A Christian Science perspective: Honoring the motherhood of God this Mother’s Day.
Soon after our first child was born, when the celebrations were over and the helpful, doting visitors were gone, I realized I was missing something – but I wasn’t sure what that something was. Then one day as I walked through the kitchen on my way to the laundry, holding our sweet baby in one arm while dragging the laundry with my other, I longed for some reassurance that I would have the wisdom and endurance needed to guide, educate, and be an all around good mother for the baby. That’s when I realized what I was missing: I needed someone to mother me – to guide, educate, reassure, and care for me as I cared for the baby. As much as I loved my own mother and mother-in-law, I knew they weren’t the answer. Both lived at a distance and could never provide me with the minute-by-minute mothering I felt I needed. So began my ever-increasing appreciation of our Mother God.
A note in the Scofield Bible reveals the mothering nature of God. It explains that the original Hebrew phrase El Shaddai, which is translated as Almighty God in Genesis, emphasizes the nurturing quality of God. The note says, “As a fretful, unsatisfied babe is not only strengthened and nourished from the mother’s breast, but also is quieted, rested, satisfied, so El Shaddai is that name of God which sets Him forth as the Strength-giver and Satisfier of His people.” I had always been grateful for the fatherhood of God, but at this moment in my life, I began to appreciate the motherhood of God as well.
In her book “Science and Health with Key to Scriptures,” a companion book to the Bible, Mary Baker Eddy uses both Father and Mother as names for God, often using them together. As she explains, “Father-Mother is the name for Deity, which indicates His tender relationship to His spiritual creation” (p. 332). Then, in the Glossary, she defines Mother as “God; divine and eternal Principle; Life, Truth, and Love” (p. 592). The motherhood of God is much more than the motherhood of a human personality. God as Mother is an ever-present, all-powerful, yet all-loving Principle that governs all creation. The love of God is constant and universal – perpetually pouring out unlimited love to nurture, strengthen, protect, and guide all people.
Since that day when I first realized my need for Mother God, I have learned more of Her nature and of the freedom that comes from understanding our spiritual relationship to Her. I like to think of God’s motherhood in relation to Christ Jesus’ comment: “Behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). As explained in Christian Science, God is the “eternal Principle” of our being, and Her kingdom is within us. The loving source and perpetual government of our being is always right at hand.
When I reasoned from this basis, I realized that it is natural for everyone – men, women, and children – to reflect God’s mothering qualities. Understanding this helped me gain confidence in mastering the many skills a mother needs. Even though I had no prior experience as a parent, I knew God had infinite experience and would always be right with me, giving me the ideas I needed. As our family has grown, this has proved to be true.
Eventually, through prayer, I even overcame the persistent tendency to fret over the children’s welfare. I had been completely taken in by the common belief that fretfulness is an unavoidable part of motherhood. Weary of fretting, I mentally reached out to God for help. The answer to my prayer came when I realized that Mother God is never fretful but is always calm, because She is all-powerful and upholds goodness at all times. I was glad to understand that because the kingdom of God is within me, I was not subject to the world’s fearful and limited ideas about motherhood. Like Mother God, I, too, could be calm and expect goodness. My fears for the children quickly began to melt away. Since that time it has been wonderful to be able to stay calm and trust in God’s goodness when difficult situations arise. By trusting God instead of fretting, I have enjoyed a greater sense of peace and have been able to provide much better support and guidance for my children in challenging times.
I am sure I have more to learn from God, and I look forward to discovering more of Her magnificence. This Mother’s Day I hope you will join me in celebrating the motherhood of God.