"For thus saith the Lord: Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river. and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream. Then you shall feed. On her sides shall you be carried, and dandled on her knees, as one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you." Isaiah 66:12-13.
Being a mom is hard and I love how God uses our love for our children as an illustration for how He loves us. Why? Because we can understand it. We can relate to it. I think for me, God's grace and love for me has ever so much been amplified as I have become and lived as a mommy: the empathy I feel and how my heart can ache for my child as he/she hurts or disobeys and my overwhelming love for them that sometimes makes me feel as though my heart may burst because of the overfilling emotion. We are willing to allow them to experience the consequence of bad choices as an opportunity for them to learn, yet sometimes we offer mercy and pray that this extension will help them understand HOW much you care for them and want to keep them from harm or heartbreak, even if the pain is earned. Isn't that a picture of Christ...of course I am not comparing myself or saying I am anything like our Lord. He is God and His love and grace for us is God sized..meaning it is immeasurable, unfathomable and incredible..and I, as a human am finite, often times self serving and my grace/love can be embarrassingly and admittedly conditional. But we are made in HIS image and I believe one of the ways that we understand and learn about His love for us the most is through the example of parenthood.
From the time we find out we are pregnant (or for some the moment you know you have a child waiting to be adopted) our love exists. Like God breathed life into Adam and Eve in the Garden our love for our children is breathed into existence and from there it grows like ivy interweaving into our lives and hearts like no other.
Father's experience love for their kids too, but I cannot speak for how a man feels or thinks because..well, I'm not a man. But as a woman and as a mom..I can celebrate/understand the anticipation of birth because I've been pregnant and I can understand and weep for the hurt another mom experiences because I get it. Our children are like extensions of our hearts and when something happens to them...we cannot help but suffer with and for them.
My sister shared a story of a mom she knows who endured many years of difficulty getting pregnant. This poor mama lost her one and only baby in a drowning incident at their home. A quick 5 minutes of being distracted, as we ALL do, with the matters of the home/lives that we manage on a daily basis and he was gone. Five short minutes.
Another mom in our county recently lost her teenage son in a car accident. Out of her control, yet the loss of your child or having to see the suffering of your child is a mom's worst nightmare. You would, if you could..take the torture or loss for them..you would sacrifice yourself so as not to see your child's life not be so hard or to save it.
Another mom lost her sweet baby before even getting to love her outside the womb. It's a lesson in faith and trust in God, but that doesn't mean that her heart doesn't ache for that loss or that her arms don't feel unnaturally empty because there was a little girl who was supposed to fill them. Some mom's will question and judge..
"well, she should of..."..
"why didn't she.."...
"I never...." or reply with self pious,
"well, if that were me....".And the truth is we are all vulnerable. ALL vulnerable. We cannot control what happens to our children at every moment of every day. Sometimes their free choice can lead to heart ache and sometimes horrific things happen out of our control or in a short, life-changing five minutes. We should hug our children each day we have with them and THANK GOD for another day and for their protection.
As an ER nurse I have seen mothers' hear the painful news of the diagnosis of cancer or worse the confirmation of death whether from illness or accident or even by their child's own hand. And the wail of a parent who has heard this devastating news will forever be etched in my ears. It's the worst sound you can hear and if you've ever had to hear that cry or see the look on their face, you'd know it. That child could be an infant or 65, but a mother's love never recedes.
God love us like this...even more than this...so great, in fact that he sent His Son to die FOR us, to take our punishment. The punishment and death we deserved because HE loves us that much an more. He did this so we could be reconciled to Him. So we could escape the bondage and imprisonment of sin and be with HIM. You see, we are His children. He aches when we ache and he doesn't want to see us suffer. Only He could pay a price that big and He did on the cross. Yes, He has allowed the consequences of sin to reign in the world -BUT...and it's a big BUT...He saved us where it counts...He saved us from an eternity of damnation and separation from Him, we just have to see it and believe it.
The Holy Spirit that God gives us when we accept Him sort of acts as our "mother"...He comforts, He teaches, He convicts, He can utter on our behalf and He can grieve for us. These are God's attributes and it lives in us as mommies. The greatest news is that God bears our burdens..both our own and our burdens for our children. He loves them too. Our children are His children first. He placed them in our wombs, He grew them and knit them together, He gave them to us and gave us to them. So when the burden of motherhood weighs, we can know...He cries with us. He loves them even more than we do and He love us too.
I think, as women and as mothers, God gave us a certain amount of strength that men don't naturally have. Even at Christ's death, the apostles fled, but Christ's mother and the other women stayed. Mary lost her baby..her son...but only to gain a Savior and gain salvation, but I can imagine a mother's heart at that at the time, possibly and probably aching as she watched her boy hurting and dying. Our burdens/hurts are not meant to be left on our shoulders...they are meant to be given back to God. He already sees it and wants to carry it for you..and to carry you.
This is a beautiful story of loss, faith and community.