Let's Celebrate Our Spiritual Mothers

May 9, 2024

Reading time: 8 Minutes

Mother’s Day is right around the corner, and as we considered how to honor the holiday beyond the flowers and card-worthy sentiments, we saw an opportunity to highlight the spiritual mothers in our lives.


The Biblical roots of honoring our parents are strong, but so is the admonition of Paul in the book of Titus, where he instructs the older women to disciple the younger women in the church. (Titus 2:3-5)


While many of us have wonderful, loving moms we have looked up to in life, they are not always the only “motherly” influences in the general day-to-day. I’m not sure about you, but I have certainly experienced this in action throughout my life. So, I, with some of my colleagues, would like to pay tribute to some of the godly women in our lives this Mother’s Day and challenge all of us to be that mentor to others.


Spiritual Mothers Uplift Us – Rebecca’s Story


In my decades of church attendance and throughout my spiritual walk with the Lord, God has placed amazing women in my path to instruct, guide, and love on me when I’ve needed it most.


As a teenager, struggling to find my place among peers, my place within my own youth group, and my place in the community in which we lived, I had one such teacher who served as a youth leader in our church. Cheryl was kind, funny, a superb listener, and didn’t mince words when it came to her admonishment of our giggly group of awkward teenage girls.


Most importantly, she consistently reminded all of us who we were in Christ. She encouraged us when we would feel “less than,” unworthy, or unloved. Cheryl held us up in the light of God’s great love for us in times when we felt our worlds crumbling down. She helped set me on a path of confidence in Christ that stayed with me as I went off to college.


Enter Karyn.


Four hours away from home and knowing a grand total of six people from my hometown, my freshman year of college was off to an unnerving start as my family dropped me off at my dorm on campus and I thought to myself, “Now what?”


It didn’t take long for me, however, to connect with a woman I had previously known who relocated to my new city six years before I arrived. I quickly got plugged into a church in town with a thriving college ministry and Karyn invited me over for dinner after church many Sundays throughout that first year.


In facing countless uncertainties as a newly minted “grown-up,” my second mom, as I called her, ensured I never felt alone and always had a place to land when things got hard. Her hugs, her encouragement, and her homecooked Southern meals were the balm my weary heart needed through school, through career decisions, and beyond.


Though sadly neither of these wonderful women are still here, I take comfort in knowing I will spend eternity with them praising God and will get to tell them, “Thank you for giving to the Lord; I am a life that was changed.”


Younger woman hugging older woman 

Spiritual Mothers Challenge Us – Melissa’s Story


The summer before my senior year of college, I felt the Lord calling me to a domestic mission project through Cru. While I anticipated that those few months would be marked by growth and fun memories, I didn’t foresee how much they would change the course of my life. But Jennifer did.


Jennifer was a full-time domestic missionary for Cru. She led my small group and discipled me one-on-one during that summer. Jennifer and I hit it off quickly, our time together often mixed with equal amounts of deep spiritual conversation and deep belly laughs. She spoke into my gifts and nurtured my weaknesses, encouraging me to be a leader among my peers that summer.


At the end of the mission project, we spoke of my plans for using the marketing degree I’d soon earn. She shook her head and slid a slim packet of papers across the table — an application for full-time ministry. “I see something else for you,” Jennifer said. “Don’t fill it out now. Just pray about it.” I took that packet with shaky hands and kept it on my desk all fall semester, following Jennifer’s instructions to pray.


Sure enough, with a few months to go before graduation, I took a blue pen in much more confident hands, filled out the application, and changed the entire trajectory of my life. Without Jennifer’s challenge, I absolutely wouldn’t have done it. And I would’ve missed out on so many faith-stretching, wonder-filled years on a path only God (and Jennifer!) could see for me.


The Lord called Jennifer home a few years ago. But before He did, she left a legacy of challenge and faith to her five biological children as well as dozens of spiritual daughters. I count it a true blessing to have been one of them.


Spiritual Mothers Set an Example – Allison’s Story


My spiritual mother is truly one-of-a-kind, a beautiful example of the Proverbs 31 woman who Christian women aspire to be. She is warm, kind, and loving, embodying the qualities of Jesus. With a Master of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, she brings wisdom as a wife, mother of seven, and friend to many. Her faithful commitment to grow in Jesus Christ daily is evident in how she loves others deeply, cares for the lowly, prioritizes others' needs over her own, and remains faithful to the Father.


When I met Kate, she gave me the push I needed to deepen my faith, to “doubt my doubts,” and to finally trust and believe in the truth found in God. She and her husband Dan invited me and my now husband into their home for meals and fellowship, and demonstrated what a faithful Christian home looks like.


They quickly became family to us, as well as the type of family we hope to build one day—not because they’re perfect, but because they love God, love others, and live according to the Word. They have a contagious joy that can only come from the Lord.


Kate, embodying the teachings of Titus 2:3-5, took time from her busy life to invest in me. She invested time in mentoring me and emphasizing the importance of seeking God in Scripture. She introduced me to valuable resources, encouraged independent study of the Word, and prayed for me sincerely. She provided a safe space for sharing struggles and always helps find answers to my many theological questions. Her prayerful support is unwavering, and I'm grateful for her presence as I continue to grow in my faith. Kate embodies the kind of woman I hope to be—a true spiritual mother.


Women holding hands and praying


Spiritual Mothers Show Up – Debbie’s Story


I am a mother to two, except on Sunday nights when I become a spiritual mother to about 100 teens. I am privileged to be part of a robust Jr./Sr. High youth group at my church. I’m in my fourth year of serving as one of the leaders, so I’ve had time to build relationships and trust among many of the students.


I have found that trust is built through time. As the students noticed that I consistently showed up, played games with them, sat in the lesson with them, taught the lesson occasionally, and then sat with them in discussions, they started to see my heart, and it opened theirs.


I love it when we are away at a youth retreat and one of the girls asks me for prayer or confides in me about something going on in their lives. I have found that sometimes youth like to talk to someone who is not in their home. It warms my heart to know that they can come to me. They know I will lovingly direct them back to the Word without judgement.


What they don’t know is that, at times, they were the ones who gave me just what I needed. A few weeks back, a couple of the youth girls saw me at a church event, ran up to me to give me a hug, and wanted to sit with me. Little did they know that was exactly what I needed that day.


I love this season of being a spiritual mother to not only my kids but 100 of their friends; it blesses me every week.




As many of us strive to be spiritual mothers to young women while drawing from the example of others, do we open our mouths with wisdom, is kindness on our tongues, do we fear the Lord, and are we seeking guidance from the Lord in all we do? (Proverbs 31) Pray and ask how God would use you in the lives of young women in your church and communities.


Who are the spiritual mothers in your life? Honor them in the comments today.


This article may also be seen at The Christian Post.

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