At home at the Mother Heart of God
God not only has a father's heart, but also a mother's heart. In order to become completely at home with Him, we need a great closeness to both hearts. Our relationship with our biological mother has a great influence on our closeness to the mother heart of God. Mother wounds suffered must therefore be cared for and need healing.
Emperor Frederick II conducted experiments with children. He wanted to find out the original language common to all humans. He believed that he would be able to discover it if he observed in which language children began to speak to whom no one had spoken before. He guessed Hebrew. A chronicle from the year 1268 reports: "And therefore he commanded the nurses and nurse-women to give the children milk, to bathe them and wash them, but in no way to whitewash them or speak to them." The attempt went thoroughly wrong, for all the children died. Without the cosy words of their wet-nurses and nurses, they were unable to live.
Do you know what the original language of all children is? It is ... the mother tongue. Mother deprivation in infancy causes damage. No one influences our identity more than the mother. She shapes not only our language, but also our worldview, our world view, our basic sense of security and well-being. Children flourish when their mother listens to them, accepts them and cares for them. In the earliest years, so-called kangaroo care, frequent skin contact, is important for optimal development. It leads to healthier heart rate and breathing, a better immune system and better weight gain. God has given mothers a responsibility that is different from that of men. In the process of mothering, she has an irreplaceable role.
The Mother Heart of God
In the novel "The Shack", God the Father is portrayed as a caring African American woman who lets herself be called "Papa" and works in the kitchen. At first this seemed a bit heretical to me and irritated me. But in the Bible we encounter God's mother's heart as well as his father's heart. We see this figuratively in Matthew 23:37, for example: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you city that murders prophets and stones God's messengers! How often I wanted to call your children together, like a hen tucking her chicks under her wings, but you did not allow it.»
God created man in his image: "Thus God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them" (Genesis 1:27). It takes the feminine side to be able to reflect the image of God. All mothering comes from the mother heart of God. That is why he says: "I myself will comfort you as a mother comforts her child" (Isaiah 66:13). Or Deut. 32:11 speaks of God as of a mother eagle, flushing out her young, spreading her wings and then carrying them on her wings. It was in God's image that women and mothers were created. Therefore, it is not at all 'heretical' to speak of the mother heart of God.
It takes both men and women to reflect God's image. Together they were given the mandate to be fruitful, to multiply and to be involved in the process with different roles. Nurturing, raising and caring is a gift and responsibility that women can do better. Men can initiate, bring something into being, but they cannot mother very effectively.
Suffer mother wounds
Our experiences and emotional history with our own mother have a direct influence on our relationship with God. Disturbances in the relationship with the mother or other female attachment figures readily cause disturbances in the relationship with God.
Mother wounds can occur when we have experienced injuries in the area of maternal care. They are particularly caused by physical or emotional absence of the mother in the early formative years.
We now look at five different types of hurting mothers:
- Rejecting mother: From the moment of conception, the new life receives impulses from the mother and the environment. Therefore, mother wounds can go back a long way, because the mother has a great responsibility for the well-being and safety of the child during pregnancy. The child already then receives the attitude and attitude of the mother and the environment. Therefore, the child can be hurt if the mother rejects her role as a mother - be it because of an unwanted pregnancy or because of sexual abuse. The sibling constellation or the number of children already present can also have an influence.
- Needy mother: It happens that an emotionally or physically absent father causes the mother to want to satisfy her emotional needs through her children. This can be caused, for example, by a divorce or the death of the father. Any of these reasons can cause the mother to place too great a burden on the children, especially the eldest child. For example, she tells the eldest son that he must now be the man of the house, or the eldest daughter that they must now fill the gap. Children must be allowed to be children.
- Gap-filling mother: When a mother tries to fill both the mother and father roles, wounds can occur. A son can thus be feminised or a daughter neglected in her development into a woman. Single women should be the best mother they can be and involve men to speak into the lives of the children. If you are in this situation, you should ask God to show you men who can speak into the lives of your children. God himself has promised that he is a God who cares for orphans and widows! Of course, such men cannot replace a father, but they can affirm, encourage and give guidance to the children from a male perspective.
