In 2019, research exploring the spiritual heritage of believers in Jesus in the United States revealed that mothers and grandmothers have a significant influence on spiritual development. Nearly two-thirds of people who claim a legacy of faith credited their mother, and one-third acknowledged that a grandparent (usually a grandmother) also played a significant role.
The report’s editor remarked, “Over and over, this study speaks to the enduring impact of mothers in . . . spiritual development.” It’s an impact we also discover in Scripture.
In Paul’s letter to his protégé Timothy, he acknowledged that Timothy’s faith was modeled to him by his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice (2 Timothy 1:5). It’s a delightful personal detail highlighting the impact of two women on one of the leaders of the early church. Their influence can also be seen in Paul’s encouragement to Timothy: “continue in what you have learned [because] from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures” (3:14–15).
A strong spiritual heritage is a precious gift. But even if our upbringing lacked the kind of positive influences that helped form Timothy’s faith, there are likely others in our life who’ve had a profound impact in helping to shape our spiritual development. Most important, we all have the opportunity to model sincere faith to those around us and leave a lasting legacy.