The Original Mother’s Heart
For as long as I can remember I wanted to be an archaeologist. The whole idea of finding something buried and unseen by others appealed to me. When younger, I could be found digging in some corner of the yard. Best thing I ever found was an old spark plug calibrator. And then, I encountered Christ. My whole life changed, but my love for a good dig didn’t. It was simply redirected.
God placed a treasure trove of priceless jewels within reach when I was handed a Bible. Miner’s hat? Check. Pickaxe and shovel? Check. Burning passion to discover God? Check, check.
In my search for God’s nature, I stumbled across something stunning: His handiwork in fashioning mothers’ hearts. It’s easy to miss God weaving Himself into mothers and their hearts. A deep well, failing definition. Greeting cards offer armies of categories addressing it. Hollywood’s spent millions depicting it onscreen. Yet the wellspring of a mother’s heart remains mysterious.
Our Creator takes care to knit Himself into who we are and will become. In examining His love for us, His mothering nature is quickly apparent:
“…How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings…” (Matthew 23:37 NASB)
How could God reference Himself as a protective mother, lest He’d poured His compassionate nature into the mother’s heart? His maternal temperament continues:
“…He will rejoice over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” (Zephaniah 3:17b NASB)
“Quiet in His love,” duplicates the tenderest moments between mother and child, referencing the child being fully contented and simply enjoying the closeness of its mother. The child wants nothing more than its mother’s presence. It’s a time of quiet love. Drawing powerful strength from her proximity alone. Again we see His mothering side:
“Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb?” (Isaiah 49:15a NASB)
Who better than the Designer of mothers could explain this nurturing side of Himself? The nourishing definition of Jehovah Jireh. Our Provider. His provision in limitless care was famously spoken to Moses. Asking a yet unnamed God His name, He replied, “I Am.” A statement begging to fill in the blank. “I AM everything. I AM infinite. I AM all powerful.”
Until my mother’s passing, I took full advantage of my family membership and went straight to her for comfort. Dad understood my running past him to reach her arms. With advancing years, hurts changed, but the source of my consolation didn’t. I still went to Mom for comfort. For through her kindness, forgiveness, and never-ending compassion, I came to wholly trust God. He was easily recognizable in her and I deeply valued God’s mothering heart woven tightly into hers.
The birthing process is God’s idea. He’s maternally given birth to the universe, birth to our planet, and birth to us. Most importantly He’s given us re-birth, calling us into reconciliatory relationships with Him. Nicodemus needed clarification. He knew it impossible to reenter a mother’s womb a second time. God’s way was easier with no gestational period. Being born-again in the Spirit granted restoration with the Father; enjoying unbroken intimacy.
Our Father in heaven is solidly our Father. His maternal nature guarantees attendance at every bird’s funeral. Keeps track of 7.2 billion heads of hair. Tallies innumerable thoughts about us exceeding grains of sand. Stills our storms, heals our diseases, binds our broken hearts. The most potent attribute of His mother’s heart is His lavish forgiveness of our sins. Black sins, washed in red blood, producing robes of white righteousness. Like the mother that deliberately forgets her child’s shortcomings, He casts our sins directionally as far as the east is from the west, until sinking to the floor of the Sea of Forgetfulness.
Simply stated, He is Father God with a mother’s heart. Waiting to wipe every tear; sitting up with us through the night; and listening to our troubles—solving them while we are yet speaking.
The mother’s heart is best defined by her unselfish generosity in ongoing, unconditional giving. Thank you, Mom, for letting me feel God’s love radiate through you.
Bursting the Bubble
by Meghan Kleppinger, crosswalk.com
“…We are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.”- 2 Peter 3:13
Washington D.C. is a politically powerful city and it’s easy for young professionals working there to get carried away by all of its bells and whistles. As a recent college graduate who experienced this firsthand, I found that it doesn’t take long to adapt to the culture. It’s an exciting place to be, but the problem with becoming a full-blown Washingtonian is that too often, people forget why they are there to begin with.
