Guest post by Amy L. Sullivan
“When you look into your mother’s eyes, you know that is the purest love you can find on this earth.”
Days before my fifth birthday, I threw a rock into the large bay window of our front room just to hear the window pop.
When I was nine, I packed a bag of clothes and a book and screamed, “I hate you. Don’t expect me here when you get home!”
At fourteen, I stole enough clothes to fill an entire closet.
When I was twenty and visiting home was too painful, I stayed away.
And through each event (and legions more I’d never type out for the world to read), I knew regardless of my behavior, my mother would never love me less. My mother loved me always. That’s what mothers do. They see the beautiful through the horrible. They know us beyond our actions.
I heard people speak of Christ’s unconditional love, but I did not truly comprehend the word “unconditional” as it applied to God’s love for us when I became a Christian or when I got married. Sure, sure, God loved me, but would He love me through the big mistakes? Sure, sure, this cute guy in the tux promised me his world, but could I do something to make him change his mind?
My love for others weighed heavy with conditions. I never spoke of “deal breakers” or acts I considered unforgivable, but deal breakers existed.
For me, it was simple, how could I possibly understand God’s bold, fierce, and unconditional love if I never truly experienced it?
Learning About God Through Mothers
When I became a mother, the words “unconditional love” finally made sense. It’s funny how I spent twenty-seven years trying to fathom the concept of unconditional love, and with one moment, unconditional love became easy to understand.
Mothering for the first few seconds of my daughter’s life, made me realize there was nothing my tiny, squawking pink baby could ever do to drive me away. No behavior, no words, no choice would stop me from loving this creation. Ever.
And it was through meeting my daughters that I saw God’s unconditional love for his flailing and squawking creations, (yes, that would be us), and I began to peek at God’s motherheart.
In Isaiah 66:13a, God speaks of his compassion and who does he link it to? You guessed it, a mother.
It was God who admitted his similarity to a mother when he said, “As a mother comforts her son, so will I comfort you.”
God also explains love to us in terms we can understand, in the way of the loving mother, but it doesn’t end there.
In Isaiah 44:15, God goes on to say he will never forget us by again, comparing us to a person we all know, a person we can relate to, a person who walks in each of our lives, a mother.
“Can a mother forget the infant at her breast, walk away from the baby she bore? But even if mothers forget, I’d never forget you—never.”
Understanding More Fully
God knows us we are a forgetful people.
Toss us a miracle and days later we wiggle with doubt wondering if and when manna will really fall. God understands we need constant reassurance of his love, reminders that he has not forgotten us, and he never will.
I believe he gives us mothers to help illustrate a love, which cannot be described, His love, the bold love of God’s Motherheart.
About the Author: For the past two years, Amy L. Sullivan looked harder, loved stronger, and discovered more by fixing her gaze on something other than the person staring back at her in the mirror. Amy’s first book, When More is Not Enough just released. Amy writes for oodles of print and online publications and loves speaking with groups of any size. Connect with her online at AmyLSullivan.com.
A quick, personal note from Adriel: You guys, I cannot more highly recommend a blogger/writer/person than Amy. Please check out her wonderful new book When More is Not Enough: How to stop giving your children what they want and give them what they need. Amy has the ability to challenge and inspire and teach all while making you laugh as if you were sitting down recounting stories with an old friend. This book is truly important for our generation of parents and, of course, for our children’s generation. I whole-heartedly wish every parent would read it. Seriously. It’s a small investment that’s bound to reap major dividends — not just for your children and family, but for our world. So if you haven’t already… buy the book!!!
Also in the Motherheart of God series:
God As A She? by Adriel Booker — “In Sunday school they taught us about God our Father and—if we were lucky—perhaps about Jesus our Brother. In youth group we learned about Jesus our Best Friend and in college and careers group we were taught about Jesus our Husband (or perhaps Lover, if you were the sort of dude that felt awkward with ‘Husband’). But no one ever taught me about God our Mother. I had to learn that one on my own. . .” continue reading>>>
Relentlessly Tender by Megan Kimmelshue — “Jesus is, as Brennan Manning puts it, “relentlessly tender” with me and oh, how I need that tenderness as we brave these waters of the little years and the hormonal fluctuations of the postpartum months and sleep deprivation. I need to be nurtured, to have a safe place to cry my tears of frustration or those tears of I don’t know why I’m crying but I am. To stay with me while I tantrum, ranting and raving over little things that are hardly of any consequence but that mean something to me at that moment.” continue reading>>>
Strong, Fierce, Wild by Bronwyn Lea — “I’d gone into motherhood feeling I was taking a leave of absence the rich, cultivated spiritual lands of Ministry and Regular Quiet Times. I was expecting a wilderness. . .But God met me in the nursery and planted an oasis just beside the rocker-glider. God met me aching, tender, weeping, nurturing, delighting in my children’s delights, holding them through the sadness, rejoicing in their growth, participating in their adventures, relishing getting to know them as little people. And time after time, in those moments of quintessential mothering, I heard God’s heart whisper to mine. . .” continue reading>>>
A New Picture by Bethany Bassett — “The fierce intensity in Charlton Heston’s eyes, his dominating stance, the power symbolized by his arm-cuffs, even his thickly silvered beard—all of it filled in my mental image of God as neatly as if Charlton himself had graced the pages of my Bible. That God was a muscly Caucasian man in his sixties, I had no doubt. Perhaps that had already been suggested to me through Bible cartoons or maybe it was a projection of my own small worldview, but I knew exactly what I was seeing when Moses spread his arms across our church’s TV screen: Father. Judge. Ruler. Smiter. The Divine Patriarch. The All-Powerful Begetter. God.” continue reading>>>
God is a Midwife by Becca of Exile Fertility — “If our mothers had named the Holy One, would God have firstly been midwife, continually welcoming new life in even the most excruciating circumstances? I have never found God absent in my darkest nights, even when the pain has threatened to swallow me, even when I’ve wished that I would die because the future felt too chaotic. When my heart was utterly broken, when my body was tangled unconscious, when I bled out my first baby and was separated from my firstborn after birth, even when I’ve been in the middle of a painful conflict with a trusted friend. God has always stayed close, putting pressure on my lower back, whispering truth to my inconsolable heart, hands covered in my blood, tears falling with my own. . .” continue reading>>>