imperfect prose on thursdays: how i met my mother

welcome to imperfect prose on thursdays. this week’s prompt is “mother.” if you have a post that is even remotely similar to the prompt, please feel free to link up!
i wish you could have been here, in our living room, last night, to see the way She moved. the Holy Spirit, here amongst my boys and my husband and me, in my chair curled up around my library book and the boys in their avocado-green pajamas, squealing as Trent jumped out at the them from behind places and a crescendo of instrumental on the airwaves. 
sometimes the most daily of moments, the peanut-butter and jam moments, are the most sacred. and sometimes they’re the hardest, and i’m not sure if there’s much of a difference anymore. between sacred and hard, but i’m learning that the Spirit– our heavenly mother, the feminine side of Abba Father, the breath that he breathed into nothing, making it something, even as the earth unrolled its ocean carpets and starlit skies–i’m learning that she makes it all bearable. like any mother would. 
i’ve never been motherless. i’ve had a difficult relationship with my mum. i’ve watched her nearly die for three years. and i’ve seen God restore my relationship with her, since then. but i do know what it’s like to feel the gap, nonetheless, of humanity never measuring up. of broken people parenting broken people, and it’s no fairy tale. it’s the gospel in all of its grit. 
and i’m learning, slowly, that i have a family in heaven that will never let me down. i have a brother named Jesus, who shows me how to live and leads me to his (our) Abba father; i have an Abba father who fights for me, who cheers me on, who provides for me. and i have a mother. i have the Holy Spirit who nurtures, who guides, who comforts and creates, and who gives me words and life when i have none. 
i wouldn’t have known this except for a run one day under bleak alberta skies and the snow all white and cold beneath my sneakers, and God downloading visions of family, of what a family could be, and then him whispering that the trinity is just this.
and i think the Holy Spirit must always be aching, because i don’t know if a mother’s womb is ever full.

last year our house certainly felt full enough, with four boys ages four and under, and now with just our two again, it’s certainly emptier and i’m feeling the call to bear life again. not just physical (although i sometimes cry for the longing). no, not just physical, but a spiritual kind of life. the kind that produces compassion and mercy and grace and forgiveness. 

so i’m leaning hard on the Spirit, letting her nurture and teach me, letting her make me cups of chamomile tea and read me scripture to sleep, because no matter how old we get, we never outgrow it.

our need for a mother’s love.

Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Gen. 1:26-27)

every thursday, we gather together to celebrate redemption. here are the details:  

1. link up a post (old or new) that relates to this week’s prompt (or to a similar theme)
2. put the ‘imperfect prose’ button at the bottom of your post, so others can find their way back here (see button code in right-hand column of my blog) 
3. read other’s prose, and encourage them!
 so won’t you join us, as we “walk each other home”? (ram dass)

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47 Comments

  1. Oh, Em. I’ve had such a hard time writing this week and now. and now. I think I’ll be able to now.

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  2. love this em. I know these seasons with our mothers. of how deep and how intertwined with our struggles, with our cores they can be. But they are part of our home. Our place to land, and i believe that it is this feminine that brings forth life.

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  3. Our Proverbs 31 supermom impresses such big footsteps for us to follow. And how often we fail. But (as my mom reminds me) “Her children rise and call her blessed”, so I think this only happened when her children were somewhat grown. I’ve only started to really appreciate my mother since I became a mother myself…and I truly see her sacrifices.
    It’s in the peanut butter and jelly right now. And right now that’s enough.

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  4. Ooppss! I just realized I linked up the post about my mom last week so feel free to delete it. Sorry about that. It is so good you have reconciled with your mother. There absolutely is no perfect relationship on this earth. Blessings, Lori

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  5. I have just begun to think of the Holy Spirit as her. Laura actually planted the seed. And I love it. Love thinking of her as mother. And this is what I want, too: the kind that produces compassion and mercy and grace and forgiveness.

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  6. No, we never outgrow that need for a mother. I love your analogy of Holy Spirit as mother. I’ll linger with that…

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  7. I have to weed through some religion to ponder these thoughts, but I am finding myself saying…hmm? I’ve never thought about God’s Spirit this way — as mother, but some how it makes sense to me. It makes beautiful sense.

    I love that line about the sacred and the hard and the pb&j… I needed to read that. I can feel the struggle within reside from those few lines. thank you

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  8. Oh, I love thinking of the Holy Spirit as mother . . . so perfect, so beautiful. Thank you for sharing this vision with us, Emily.

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  9. For so long in my younger christian life I only thought of the male side of God…then He keep saying to me…you are created in My Image… Some where I lost…or never really had… that females as well as males were the beautiful image of God…yes…He does mother us and I am so thankful He can teach us to mother our children. And no matter the age…we do need mothering…and no matter the age of our children…we never stop mothering in our hearts…not in the same way when they are young…but deep in our prayerful hearts. xoxo to you dear Em

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  10. Oh how I love this. I was just thinking today of The Shack and wanting to reread it just for the portions of God displayed as a loving mother. As mom of two little boys, I needed to be reminded that God knows what it is like to mother us. Your post here was timely for me.

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  11. There in the sacred and the hard, with you.

    Knowing God’s ways and thoughts are far beyond mine, I rest in knowing how He created:
    “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

    and how he cares:
    “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.”

    I’ll never outgrow it, may I always be willing!!!

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  12. This idea of the Holy Spirit as my mother–it’s new to me, makes sense to me. I’ll be thinking about this, friend. You always make me think.

    I was just thinking today…I’m head over heels excited about seeing you FTF in April. xoxo

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  13. This is incredibly beautiful to me, as I have been reflecting on the comfort and care of God’s motherly heart toward us. Thanks for putting this to words in how you see the Spirit. I think we need the reality of a mother’s love now more than ever.

