On June 11, 1973, a nervous young man stood in his home church (Calvary Baptist, Chillicothe, Mo.) to be licensed to the ministry. Little did I know what God had planned. Many years later, I am as excited as the first day I spent serving Him. Any bit of success in my life must be attributed to. . . women.

In the New Testament, Paul encouraged Timothy, “For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well” (2 Timothy 1:5). Like young Timothy, I have a great spiritual heritage. My mother and grandmother influenced my early life. Every night, my grandmother sat in her rocking chair, reading an old, worn-out Bible. She passed on her love of Scripture to this small boy who grew up to teach his Word across the world.

My mother was a servant of servants with a heart to tell children about Jesus. She would gather my brothers and me in the back of our old pickup and drive through the countryside, picking up kids to bring to our house. They sat spellbound as Mom wove wondrous stories from the Bible using her trusty flannel graph set. I had to laugh: the figure that was Peter one week became Abraham the next, and King David the week after that. None of the children seemed to mind.

Mom was a wonderful grandmother, too. She constantly poured love into our sons. One day while our family was visiting my parents, I could not find Caleb and Jeremiah anywhere. Finally, I located them . . . high in a tree outside my parents’ front door. Using my best “dad” voice, I called, “Get down from that tree right now!”

“But, Dad,” Caleb said helplessly.

“Get down from that tree right now!” I repeated sternly.

“But, Dad” (he went on before I could interrupt again). “What should we do about Grandma? She’s up here, too!”

Throughout her life, Mom did whatever she could to show Jesus to everyone she met. One morning, she took her easel and flannel graph pictures to a children’s home. After thrilling the children with stories of God’s love, she went to the post office, then to our little country IGA grocery store. Suddenly, she had a massive heart attack and died. Mom spent her last day on Earth doing what she loved most: telling children about Jesus. At her funeral, hundreds of these same children lined up, each one placing a rose on the casket of their special friend.

The Lord not only gave me a godly mother, but also “another mother” to take her place. Lucile Hodges took care of Caleb one day when he was home sick from school and my wife was out of town. That began a relationship that still blesses us today. Lucile became a mother to me and a grandmother to my children. Throughout their school years, she never missed one of our sons’ athletic events or graduations, and she has celebrated many other special occasions alongside the Moore family.

When I first moved to Tulsa, a woman named Omega Klein and her Sunday School class adopted me as their grandson. I have never been so loved, encouraged or prayed over as by these godly grandmas. For the last 23 years, I have been a Bible study leader for their mission group of wonderful, godly, Bible-believing, prayer warriors-all women. (I am proud to say that I belong to a women’s Bible study.) Although many of these ladies have gone on to the Lord, our group still meets monthly to study God’s Word together.

My wife holds a place of special honor on my list of influential women. She is not only my wife, but also my encourager, my partner, my mentor and my corrector. She is also the mother of two sons who adore her almost as much as . . . I do.

When God called me to quit my job and obediently follow Him to raise the next generation of missionaries, I first shared my heart with these women. They prayed and stood beside me as I started this new faith journey. I am who I am because of them. I give Him the glory as I thank Him . . . and honor them.

Dear Father, I thank You for all the women in my life. Thank you for godly Sunday School teachers, youth workers and missionaries. Help the many children who are not surrounded by women like these. Send them just one who will bless them today. Thank You for these women who love us . . . and love You even more. Amen.