When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.
2 But the more they were called,
the more they went away from me.[a]
They sacrificed to the Baals
and they burned incense to images.
3 It was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
taking them by the arms;
but they did not realize
it was I who healed them.
4 I led them with cords of human kindness,
with ties of love.
To them I was like one who lifts
a little child to the cheek,
and I bent down to feed them… (Hosea 11.1-4)
Sometimes I wonder if God can actually relate to me as a mother.
Does he know what it’s like to see your child suffer and long to make it all go away?
Can he relate to the weight of managing a household, working full-time outside the home, and trying to do each well? Does he know what it’s like to feel like you’re always failing at one or the other?
Can he relate to the monotony of life in some seasons? Diaper after diaper. Feeding after feeding. Sleepless night after sleepless night.
Does he ever feel like he doesn’t know the right decision? Do I email the teacher or just let the situation be? Do I call the doctor or just wait and see? Do I pursue work outside the home or stay put? Do I burn the midnight oil to get things finished, or do I let myself sleep, allowing my family to wake up to things undone?
And while I don’t know His answers to these questions, exactly, I do know that God is maternal as much as He is paternal. In Scripture He has revealed his tenderness, his compassion, his ability to relate to the traditionally maternal instincts of drawing an infant close, feeding a child, doing the long work of holding a child’s hands while they learn to walk. And this matters to me, because in all of my femininity, I need to know that God understands. I need to know that God deeply values every aspect or loving and nurturing and raising a child.
Of course, this isn’t to say that only mothers cuddle and feed and parent a child. Of course fathers do too. But I liked this particular passage above and how it shows a side of God that we don’t always see or hear preached about on Sundays.
So fellow mommas, be in peace. Enjoy the cuddles. The meals. The slowness that some days bring. Let’s feel the freedom to put down our planners, our projects, our excel spreadsheets, and just enjoy our children.
May we feel the sacredness of reading a book to our snuggly toddler. Sitting on the couch and watching our kids play. Playing a video game with our teenager. It’s what is making us holy.