God our Mother

In a previous church, every year on Mother’s Day I would lead a worship service based around thinking of God as mother. There are plenty of scriptural references to God as mother: from being the hen gathering us under her wings (Matthew 23), to the image of the weaned child sitting on mother’s lap content in her presence no longer yearning (Psalm 131) a and many others in between. Since having children, the image of God as Mother has taken on more powerful meaning for me, since I know how I love my own children and can better imagine the kind of love God might have for me. So when a friend suggested a podcast by The Liturgists on God our Mother, I went searching for some more mother inspiration. I was not disappointed.

Halfway through the podcast, poet Alison Woodard reads the following, and it needs no further comment from me:

To be a Mother is to suffer;

To travail in the dark,

stretched and torn,

exposed in half-naked humiliation,

subjected to indignities

for the sake of new life.

 

To be a Mother is to say,

“This is my body, broken for you,”

And, in the next instant, in response to the created’s primal hunger,

“This is my body, take and eat.”

 

To be a Mother is to self-empty,

To neither slumber nor sleep,

so attuned You are to cries in the night—

Offering the comfort of Yourself,

and assurances of “I’m here.”

 

To be a Mother is to weep

over the fighting and exclusions and wounds

your children inflict on one another;

To long for reconciliation and brotherly love

and—when all is said and done—

To gather all parties, the offender and the offended,

into the folds of your embrace

and to whisper in their ears

that they are Beloved.

 

To be a mother is to be vulnerable—

To be misunderstood,

Railed against,

Blamed

For the heartaches of the bewildered children

who don’t know where else to cast

the angst they feel

over their own existence

in this perplexing universe

 

To be a mother is to hoist onto your hips those on whom your image is imprinted,

bearing the burden of their weight,

rejoicing in their returned affection,

delighting in their wonder,

bleeding in the presence of their pain.

 

To be a mother is to be accused of sentimentality one moment,

And injustice the next.

To be the Receiver of endless demands,

Absorber of perpetual complaints,

Reckoner of bottomless needs.

 

To be a mother is to be an artist;

A keeper of memories past,

Weaver of stories untold,

Visionary of lives looming ahead.

 

To be a mother is to be the first voice listened to,

And the first disregarded;

To be a Mender of broken creations,

And Comforter of the distraught children

whose hands wrought them.

 

To be a mother is to be a Touchstone

and the Source,

Bestower of names,

Influencer of identities;

Life giver,

Life shaper,

Empath,

Healer,

and

Original Love.

-atw, 9.28.17

Posted by Kelly Dombroski.