- Oppressive mother: Usually such a mother is not aware that she is overprotecting her children. She is a mother who holds on and wants to maintain control. As a result, she will try to cling to the children even when it is time to let them go. It is especially important for an overprotective mother to know that sons between the ages of 10 and 16 usually begin to reject female input. Sometimes they even get angry when their mother tries too hard to tell them what to do. The ideal situation is when the father takes over at this point and mainly gives the input during the teenage years. It takes a man to teach a son manhood. A mother can raise, love; but at a certain time she has to let him go, pray wholeheartedly for in and have exemplary men to speak into his life and guide him through the developmental process.
- Neglectful and abusive mother: This mother is not affirming and not encouraging, but rather distant. And when she says something, it is usually impatient, critical, shaming and disrespectful. She hardly ever says a kind word. One can assume that they themselves have experienced abuse and hurt in their past. That in no way excuses the fact that this behaviour has caused wounds in you. You cannot heal your mother, but you can ensure that you receive healing. Such neglect hinders the development of the basic sense of well-being, safety and security, especially if it happened in the early formative years.
Maybe as a mother you fall into one of these categories. Then you have the opportunity to ask your children for forgiveness. In Jesus there is forgiveness so that you don't have to live under constant guilt or self-accusation or self-pity.
Possible signs of mother wounds are:
- Unconsciously, we bring our mother relationship into the God relationship. Therefore, wounds suffered can lead to a distanced relationship with God, they prevent us from becoming at home with God.
- Due to the lack of a basic feeling of security, we lack self-confidence. We are insecure and have difficulties finding our place in life.
- We are surrounded by a certain darkness and abandonment. Life is characterised by loneliness and emotional pain.
- Our own mother relationship influences all relationships with women in our lives.
Healing the mother wounds
God is a loving, caring Father - and He is the best Mother. We are his children. Without a close relationship with God as the true Father and Mother, we cannot become a whole person. A central statement on this is: "If even my father and mother forsake me, yet the Lord will receive me" (Psalm 27:10). Through communion with the heavenly Father we are placed in a privileged position where healing can become concrete. It is never too late to live a wonderful life. The good news is: healing is possible!
We can experience healing from our mother wounds when we come to this God. Jesus died on the cross so that we can receive healing. It is all finished (John 19:30; Isaiah 53:5). In a prophetic sentence it is said about Jesus: "The Spirit of the Lord God rests on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted and to proclaim that the captives will be set free and the bound will beset free" (Isaiah 61:1).
How can we proceed?
- Identify the cause of your wound and the person who caused the miracles. We don't get anywhere by protecting the mother and saying: "My mother also brings her story. She made the best of it."We must have knowledge and revelation before we can experience healing.
- Decide to forgive. Forgiveness is first a decision, not a feeling. Because no human being can forgive sins - only God can do this, we must separate the sin from the person. However, God has given us the responsibility to forgive others. This does not mean that we excuse or belittle sin. When you forgive a person, you are putting God first in your life because He has said, "If you forgive those who have done evil to you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you" (Matthew 6:14).
- Detach yourself from any bondage caused by bitterness and unforgiveness in your life. We bind people by keeping them in our debt. As long as you do not forgive, other people own a piece of land in your heart.
- Ask Jesus for forgiveness for your own guilt. Because of the wounds we experience, we also become perpetrators. We may bring this guilt to Jesus and experience forgiveness.
- Receive God's blessing, let the heavenly Father restore in your life what has been robbed from you.
In the course of growing up, it is necessary to leave father and mother (Genesis 2:24). The processes just described are a necessary must on this path. However, the goal is not abandonment, accusation and distance, but hearts turned towards each other! The only one of the Ten Words that is linked to a promise is: "Honour your father and your mother. Then you will live long in the land that the Lord your God will give you" (Exodus 20:12). The goal is to honour father and mother! But honouring does not mean approving what has happened. You can only honour your father and mother if you have let go and found a healthy relationship through forgiveness. When this has happened, you will find yourself very close to the heart of God. That is what life is all about. It is the very best place there is!
Possible questions for the small groups
Read the Bible text: Isaiah 66:13
- Tell each other childhood memories related to your mother!
- Which of the five ways were you most likely to be hurt by your mother?
- What effects of mother wounds are you aware of? Examples?
- Which species is most likely to become a trap for you as a mother? What do you do about it?
- What is the difference between forgiving a person and forgiving sin? Why do we often find it so difficult to forgive people?