Yesterday, I had the wonderful opportunity to share with my church family during our morning service. I was a bit nervous and didn't know how it would go over, but God gave me exactly what He wanted me to share with the mothers of our church.
I'd love to share a little sampling here for my momma-sisters that happen to attend other churches around the globe...
I. God Models a Maternal Love
God is a Spirit, not a human being -- therefore, neither male or female.
And as a Spirit, He has both maternal and maternal qualities.
Remember that popular book, The Shack? In The Shack, author William P. Young presents God, the Father as an African American woman. Now when I first met "Papa" in The Shack, I was a bit put off. I mean, God as a woman?
Well, as I searched the scriptures more, I think Young was on to something there.
Let's see what the most important book -- the Bible -- says about God's feminine side...
Isaiah 66:13 - "As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you."
Deuteronomy 32:11 - "As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreading her wings, taketh them, beareth her wings."
Zephaniah 3:17 - "The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."
This scripture conjures an image in my mind of a crying child, being comforted by her momma. The momma is rocking the baby, gently patting her back and singing a lullaby to her. And eventually the baby -- secure in her momma's arms -- remembers she is protected, she is wanted, she is loved. And she is calmed.
In each of these scriptures, God is viewed as a loving, nurturing mother. His love is paternal - protecting, providing and correcting, and it is maternal - calming, comforting and nurturing.
II. God Empowers Mothers to Love Our Children Well
As mothers, we can seek God for His power to love our children well.
God created us all for deep relationships, and only through those deep relationships -- primarily through the family -- can a child become physically, mentally and spiritually healthy and whole.
Last week, I took a 4-hour workshop with Dr. Karyn Purvis, director of the Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian University. Dr. Purvis has extensively studied the unhealthy attachments of children born into traumatic settings -- orphanages, multiple foster homes, abuse, etc. Here's what I learned from her and passed on to my church body yesterday.
- A newborn baby's vision spans 8-12 inches. The miraculous thing? The average length from a woman's crook of her arm to her face is 8 inches. The length for a man's is 12 inches. God created our bodies to nurture our babies from the moment they are born, so the first thing a child sees is his parent's adoring and loving face.
- Touch is vitally important in the development of a child's psyche.
- 67% of communication with a child is not our words, but our tone of voice.
- Our eyes are a mirror to our child. They look into our faces to see what's true about them -- if they are loved and accepted, just as they are.
- When we deal with the pain of our pasts, we can help our children work through their pain and traumas too.