Raising children and turning to God as Mother
My two-year-old twins were dismantling the baseboard heaters in one of the bedrooms at the same time that my five-year-old daughter decided to try to carry the new baby up the stairs by herself. Both of these events were happening while the seven- and nine-year-olds were calling for help putting on their ice skates because some standing water in the backyard had frozen the night before.
This was a moment when I was grateful to affirm that I did not need to feel alone or stressed because God, divine Love, was right there with me. And more than that, in spiritual reality God is the true Mother of all of us, Love’s spiritual creation. I could feel the presence of divine Love supporting me in that moment, and the pressure and anxiety drained away.
I gave my daughter a big hug while gently taking the baby out of her arms, interested the twins in some toys and quickly put the baseboard heaters back together, and soon helped the two boys put on their skates and snowsuits for a fun outing in the backyard.
The pressure and anxiety drained away.
As a young mother, I found it was sometimes tempting to feel that along with the joy and responsibility of raising my children came a feeling of being overwhelmed. There were innumerable important decisions to be made each day, all day long. I wanted to do the very best for my children, but often I was not sure exactly what that was. This could have all seemed daunting, but the good news was that I had learned through my study of Christian Science that I was not alone and without help. I could turn to our divine Father-Mother God for wisdom, guidance, strength, reassurance, calm, and confidence.
Christ Jesus taught humanity the heartening truth that God is our Father, our divine Parent, always present to support and guide His children. Christian Science, based on Jesus’ teachings, shows that God is our Mother, as well. In the spiritual sense of the Lord’s Prayer, the first verse—“Our Father which art in heaven” (Matthew 6:9)—is spiritually interpreted as “Our Father-Mother God, all-harmonious” (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 16). And the definition of Mother in the Glossary of Science and Health is “God; divine and eternal Principle; Life, Truth, and Love” (p. 592).
When challenges come up in the day-to-day activity of raising children, we can turn with understanding trust and expectation to our divine Mother and find answers, hearing in our consciousness the wisdom required at that moment. We are never alone, never left without a solution to a problem. Divine Love is always right there with us, communicating the wisdom we need in order to know what to do.
In the Bible we find examples of mothers who found that God is able to meet our needs. Some of them faced seemingly desperate situations like infanticide or famine. In First Kings we read of a woman in the town of Zarephath who had run out of food and money (see 17:8–16). She had decided to gather a few sticks to make a fire and cook up the last of her foodstuffs, and she expected that she and her child would then die. But along came a stranger who asked her to first make him something to eat out of her precious provisions and then feed her child and herself second, promising that the food would last until the rains came again.
Needless to say, giving the last of our food to a stranger would not be the right thing to do in every case! But the mother must have somehow sensed that this stranger, the prophet Elijah, was a man of God, for she obediently did as he asked. The woman then found that her meal and cooking oil lasted as long as was needed.
As a mother, that story touches my heart, for it is proof that God, divine Love, is always near to meet our every need. It reminds me of Isaiah’s reassuring words about God’s tender care for children and mothers: “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young” (40:11). Each of us has the inherent ability to discern needed solutions for issues large and small.
God as Mother is guiding, protecting, and watching over us all.
Remember those six children mentioned in the first paragraph of this article? Well, when the twins were babies, their sister was attending a preschool class a couple of mornings a week. The prospect of getting my kindergartner and first grader off to school, then somehow packing up two babies and driving my daughter to preschool, seemed impossible. How would I even make it from the parking lot to the school building with those three? Who could help me? I didn’t have any family in town. I asked God to show me the way.
I prayed affirming that while I certainly had the responsibility to care for my children, understanding the ever-presence of divine Love would help me thrive in caring for them. As Mother, divine Love is the source of infinite love, patience, stamina, and know-how, guiding us to the answers we need to fulfill our right activities.
The following Bible verse assured me there was a solution that worked for everyone: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). We are led to needed solutions when we love God, put our self-will and preconceived notions aside, and open our thought to the answer our Father-Mother God has for us.
While I don’t remember now exactly how it happened, another parent in the class unexpectedly called me shortly thereafter and offered to pick up my daughter and drive her to school each day. He said he went right past our house, so it wasn’t out of his way, and his son would enjoy having a classmate ride with them. This dad said he would also be happy to bring my daughter home after school. It seemed too good to be true! But, of course, it was true, and I saw it as a small proof that divine Love, Mother Love, has endless resources to meet any need that comes along.
I am grateful to know that God as Mother is guiding, protecting, and watching over us all. Whether our children are toddlers or teens, still in school or long out of it, we can trustingly turn to divine Love with an expectant heart and steady confidence that She loves our children and us past measure and is perpetually keeping us all safe and in Her care. As we sing in a hymn I love:
O Love, our Mother, ever near,
To Thee we turn from doubt and fear!
In perfect peace our thoughts abide;
Our hearts now in this truth confide:
Man is the child of God.
(Margaret Glenn Matters, Christian Science Hymnal, No. 232, © CSBD)