Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name…
The first line of the Lord’s prayer, which I recited, in entirety, every school-day morning until the seventh grade.
Jesus always called God his father, and throughout scripture, every prophet, poet and apostle references and writes God as male.
When I was growing up, I had this idea that it was disrespectful to reference God in any other way. Calling God Queen or Mother would be like giving Him a demotion.
I remember reading the Shack by William P. Young shortly after it came out in 2007. It is an inspired and powerful story of a dad’s encounter with God following the tragic murder of his young daughter. I raged for this father as I imaged how angry I would be at God if my future child were to be taken from me in such a brutal way. And I wept with this despondent man as God revealed Herself to him as a woman.
I never imagined that, years later, I would connect with this gruesome and gorgeous story in such a personal way.
The months following Brody’s diagnosis felt like I had walked out of a peaceful, sunny day into the middle of a hurricane. I had prayed and trusted God throughout my pregnancy. I took all my worries and anxieties to Him and I read His promises over the child growing in my womb.
Those promises looked like bullshit now. God had betrayed me and made me a fool for trusting Him. It hurt so much that I was not enough for Him – that my faith wasn’t as strong as I thought it was.
I screamed and wailed and swore at God. I hated that God would not apologize to me. I resented that God would break His promises – His own words – and there was nothing I could do to hold Him accountable.
I wanted to break up with God. I would dump any man who told me all the things I wanted to hear and then failed to follow through. I would lose that bullshitter so fast and never look back.
But I am as convinced of God as I am of air and light and love. Though I was devastated, I was determined to stay connected to my creator. I needed Him, as inconvenient as that seemed.
One day I broke down and told God that I hated Him. I felt horrible and unforgivable. I knew I was in the dark and I told God: I want to live in the light and bring you glory. But I am so full of hate towards you. I don’t know who you are anymore. I don’t know who you are.
Praise God, she has big shoulders. Praise God, she is infinitely patient with this difficult child. Praise God because she has never stopped listening to me, she has never stopped speaking to me. She will never let go.
And God did not hate me back or reject me; God allowed me to come to Her as my mother.
“For this is what the Lord says… As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you.” Isaiah 66:12a, 13b
God’s power has never been about being King or Father. God’s power comes from being Love. And love is a source of power – unending and unyielding – to anyone who will choose it. Love is no respecter of persons. Love has no gender.
This helped me to fall in love with God in a new way. It helped me trust God again as I continued to pray and believe for Brody. God reminded me that she feels the pain of my mommy heart. She sees my child and wants the best for him the same way I do, and she knows how it hurts to watch your child struggle or suffer. She even knows what it feels like to watch Her son die.
She was not then, as she is not now, afraid of my tears or my wounds. She is my ally, my confidant. She is pure, powerful Love. God my Father and my Mother.