by Kathy Howard
I am 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… But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you have 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. 2 Timothy 1:5, 3:14-15 NIV
I carefully unfolded the fragile, yellowed paper and struggled to read the faded ink. The letter was dated March 26, 1914. I found this letter and several others in an old metal box at my parents’ house. Addressed to Howell Adam Shouse, my great grandfather on my mother’s side, they were written by his mother, Mary Dozier Shouse, more than a century ago.
Much of the news was what you’d expect – who had been sick, who had gotten married, and how she longed to see her “dear son.” But one particular paragraph brought tears to my eyes:
“Oh, how much I do pray for you every single morning and night. I pray mightily to the Lord that you Howell and your children may be convicted and converted and sanctified. Never a day do I miss. May God hear and answer my prayers and save us all in heaven.”
My jaw dropped in amazement. Mary Dozier, my great, great grandmother prayed daily for the spiritual well-being of her son and his children. She faithfully petitioned God to make her son and his children aware of their need for a Savior (convict); to draw them into a saving relationship with Jesus (convert); and to grow them up into the likeness of Christ (sanctify).
As I read those words, I knew her prayers also covered me. Long before I was born, my great, great grandmother prayed for me and my eternal, spiritual good.
I do not have details as to the spiritual condition of Howell Adam Shouse, but I do know his daughter – my maternal grandmother – loved Jesus. She consistently pointed me toward the Lord. And my mother has done the same.
This discovery both blessed and challenged me. I am blessed today because my grandmother’s grandmother prayed for the spiritual condition of her descendants. Her faithful sharing of Jesus with her son and his children impacted my life through theirs. But, I am also challenged. Her example challenges me to regularly lift prayers for my children and their children that matter for eternity. Her faithful testimony challenges me to faithfully use every opportunity to share Jesus with my children and grandchildren.
Scripture doesn’t tell us much about Lois and Eunice, Timothy’s grandmother and mother, but what it does reveal is the enormous impact of a spiritual heritage. Lois and Eunice were instrumental in Timothy’s salvation. Their faith concretely demonstrated the reality of Christ and His grace. I long for God to use me that way in the lives of my children.
Yes, I will continue to pray for their physical health and temporal struggles. But I will also recommit to pray for their spiritual health and eternal struggles. And I will tell them about Jesus and His faithfulness every chance I get.
About the author: Kathy Howard encourages women to live an unshakable faith for life by standing firm on our rock-solid God no matter life’s circumstances. The author of 8 books and a former “cultural Christian,” Kathy has a Masters in Christian education. Kathy and her husband have 3 married children and 4 grandsons. Find out more and get free discipleship tools and leader helps at her website: www.kathyhoward.org.
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Join the conversation: How are you planning to continue what you have been given into the lives of those in your life both now and in the future?