I know what you’re thinking. Is she one of those theologically liberal women who teach that God is female?
Nope. Scripture makes it clear that God is neither male nor female, but rather that he is spirit. The apostle John puts it this way:
“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” –John 4:24
As a woman, I experience freedom in Christ. I don’t feel the need to refer to God as “she,” as some folks do. I have no problem thinking of God as my Father. At the same time, I know he is not a man.
When God created Adam and then Eve, the process is uniquely fascinating compared to how he created the animals. He creates Adam, the first human, and then puts him into a deep sleep to draw Eve out of him as a separate individual.
Now man is both male and female, reflecting the full-spectrum image of God, as Donald Joy puts it in Bonding: Relationships in the Image of God.
Every wedding ceremony replays the picture of God’s full-spectrum image re-integrated, our God-reflective masculine and feminine qualities re-joining yet again to show forth his glory.
That’s why the marriage covenant is such a big deal to God. More on that topic another day, but here’s how this relates to the idea of God’s mothering heart.
Since God is spirit, not male or female, and since he created us in his image as male and female, it logically follows that God’s nature includes all the qualities and characteristics of both genders.
At the risk of sounding like I’m stereotyping, please allow me a few generalizations: Men are primarily wired to protect and provide for those they love. Women are primarily wired to nurture.
Which gender comes to mind when you read the following verse?
“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” — Psalm 91:4
Or Jesus’ lament over Jerusalem:
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem … how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings…” — Matthew 23:37
Or again, what the prophet says:
“…He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” — Zephaniah 3:17b
Is this not the heart of a mother, shielding her young, drawing them, sustaining them, singing over them? Picture a mother nursing and tucking in her sleepy child, humming a sweet lullaby over her little one.
This is a reflection of the heart of Father God for you.
On Mother’s Day morning, I watched a pair of tiny goldfinches in the tree near my patio. The smaller one fluttered its wings, chirping loudly, following the larger one.
It was a half-grown baby, still begging for food from Mama.
As I sat with my journal and watched the finches, I reflected on the wonder of being a mother myself. I have loved this journey. It’s been one of the most important challenges of my life. It is its own sweet reward.
Pen in hand, I heard my heavenly Father whisper to my spirit,
You got your mother’s heart from me.
Indeed I did. And so has every mother on the planet.
How has your heavenly Father demonstrated his mothering care of you lately?