Mother’s Day sermon research help…

Ok, moms, I’m working on my sermon for Mother’s day – on the maternal heart of God – and I’m wondering if you could help me out… by responding to the following two questions;

1. What’s the biggest thing that being a mom has taught you about what God is like?

2. How does your answer to question one resonate with the Bible’s teachings on the nature of God?

Thanks for your help in advance (I figured it would be a bit disingenuous for me to go and preach about something I know nothing about!)

13 thoughts on “Mother’s Day sermon research help…

  1. Laura

    Having a child with a neurological disability (Tourette’s, OCD) which manifests itself sometimes with symptoms that are inexplicable and frustrating and not very loveable has led me to think deeply about unconditional love. People, including me, sometimes don’t “get” my son – they misunderstand his behaviour as purposeful and weird and sometimes disturbing. Putting aside my own expectations and my precious “reputation” has been a huge growing experience – it’s been about learning to love as God loves, with no strings attached. Not easy. But a who-cares-what anyone-else-thinks kind of love is worth reaching for, worth getting lost in, so I thank God for the journey that he has marked out for my son and I. And I thank God for walking with us every step of the way.

  2. JoMae

    So glad to see you are preaching on this! Look forward to seeing/hearing it. I became a Mom for the first time about 50 years ago. At first I continued to know God only as Father. But over the years, and reflecting on my own mother, I began to wonder why, as we are made in God’s image, that maternal, feminine image was kept such a secret. I ached to know the maternal side of God. And to celebrate that. Today I know God as my FatherMother God and that brings me much joy. Each of our Mothers shed her blood to give us life. Yet we are not taught to see God in our Mothers! We are not allowed to call God Mother in the CRC! God is our complete Parent, yet we are taught to only understand our parental God in paternal terms! So sad! All of us know we must be born again. And we know that birthing is a mother thing. Yet we avoid seeing the Mother in our God or our God in our Mothers.
    In those years, as I grappled with this, I would sometimes write my feelings down. Here is one that I think addresses your question.

    Double Exposure

    Yesterday we celebrated the Lord’s Supper in our church.  We also celebrated an infant baptism.  The two events became superimposed upon my heart.

    We were nourished at communion with spiritual food. Christ’s broken body.  Christ’s blood shed for the complete remission of all our sins.  We remembered and believed.  We were nourished as truly as an infant at its mother’s breast.

    I thought of Moses angrily confronting God in the ancient desert:  “Did I conceive all this people?  Did I give birth to them, that you should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom as a nurse carries a sucking child,’  to the land that you promised on oath to their ancestors?”  (Num11:12)

    No Moses, I thought.  God is the one who conceived us and gave birth to us and carries and feeds us as if we are sucking children.

    Feeds us as surely as each of our mothers, (created in God’s image) after shedding her blood to give us life, fed us with her body and made us one with her again.

    Seeing that young couple holding their newborn, reminded me of my FatherMother God in whom I am reborn. Whose arms have held me since before my baptism.  Who saves me daily from myself and feeds me love and makes me one with God.

    Whose salvation I remember at communion.

  3. Lucretia

    Isaiah 40:11 – He tends his flock like a shepherd:
    He gathers the lambs in his arms
    and carries them close to his heart;
    he gently leads those that have young.

    This verse gave me hope and carried me through postpartum depression.

    I echo so much of what others have said here!! Being a mom has not only taught me about God’s unconditional, pure love but it has also shown me how he carries me through my darkest times. As I held my babies close to my heart, he was holding me close to his. Even when my patience with my kids wears thin, God continues to be patient and gentle with me. He was there, through it all, leading me, guiding me and even carrying me when necessary.

  4. JVS Post author

    OK Moms… this has been brilliant so far! I know I can’t use all of what you’ve shared in one 30 minute sermon… but thanks. What wonderful insights into both motherhood and the heart of God!

    john

  5. Mei-Lyn

    LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! Being a mom has opened my eyes, heart and spirit to whole new kind of love. The love between a mother and child is unconditional, self-less, gentle, strong, accepting, and all giving. Being a mom has given me a new perspective, a new love, a new life. WOW!

    I feel privileged and honoured to be given the gift of motherhood from God. This all leaves me standing in an overwhelming place of reverence and love for God’s grace and love he has for us, his children. I feel I know God more, I have a better understanding for who he is and I am awakened by this shift and new paradigm of life.

