What Happens When God Can be Mother Too?

Category Archives:Trusting Mother God

Learning to Trust God

God and Happiness: Not an Oxymoron

The best part of learning to call God “Mother” has been that I now believe God wants me to be happy. Somehow I got that wrong a long time ago, believing God the Father always had some personal agenda (His glory, the salvation of every one around me, and when I was a teen, to marry some guy I didn’t like who’d save the world with me) that would overlook my happiness.

Now, God’s will and my own fulfillment are intertwined. She cares about me like a Mother and so is not looking out only for Herself.

I can look back and see how wrong I’ve been to mistrust God throughout decision-making points in my life. She was always speaking through my intuition, to avoid this setting, or go toward that one. But I couldn’t trust that voice.

Healing Through Calling God Mother

I started the Mother God Experiment two years ago. My book of feminine-language psalms lies open on my desk now. Today I read:

“Allelleluia! It is fitting and delightful to sing praise to God.

For El Shaddai builds up Her people, and gathers the outcasts in.

She heals the brokenhearted, gently binding their wounds.

She counts the stars and calls them by name!

How great is God, abundant in powerful love!

Her wisdom is beyond telling.”

–Psalm 147, Swallow’s Nest: A Feminine Reading of the Psalms, Marchienne Vroon Rienstra

I realized today that feminine renderings of verses like these, along with a fuller picture of God as Love and Light through reading about Near-Death Experiences, have healed me. When I think about taking risks that I feel Her directing me to, I feel afraid but willing, like my 11-year-old son who is learning to swim.

Trim Tab and Trust

I like to come up with a word or phrase for each new year. (This was another blogger’s idea, whose name I don’t recall, but the website My One Word has the same idea). My phrase for 2017 is “Trim tab and trust.” To trim tab a boat is to direct a boat with very little actual physical effort. I now see little movements as capable of changing my entire life direction, as big as that seems.

And the trust part is that the little efforts really will change my life. I’m not alone. I have a huge amount of power behind me in Mother God and Jesus, the Life and Light of the Universe. And so do you.

I’m Sailing with the Mother

So, I’m moving forward, with little efforts to follow through on my ideas and intuitions and desires, like starting a Facebook group for my neighborhood to break down walls between people living near each other. And I had a “Love Your Neighbor” Valentine’s Day Party on Sunday for the neighborhood. It wasn’t hugely attended, but all the same, I am trim tabbing, and trusting Mother God that something good will come of it.

Now instead of stalling in harbor, when I see an opportunity, I listen for Her voice, that inner sense of direction. And if all is well, I set sail knowing She is with me.

And, so, what about you? Has calling God Mother been a trim tab leading to bigger changes in your life? I’d love it if you’d take a moment to tell me about what this metaphor means to you and your ability to trust Her.

Acorn’s Passing: Animals and Mother God

In the middle of the night, our rabbit, Acorn, who lives in the backyard, was mauled by a raccoon or two. We knew they’d been coming in sometimes. But normally they ate cat food, washed their hands in the cat water, and left. (Raccoons have hands more than paws in my estimation).

But last night there was no cat food available. The bunny was available.

We are all grieving and distracted. For about a half an hour, Marshall threatened us with death if we didn’t resurrect the bunny. He said, “I know God can do it if you pray!”

It was a twisted affirmation of both his faith and ours. But he didn’t know how the bunny died because I didn’t tell him. It was a judgment call; one of those mercy lies, I guess.

I am feeling overwhelmed because it is 2:17, in the heat of the afternoon, and forest fires are burning in Willimina, not far from here. The sky here is blocked from color and the usual brilliant summer light. I want to keep my kids in due to the pollution, but can’t. Sam is outside now with Joel.

I guess I am sensing that the animals are suffering there, too. I am (again) thinking through this thing called the Food Chain, theologically. When Marshall was 5, I bought him a gold painted lion and lamb ornament to remind him of the Not Yet. That things will be different some day. He’d cried for fifteen minutes when Joel told him that birds eat bugs. He loves bugs and birds both.

