“As an eagle that stirs up her nest, that flutters over her young…so the Lord alone led him.”
Deuteronomy 32: 11-12
God’s Gift of Understanding
Day 2: Gaining an understanding of God as my Mother.
“Mother is the name of God in the hearts and minds of her children.”
What characteristics do I think of when I hear the words, “God is my mother?”
“God has always been to me not so much like a father as like a dear and tender mother.”
Harriet Beecher Stowe
“As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.”
Isaiah 66: 13
Not long ago I was talking with a friend who made this statement. “There are times in our lives when we need the comfort of a mother.”
I thought about her statement and realized how true it is. We as women want to talk to someone who has walked in our shoes. Someone who understands our hearts and our emotions. And for those men who come to Transformation Garden, I’m certain if you have a mother you love, you can relate to having a comforting, tender female presence in your life, too.
However, so often in religious settings, the thought of God as our mother has not only been overlooked, it’s scoffed at or worse, it is thought to be heresy. But I ask you, if God does not have a feminine side, and yet both females and males believe God created them, then where did the feminine qualities prevalent in women come from?
In her essay, “The Long Journey Home”, Riane Esler wrote, “I began to understand how, as a woman, I was in a miserable situation if I only have a God who’s a Father, a King, a Lord. It implies that the only relationship I can have with (God) is indirect. If we as women are to access the divine in us…a divine Mother, is essential.”
Because so many Biblical references refer to God as male, we have traditionally found most religions and denominations referring to God as a masculine being – to the exclusion of Scriptural passages that refer to the female qualities in God that should bring comfort to the hearts of all of us.
It appears to me that Moses was one Biblical stalwart who began to more clearly get a glimpse into the depth and broadness of the qualities of God – qualities that captured both the strength of a father and the tender care of a mother. In Deuteronomy we find Moses referred to God as the mother caring for her young. Further Moses described God as the one who, “fathered you.”
But then, he continues, by saying God is also the one who, “gave you birth” (Deuteronomy 32: 18). Author John Stott offers this observation regarding this passage of Scripture: “In the Song of Moses, Yahweh is not only ‘the Rock who fathered you’ but also ‘the God who gave you birth.’ It is a remarkable statement that He is simultaneously Israel’s Father and Mother.”
For me, herein lies that beauty, vastness and completeness of God. God doesn’t have to be limited to one likeness or another just because I may not be able to understand the complexity of who God is.
Unfortunately, throughout time, because of societal views of women as “lesser” beings, somehow the female characteristics of God have often been overlooked or demeaned and what a tragedy. For the whole beauty of God is what makes all of us turn in adoration to God, our Father, our Mother.
Author Helena McKinnon, I believe, gives us a glimpse into the understanding of God’s ability to be all we are and all we need in this beautiful prayer:
“Mother me, my Father,
That I may step unbowed
From safe within your haven
To face a hostile crowd.
Mother me, my Father,
And help to ease the pain
Of taunts and tears and teasing
And make me love again.
Mother me, my Father,
With hands so deeply scarred,
That I may touch some other
Whose suffering is hard.
Mother me, my father,
That all my life be styled
On loving like a mother
And trusting like a child.
“God our Mother, you give birth of all life, and love us to the uttermost. Your love surrounds us and feeds us. Within your love we find our home, our joy, our freedom. You open the world to us, and give us room to change and grow. As you love us, so you love all your children. Help us, dear Mother God, to catch something of your love; your delight in others’ uniqueness, your care for their well-being, your grief at their suffering, your patience and forgiveness, your energy and hope. We praise you, we thank you, we love you, through Jesus, our Savior.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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