The Mothering of God

Most of us understand God as Father, but do we know him as Mother? Scripture refers to God as Mother in several passages. Consider how God is Mother to you as you read Lesa Engelthaler's heartfelt piece that follows ...


The Mothering of God

By Lesa Engelthaler

"Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children."

William Makepeace Thackeray

My mom passed away last spring. At the time my prayers became very simple: "Get me through this day." "Help me find a parking space."

And then there was a very specific SOS prayer. I was in the front yard playing with my one-year-old granddaughter, Lucy, and her huge Goldendoodle, Ruby. Suddenly, Ruby darted across the street. I began shouting, "Here Ruby, come Ruby!" and yet, to no avail. With Lucy on my hip, we turned corners block by block, following Ruby, with me now pleading for her to come and Lucy patting her thigh calling, "B!" "B!"

As I watched Ruby dart down another alley, I prayed a short edge of desperation sentence, "God help me get Ruby home." And there, Hand-on-the-Bible-Swear, a Dog Whisperer showed up.

It is not every day, at least for me, that a car stops, a gentleman rolls down the window and asks, "Do you need some help?" And yet, that is exactly what happened moments after my plea to the heavens.

I replied to the kind man, "Yes, actually I do. I can't get my grand dog to come home."

He then pointed to his companion and said, "She's a Dog Whisperer so we can help." A tall woman dressed in a long floral skirt got out the car, asked for the dog's name then knelt down and started calling for her. From nowhere Ruby bounded towards us and plopped down right in front of the Dog Whisperer.

Later on that evening, with Ruby safely home, it dawned on me, now that my mom was gone God was mothering me in her stead. Like a mother he answered right away, no waiting to see if I was a "good girl," a true followerorwhatever I thought was required to pray a righteous request.

I think God saw me standing in the middle of the street and said, "She is mychild and what she asks I will do." That is what moms do. Moms pick up babies when they cry. They rescue lost Poohbears. A mom reads to you when you bring her a book - any book, a whole stack of books if you want. A mom simply does what you ask. Why? Because you are her beloved.

Then I remembered Deuteronomy 32:11 in which God compares himself to a mama bird, "Like an eagle that stirs up its nest that flutters over its young, spreading out its wings, catching them." I realized that even though, for decades, I had known God as my Father, I now needed him as my Mother.

I was that naked baby bird that you find fallen out of the nest but you don't dare pick up because her skin is paper-thin and hardly has any feathers. You think but don't utter out loud, "She will never survive."

With my mom gone, I felt pushed out of the nest. Not ready. Exposed. And yet, I am not alone. God mothers me even today. I began to realize this the day he sent a Dog Whisperer, of all things, to rescue me.

"As truly as God is our Father, so truly God is our Mother."

Julian of Norwich

Lesa Engelthaler is a Senior Associate for Victory Search Group, assisting nonprofits to recruit executive leaders. Lesa is also a writer for such publications as The Dallas Morning News, Christianity Today, Relevant, and Prism. Lesa is a founding member of Ink and proud to be a part of the Redbud Writers Guild. Lesa is passionate about empowering women. She serves on the board of Missio Alliance, the Circle of Friends board of New Friends New Life and the Economic Security Grants Review Committee for the Dallas Women's Foundation. Today, Lesa finds herself completely taken by empowering one small girl - her first grandchild, Lucy. Connect with Lesa on Twitter @lengelthaler and Facebook.

© Elisa Morgan 2020

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