Now, at 9 and a half, he stuffs his tears away in threats and anger. It’s not right, the way things are.

Julian of Norwich’s famous prayer “All shall be well, all shall be well, all manner of things shall be well” is preceded by “Sin is necessary, but…”

And I’ve heard the Best of all Possible Worlds talk (Leibniz). Is this it? Could Mother God really do no better? No better way to control animal populations?

The adage “There is a reason for everything” seems hollow in the face of natural forces that destroy.

“There is a season for everything” might be more appropriate: pain and suffering occur, but they are not the final word. They are temporary.

And maybe my distress is partly due to the people-izing of animals. They aren’t people. A rabbit expects to be prey, on some level.

But people are predators, too, like those raccoons. Occasionally the Humane Farming Association sends me their magazines. Thankfully they don’t traumatize me with pictures of suffering. But I get the idea. Animals we eat live horrific lives before we eat them. I feel rather removed from it all, having gone to Fred Meyer’s to take out a pink slab wrapped in plastic and drop it in some boiling water. Organic yes, but the organically fed animals don’t fare better.

All I know is, whatever may have been the best Mother God could do, there’s better days ahead. And we get to help Her make them happen. We get to help Mother God make a new world for the lion and the lamb and the cow. And the bunny, too.

The cow and the bear shall graze,
    their young shall lie down together;
    and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
    and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.
They will not hurt or destroy
    on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
    as the waters cover the sea.

Isaiah 11:9, NRSV

What bugs you about the food chain, or do you just not think about it? How would you have done it better if you were Mother God?

Do you get angrier at God when you call Her Mother, or less? Is God the Father more trustworthy when it comes to figuring out the mysterious ways of the Creator?

What part do we play in creating a new world for animals?

 

 

Attached to Mother God

“A mother can give her child milk to suck, but our dear mother Jesus can feed us with himself, and he does so most courteously and most tenderly with the holy sacrament, which is the precious food of life itself… The mother can lay the child tenderly to her breast, but our tender mother Jesus, he can familiarly lead us to his blessed breast through his sweet open side….”

Julian of Norwich

*****

I was thinking today, as I was gazing at Sam asleep, that we should all be as attached to Mother God as Sam is to me. Even in his sleep, if he is not in the deep sleep phase, he arches his back and complains if I give him over to Dad to sleep on him.

It’s in the attachment to Mother God that I hear Her voice, and that I grow loyal. It’s in the attachment that I do not flinch when I say Her name to someone who I think might. It’s in the attachment that I move forward to create, with Her, even when it requires courage.

And as any one who has done it can tell you, calling God Mother does require courage. I know there are people who don’t like what I write. And I know hating ideas does morph into hating real people, into put-downs, into plots to sabotage.

It happened to Saul. He thought he was doing the right thing in putting Christians in jail, in murdering them. From Saul’s point of view, he was defending God and Torah. Jesus set him straight, but it took a lot. The bright light of God’s presence, Jesus’ actual voice, and three days of groping in the darkness.

But Saul-who-became-Paul got attached to Jesus, to Mother God, and nothing could stop Paul from being loyal to Jesus, after that (see 2 Cor. 11:21-33 for what Paul went through for Christ).

So, how does attachment to Mother God happen? How do we nurse at Jesus’ side (Julian of Norwich) so often that we can’t be without him, no matter what we go through?

Brother Lawrence called it “the practice of the presence of God,” and he did it throughout the most mundane tasks, like washing dishes. He washed a lot of dishes in his lifetime. Yup, me and Brother Lawrence. But he did the dishes with Jesus, and that changed him.

I will try today to keep remembering the sweet presence of Mother God, and the ever-available milk of the Word, even as I read the fifty-two board books I read every day, wrestle another clean diaper onto my son, and make more blueberry smoothies for my family.

And I will keep writing and prayerfully thinking of God as Mother, even when I know Saul is afoot. He could become Paul any day now.

Does thinking of God as Mother help you keep Her nearer? 

Is it hard to go public with calling God Mother?

