What pictures are created in the visions of your imagination when you think about God? What feelings do you experience? The Bible offers metaphors for who God is and how God relates to us: the rock we cling to, our shield, shepherd, light, breath. Scriptures point to God as a loving father and also as a maternal presence—protective, nurturing, and loving.
“God created humanity in God’s own image, in the divine image God created them, male and female” (Gen. 1:27). A masculine image of God may be more familiar for many, yet God is not limited by our language, our understandings, or our imagination. We can dive deeper into the nature of God by also seeing the image of God reflected in our mothers and women who have been like mothers in our lives.
God is described as a protective bird whose wings provide refuge (Ruth 2:12, Psa. 91:4). Jesus longs to gather the children of Jerusalem “as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings” (Matt. 23:37).
God’s words in Hosea 11:3-4 reveal a tender, nurturing, loving, motherly image: “Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk; I took them up in my arms, but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with bands of human kindness, with cords of love. I treated them like those who lift infants to their cheeks; I bent down to them and fed them.”
As we pause to honor mothers and motherly persons in our lives, our hearts warm with gratitude for the special women who have taught us, nurtured us, and loved us unconditionally, reflecting how God loves us. When our memories bring reminders of complicated or broken relationships, grief, or longing, God is there too with a promise: “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you” (Isa. 66:13).
You are created in the divine image. You are a precious child of God. You are loved. God gathers you in and holds you close in the shelter of strong wings. God, with the compassion and care of a mother, will not forget you (Isa. 49:15).
Blessings to you,
Rev. Patty Froehlich