    This new perspective has given me a greater appreciation for God’s creation. With new eyes I see the wonderment through my kids exploring nature. The “wowness” in their faces as they stop to let the ants cross the sidewalk, the excitement in their eyes as they see buds appear on spring branches, the overjoyed explosions of laughter as we dance in the rain, and the tears when a baby bird dies at their feet. It’s a taste of the emotions Christ has for us as we explore his world and experience his life. AND this all starts in the womb! It blows my mind how beautiful, amazing and brilliant God is to have created such a gorgeous experience.

    “Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you: A prophet to the nations–that’s what I had in mind for you.”
    – Jeremiah 1:5
    You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb
    ~ Psalm 139:13

    The pure essence of beauty!

  6. carol

    One of the biggest things being a mom has taught me about God is that He is all about freedom…He patiently allows me to make my choices, live my life, make my mistakes and have my successes.

    The older I get (and the older my kids get) the more I realize that being a mother is about letting go. It is about letting go despite my desire to hold on, to let them explore this world for themselves and live life the way they were meant to.
    It started when they were small…letting them explore the safe surroundings of our home, exploring their wobbly legs and falling down and banging their heads and putting all sorts of things into their mouths. It meant letting them wander off the path on a hike to check out that neat bug or plant, it meant letting them climb out a little too far on to the rocks (even though my heart would pound in fear) so they could see a waterfall a little more closely. It meant letting them head to school in things that I knew might make them a target, or letting them try that first bunjee jump. It means letting them choose what to love…who to love. It means stepping back and letting them see/know God with their own eyes and hearts. It means letting them stumble and fall and make mistakes…and know that even when they do, it’s all ok. It is the greatest exercise in faith…in hope…

    Mothering has helped me understand more fully, as the years go on, God’s stance towards us…which I believe being a mom mirrors. That He loves us just as we are, not as we ‘ought’ to be. He is there, always…with his arms open towards us whether we have it all together or are falling completely apart. He loves us with a love we will never fully comprehend.. I think being a parent is the closest we can get to possibly understanding what He sees when He looks at us, what His heart is towards us.

  7. Pauline

    When I think about Jesus on the cross (and I often do) I am always left wondering if I would actually be willing to die in someone elses place for things that they did. Would I taken anyone’s place. When I am really honest, I admit that there are only two people in the world that I would do that for – Quinn and Emma. I love my family, husband and friends but not like I love my children (I think that is o.k.?. In those same moments I am reminded that that is how God loves me inclusive of all the good and the bad – but Gods capacity to love like that includes all of us.

  8. Jan

    The hardest thing I ever did as a mother was admit my two year old son Mark for open heart surgery knowing he might die on the table but would surely die if he didn’t have surgery. He didn’t understand why I was allowing such terrible things to happen to him. I wondered if God felt like I did when He had to allow terrible things to happen to us or others .

    I remember in the Bible Jesus crying when He saw Lazurus had died and the widow’s only son had died even though He knew He would bring them back to life.I think God was allowing me some insight as a mother.

  9. Anna

    In simple terms being a mom has taught me about the depth of God’s immense love for his own children. Motherhood has definitely given me more insight into this crazy love – intense, all-consuming and unconditional. I have learned being a mom requires continual denial of your own needs and focused commitment to provide selflessly for your children. It’s amazing that as a reflection of himself in us, God has built into our very nature this ability to intensely love and care for our children. If this is how I feel for my children, I wonder how much more intensely God must love us as his children!
    It might sound crazy but even before becoming a mother I’ve always had the strong sense that I was meant to do this (a God given, built-in capacity to be a mother). I remember during pregnancy the distinct feeling of already ‘knowing’ my child even before they were born. I was so excited to meet the little person I already felt a very real connection to. I distinctly remember when they were born feeling such incredibly deep gratitude, and that he/she was the most beautiful and precious little beings I had ever laid eyes on. It’s difficult to describe how I felt in the days following their birth – several tear-filled, joy-filled moments for sure. These experiences make me consider given how huge God’s capacity for love is (the definition of love itself) – how much more so must he look at us and think how precious and beautiful we are to him?
    Another blessing of being a mom is experiencing the pure joy of watching my children learn, grow and develop into the people they are meant to be. These contrasted with feelings of angst and anguish when they experience physical and emotional pain, disappointment or feelings of loss. I wonder what God feels like when he watches his children grow, fall down, stumble, experience joy, walk through hardship…given his nature how much more deeply intense must he experience these feelings for us? What a gift that God has given us free will despite his own maternal feelings of wanting to protect and guide…knowing full well that we will stumble and experience hardship along the way just as our own children do.
    It is comforting to know that no matter what happens there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God. Reminds me of the verses from Romans 8:38-39 “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor demons, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing can separate us from the love of God that is Christ Jesus our Lord!” This verse hits home for me as a mother because I know there is nothing that would impact the love I feel for my own children. And knowing what I know about God’s nature how much more so he must feel that way about me?! WOW…it’s the kind of love that blows me away.

