A story with a picture I recently saw in a newspaper tugged at my heartstrings. It was about a photojournalist in a Syrian refugee camp being shadowed by a 14-year-old boy, who was intrigued by his work. This boy looked as if he was wearing soaking wet, worn-out tennis shoes and a very inadequate looking jacket, but he had a look of expectancy on his face. He looked to me like he needed a mother. That made me think more deeply about mothering, what it means spiritually.
As I was growing up and attending a Christian church, I learned about God as Father. When becoming acquainted with Christian Science, I was amazed to learn about God as Mother, as well. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, makes it clear in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures that God is both Father and Mother. After the first line of the Lord’s Prayer given in the Bible—“Our Father which art in heaven”—is the spiritual interpretation of that line: “Our Father-Mother God, all-harmonious” (Science and Health, p. 16). It was a slam-dunk moment for me. Of course! Since God is the creator of all, God’s nature must include the full spectrum of qualities—feminine as well as masculine.
The mothering qualities of divine Love are always available to us, God’s children.
It has been a wonderful adventure to watch the growing understanding of God as Mother unfold within my thought as I get to know God more fully. I had a delightful education about mother-love as I watched my Arabian mare take wonderful care of her newborn foal. “All legs” and full of innocence and curiosity, the colt needed careful supervision. His mom was always watchful. She guided him as he began to explore his world. She was there to nudge and encourage him when he’d get tangled up in his own legs. She was a fierce protector. Time and again she would place herself between him and any perceived threat. As I watched his first weeks move along, I was touched by the mother-love I saw expressed. The utmost tenderness and affection were evident. At the same time the foal’s education was guided in a gentle, but firm way. It was to me a wonderful hint of God’s mothering love.
These words in the Bible took on greater meaning: “As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: so the Lord alone did lead him” (Deuteronomy 32:11, 12).
The mothering qualities of divine Love are always available to us, God’s children. To touch on the gentle, feminine qualities of God in our prayers can bring comfort, exquisite tenderness, and tangible caring to our experience. It can heal broken hearts and sketchy pasts.
A friend discovered this recently. When she was a child, her mentally ill mother literally tried to kill her. For years my friend felt unwanted. She had brushes with feeling suicidal, and eventually simply settled for a past that seemed tragic.
She was acquainted, however, with Mrs. Eddy’s statement, “The human history needs to be revised, and the material record expunged” (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 22). She prayed deeply about her situation, earnestly seeking healing. She asked God for help.
The tender touch of Mother Love awaits us to encourage, guide, and protect.
As she was praying one day, a very tangible presence, which she just knew to be Mother, came to her. She felt swept up in the most precious encompassing love she had ever experienced. She knew that God as Mother was assuring her that she was loved. It was a profound spiritual moment. She felt the anguish and pain of her past begin to fall away. She was awash in love. She realized that she was mothered by her Mother God. The feeling of not being wanted started to dissolve; it took her a little longer to be completely rid of that feeling, but this moment of true communion with God put her way down the path of healing.
God as Mother has always been a factor in our lives even if we are unaware of it. We know God is omnipotent and omnipresent. It follows that God as Mother is also omnipotent and omnipresent. God is eternal, has always existed. And so, Mother Love has always been present, even when it didn’t seem to be. The recognition of this fact can bring healing to lives that have been impacted by divorce, war, abandonment, or abuse.
While communing with God in prayer, we can feel our tears wiped away, our struggling hearts comforted, our wavering faith encouraged. Thus we feel God’s love as Mother. It reaches the hungry heart. It restores hope and cements faith in the glorious truth that divine Love is truly our Mother.
The Bible speaks several times of Jesus being “moved with compassion” (see, for example, Matthew 14:14). He must have felt the divine presence of the Mother-love of God for Her creation. It caused him to so express that mothering love that there were all sorts of healing results. What a wonderful example he set! And it’s one that we can follow.
Recognizing that we, and everyone everywhere, are being mothered by God at every moment can also bring healing to all kinds of situations today. We can prayerfully insist on the fact that God as Mother is comforting refugees, such as that 14-year-old boy in Syria. Because of the omnipresence of God’s mothering love, I knew this boy was included in it. The power of this love was right there in the most squalid conditions to meet the human need. It is, after all, omnipotent. This same love is also nurturing orphans in other parts of the world, healing broken hearts, helping erase scars, and giving hope in tough situations.
The tender touch of Mother Love awaits us to encourage, guide, and protect. Acknowledging the ever-presence of divine Love through our prayers makes a difference for us, and for our world—tangible evidence of Mother’s mothering becomes evident for all to see.
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