I have often had a difficult time picturing God as loving and nurturing. It's much easier for me to think of God as holy and other, as mysterious and unknown, as strong and powerful, or as jealous and just.
My usual images and metaphors for God (and the ones I hear most often) consist of the merciful but all powerful judge; the forgiving father; and on occasion the tender lover. But they are all male images. Even the loving images have a bit of a hard edge to them.
Then I got pregnant, and God persistently gave me a new image. He whispered to me, I want to mother you …. Just as you carry this child in your womb, I carry you.
Nurturing mother? It was a metaphor for God that I'd never thought of before. But I began to wonder if I was missing out on a holistic picture of God because I limited my images of him mostly to male-centered father figures.
The picture of God as a nurturing, caring mother feels incredibly powerful for me, especially when I'm feeling vulnerable. There's something entirely soft, warm, and inviting about a mother.
I think we all have seasons of our lives when we long to be mothered. We remember our mothers' (or other women's) care and kisses when we scraped our knees and burnt our hands, and at times we still long to run to our moms and have our aches and pains kissed and cared for.
The idea that God wants to be that for me seems so beautiful to me. The idea that God wants to nurture and protect me just as I long to nurture and protect my child feels like an epiphany for me. It is a way of seeing that has completely changed my view of God, and I pray that God would take me deeper into the truths of his mothering, creating, and nurturing nature.
Adapted from "God as Nurturing Mother." Used by permission of Bethany Stedman.1