For thousands of years the view of motherhood described in the Bible was generally respected in Western culture. Motherhood was seen as a noble and important calling. Women considered themselves blessed to bear many children, and it was considered normal and good for home and family to be the central focus of a woman’s life.
American culture has dramatically redefined the role of motherhood. Somehow, over the course of the last century, traditional motherhood has become a lifestyle option.- and to many, a lesser option – rather than a divine calling.
There are so many opinions coming at women today who consider raising children. Some say, “The most important thing you can do with your life is invest it in your children. Their lives are more important than building a career!” Some say, “Don’t let your children control your life! It would be a waste of your time and experience to focus too much on your children.” Or “Don’t have more children. It will take up to much of your time.” There are so many conflicting views of motherhood and womanhood itself.
CALLED TO MOTHERHOOD?
God designed motherhood to be a deeply meaningful role. We mothers have the opportunity to influence our children in so many ways but we have a special opportunity to influence them for eternity by building a spiritual legacy in their lives.
The real ability of a mother to secure such a spiritual legacy is based on the strength of the relationship she builds with her child. As we tenderly care for our children we are also anchoring their hearts to our home, our values, and our beliefs. These ties are built over a period of many years, through the small ways we spend the minutes of each day and the large ways in which we celebrate the momentous events of our lives. The heart of each child is a treasure chest.
A mother’s relationship with her child is one that will encompass a lifetime, We can still hear the voices of our own mothers as we raise our children.
Because we are privileged to be able to bear children God expects us to tenderly care for them and longs for us to partner with Him in leading our children to know and love His Word and to follow learn to follow His will in this world.
This design doesn’t mean I have to lose myself in my children’s lives. On the contrary, following God’s design for living is the true key to finding myself – to becoming the person He had in mind for me to become as I lead them on their journey thru life. To embrace the mission of motherhood requires that I understand God and His design for life.
God’s design provides a completeness to the circle of life. It is a design that was intended to give all children the opportunity to be lovingly nurtured so they could live their own lives well. It is not simply – a lifestyle choice.
II Timothy 1:5 - “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.”
II Timothy 3:14-15 - “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”
Acts 16:1-3 - “He came to Derbe (Paul did) and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was a Jewess and a believer, but whose father was a Greek. The brothers (other believers in Christ) at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.”
After reading these passages, fill in your conclusions about Lois and Eunice and their hearts for Timothy:
* Lois and Eunice were more interested in ________________________ than external appearances.
* Lois and Eunice thought more about eternal life than _________________________
* Timothy’s mother and grandmother must have talked often about a relationship with ______________________
* Lois and Eunice used the _______________________ to teach Timothy
* Timothy’s mother and grandmother taught him that living a __________________________
* (II Timothy 1:9) was more important than any sort of personal comfort or gain.
Review the five statements. Circle those that already describe your mothering. Underline those you need to work on as a mother. Now write three statements that you long for your own children to be able to say about you when they are grown:
A Mom’s intuition combined with Common Sense = MomSense
Intuition is something a woman brings to mothering. Something that is often not really learned – just known. A 6th sense, or just a gut feeling.
Common Sense is using good sense and sound judgment in practical matters. Sometimes common sense incorporates a mom’s intuition, but it is also something she can learn and improve upon to establish her mothering skills.
“Common sense is instinct. Enough of it is genius” by George Bernard Shaw
1. Do you think you have a high level of commonsense? Why or why not?
2. How do you use your common sense in your mothering?
3. At this stage in your mothering journey, describe how comfortable you feel relying on a combination of your intuition and common sense - or – MomSense
4. What do you think makes mothering a learning process?
5. What have you discovered so far – and what are you still hoping to learn?
Proverbs 16:22 “Understanding is a fountain of life to those who have it….”
We spend so much time talking about the “how to” of parenting that we neglect the equally important “why” of parenting. This is unfortunate because the “why” eventually drives and even shapes the “how to”. With the wrong “why” our motivation will can get skewed and while the “how to” may be effective, it’ll be effectively wrong!
Read a condensed version of the story in MomSense on pages 24-26. God had a design in mind when He created the family. When we follow His game plan and His directions we can emerge more productive and flourishing.
Read Psalm 127:1 “Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain.” In the OT the word “house” is often used to express the same concept as the English words family or home.
6. According to this verse, what is the secret to the success of a godly family?
Our Theme verse is II Timothy – “For God does not give the spirit of fear, but the spirit of power, love and a sound mind.” The Apostle Paul wrote these words to a young man named Timothy because he was young but he wanted him to take his place because he knew he was going to be martyred for Christ’s sake.
In II Timothy 1:1-15 Paul speaks of the “sincere faith” of Timothy’s mother – Eunice and his grandmother – Lois as also being in him. Timothy’s mother and grandmother instilled in him a love and respect for the Scriptures and planted in his heart a desire to minister to others.