Victory in Life’s Mud Run

Mortals, join the mighty chorus which the morning stars began! Mother love is reigning o’er us; sister love binds hand to hand. Ever singing, walk we onward, victors in the midst of strife; joyful music leads us forward in the triumph song of life!

(from the hymn, “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee,” text modified by Marchienne Vroon Rienstra)

To sing the song of victory, we have to first risk trusting God, we have to move forward. Calling God Mother helps me with that, and being a mother does, too. Sometimes, love for my son Marshall will push me when I’d rather be at home.

Since we took Marshall out of school due to a child bullying him, he has wanted nothing but to stay on the computer. He used to jump for 3 hours a day on the trampoline. Now he avoids going outside much of the time.

But sometimes, in warm weather, he plays in the mud. We don’t know why; he hates even the feeling of soap on him due to Sensory Processing Disorder.

So I found a Mud Run going on. And he wanted to go. We planned it, but both Joel and I dragged our collective four feet. Who would do it with him? Neither of us are athletic or into mud. And would Marshall really enjoy it, be able to do it?

But finally at 12:00 on the day of the Mud Run there were no excuses. We looked up the registration and saw plenty of open spots for the 1:00 wave, the last of the day. Even the weather, overcast, made it a go.

We gathered towels, clean clothes, water, books for Sam for the ride. I even found our lost camera in a black save-the-earth Fred Meyer bag.

When we got to the farm, grown women with wet t-shirts and mud up to their necks were walking back to their cars with tired, dirty kids. The moms looked like they could do women’s professional wrestling.

I gave them my internal salute as I slathered on coconut oil and put the camera in my purse and Sam’s water in my skort pocket, grateful I had a stand-in for the mud wrestle. Joel was going to do it.

Joel, Marshall and Sam were already lining up to register for the 1:00 wave. Marshall saw the liability form and said, “Danger? This is dangerous?” but took his bag of complimentary gifts.

And we made our way down to the line. Joel looked serious. I said, “Don’t do anything you don’t want to.” Marshall had the same worried look on his face as Joel, but they stood side by side and waited as Sam and I watched.

Over the loud-speaker we heard, “Are you READY?” Lots of whooping it up followed.

And again, “Are you READY???!!!!” Ack. It might be a sensory nightmare if the loudspeaker woman kept it up.

But, no, with a “Go!” she kept quiet and the group of about thirty kids and parents trotted off.

Sam and I watched Joel and Marshall eventually slow down to a walk. Sam and I lingered by a grey bunny in a cage, and a man and woman who were chuckling over whatever was on her I-Phone.

The guy passed gas as we walked by, and I reflected on what Raffi said in his autobiography about the general spiritual malaise in North America these days.

But Raffi wrote his book in 1998. Today, I’d say, it’s more like spiritual gassiness. How could gathering around a screen in the great outdoors make us better humans?

Speaking of screen time, I’d gotten up early to find the Restrictions setting on the iPad, to turn off Safari and put every limit on troublesome viewing, including YouTube. We have to fight our spiritual battles locally, first.

But Marshall is fighting his own. Last night he happily told me the last chapter of his series about Marshall Land: “Every one does good because…well, no one wants to do evil.” This is the first time he’s been able to embrace this possibility, since being traumatized by repeated horror stories from the bully.

And during the Mud Run, Micah also embraced courage, the foundation of spiritual strength. He climbed over a rope structure, went through bubbles, took a rope over mud, and slogged through one last mud puddle. For a kid with Sensory Processing Disorder, this was trophy-worthy.

When he let go of the rope over the mud puddle, it hit him in the head and he looked disoriented. I rushed over to meet him to say, “You did it! I’m proud of you” with a lump in my throat.

When he finished all the obstacles, he smiled so big that his dimples showed. “I’m proud of myself!” he said.

We washed Marshall off at the outdoor shower and talked about lunch. Marshall wanted to eat at our old favorite Mexican Restaurant, from when life was safer, The Manzanilla.

We relished our food. Marshall was living in the Real World again. This was his victory moment, at least the beginning of victory.

