if he faces persecution), no matter what comes, I'm going to surround him, from a very early age, with the one thing in which he can have peace no matter his surroundings."
From very early on, Timothy's life was marked and covered by the Scriptures. The mark of a great mom is the lessons they teach coming from God's Word. This verse was even convicting for me. Since we brought Crew home, every night, my wife reads Scripture to him. At first, I was like, "Really? Shouldn't we wait a little bit? I'm not sure Isaiah is really getting through to him right now. He's in a milk coma."
She was faithful, like, "No, we're going to continue to pour this over." Even reading this verse, I'm like, "God, what kind of dad and pastor am I? What's wrong with me? Of course you should be reading it." Eunice knew this lesson very early. She poured Scripture into her son. The lessons she taught came from God's Word.
3._ The legacy she left for Timothy._ The thing I think most ministers and many of us in the room may be able to relate to is the legacy she left him. I'll tell you what legacy she did leave, but I want to tell you a little bit more about Eunice's story before we go there.
Maybe you're in the room, and you're going, "Great. Eunice sounds like the perfect mom. She's memorized the Bible, she pours the Bible over her kids, and she modeled it perfectly. I have already blown it. My kid is 7 years old, and we've never read him the Bible," or, "Look, I just came to faith in Jesus, and my kids are teenagers. What are we going to do? When I look behind me, it doesn't see to be as pretty as Eunice's life and parenting strategy."
I think there's something about Eunice you may not know. There's something about Timothy's story, his family life, you may not know. Paul writes, "Hey, Timothy, you know the people who passed to you their faith." Painfully absent from chapter 1 is his father. Where is his dad? His family of faith, the family affair, was a mother and grandmother thing, but where is his father?
We're about to find out why. In Acts 16, we're told a little bit more about Eunice and Timothy, about the home and the life he experienced early on. This is what it says in Acts 16. This is the very first time Paul and Timothy joined forces in ministry. Paul says, "I want to recruit you onto my team." This is when that occasion took place.
"Paul went first to Derbe and then to Lystra [Timothy's hometown] , where there was a young disciple named Timothy. His mother [our girl, Eunice] was a Jewish believer, but his father was a Greek." Wait a second. Eunice was a believer. We knew that. We knew she had come to Christ and trusted in him, but she was a Jewish girl, and she married a Greek? How did that happen?
Here's why that's so significant. This means Eunice was not the perfect Sunday school Susie. Eunice had a past. Eunice had a season of rebellion in her life. She did what God had commanded his people, the Jewish people, not to do. "You shall not marry outside of God's people," just like, now, inside of Christianity, God says, "I want you to marry with Christians, so you can raise up other Christians."
In the same way, he told the Jewish people in this day that they were to marry among his people. To go outside and marry a Greek was forbidden. How common is this story? She was the girl who, in sophomore or junior year of college, ran off and fell away from her faith into the arms of Gary the Greek. She ended up starting a relationship with this man whom God had said was forbidden. "You shall not marry," and she fell in.
Out of this relationship, this disobedient sin, came forth a little baby boy named Timothy. Timothy's father wasn't a believer. Timothy wasn't raised in the model Christian home we're a part of. I think, to us, we're like, "Ah, man. That's interesting. Big deal…" To Timothy, this defined his life. It defined everything he would experience as a little boy.
Here's what I mean. He would have been called a name. In the first century, there was a name for illegitimate children who came from marriages of Jews marrying outside of God's people: a mamzer. It was a racial slur for an illegitimate kid. He was outlawed from the synagogue. He could not learn the Torah or the Old Testament in the synagogue. He couldn't go to church and learn it because he was a mamzer. "You betrayed God's people."
He was seen as an outcast. "God wants you to be an outcast." He wasn't circumcised. That's why, in the next verse, verse 3, Paul says, "I want you to join my ministry to the Jews, but we're going to have to circumcise you, buddy." Think about that as a young adult. You think our ministry standards are hard? It's like, "We want you to be on the parking team, but you're going to have to have surgery."
That's what happened, and Timothy went along with it. Everything in his life was marked by this fact that he was seen as an outcast. When it came time for him to marry someday, he couldn't marry a Jewish girl. He was always different from all the other little Jewish boys and all the people who were around him.
He was an outcast, until one day, something changed in his mother's life. Eunice came to faith in Jesus, and everything changed. The legacy Eunice left him was one of grace, God's grace. Here's the legacy even further, if you take notes and want to write this down. The legacy she left him is, "Our past is not a problem for God's grace. It is a platform for it. It showcases it."
Our past, your past, or whatever is behind you in the rearview mirror… Eunice did not have a good past behind her in the rearview mirror, but there came a day when she said, "I'm going to turn to Christ and hand everything over to him." When we do that, our past becomes not a problem for God's grace but a platform for it. It showcases it to the world around.
Think about Timothy. His life, the fact that he existed on the planet, was the product of disobedient sin. Eunice saw first-hand the way God could work and use anybody, any story, if they turned to him. Who would use Eunice to raise one of the greatest missionaries in the world? Who would use Eunice to lead and raise up the pastor of the largest church in the ancient world?
Who's going to be the mom who's going to do that? Is it going to be the faithful mom? "Jesus, I was waiting for you. I was the Jewish girl who was faithful. When others were running off into Gary the Greek's arms, I was faithful." That's the girl you would think he would use, and God steps in and says, "Eunice, despite your disobedience, despite that you acted outside of my design, you are the perfect candidate for my grace, because you'll just accept it." She turned to him, and everything changed. She not only saw God's grace in her life, but she saw it in the life of her son.