Read Acts 16:1-5. What do these verses tell you about Timothy’s family” _________________
Who doesn’t participate in Timothy’s spiritual life? ___________________________________
How might this be an encouragement to some of you? _________________________________
What kind of faith did Timothy witness in his mother and grandmother? See II Timothy 1:5 ___ _____________________________________________________________________________
What kind of traits are involved in “sincere faith” when given by God? Look at our theme verse in II Timothy 1:7 _______________________________________________________________
Read II Timothy 3:14-15. What played an important role in Timothy’s mother’s and grandmother’s life? How can this also play a significant role in your life as a mother?
Timothy’s life of faith did not begin in a vacuum. God pointedly reveals the powerful influence of Timothy’s mother and grandmother. If you read the passages about Timothy with an open heart, you’ll see what changed his life - and can change yours and can change the people you love. The encouragement to be found in the story of Timothy is that Timothy’s mother and grandmother powerfully influenced his life by their real faith – not by their perfect homes, beautiful wardrobes, or many accomplishments, but by their real faith.
Next time you’re feeling guilty about all the things you aren’t or don’t do as a mother, remember Lois and Eunice. Concentrate on what’s most important – living a life of faith in front of your children.
Where can you find the power to begin? Read II Thessalonians 2:16-17 “May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word”. And Psalm 42:11 speaks of “hoping in God”. When we say “I hope” we often mean we would like but are uncertain. The “hope” the bible speaks of is a term of expectancy. Hope in God is a call to an active faith which expects God to act. Our theme verse tells of things God promises to give us in this role He designed us for so we can expect that help.
Memory Verse for the Year: II Timothy 1:7 –“ For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love and a sound mind.”
Read II Timothy 1:1-7
1. “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus,
2. To Timothy, my dear son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
3. I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. 4. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. 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. 6. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (fear), but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline (sound mind).”
Introduction to Context:
The writer of II Timothy was writing from prison in Rome and the person he’s writing to is in Asia Minor (what is now western Turkey) Paul had been to this area two times before, preaching the good news about Jesus. During one of his visits the mother and grandmother of the young man he was writing to had responded to his message. The writer knew the young man he was writing to and was looking for someone he could entrust his message to. The writer of this letter was a strong passionate man but understood that we all have different personalities but the same message to share.
The women in this passage Lois and Eunice were Jewish. One a grandmother and probably a widow by now living with her daughter, Eunice who was married to a Greek. These women were far from their homeland. According to tradition, it would have been illegal for a Jewess to marry a Gentile (Greek) and it is assumed that she probably married him when she wasn’t practicing her own Jewish faith.
It is believed that Lois (the grandmother) knew her Old Testament Scriptures well but both these women had probably responded to the message of this writer on his first visit – believing and rejoicing in the fact that Jesus was the Messiah they had been waiting for and raised their son/grandson, in this new found faith.
“Men are what their mothers make them” by Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Mothers write on the hearts of their children what the rough hand of the world cannot erase”
As a mother increases her own faith, she fashions an opportunity to leave a legacy of faith in her children.
1. Who is writing this letter?
2. Who is he writing to?
3. In verse 1 what is the writer’s role? And, who does he believe gave him that role?
4. How do you see your role right now?
5. Do you see your role as God-given?
6. In verse 2 How does Paul describe his relationship to Timothy? (what does he call him)?
7. What does Paul wish for Timothy?
8. In verse 3 How often does Paul pray for Timothy?
9. In verse 5 How does Paul describe Timothy’s faith?
10. Where does Paul say Timothy acquired his faith?
12. In verse 6 Why do you think Paul tells Timothy he has to “fan into flame (or stir up) the gift of God living in him?
What kind of fears might we have as we work together here in MOPS?
1. Speaking in front of others?
2. Confrontations and Problem resolutions
3. Problem solving
4. Looking or sounding foolish
5. Fear of rejection
6. Issues we have in our own families: children’s behavior and health, finances, relationships
14. What does God say He gives us according to Paul?
Timothy followed Paul into sharing the good news of who Jesus was and what He did and they changed the world. Your children might not change the world but you will give them the greatest gift for life when they are solidly rooted in their belief that there is a God who knows and loves them.
Teaching and Learning is one of the major themes of this last letter from Paul to Timothy.
One of the most challenging tasks of our faith is to maintain and teach that faith to our children – NOT just in an institutionalized way, but in meaningful ways that each generation can grasp.
Instructions are offered, not just in Bible truths and teachings, but of what life in Christ should be and is. ( In II Timothy 2:2 Paul continued to give instructions for passing truth from one generation to another.)
1. What we consider teaching in the 21st century and what Paul meant are two different things?
In the 21st Century “education means “school”.
2. The Random House Dictionary defines education as “the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally, of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.
