What Happens When God Can be Mother Too?

Keep Talking

What do you do with the pain of injustice, while you wait for Mother God? You talk about it. I do, anyway.

Marshall talks, and draws. This morning he drew a caricature of the bully. She stood in a pool of blood with only bones for legs. These are images from her own stories she showed Marshall. I tried to talk him out of this drawing but it is his expression of waiting for justice.

When Jesus was on the cross, waiting to die, he talked, too—amazingly. He asked God why he’d forsaken him. He told a man next to him he’d be with Jesus soon in Paradise. Justice. He complained, “I thirst.” He asked God to forgive the ones who’d crucified and tormented him. He gave his mother a new son, John, to care for her. And finally He let people know his work was done.

He was not just a victim, because redemption for every one, through His death, was coming. “It is finished,” He said finally, and He gave his spirit to God.

Maybe there is some spiritual parallel here. What we’re all waiting for is the pain of injustice to die. Because some things can’t be restored. Can our beloved son un-know that people kill each other or die in gruesome ways or that a friend he trusted hurt him repeatedly?

We are managing pain, hanging here on our own cross. I say “we” like Mary may have said it.  She was at the bottom of the cross after all, waiting with Jesus to die. She never left.

I wonder if she said the wrong things sometimes, like I do. Because of us not understanding Marshall, he feels abandoned—“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” said Jesus. We forsake by trying to pull him into our world, with forceps. All the old parental controlling techniques just damage.

Last night, I just invited him to come sit next to me and I held him close. This heals, this brings relief and a glimpse of resurrection. Marshall thirsts, for touch, tender looks, the love that gets stored and locked up in the hearts of tired parents.

One of the phrases that has sometimes grated on me is Micah’s many requests for smoothies throughout any given day. “I’m firsty,” he’ll say.

His little speech impediment makes him sound so little, and reminds me of how little he really is at age 9. The request can come 4 or 5 times a day, because he shuns water.

To give Christ drink, when he is thirsty on the cross, is an honor many of us would embrace. And so will I.


“Dirty Fingernails,” by Susan Harrison, inspired by Nadia Bolz-Weber in Pastrix


Jesus’ fingernails were dirty

When Mary met him near the tomb

Resurrection is like that meeting,

Not so much like Easter morning.


My fingernails are dirty, too

From my garden and my work.

Could you see I am the body

On this coming Sunday morning?


And if I brought my son, or sent him–

The one with marker on his face,

And with dirty hair and hands?

Could you find a resurrection there?

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