A Christian Science perspective: How one woman prayed to relieve the stress of single motherhood.
It probably was on the day that I had already made two trips to the boys’ schools because they had each forgotten either their lunch or their musical instrument. The phone call came at 10:00 a.m. inviting me to take on the next major assignment in my career. I was still in my nightgown, very much needing a shower, and phone calls in my home office were already backed up.
It was hard to consider taking that step forward, even though I had applied for the credential. Agreeing to call them back, I sat down on the floor in prayer.
“Dear God,” I asked, “what is it that You are telling me about my life?”
As a single mother, I felt everything seemed to hang on my initiative. If I didn’t do the grocery shopping, nobody else in the house would do it. I had felt a fair amount of personal pride about how I was managing my affairs, and I had often thought of myself as a mother swan carrying her cygnets on her back. While on the surface it looked as if all was smooth and graceful, like the swan gliding – underneath, no one knew how fast I was paddling.
As I prayed, the answer from God came distinctly: “I am the Mother Swan.”
This was a rebuke to me, because I had to realize that it was Father-Mother God who creates, upholds, and sustains creation. As the Bible says, God, the great “I AM” (Exodus 3:14), was the one who was sustaining us. There was a wash of comfort that came over me as I considered what it would mean to live as a cygnet being cared for, instead of the mother swan bearing the weight of everything that needed doing.
I then realized that the new assignment would require a clearer understanding that God was the Doer in my life – the intelligence or divine Mind that created everyone. As Mary Baker Eddy wrote in her textbook on Christian Science, “The divine Mind that made man maintains His own image and likeness” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 151).
Before sitting down to supper, I had another moment of revelation. Even though I had shopped, cooked, planned, and served the meal, the fact was that God had created me and the boys perfectly and completely – as spiritual, including all that belongs to home, to God. Instead of me in charge, I could see that God’s order of harmony and provision was governing us. This helped me to appreciate on a deeper, spiritual level what the boys brought to the table in terms of their enthusiasm for life and their willingness to take on their home duties, including doing the dishes.
As much as it looks as if we are limited human beings with a list of human responsibilities, the spiritual fact is that we are divinely created to express God’s qualities. This is what it means in the first chapter of Genesis when it shows we are designed as God’s image and likeness. By our very existence we make God known. Learning to express spiritual qualities such as love, joy, and peace, we find thought lifted out of stressful pressure and self-centered thinking.
A passage in the Bible captures this perspective: “He is of one mind; who can reverse it? What he desires, he does. He carries out what is decreed for me and can do many similar things with me” (Job 23:13, 14 Common English Bible).
Instead of thinking of God as having the capability of making a universe of matter, governed by pressures of time and space, we worship God as the great divine Mind or Spirit, creating a spiritual and harmonious universe of ideas. This means that we are ideas of divine Mind, made from God’s intelligence, wisdom, initiative, beauty, and grace.
With a more God-centered view of life, I was able to find the freedom of taking on my new responsibilities. They fit with my home duties and frankly helped me to be clearer about what was mine to do and what was not mine to do.
What a relief to know that the divine Mind is the source of our being – our primary support for all that is to be done. May we all find the humility and gratitude that come from being a cygnet, enjoying the freedom of being carried by God, the Mother Swan.