3. In our society teaching is imparting knowledge and processing information..
4. Learning is acquiring knowledge and using information.
This year’s theme is MomSense – something very different than just acquiring and processing information
Mom Intuition + Common Sense = Mom Sense
Mom Intuition is something a woman brings to mothering, something that is often not really learned – just known, but more God-given, - a hunch, an inkling, a 6th sense or a gut feeling.
Common Sense is using good sense and sound judgment in practical matters. Sometimes common sense incorporates a mom’s intuition, but it is also something we can learn and improve upon to establish her mothering skills.
A woman develops her reliance on the combination of her intuition and commonsense as she grows into her role as mother – as she becomes the confident, reliable, secure, loving mother her children need.
“Men are what their mother’s make them” by Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Mothers write on the hearts of their children what the rough hand of the world cannot erase.” Author unknown
As a mother increases her own faith, she fashions an opportunity to leave a legacy of faith in her children.
Timothy followed Paul into sharing the good news of who Jesus was and what He did and they changed the world.
Your children might not change the world but you will give them the greatest gift for life when they are solidly rooted in the belief that there is a God who knows them and loves them.
DEFINITIONS FOR II TIMOTHY 1:7
II Timothy 1:7 “For God does not give us the spirit of fear but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline (or sound mind)”
“Spirit of fear” refers to “the inner qualities” or spiritual character developed in us by the presence of God in us through the Holy Spirit once we invite him in. The spirit given to us is NOT one of fearfulness.
Fear – There is always a strong correlation between anything in the Christian life and what goes on in our mind when we have fear. If we think about our own weakness and limitations fear may grow so we begin to think we can’t do anything. There is a close connection between your mind and what you think about, and actually being able to live a life of faith.
God’s love enables us to hear, believe hope and endure through His presence and strength.
- Fear within exaggerates the causes of fear without.
-We don’t need to accept what God has NOT given (fear) but rather humbly receive and live in - what God has given – power, love and a sound mind
-Fear and timidity will keep you from using the gifts God has given you to touch people in this needy world and to fulfill your role as a mom. He wants you to take His power, His love and His calm thinking to overcome your fears so you can be used by Him, being enabled to use your gifts and talents with confidence as you seek to fulfill your role as woman, mother and here in MOPS.
- Boldness matters. God’s purpose for you is more than making money, being entertained, being comfortable. He has purpose for you.
Power – The spirit of power, given by God, includes the ability to bear up, triumph over. To have courage to endure (late nights with small children or going the extra mile in your responsibilities to MOPS, knowing you are serving other women who are in need at this season of their lives). A courage inspired by God to do what He has designed you to do.
- His power enables
- The spirit and courage of resolution to meet dangers and difficulties
- When we are doing God’s work we are in a safe place in His hands and given all we need to accomplish what we were designed to be. Mothering is God’s work.
- Aggressive energy in face of difficulty which overcomes any weaknesses and enables one to work, endure and even suffer (are these not sometimes the down side of our job as mothers?)
Love - The spirit of love is what is given by God to raise, except and care for those under our influence.
- The spirit of love tells us a lot about the kind of power God gives. NOT the power to control but the power to love and serve others. (The night before Jesus went to the Cross, he spent his time with his disciples and in John 13:1-11 it says “….Jesus knowing that his Father had given all things into his hands…washed the disciples feet”)
That takes a special kind of love and power. It is a humble kind of love – a sacrificial kind of love. We don’t have the power to always love that way without God.
Sound Mind - The Greek word here means a person with a sober mind, one with direction. A mind well balanced and under right influences (God’s). A mind that can see things in their just proportions and relations. A disciplined mind. No need to be feverish or anxious. The word used also means quietness of mind – Calmness!
Our theme this year is MomSense. God does not give us “the spirit of fear” to be mothers, but the spirit of power, love and a sound mind along with MomSense.
Mom Intuition + Common Sense = MomSense
Mom Intuition – Something a woman brings to mothering. Something that is often not really learned - just known. A hunch, an inkling, a 6th sense, or just a gut feeling.
Common Sense – It’s using good senses and sound judgment in practical matters. Sometimes common sense incorporates a mom’s intuition, but it is also something we can learn and improve upon to establish her mothering skills.
A woman develops her reliance on the combination of her intuition and common sense as she grows into her role as mother. As she becomes the confident, reliable, secure, loving mom her children need. Her confidence grows as she sees her role as God-given and empowered.
Teaching and learning in one of the major themes of Paul’s last writings to Timothy. One of the most challenging tasks of our faith is to maintain and teach that faith to our children. NOT just in an institutionalized way, but in meaningful ways that each generation can grasp.
- What we consider teaching in the 21st Century and what Paul meant are two different things. In the 21st Century “education” means “school”.
- The Random House Dictionary defines education as “the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally, of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.
- In our society teaching is imparting knowledge and processing information.
- Learning is acquiring knowledge and using information.
As a mother increases her own faith, she fashions an opportunity to leave a legacy of faith in her children. Her knowledge and information become a life lived and empowered by God.