Inspiring. Loyal. Caring. Selfless. All words which have at least at one point in time featured on your typical Mother’s Day Card. “Her children rise up and call her blessed…” (Proverbs 31:28) goes the often-cited ode to the virtuous woman in Proverbs. The ideal mother is strong, nurturing, and worthy of praise. The ideal mother – whether enshrined in ancient Jewish texts or extolled on modern-day Hallmark cards – looks a lot like the Father, that is our Father who rules the heavens and the earth.
As a new mom, I have found that the relationship I have with my little one reminds me of the relationship God desires to have with his children – of course on a grander, deeper and more spiritual level. Motherhood has brought me to the point at which I recognize the maternal side of the Creator. Scripture has made it clear that we serve God, the Father, but there are also instances in which God is ascribed distinctly maternal qualities. In Isaiah 49:15, God compares himself to a nursing mother that cannot possibly forget her own. Later in Isaiah, God offers his people comfort in a manner likened to that of a mother to its child (Isaiah 66:13). Through my interactions with the little one, I have been reminded of the many ways in which our Father, “mothers.”
His thoughts towards us are of good
As a new mom, I’ve come closer to the idea of praying incessantly. I’m desperate. The stakes are higher now that the little one is under my care. Along with usual prayer requests of protection, health and a good future, I make declarative statements over her life. Over her brow, I whisper “you are the head and never the tail,” “you will never be put to shame,” ” you will do great exploits for the kingdom of God.” It’s hard not to look at someone fashioned in your own likeness and not wish good for them. As God watches over us, His thoughts towards his children of those of peace and hope (Jeremiah 29:11). And these thoughts towards are number more than the grains of sand on the seashore (Psalm 139:17-18). Daily, the Lord whispers blessings over us, his children – some of which are found in Scripture. His blessings over us are infinitely more effectual – He has the power to bring them to reality.
He knows our needs before we do
At three months, the little one has no idea that before any public outing or any extended period of absence, I have everything laid out for her. As she’s quietly asleep in her bassinet, I’ve packed her bag with warmed milk, half a dozen diapers and her back-up “oops-I’ve-pooped” ensemble with matching socks to boot. Her needs, as far as I am concerned, are always covered, before they even become needs. Similarly, God “knows what you need before you ask Him.” (Matthew 6:8). The Word is rife with God providing for His people. God has our bags packed with the materials, talents, and people we need in order to fulfill our divine calling in life – oftentimes before we are even called. If our Father can spare a moment to cater to the needs of the grasses of the fields – how much more so, us (Matthew 6:30)?
He allows us to cry, but He has a solution on the way
The little one has been merciful to me – she only cries about one thing: food. She wants her milk immediately and on demand. It amuses me at times how she cries for these things when it’s clear that food in on the way. I have never given her a reason to believe that food will not come. In the same way, God has never given me a reason that He will not fulfill all my needs. However, I do find myself having a little cry or complaining session when I find that my needs are not exactly fulfilled on my schedule. So, yes, I have been known to given out a cry, but He has always replied with a solution.
He desires relationship
With her penchant for food every two hours, sometimes I wonder if the little one sees me as a glorified milk machine. It warms my heart when she has her hands outstretched towards me or flashes one of her lovely toothless grins in my direction. It’s an occasional reminder that mom is more than what she can provide. Realizing the immense affection God has for us, it is easy to take his love for granted and turn to Him only when a need isn’t being met or we have long itemized prayer list. He wishes to be seen as more than just a genie. He longs for companionship. In Scripture, we are given permission to call him, Abba, which to me, is like the Aramaic version of daddy or pops – a term of endearment. In the garden of Eden, He walked with Adam and Eve, prior to the fall. And among those great saints in the Scripture, he communed with them as one would a parent – with respectful affection.
He sacrifices for us
Motherhood is a exercise in long-suffering. We undergo inhumane levels of sleep deprivation, sacrifice youthful figures, and cut back on social calendars for the sake of our young. Despite all of this, none measures up to the ultimate sacrifice God gave to us – his Son. If we know how to give good gifts to our children – we who are flawed – how much more so than God? And He has proven that with his Son. Even at that, he waits for us to recognize our need for him and then accept this sacrifice. He gave us his very best. You think your mother knows who to throw down on Christmas – well, God invented it.
The idea of embracing the feminine side of God may ruffle some feathers in conservative Christian circles. However, as weeks turn into months with my little one, I am convinced that there are certain aspects of motherhood that mirror the character of God. The natural sets stage for understanding the spiritual. Daily, I discover new ways in which the divine nurturing nature of God can be understood through the lens of earthly parenting. I implore you to also embrace the motherly side of the Creator.
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” (Isaiah 49:15)