Hand Me Downs

I am the youngest of three girls in a family that usually housed seven people. My mom worked part-time as a secretary at a church and my step-dad worked full-time to provide for his growing family. As you can imagine, we didn’t have extra cash to spend on frivolous items or impulse purchases. I grew up with a mom who cut coupons and knew how to stretch a penny until it screamed. As a kid, I found myself wanting to spend the night with my best friend, an only child, and never wanting to be in my crowded, generic-brand buying house. I didn’t understand why my friend Brittany got $5 dollars from the tooth fairy and I only got one dollar. I didn’t understand how she could have sodas on any day and I could only have soda on Saturday night when we ate pizza. I didn’t understand fully why her family could always eat out and we had to always eat in. I didn’t understand why she had cable and could watch Cartoon Network and Disney Channel while I settled for Saturday morning cartoons on regular TV. It makes me laugh now, but one time I got the nerve to ask my mom for a happy meal from McDonald’s. She took one look at me and said, “You are already happy enough.” Clothes shopping for me was almost nonexistent. My older sisters would sift through their clothes and whatever didn’t fit them they would hand down to me. There were times I probably even wore my older brothers clothes during my tom boy years. I remember the satisfaction I felt when I started my first job and could finally purchase name-brand clothing for myself like the other kids in high school. I no longer had to take my siblings second-hand threads.

Although, I wasn’t a fan of hand-me-downs when everybody else had the hottest new item, I have learned the value in heavenly hand-me-downs. A hand-me-down that cannot be purchased or acquired in other way than from the person of faith that went before you. In 2 Timothy, Paul sends a message to his young disciple bringing to our attention the value in mothers of faith.

“I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. ” 2 Timothy 1:4 NLT

As a child is knit together in its mother’s womb, a woman in turn has the influence to weave her faith into her child. As women are the bearers of new life, that new life has the potential to bear witness to the faith first formed in prior generations. This brief sentence in 2 Timothy fills me with the motivation to pass along to my children something greater than material possessions, financial provisions or the vicious cycle of vanity. I want my children to be able to say their momma instilled into them biblical values instead of values found in an issue of Vogue magazine. I want them to say their momma listened to the sweet voice of Jesus more than the skewed voice of journalists. I want them to say their momma showed them how to invest increasingly more in eternity than in the tumultuous stock market or momentary pleasure leaving no lasting-value. I want my children to say their momma worked more towards seeing others living reconciled to Christ than seeing herself living a retired life of comfort. I want my children to have integrity instilled inside of them instead of insolence inflating them. I want my children to say their momma prayed as a first response not as a last resort. I want my children to know their momma is a woman of sincere faith and not a phony faith showcased on Sunday mornings. I want my children to see my weaknesses and flaws, yet see how Jesus displays his love for me even in those messy moments and places. I want them to see a momma who lived a life of wild obedience despite facing barreling opposition.

You see we women of God have heavenly hand-me-downs to entrust to our children. Whether you are a physical mother or spiritual mother, don’t discredit the influence God wants you to have on the next generation as what you’ve been taught transfers to the next wave of world changers. What Christ began building in your life will extend to generations to come if we just learn to embrace hand-me-downs.