Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mother God

My whole world has changed since my last post. The last time I posted, my stomach stuck out like an oversized basketball, my time was still my own, I rarely cried, and I thought I knew how much I was going to love my little girl.

Three months ago today, I gave birth to Marin Blake. She weighed 6 pounds 2 ounces (thank the Lord for that - I did a natural birth and am not sure I could have made it through had she been one ounce larger!) and was 19 inches long. She is perfect. I can't get over how much I love her! I get excited each time she wakes me up in the middle of the night wanting to eat - I miss her after even a few hours and just love to see that sweet little face looking up at me! My heart breaks when she cries (I cried with her as she got her first shot at her two-week appointment) and I can't imagine life without her after these twelve short weeks.

Life as a mother has reminded me (or maybe truly taught me for the first time) of some of the qualities of God. As I interact with my daughter and realize time and again how utterly dependent she is on me at this stage of her little life, I can't help but think of my relationship with God.

Marin has a little timer in her tummy and can tell almost to the minute when three hours have passed and it's time for her next meal. She lets me know when it's time to eat and becomes upset quite quickly if I don't feed her immediately, even if I'm in the process of getting set up to feed her. She is not satisfied until she is eating (she's a lot like me in that way, actually!) If seeing her cry weren't so sad, it would be almost comical to see how worked up she gets when her meal is just seconds away. You would never know from her response to hunger that I have been feeding her every 3 hours her whole life. Her memory doesn't tell her to trust me - she just knows she is hungry. It is a perfect parallel to how I often respond when there are needs (and sometimes even wants) in my life. I get all panicky inside and worry that I won't be taken care of. It's as if I have forgotten ALL of the times God has come through for me in the past. I always imagine God responding to me in the same way I respond to Marin as I calmly tell her, "Don't worry, baby girl - I know just what you need. It's on the way..."

I Know Better Than You...
When Marin wakes up in the middle of the night to eat, I always check to see whether she has a dirty diaper before I feed her. If she does, I change it before she eats so that I won't reawaken her with this whole process after her meal. She often stops crying when I pick her up, as if to say, "What a relief! Someone is listening to me!" However, when she realizes I am changing her diaper rather than feeding her, she bursts into sobs, crying harder than she was before I picked her up. I picture her thinking, "But this isn't what I wanted, Mom! Aren't you listening? Can't you see that I'm starving?" As I reassure her that her meal is on the way, I think of how good it will feel to her to have a clean diaper and a full tummy when I lay her back down to sleep. Again, I can't help but see the parallel in my own life. God knows what I need, and he is consistently faithful in my life, but sometimes he is changing my diaper first when what I wanted was to eat. It's all very upsetting until I'm clean and fed and back in the crib...

How Deep the Mother's Love for Us...
There's an old hymn I love called "How Deep the Father's Love for Us." In our patriarchal society (and in the patriarchal society in which the Bible was written) we usually refer to God as Father. I have no problem with this and am not on some feminazi soapbox about the gender of God; however, as a mother myself (and having watched my mother take care of us growing up) it seems to me that the image of God as Mother is almost more fitting. I am extremely close to my own father and adore watching Krister dote over Marin, so I do not deny the deep connection fathers have with their children. But think of the mother's role with her children - of the deep physical connection present from birth, as her body changes in form and function to meet the needs of her baby, as mother and baby become codependent in the breast-feeding process, both needing the other for comfort and relief. Think of the endless selflessness that it takes to be a good mother. I am overwhelmed with love for Marin. I feel as though I have been given a small glimpse of God's love for me as this new relationship unfolds, as I gladly sacrifice to meet Marin's needs out of a deep and indescribable love. I understand for the first time in my life how greatly God rejoices in me, not because of anything I have done, but just because I am.

I am grateful for God the Father. I am grateful for God the Mother. I am so grateful to be a mother myself, and in this role to learn anew the love God has for me.