And this is our victory moment, too—the Mama’s and Papa’s. This is the day I’ve been praying for, a living into the light and the earth, for all of us. Marshall free from the pull of the Internet, able to choose what to do and not staying on the couch all day out of fear.

But it took some risk taking on our part. It was hard to put our shoes on and go out the door, not knowing what we were doing or if Marshall would get through it.

Is that how God feels when She takes us on, when She chooses to run with us, climb obstacles with us, and try to get to the end of the course together?

Maybe She is always risking. Maybe that’s just Mother God’s life with us, and when we are growing, our life with Mother God.

But just like Joel and I wanted Marshall to have fun and grow more than we wanted out own comfort, so does Mother God want to take us into adventurous new places of joy and love, even when a rope hits us in the head on the way or when we are slathered with mud at the end.

And we know She will be there at the Finish line, with a “You did it! I’m so proud of you!”

What metaphorical Mud Run are you afraid of? Does calling God “Mother” help with risk-taking?


Flying High with God as Mother

Trusting Mother God more is helping me to take risks. I spent time on the Facebook group, Portland Autism Moms, today. One thread was about flying with kids with ASD. Marshall is scared to fly. Anxiety precedes agitation for him and a lot of his peers. The anxiety could unfold into all kinds of melt-down scenarios in a busy airport or stuffed plane. So, we haven’t been out of Oregon since I was pregnant with Marshall.

Every mom who responded has lots of backups when she flies—electronics, new toys, candy, etc. One woman writes a little explanatory message along with a bag of candy, and hands it out to passengers. She also asks for people’s help. The mom said people really respond well to that. They want to help.

Also, a mom said she always flies JetBlue. They have a program in various cities where kids with ASD can get used to flying in a simulated environment. The pilots and stewardesses/stewards receive training to understand and respond well to our kids.

So, we could fly JetBlue to Buffalo and then drive to Toronto to see Joel’s family, finally.

I could choose to see randomly checking out Portland Autism Moms as a coincidence. Or I can see it as encouragement from Mother God. Go ahead: take a risk. Fly. And let this trip be the first of many.

Julia Cameron writes in The Artist’s Way that we would all find it easier to have God not exist. God’s existence means She does respond to our prayers. Answers to prayer make us responsible to do something when our prayers are answered. This is scary. But it is scarier to hold back.

Life is about trusting God. And when I think about trust, and God, when I throw “Mother” in there, I can do it. Mother is near—she doesn’t leave. For some people whose mother did leave due to death or abandonment, or become untrustworthy due to abuse, it may be God as Grandmother, Auntie, Sister, Daddy, Father or Foster Mother that makes the most sense. Or maybe, as in C.S. Lewis’ Narnia, God needs to be identified with an animal: a lion or a dog (like the funny bumper sticker, Dog is My Co-Pilot).

Whoever has been faithful to love us when we were young or vulnerable is the most reliable metaphor or set of metaphors for God. As often as not, I wrongly think that God, even God the Father, wants to take something good away from me for God’s own good and glory, instead of bless me for the sake of love. But Mother God is the Giver of all good gifts. She creates love and a desire to glorify Her, through Her giving heart.

For many, this is just akin to blasphemy. That’s why we have to keep actually reading our Bibles. Mother God and Father God are the same God, because God is spirit (John 4:24), neither male nor female. Men and women are made in God’s image, says Genesis 1:27, so doesn’t that say something about the spirit of God including feminine as well as masculine characteristics?

So since calling God “Mother” gives me courage, and helps me journey on in an attitude of trust in God, I am going to keep calling God Mother. And you can, too.

God the Lenient Mom

Yesterday, Marshall wanted to know about his dad’s experiences of being parented as a child in the 1960s. Behaviorism was the norm back then; a lot of kids were expected to do chores on threat of punishment, and spanked or hit for disobedience.

Marshall said, “Is God like that?” His words echoed in the spiritual air.

“No, God is not like that,” I said. “That’s what Jesus came to show: a God who doesn’t condemn, but restores” (e.g. John 3:17).

