Today is Mothers’ Day in the UK and Dave spoke this morning on the question ‘What is a mother?’ As a man, he said this was a thorny question to tackle; the dictionary definition (a woman who has given birth to a child) not encompassing the way a woman can be like a mother to people even if she has not had children herself. A mother is someone who shows unconditional love for her child, who understands all about sacrifice and patience and hard work and who does not necessarily get the recognition or respect she deserves. Motherhood is all-embracing and exhausting, from the long hours of labour to the years of devotion freely offered. In the early years, it’s easy for a mother to lose her sense of identity, but most would say it is worth the helplessness, tiredness and sense of hopelessness that can often punctuate the crises of the job!
In Isaiah 49;15, we see that God describes Himself as a mother. Just as a mother cannot forget the baby at her breast, so God cannot forget us. We can be just as noisy, demanding, rebellious, energetic, curious and frustrating to Him as to our own mothers, but He loves us unconditionally. His love can be measured in the fact that He sacrificed His own Son for us. We often think of God as ‘our Father’, but He is also a mother to us and His tenderness, compassion and understanding can form the bedrock of our lives.