I was talking to my six year old granddaughter Katie on the telephone one day last week. We were talking about what we want to do when they come back from Ecuador next year for a few months. I mentioned that they would probably stay with us and we could have one long sleepover every night! “Yes, I can’t wait!” Katie agreed, “but the first thing I’m going to do is rush right over to Grammy’s apartment and have a sleepover with her! You can come, too,” she graciously invited. Grammy is my mother – Katie’s great-grandmother.

“Well, since you’ll be having a sleepover with me most of the time, then I’ll probably stay home and you can have one with Grammy, just the two of you.”

“Well, then we’ll have a tea party at Grammy’s house and you can come to that!” she suggested. “Grammy will bake lots of good things. Grammy likes to bake things for people. She has lots of time to bake. My mommy doesn’t have that much time to bake, but Grammy has lots and lots of time to bake and read books, and things like that!” She chattered on and on about how she just couldn’t wait to “rush right over to Grammy’s!”

It was a delightful conversation and I wasted no time in sharing it with my mother. There is a special relationship somehow between Katie and her Grammy. I don’t know if it is because Katie has my mother’s name – Connie – for her middle name, or if it is because she came shortly after my father went home to be with the Lord and Mom took special joy in that new baby, but for some reason they share some sort of special connection. Katie just adores her Grammy and misses her the most, and I, her grandma, try to be understanding and not get my nose bent out of shape over it! Unfortunately, although Mom tries hard not to have “favorites” among her grandchildren, Katie recognizes the uniqueness of their relationship, too, and likes to flaunt it in front of her sisters!

Katie hit the nail on the head when she extolled the virtues of Grammy’s baking. My mother has always liked to bake, and she has earned quite the reputation with her pies and cookies. Nobody, but nobody, bakes pies better than my mom’s! Sadly, that talent skipped a generation because neither I, nor any of my siblings that I am aware of, inherited her pie-baking skills. My two daughters, however, went to Grandma for lessons years ago on how to make an apple pie, and now they (and their husbands!) can make a pie almost as good as hers. And cookies! You never saw such a mouth-watering array of yummy cookies like my mom makes for Christmas every year. For years she would make double and triple batches of twelve or thirteen different kinds and give them away by the platterful – still keeping plenty for us, of course! One of my favorite childhood memories is of literally running home from school on a cold winter’s day and coming into a house that smelled deliciously of mom’s homemade cookies!

Mom and I were remembering recently a Mother-Daughter banquet we helped with over thirty years ago at Hessville Baptist Church. The theme was “Nothin’ Says Lovin’ Like Somethin’ from the Oven – and Mother Says It Best!” Mom was never crafty. She baked and cooked and kept the cleanest house and kids you ever saw, so she never had time or (she would tell you) the talent to do crafts. The one craft she ever did was the centerpieces for that banquet – and it was right up her alley! She made dozens of beautiful homemade rolls in all sorts of varieties and shapes and then we shellacked them until they were glistening. (*sigh* It was the first time we couldn’t eat her yummy baked goods!) We glued them together and put them in baskets lined with red-checked material. They looked fantastic on the tables and so realistic (well, because they were!) that it was difficult not to want to bite right into one of those yummy rolls! People talked about those centerpieces for years and when we sold some at a yard sale years later they were snatched right up.

There are two things about my mother that have influenced me more than anything else. The first is that my mom is a woman of faith. Katie is too little to understand what that means right now, but someday she will look back on her spiritual heritage and realize that her precious Grammy had a lot to do with the fact that she accepted Jesus as her Savior, too. My mother was a godly example to her children of faith and faithfulness, praise and prayer. Each of her children accepted Christ as their Savior at young ages. I, in turn, taught my children the things my mother had taught me, and they, too, became believers, and now are teaching their own children.