God doesn’t really fit in today’s parenting climate, either. I guess if Mother God’s actions as a metaphorical parent were analyzed, she’d be labeled as one of those moms, you know, a Lenient Mom. She gives her children all this freedom, and in response, they hurt each other and don’t trust Her.  Mother God gives rules, but complete freedom to reject them. She even gives up the right to judge, allowing Her Son Jesus to do that, at some future date (John 5:22-24). I can’t imagine She’s all that happy with the situation, despite having the end all planned out.

Of course, the big books of theology have God in the category of “Never Takes Celexa” (because God’s emotions, if She has them, don’t affect God, or so the story goes). But I don’t know; some days She’s got to feel discouraged and angry, just like Jesus did about the Pharisees (e.g. Mark 3:5) and the people of Jerusalem (e.g. Matthew 23), and his own followers (e.g. Luke 9:37-56). For example, how could the recent shootings in Florida, or before that, Paris, not affect Her?

They must, yet She refuses to get Her children under control. She is only frustratingly present at all times, in all kinds of suffering. Frustratingly, because She suffers with us, but doesn’t always stop the pain. She nurtures by listening, by giving gentle guidance, by answering prayers in the way we want sometimes, and even bringing healing. She is unrelenting in forgiveness and kindness. We are most likely to feel Her presence through Her followers who reach out hands to help.

She’d get a lot of criticism, I suspect, if she were a human mother. Parenting by proxy?

That’s how God as Father parents, too, of course, but we let fathers get by with more. We expect less.

What do you think? Would you be less lenient, if you were Mother God?


The Lord is my Shepherdess

Margaret Feinberg writes about her time with a shepherdess in Oregon in Scouting the Divine: My Search for God in Wine, Wool, and Wild Honey. I don’t think I’ve ever said the word, shepherdess, out loud. I’ve always assumed shepherds were male.

Turns out, she says, that even the shepherds who visited the baby Jesus were likely women, children or elderly men and women.

In ancient times, says Feinberg, it was the physically weakest members of the family who cared for the flock. They could be spared from the harder household labors. So, we see David as a child tending the sheep (Ps. 78:71), and Rachel is watering the sheep when she meets Jacob (Gen. 29:9,10).

So, could the Lord be my Shepherdess? The more I find out about sheep, the more shepherds and shepherdesses remind me of God as Mother. Sheep are absolutely dependent, like children are. Without a shepherd or shepherdess they will die. They need someone watch over them vigilantly to keep them safe from predators, and to make sure no one is sick. The shepherd/ess must cultivate a trusting relationship with the sheep so that they come when they hear their name, because following the shepherd/ess keeps them safe.

Mothers understand this kind of vigilance and the need for a child to trust her, to listen to her voice, to keep them safe. When Marshall was 2, he was running toward a large area of weeds in a park that looked safe to him, but that I could see led to a drop-off. I shouted from across the park, “Stop!” and he did. He knew my voice, trusted me, and was kept safe.

Jesus as the Good Shepherd is like the good mother keeping her children from want and need, giving them rest and protection, even to the point of laying down her life (John 10:11). It is interesting Jesus gave Himself a role allotted to those considered weak. He has never been afraid to identify with women or children.

When Jesus referred to himself as The Good Shepherd, he warned that there are bad ones, those in religious authority, who do not care for the sheep. We also know there are bad mothers who put their interests above their kids, or who abuse them physically and emotionally. But God created mothers to care and She did a good job. Despite all the talk about keeping it real about motherhood, there is a sense in which many of us cannot not care; and would give anything for our children’s safety and happiness.

We become mothers in a way through the extra doses of love hormones (oxytocin, prolactin) during labor and birth and through breast-feeding. And through the process of adoption. I’d love to know if adopting moms get more oxytocin, too! Someone should do a study.

When we let Love do its stuff we’re gonna be at least good-enough mothers (and if we’re not dealing with the stress of post-partum depression). The hormones that push us to be near our babies will often have the last word, instead of all those parenting books that think its fine if babies are left to cry. If we follow our own instincts, we’re going to comfort our babies, no matter how guilty we feel in the morning for failing to follow some guy’s sleep training program.

