Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mommy Wounds and God as Mother

As an orphan, I've spilled a lot of ink over the significance of fatherhood. My own story lends itself to that, because I lost my father at a young age. But as Mother's Day has been approaching, I've realized that this "holiday" is just as complex for a number of my friends as Father's Day is for me. After all, moms die too-- and they leave, remain emotionally absent or unsafe, or act abusively. And those wounds are just as significant and deep as mine are, because a parent is a parent. Regardless of the gender, context, or category of loss, the absence of a parent is devastating. 

As a Christian, I've spilled a lot of ink over the power of God as Father. I have experienced this firsthand because of my own experience of need. But as I've thought about my friends whose hearts ache in the absence of Mother, a number of passages in the Bible about God as Mother have come to my mind: 

“As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”  - Is. 66:3 

“Like the eagle that stirs up its nest, and hovers over its young, God spreads wings to catch you, and carries you on pinions.”  - Deut. 32:11-12

"How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!”  -Matt. 23:37

“Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.”- Is. 49:15

"Though my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close." - Ps. 27:10 (this one was especially powerful to me in my teen years) 

The reality is that each human relationship-- be it Father, Mother, Friend, Spouse-- is a dim reflection of the relationship God longs to have with us, because each of these roles is reflective of His character. He is Protector, Nurturer, Provider, Comforter, Companion, Loyal Family Member, Lover. So my prayer this Mother's Day is that each of us would reflect-- on what we did receive from mothers that can help us to better understand God's character-- but also on the gaps in our own experiences. Those wounds are significant, and they matter to God. And He longs to be there for us in those ways our mothers were not.

What are some specific ways you still long for "motherly care?" Can you imagine God providing that? Why or why not? 

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