Most people move to Washington to support a cause or to work for a politician representing a state. I, for example, worked for a non-profit that worked to preserve family values, and many of my peers worked for their state senators or representatives.
To help pop the D.C. bubble we were living in, several of us developed the discipline of reading our hometown papers online each morning. By reading the Richmond Times-Dispatch every day, I was reminded of my roots, culture, where I was from, and for whom I was really working. This practice, along with repeating our mantra, “this isn’t the real world,” enabled many of us to start each day in Washington as Virginians, Pennsylvanians, Texans, etc., representing the states we called home.
Sometimes life gets tough, circumstances cause confusion and doubt, purpose becomes unclear, and faith seems irrelevant and far removed from everyday struggles. It doesn’t take much for the line between the world we currently live in, and the promise of our eternal home, to become blurry – it’s those times when “home” with Christ sometimes seems so far away.
For me, these bleak moments almost always coincide with periods of times that I’ve stepped away from praying and spending time in God’s Word each day.
It’s not that prayer and study act like a magic formula changing my circumstances, though sometimes God does change them; usually, it is simply this set-aside time that causes me to regroup and change my perspective of the circumstances.
God is greater than man. He’s our creator, sustainer, and He’s in control of everything. He loves us, gives us purpose, and promises us a future with Him. This life is temporal and is nothing in comparison to spending eternity with Christ. How do I know these things? It’s all in God’s Word.
Revisiting scripture and praying on a daily basis acts as a needle bursting the bubble I live in. Like reading my hometown paper each day, scripture reminds me that this world doesn’t own me. No matter how long I’m on earth, it’s not my home and I’m not here to represent it – instead, I need to be an ambassador for my Father until it’s time to go home to Him.
Streams in the Desert
Times have changed, but life’s hard times haven’t
And the one who lives! I was dead, but look, now I am alive – forever and ever – and I hold the keys of death and of Hades! (Rev 1:18)
Flower! Easter lilies! Speak to me this morning the same dear old lesson of immortality which you have been speaking to so many sorrowing souls.
Wise old Book! let me read again in your pages of firm assurance that to die is gain.
Poets! recite to me your verses which repeat in every line the Gospel of eternal life.
Singers! break forth once more into songs of joy; let me hear again the well-known resurrection psalms.
Tree and blossom and bird and sea and sky and wind whisper it, sound it afresh, warble it, echo it, let it throb and pulsate through every atom and particle; let the air be filled with it.
Let it be told and retold and still retold until hope rises to conviction, and conviction to certitude of knowledge; until we, like Paul, even though going to our death, go with triumphant mien, with assured faith, and with serene and shining face.
O sad-faced mourners, who each day are wending
Through churchyard paths of cypress and of yew,
Leave for today the low graves you are tending,
And lift your eyes to God’s eternal blue!
It is no time for bitterness or sadness;
Twine Easter lilies, not pale asphodels;
Let your souls thrill to the caress of gladness,
And answer the sweet chime of Easter bells.
If Christ were still within the grave’s low prison,
A captive of the enemy we dread;
If from that moldering cell He had not risen,
Who then could chide the gloomy tears you shed?
If Christ were dead there would be need to sorrow,
But He has risen and vanquished death for aye;
Hush, then your sighs, if only till the morrow,
At Easter give your grief a holiday.
—May Riley Smith
A well-known minister was in his study writing an Easter sermon when the thought gripped him that his Lord was living. He jumped up excitedly and paced the floor repeating to himself, “Why Christ is alive, His ashes are warm, He is not the great ’I was,’ He is the great ’I am.’” He is not only a fact, but a living fact. Glorious truth of Easter Day!
We believe that out of every grave there blooms an Easter lily, and in every tomb there sits an angel. We believe in a risen Lord. Turn not your faces to the past that we may worship only at His grave, but above and within that we may worship the Christ that lives. And because He lives, we shall live also.