Likewise, we need a God who is in touch with us, not one who says, “Oh, let her learn to work out her fear and loneliness by herself. I need a break.” We need one who is present, aware of our needs, and always working to feed us physically, emotionally and spiritually. We need a Shepherdess who sees us as lost without Her, One who knows the sound of our cry even if we have spent more time wandering away than following.

And this is Mother God, our Shepherdess. To learn to hear Her voice is to be carried in loving arms.

“I am the good shepherd. I know my own, and my own know me, just as the Mother knows me and I know the Mother.” John 10:14, DFV

Learning to Ignore the Caution Button

This morning I was thinking about a professor I had at Regent College, Bob Ekblad. He taught a class I took called “Reading the Bible with the Damned” (now a book). Bob studies the Bible with inmates at a jail where he lives in Burlington, Washington. He works to show these men that Jesus delights in them, no matter what they have done. Bob prays for the men and they often experience physical and emotional healing from Mother God.

Ever since I took his class, I’ve secretly wanted to do these Bible studies, too. But I haven’t. It’s been a trust issue, in God and in myself. We’ve been thinking about moving to a nearby town that houses a couple of thousand men in a medium-security prison, and so I was thinking again about doing Bible studies, whether with the men or any other group in town that especially needs to understand God’s love for them.

This afternoon, I noticed one of Bob’s e-letters in my inbox. He tells the story of being in San Francisco with his wife, on BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). A homeless man was giving a speech, loud and agitated. Bob tried to block him out and work on a speech of his own on his laptop. Every one around him was tuned out. The homeless man spoke: “Look at all of you, hiding behind your laptops and newspapers, shutting me out with your ear buds and iPhones. Why can’t you just acknowledge me by looking at me? I am not going away, and neither are the 10,000 other homeless people here in San Francisco who suffer on the streets. All of the homeless shelters are filled and I have no place to sleep tonight.“

Finally Bob “felt compelled” to go and talk to the man, which led to Bob buying him a meal. Bob’s wife, Gracie, noticed and prayed with power for the man’s injured feet.

I’ve also always wanted to be ready to follow compulsions. As an introvert, I push my “caution” button a lot. I guess it is a holdover from cave-people times when folks like me kept the rest of the clan alive sometimes, with a cautious “wait” or “stop.”

But in the 21st century, my caution button usually just keeps me paralyzed when there is a spiritual risk I need to take, a compulsion I should not inhibit. I was thinking and praying about my desire to follow inner knowings and wondering how I could picture God in such a way that I felt protected taking God-led risks. What came to mind was my blog post about the toddler going out of the house with her mom, rather than going out alone.

I could choose to envision Mama-God going in front of me or holding my hand. I could hide behind Her if I need to, but the point is to go with Her, not stay behind.

I want to follow my impulsive-desires-to-love like they are Mother God Herself, knowing I’m never alone.

What do you want to do that you could see yourself doing with Mother God by your side?

“Do You Trust God?”

When Marshall was 6 years old, we were in a park on one of those many one-off play dates. He hadn’t been diagnosed yet with Asperger’s/ASD, but social things were just not working.

I was standing there, talking to this mother from preschool while Marshall played on his own. A curly-headed little girl, about four years old, walked up to us. She looked up at me and said, “Do you trust God?” Put on the spot, I said, “I try.” And she responded, “I trust God with all my heart,” and walked away.

Well, even back then I’d learned to pay attention to such events, especially when they involved children and God. But it didn’t make me trust God right away. It just reminded me that I had an issue God and this little girl were aware of.

In fact, all my life I have hesitated to trust God. Even when I have heard or felt a message, like “leave this place and go to the next,” like Sarah and Abraham did, I have stood around thinking about it, and refused to decide at all. So I have ended up a spiritual nomad.

I can see now that my image of God was all wrong. My gut feeling was that my best interest was second to God’s. The image of God as Father left me with too few harbors to go for emotional safety. Father God would send me out to sea, endlessly, on some errand of his own design, like he did Jonah.

