If only we knew God's Mother-love

Understanding God's tender care brings joy, peace, and strength—and makes us better mothers and fathers, too.

The Bible says, "The sparrow hath found an house." I was certainly surprised, however, when I went outside one morning and found that a sparrow was busily making a nest right in the middle of one of our hanging ferns. For a moment I didn't know whether to be annoyed because the presence of the nest meant I couldn't water the fern, or delighted because we were obviously going to have some baby birds to admire.

Mother-love won out. Certainly the fern indicated in this particular case something of the meaning of that just-mentioned Bible verse, "Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King, and my God." Ps. 84:3.

Students: Get
JSH-Online for
  • Every recent & archive issue

  • Podcasts & article audio

  • Mary Baker Eddy bios & audio


The mother bird seldom left the nest until two tiny babies were hatched. When she did leave the nest, I would rush outside and peer admiringly into the nest at those two fuzzy little heads. But the mother did not like my presence at all. She would fly anxiously around, doing everything she could to distract me. Realizing how much my admiration was disturbing the birds, I resolved to keep a proper distance. Yet as I retreated into the house, I thought, "Poor sparrow, if only you realized how benign I really am. I wouldn't harm your babies for anything in the world. You see, I'm a mother myself."

That simple experience has given me a whole new concept of God's love for us. My delight in those little birds, my care not to touch their nest, showed me how deeply mother-love can abide in us. Yet how could I—or anyone—even have those feelings if they did not first have their source in God?

Certainly a physical womb or an egg cannot produce the caring that comes from the intelligence of a true mother. For instance, many men have the sole responsibility for raising their children and are doing so with love and watchfulness—and yet doing so without the biological resources that are supposed to produce the mothering instinct. So motherliness is not really a physical condition. Yet don't we all wish that we either felt more loving toward children or that we could love them without quite so much fear for their welfare?

Christian Science has a comforting answer for our struggles to do better at the mothering responsibilities that come upon us all in various ways. It shows that each one of us already has the qualities of motherhood that he or she needs—qualities such as gentleness, love, wisdom, and intelligence. These qualities come from God, and we all have them because we're all, in truth, created by God. We're actually His individual spiritual expression. It is God, or Spirit, who is the one and only creator, or Father-Mother, of man. And our true spiritual identity as God's man is both the recipient and expression of God's Mother-love. We also—both men and women—are able to express God's fatherhood in all its gentle strength because spiritual man is the full expression of God.

When our need for guidance and patience in this tremendous activity of mothering is great, how good it is to be able to turn humbly and prayerfully to God as Mother and listen for the holy ideas of Truth and Love that bring comfort and direction. God, being divine Mind, and the Mind of His idea, man, does provide us with the inspiration and direction we need at any given moment. And when we quiet the turmoil in our hearts by acknowledging the ever-present motherhood of God, we'll be led to do and say whatever is best in any situation.

Divine Science is the promised Comforter itself and tells us of the same healing truths Christ Jesus so tenderly and powerfully brought to humanity. This Christ, or Truth, that Jesus lived is still here to show us what it means to feel and know God as Father-Mother. And when we humbly acknowledge and yield to God as the Mother of us all, we gain a truly satisfying and Christly sense of being loved ourselves and so able to express wisdom and tenderness to others.

There is nothing imbalanced in divine Love, nothing harmful, nothing smotheringly possessive.

Mrs. Eddy certainly knew and felt God's mothering love.

It was quite a blow to her when her own mother, who had been her close friend, passed on. Yet later when she discovered Christian Science, motherhood took on a deeper meaning for her. For instance, one of her poems that became a hymn is called "Mother's Evening Prayer." In this poem she speaks of divine Love itself as the true guardian of all. She writes, "Thou Love that guards the nestling's faltering flight! / Keep Thou my child on upward wing tonight." Christian Science Hymnal, No. 207.

This hymn helped my daughter and me at one time. My daughter, who was around six or seven, told me some happy news, and quite spontaneously I threw my arms around her and hugged her hard. But she was little and barely as tall as my waist. She started to cry, saying, "Oh, my neck. You hurt my neck." And she immediately lay down on the couch.

I was devastated and nearly in tears myself. Not for anything in the world would I have hurt my child. We talked about the spiritual truths of being we were learning in Christian Science—that one child of God could not hurt another, because they were both governed by divine Love, and that perfect Love is incapable of hurting its offspring. We also prayed to understand man's true incorporeal identity, which cannot be broken, strained, or dislocated, because it is wholly spiritual.

Then we remembered a letter that had just come from her Sunday School teacher. The letter closed with the words of the hymn just quoted. With a rush of relief I knew that divine Love is the real Mother, and that Love forever holds its child in the tenderest embrace. There is nothing imbalanced in that Love—nothing harmful, inadvertently or deliberately abusive, nothing smotheringly possessive. Divine Love protects its child.

After a while a little friend came to the door and asked if my daughter could play. For just a moment I hesitated because she was still lying on the couch, not moving her head. But then, with the assurance of God's control over all, I was able to say, "If she would like to play she can." She was able to get up, and soon the pain was completely gone, never to return.

True love doesn't injure, because it comes from God, or good, who is the source of all real love. And such an understanding can heal the emotional attitudes of thought that would deliberately inflict pain or else inadvertently harm our children.

The more we acknowledge ourselves (both men and women) as being in truth the very reflection, or manifestation, of divine Love, the more we separate ourselves from the mistaken belief that we can harm another by expressing either too little or too much love. Man, as God's idea, is governed by divine Principle, which is Love itself. As Science and Health by Mrs. Eddy tells us, "Love, the divine principle, is the Father and Mother of the universe, including man." Science and Health, p. 256.

Divine Principle regulates and balances our human desires and affections. It isn't possible for us as Love's expression to be without the consciousness of love. Nor is it possible for us as Principle's expression to be emotionally imbalanced by love. And the more we understand and claim our unity with God, the more we feel just exactly the right way to express God's love to another. Our mothering qualities express good judgment, patience, tenderness. They never include abuse, fear, worry, or obsessive affection, since such falsities have no place in the true Mother of us all.

If we need healing of the belief that we don't have enough love or have too much of such a good thing, now is the time to gain that deep and permanent healing. Right today it's time to insist that we do know God's Mother-love. Then whether or not we're actually human mothers, we'll happily and gently approach all living things with a genuinely benign affection that says: "I wouldn't hurt you for anything in the world. You see, I express divine Love's motherhood."

What man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

Matthew 7:9–11

How's your philanthropy?
May 8, 1989

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.