Written by Julie Barber
A lot of people understand God as the father
Some accept that if God is omnipotent he is all things and therefore, she is also the mother.
Contemplating my own experiences of motherhood (I have five children) and exploring my feelings for my own children, has helped me know and accept the love of God, my mother.
God as Mother
When we were little if we got hurt, got lost, got frightened who did we cry out for?
For most of us, we probably cried for our mother. We cried for them because, if we were fortunate to have a mother who was available and able, they were the one most likely to be able to offer us comfort and reassurance.
I have an idea, however, that this cry, this hunger for comfort stays with us all through our lives. Welling up again when we are lonely, lost, hurting, in trouble, frightened or depressed.
Who comforts us as we move beyond childhood?
Who do we cry out for? Who can we turn to?
God says in Isaiah 66:13: As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you…
In Isaiah 66:12: For thus says the Lord… you shall be nursed, you shall be carried on her hip, and be trotted on her (God’s maternal) knees…’
In a beautiful picture of maternal love, Jesus expressed the depth of divine compassion with the words:
Matthew 23:37: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, ho often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.
Since Jesus came to show us the Father (John 14:11-6) it is not surprising that we find in the Old Testament a similarly beautiful picture of God’s love:
Psalms 36:7: How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.
Abba and Amma
The church most often represents God as Abba father, so how do we learn about the Amma mother part of God? The God that comes close to us; who comforts us, sooths us and answers our cry.
I have my children to thank for teaching me about the amazing Amma love of God. I just want to share with you today a few of the things they have taught me.
1. My children and grandchildren have begun to help me understand that God delights in me.
I am the apple of God’s eye! She cannot keep her eyes off me.
Just as I was, when I gazed at my new babe in my arms. I could have gazed at her forever!
I was filled up to the brim with delight, with the smell, the touch, the feel and the sight of my child.
I still overflow with joy every time my now-grown-up sons or daughters walk through the door after I have not seen them for a while. Or when I hear one of them speaking on the phone.
God delights in me like this, only even more. Wow!
2. My children teach me that God is proud of my achievements.
Just as I was so proud of their paintings brought home from nursery school and the sticky, half-eaten cake made at after school club. Their educational achievements and jobs. And the fact that they are making fantastic parents with children of their own.
I spill over and puff up with pride at their achievements and incredibly so does God at the various things I have achieved in my life so far. Wow!
3. But being a mother is not all about delight and joy. My children have taught me about tough love.
The sleepless nights, up with ear ache, tooth ache, tummy ache, nightmares etc. They still cry out for me today when they get into a fix. Although I’m no longer able to solve everything for them as I could when they were small, I do my best and I would do anything I could within my power to help them.
So my children teach me about selfless love.
I did not really understand how to love selflessly before I had children. If I love my children selflessly, how much more does God selflessly love me? It is beyond my comprehension.
The Great God of the Universe, all powerful and totally free, squeezed him/her self into human body to enable me to better understand his/her love for me.
4. That leads me onto the greatest lesson my children have taught me about God.
As those who know me realise, my children are no angels.
The biggest lesson they have taught me about the mother love of God, is its need to be unconditional.
I love my children no matter what they have done and no matter how much they hurt me. There is nothing they can do that will ever change how much I love them and so it is with God.
My God, which is both my Abba and my Amma, loves me unconditionally.
So much so that he/she did not just squeeze into a human body in order to show me the true nature of her love for me. She actually died in my place to answer my lost, lonely, frightened cry to demonstrate that love for me. To forgive me, wipe away my tears, wrap me in her arms and draw me back into relationship with her.
5. The final way I would like to share about how my children have taught me to understand God’s love for me is in transcending fear through trust.
When my eldest daughter was very small she heard a noise downstairs. It was the middle of the night, pitch black and there were only the two of us in the house.
Caught up in her fear, I put on a brave face and went down to investigate. Satisfied that we were alone I padded back upstairs to share the good news. Still frightened, my daughter followed me back down and we investigated together, hand in hand.
Finally at peace, she was able to go back to sleep.
God has always been before me, to check the way and she is always there to hold me. I learnt that she is always there to guide me through the most troubling and disturbing of times.
My children know they are never alone. I am always there for them. No matter what.
I know that I am never alone. God is always here for me. God, my mother, always loves me, the same and greater, than I love my own children.