So I created my harbor in choices which felt safe: not leaving, not taking opportunities, or even not saying a hard, “No.”

With new glimpses of God as Mother, I understand now what the little girl at the park did. I understand how deeply God wants to delight me. How She generously gives opportunities I can grow from, and provides support along the way. She wants me to set sail, but with a strong boat and companions on the way.

I have learned this by the repeated connecting of my own mothering with God’s. What wouldn’t I do to give my own sons a beautiful life? Oh, and ah. This is how God hovers over me, longing and working to create beauty and safety for me. But paradoxically, the safety in life is found in trust, the kind that says, “Yes” and “I will go.”

I wish I’d learned this long ago, but I am grateful to be learning it now. Mother God is a giver, not a taker. Just like the Holy Spirit, the giver of all good gifts (Gal. 5:22-23).

 

Mother God, My BFF

Raising Myself

Marshall has complained about my parenting lately and I agree. I feel lecture-y too often, like I don’t take time to listen well. So I am re-reading Naomi Aldort’s Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves. Aldort’s thesis is that parents are afraid of loving unconditionally, afraid we will spoil our children, but that it is unconditional love that makes whole children and therefore whole adults.

The first time I read it, I wept my way through the words, and at the end felt like I’d been born again as a parent. I have since written articles on this kind of parenting. Yet, without continual reminders of my own ideals, I go right back to conditional love.

Why God Isn’t My BFF

So, the phrase, “unconditional love” reminds me of Mother God. But most of my life I’ve not known God as Mother, but rather as Someone rather distant. So finding a source for unconditional love hasn’t come naturally. I’ve focused on Jesus, reminding myself that Jesus is, in fact, God, but still with little emotional change when I hear the word “God” or even “the Father.”

The past couple of years I have come up with a guiding phrase for the year every New Year. This year’s was Own Best Friend. I got this idea from an article in O Magazine, by Martha Beck, Ph.D. She talks about having a special scarf or hat to put on to represent yourself as Best Friend, to yourself. You-as-you pour out your heart, and then put on the Best Friend items of clothing to respond. The Best Friend sounds a lot like a very good therapist. She is a good listener, asks good questions, and encourages.

So, I started speaking to myself in that way, especially the encouragement part. I’d think, “What would I want a best friend to say to what I just said to myself?” and then have the BFF voice say it, even if it wasn’t entirely truthful. Something like, “Oh, you’re much too hard on yourself. I do that kind of thing all the time!”

Well, God’s voice and the BFF voice are not the same, or I’d have consulted God instead. The sweet, soothing half-truths that heal me and give me self-esteem again are what I seek though. God doesn’t mince words and God doesn’t need me to “tell Her more” because She’s got the scoop already.

I’m going to have to mull this over. It’s really a trust issue—trusting Mother God to love me, to pour love out on me, to adore me like I adore my kids, on my best days. To think I’m awesome no matter what, like a true BFF.

I go to God for truth, not for unconditional love; and so I’m missing out.

God Is Not a Helicopter Mom, but a Doting One

I’m going to keep calling God, “Mother God” in my prayers and mind, and think about Her as someone who dotes on me, is really always seeking not only my welfare, and that of others, but my happiness. Wow, how different is that!

But Mother God is not your helicopter parent. Despite the truth She’s always ready to give, She is usually pretty hands-off when it comes to obedience. Except for the thing where I never get to brag without immediately being humbled, She lets me do my own thing. I’m free, and that kind of sucks as much as it’s good for growth in all my human gifts.

But within my freedom, I need a close BFF relationship with God. I need Her to let me know I’m okay. I’m enough; and even awesome. Maybe if I can start getting those messages, I can give them more easily and often to my sons.

Marshall is learning that Mother God wants to bless us—with the sun and blue sky after a bleak, grey, rainy, cold Oregon morning. May I learn this more deeply, that these gifts and more are the caress of an ever-loving Mother who delights in us–in me, and my children.