  10. Lois

    To quote Agatha Christie in “The Last Seance”: “A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dates all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.”

    God’s love is an unstoppable force that rolls unconditionally and relentlessly over our souls. I think the love a mother has for her child(ren) is a direct, if imperfect, reflection of that quality of God. No matter what, no matter how much it hurts him, he will always give himself completely, even give his life in our place. That’s how a mother feels about her child(ren). She’d give her life in an instant to protect or save her ow. And often she gives her life not physically, but emotionally. Once you become a mother, you’re changed for the rest of your life. You are blessed, and sometimes cursed to love your child(ren) whether for better or worse. You can’t just put them aside and leave them to live their lives without feeling the hurt or joy in their experience. Even when they are grown adults with children or grandchildren of their own, that intense all consuming love never goes away. And the experience is not lukewarm. It either hurts you or fills you with joy to your very core.

    If this is a reflection of God’s love for us, (and you can see by looking around you that for the most part he must love us for the worse, not better)he must hurt and ache a lot. But, like a mother, it also takes very little to make him rejoice in us. Just a relationship, a conversation, an “I love you” will make it all worth it.

  11. Saiward

    Being a mother has taught me about unconditional love and acceptance of my children’s right to free will.

    I wholeheartedly agree with Amber. There is an almost animalistic emotion which I equate to love in regards to my children and their safety, achievements, and losses. I feel their pain more deeply than I feel the pain of others and I empathize more quickly than I with others. I would drop everything to be there for my children when they needed me.

    Along with this love though I have found that as they grow older letting go of the control I’ve had over their lives is hard because I can see how the choices they are making will have a lasting effect when they don’t. I strive to continue protecting them while knowing that I can’t always protrect them; I have to let them make their own choices and then feel the natural consequences for those choices. Its heartbreaking at times and a constant balancing act to know when to step in and when to stay out of it.

    It resonates with the Bible’s teachings because even from the beginning God gave Adam and Eve unconditional love, set boundaries and then left them to make their own decisions, and then after crossing the boundary God did not abandon them but clothed and protected them while also allowing them to feel the weight of the consequenced of their decision. He then went on continue to be with them on their journey even though the role had changed.

    It could also show to why God allowed Jesus to die for us, that same balance between feeling the weight of natural consequences and protection. God knew we could never measure up, our debt was too high, so he allowed His son to take our place thus protecting us once again while fulfilling the debt that needed to be paid.

    Nothing a child ever does can cause a parent to stop loving them; this too is how God feels about all of his children.

    Hope this is helpful!!! 🙂

  12. Ann

    Being a mother has shown me the true meaning of unconditional love and acceptance. There is nothing my children could do that would ever remove my love for them. Sometimes that love is letting them walk the wrong path to learn the lesson even though it hurts me to do so. I just let them know when they return, my arms will always be open as will my heart. God loved us so much he sacrificed his only son so that all sins may be forgiven. Sound familiar…walking the wrong path knowing I am still loved and have the chance for redemption? Ultimate, self sacrificing and unconditional love.
    One of my daughters, who is 12, is bi-polar, and this has been a struggle for everyone. As a mother I don’t love her any less or more for her struggles…they just make her more special, and her victories more beautiful. I don’t see her as flawed or less than. A mother sees the diamond that has quirky facets that make it shine even brighter. I truly think this is how God views his children, individual diamonds, each precious in their own way and a treasure beyond words. It is so awesome to know he is always there with that kind of love and forgiveness for me.

  13. Amber

    Loving someone so much that it hurts. There is this fierce, almost animalistic love that rises up in me whenever the safety of my child is an issue. So if that is how God also loves ME, wow, that blows me away. That I would do anything for my child, it doesn’t matter the difficulty of the task. I want to give my children the best possible of everything, and again, that’s how God feels about me!?! I’m still a bit incredulous even though I know it’s true 🙂 The text where God says there is nothing that can separate us from His love makes me think of what a mothers love is like.

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