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  14. you have sttretched my thinking and my heart a bit this evening em…very nice…

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  15. Emily, my heart is beating fast and my throat is tight with longing for more–yes more of His and Her arm around me, pulling me in, my Brother showing me the way Home. Just beautiful and perfect. Thank you.

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  16. I’ve never thought about God’s maternal nature. Love the way you’ve brought the Trinity to life for me here. Thank you.

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  17. Dearest Emily
    I am overjoyed that you see the Mother side of our God as well. That resting and feeding at Her Breast of love. My biological mom passed away when I was 3 years old and my dad remarried when I was 4. Although we get along well, my new mother and me never had that close mother/daughter relationship. Therefore I look up to Pappa God!! at lot for the other side of love … mother love. Thank you for your link today!
    Much love
    Mia

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  18. This is a beautiful post — thank you for sharing it. When I bore my son I came to a whole new understanding of God-as-Mother. There’s a Talmudic saying that “more than the calf wants to suckle, the cow wants to give milk,” which my teachers taught me to understand as a metaphor for how God yearns to bestow blessing on the world (and our prayers are what draws the blessing down) — I understood that as a metaphor before I had a kid. Once I was a nursing mother myself, I came to a whole new embodied sense of how God must feel, yearning to give blessing to all creation, overflowing with blessing, aching for us to want to receive.

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  19. Thankful for the Holy Spirit’s gentle chiding, arms open for embrace at the ready, her lips speaking gentle truth . . .just like a mother. Lovely Emily.

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  20. There was a tightening in my chest when you posted the prompt. I began writing before reading yours. Yes, our Heavenly parents teach us and mold us and give me hope for my earthly relationships. Thank you once again.

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  21. When I think of mothers, I think of hugs. No better way to describe the Holy Spirit sometimes.

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  22. And you? Are a kind of mother to me, too. Grateful. <3

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  23. what a beautiful post, emily. “ocean carpets and starlit skies”… oh the beauty that creates in my mind’s eye. it sets a beautiful tone.
    and the body of it. the feminine side. love that, too.
    beautiful.
    i haven’t followed your prompts, but i try to stay true and only link my posts where i hope my words are the focus and not my pictures.
    love being here. it’s like snuggling up on a couch with a favorite blanket and a great book.
    xo

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  24. As a mother who is balancing care for two young daughters, an ailing mother and (more recently) mother-in-law, this was the encouragement I needed today. “i have the Holy Spirit who nurtures, who guides, who comforts and creates, and who gives me words and life when i have none.” Thx!

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  25. Em, this way of thinking of the Trinity is new to me.

    And it’s a gift. Thank you. And thank you for hosting us.

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  26. Such truth and beauty here. How the Holy Spirit holds us tight, whispers the encouragement into our ears, holds us after we have fallen. I love this. What a gift to read this morning Emily.

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  27. “i’m feeling the call to bear life again. not just physical (although i sometimes cry for the longing). no, not just physical, but a spiritual kind of life. the kind that produces compassion and mercy and grace and forgiveness.”

    Yes! We mamas birth so much more than little bodies don’t we? Our participation in creation weaves into every area of our calling to nurture and bring forth life. Oh that I would be faithful to cooperate with God’s Holy Spirit in this!

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  28. I thought a little of William P. Young’s The Shack, where God the Father and the Holy Spirit are both depicted as a woman. Only I liked your post much better. Lots of love to you.

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  29. this is a new way of looking at the Trinity for me, em. i have a lot of processing to do, a lot of warring with ingrained theology for me to grasp this and sink into the love here.

    so much love, dearheart. <3

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    • i LOVE your honesty and your willingness to war with it all. love YOU.

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  30. Emily, your words ministered to me this morning. Thank you for this picture of mother breath through God’s love.

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  31. truly beautiful. it speaks to my hurting heart and relationship with God right now. Thank you!

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  32. Emily, this is just beautiful. I had chills through the entire post. I’m so happy to be joining IP for the first time today.

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    • yay, i’m so glad you’re here friend! welcome!

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  33. I love this image of holy spirit as mother. Beautiful and thought provoking!

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  34. I know this place with Him and I’ve learned to lean into it now that my own mother is gone. And God fully leans back and it’s not all “masculine-ish” but there’s the intuitiveness and knowings of the feminine. I know he is All and there’s great comfort here.

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    • LOVE this sweet Lorretta. LOVE how he is your all in all.

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  35. May we be Spirit-filled in all we do. Thanks for hosting & God bless,
    Laurie

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  36. As always your words have moved me. i want so much to write about my Mother, but I can’t. i am afraid the words would come back against me. I pray about it though and one day I will share about the great need in her life ….and mine. For that reason I am posting today about being a Mother….
    Blessings to you.

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  37. Reminded me of my mother. She talks to god like she is in company of her father. And similar traditions have been passed to me subconsciously ..

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  38. I cannot, right now, write about my mother. But I can, write about being a mother. Thank you, Emily.

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  39. LOVELY, em. yes, I like the image of Spirit as mother, nurturing, encouraging, looking out for us, warning us about the dangers of this life. I like that a lot. thank you.

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  40. “The gospel in all its grit.” Love this.

    Linking very, very late. But I’ve been mulling this post a for a long time.

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  41. Emily your words here are deep and knowing and they tell of something that bears a new slant… it is wonderful, so lovely. You shed new light on the Trinity and its filled with wonder and amazement, spilled out and spilling out. thank you for your heart and eyes and the overflow of your tender spirit. thank you for your voice and your art. This is beautiful.

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i'm so glad you're here, friend. how are you?