Think about this. If you go to Timothy's hometown, at his high school graduation, Timothy is not getting voted most likely to succeed. The kid from the broken home with the father wound is going to be written off. Timothy is the guy who knew he was an outcast all of his life. The odds were stacked against him. There's no father figure there, yet in that, God moved.
There is no home too broken for God's grace to break into. Into this broken home, God breaks through. I hope you see how crazy that is. I think a lot of us are like, "Is that really that amazing?" This son who never had a godly father around in his home became one of the authors of the New Testament.
He became one of the most significant leaders the world will ever see for the cause of Christ because of a mom who wasn't perfect but, at some point, embraced her purpose, turned to Jesus, and began to turn the family there. God stepped in and moved, showing there's no home too broken, no circumstance behind you he can't use and redeem. There is no past, whatever your past is, that's a problem for God's grace, but it can be a platform for it.
The things she did are the things good disciple makers do. They model their first love, Jesus. They make disciples through the lessons they impart, being from God's Word. The legacy they leave is that their past is not a problem for God's grace. For 2,000 years, Eunice's story has been showcased over and over, like Timothy's legacy of God's grace and ability to use anyone and anything.
I love the story of Timothy because it's my story. Not the missionary and all that stuff, but coming from a broken home. I was raised in a home where I did not have a godly father around. There wasn't an example of someone to teach me how to be a godly man, love a woman, or do any of those things.
But I did have a Eunice. I did have a godly mother who raised me and three other kids on her own, almost exclusively. She brought us up. As I think back, the reasons I'm so thankful for her, even the protection in my life and the ways of God… There's no trophy kid here. I just look back, and I'm so thankful for my mom and how God used her to be a source of protection in my life, to teach and train, and to fill in the gaps a father should have filled.
As I think about what she did, these are really the things she did. She wasn't perfect, but she loved Jesus, and she taught us, and she modeled that love for us. The love she modeled was for Jesus first. She was constantly pointing me and my three siblings to God, to walk with him, to his Word, and to Jesus. It was at the epicenter of every conversation.
If you're in the room, and especially if you're a single parent, or any parent, she would do it, and like every teenage boy, I'm sure my response was like, "Golly, Mom. I know. Can I be excused, please?" but it stuck. She modeled not that we were the first priority, like, "I love you more than anything," but that she loved Jesus more than anything. She loved us out of a response to that.
I still remember the lessons she taught us. Every single morning, no matter how early we had to leave the house to take me to school or across town for some sporting thing, or whatever it was, I would see the same thing. Every morning, my mom was sitting at the kitchen table with her Bible. She went through a new Bible every year and marked it all up.
She had a cup of coffee and was sitting in her robe reading the Bible. I'm not sure why I keep mentioning the robe when I tell this story. It really is a generational thing. She would sit, and she'd be reading through God's Word. I still remember the first verses we memorized in that home.
She wasn't perfect, but she did love Jesus and turn us to him, and God filled in the gaps with his grace. The legacy she left was one of being open. "I made mistakes. These are the mistakes I made behind me. I'm going to be honest about them, and then I want you to learn from them." These are the ways pain was brought to me.
She left the legacy that her past wasn't a problem; it was a platform for God's grace. So if you're a single mom in the room and you feel right now that the odds are stacked against you, if you feel like the deck is stacked, and you don't know if you can win, I want to tell you, specifically, we worship a God who defies the odds.
He defied the odds in the life of Timothy. He defied the odds in the lives of so many characters in the New Testament. He defied the odds in my life. If we'll turn to him in every scenario, if we turn to him with our lives, he's a God who can fill in the gaps where a father should be, where a father is absent physically, or even spiritually. He's a God who can defy the odds.
This is the last thing, and then I'll close and pray, and Todd will come up and close us out. The last thing I would say to all parents, and everyone in general, but even more specifically to you single moms, whom I have a heart for, because I've seen you, and I know you, just like Timothy would know you, faithful moms who love Jesus…
The thing I think she did to provide godly men in my life was she connected us to the church constantly. She knew, "If he's going to see a godly man, it's not going to be in the home." "Timothy, if you're going to see a godly man, it's not going to be here. You're going to see it inside the church." From a very early age, she would connect us to that, and God, in his grace, provided all kinds of godly men, so plug deeper in here.
Even coming to Watermark, there have been so many wounds in my own heart healed. For so many uncertainties I've been given an example, because I've never seen a godly dad. I've never seen a godly husband first-hand. I mean that when I say it's been so instrumental. Even seeing guys like Todd, Kyle Thompson, Kyle Kaigler, JP, Braun Brown, Gary Stroope… There's a huge list, all across the board.
God used me plugging into the church. He used his people and his woman to fill in those gaps and make sure there's no past that's a problem for me, but it can be a platform for me. I'm going to pray, and Todd is going to come and close us with another adieu.
Father, we love you. Thank you for Eunice. Thank you for the story of Timothy's life. Thank you for my mother. Thank you that you are a God who can take any story, any past, and redeem it. I pray for the mothers in this room, that they would feel loved and celebrated.
I pray you would allow them to realize it's never too late to turn to you, and it's never too early to turn themselves and begin to turn, to whatever degree they can, their children to you. Thank you for Jesus, our Savior. Thank you for your church and the way you stretch out your hand in all kinds of ways and fill in the gaps with your grace. Amen.