I heard something just this week that I had never thought of before. Do you know why we believers are not judged immediately upon entering Heaven for our faithfulness and service for Christ, but will wait until the Judgment Seat of Christ after the Rapture has taken place to be judged? It is because even after we leave this earth, our influence and work for Him lives on. The seeds I have planted in my children’s lives, or the lives of others around me, will continue to grow and reproduce into fruit for Him over and over again, even into the generations to follow. I pray that my life will be a spiritual heritage for my children and grandchildren, just as my mother’s has been for me.

The Bible tells us of several women, among others, whose faith influenced their children, and through them went on to influence countless millions through the ages. Moses’ mother Jochebed only had the early years of his life in which to influence him, for after only four or five years she could no longer play the nursemaid for Pharoah’s daughter. What he learned in those early years in his mother’s lap and at her knee had a tremendous influence on his life for not only did he turn to the God of Israel, though he was later brought up in the palaces of Egypt, but he went on to be the Hebrews’ great leader. Hebrews 11:24-27 tells us, “By faith, Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to share ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; accounting the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt, for he looked unto the recompense of reward.” What his mother had taught him in those early years was never forgotten.

In the New Testament we see Timothy the great Christian evangelist and pastor. With a pagan father, and growing up in a pagan city, the chances of Timothy following the Lord Jesus Christ were slim, indeed. A godly Christian grandmother and mother, however, had their influence, and it was from their teaching and example that Timothy grew up to accept and know and follow the Lord, as well. Paul wrote to him from prison, “I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers in a pure conscience, how unceasing is my remembrance of thee in my supplications, night and day, longing to see thee, remembering thy tears, that I may be filled with joy; having been reminded of the unfeigned faith that is in thee; which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice… From a babe thou hast known the sacred writings which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (II Timothy 1:3-5; 3:15) As a leader in the early church, Timothy went on to influence millions of others down through the centuries for Christ.

We see the powerful influence of a godly mother-in-law, as well, in Scripture. The book of Ruth tells us the story of Naomi and Ruth, her young Moabitish daughter-in-law. The love and godly faithfulness of Naomi had caused Ruth to forsake her pagan gods and follow after the one, true God of Israel. Now when Naomi planned to return to her own land and people, Ruth begged her, “Entreat me not to leave thee, and to return from following after thee; for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God, where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried. Jehovah do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me.” (Ruth 1:16-17). We continue on to see in Scripture that in due time Ruth married Boaz, father of Obed, father of Jesse, father of David the king, and ultimately became an ancestress of our Lord Jesus Christ, thanks to the faithful witness, love and influence of Naomi.

God placed these women in strategic places and times in the history of the world to be an influence on their children and through them on millions who would follow in their footsteps. That is still the role of Christian mothers today. It is still our privilege and sacred duty.

The second thing that Katie did recognize is that Grammy cares for others and does all she can to be a helper and encourager. “Grammy likes to bake for other people,” she said, but she has seen first hand many of the other things Grammy likes to do for others, as well. My mother’s kindness and care; her generosity in giving of herself, her time and her finances; and her words of encouragement are a blessing and inspiration in the lives of family, friends and even many strangers around the world. I am sure she herself does not realize the influence her spiritual gifts of encouragement, ministry and giving have had. They have certainly had an influence on me as I have strived to be a woman like my mother. Scripture tells us to add “to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.” (II Peter 1:7) The Bible says “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another…Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.” (Romans 12:10, 13) Paul said of believers who encouraged and helped one another, “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; So that we ourselves glory in you” (II Thessalonians 1:3,4)

Someday when my mother stands before the Judgment Seat of Christ I am sure she will hear the words, Well done, thou good and faithful servant. The influence of her faith has led, and will continue to lead, many to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. The influence of her service for Him has blessed and encouraged countless people both near and dear to her, and around the world. The influence of her life will never make the headlines, or cause her to win great awards or fame here on earth, but someday Jesus Himself will recognize her influence before all Heaven and reward her with a crown.

Thank you, Mom. Your influence is clear, even among the smallest of your great-grandchildren. We love you. Happy Mother’s Day!

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