I’m the three-year-old in the grocery store; God’s the parent

I love my kids.

 I really do. 

However, it doesn’t mean that they don’t drive me crazy sometimes. 

One of the craziest times is bedtime. In our house, it consists of brushing teeth, use the bathroom, sleep attire, puffers, nasal sprays, tuck-ins, reading, songs, and prayer.

All the while, you’re trying not to wake the ones who have fallen asleep. That’s the real trick. I believe that parents who can consistently and successfully get a child to sleep within 10mins should get an honorary Doctorate. 

Can I get an Amen on that!

It always seems it’s right before bed that they mention the homework that they have to do or the book that needs to be read and returned.

Do they not know that it’s bedtime! 

Do they not understand that if they do not go to bed that very minute it will be meltdown city! That the next day will consist of tears, screams, fists, and turmoil.

To no avail, seldom do they listen. Kids rarely understand the consequences. Continually we try. Why? Because we love them. We know that to neglect them would be a worse fate than to do our best. 

Or how about those moments when you’re in the store and your child… I mean your friend’s child (we know yours is perfect) starts flipping out in the aisle because they want the fluffety puffety marshmallows and you said no. Suddenly, it’s as if you have stripped them of everything dear in life and they must scream, shout, kick, grab with all their might, so the universe knows and yields to their beck and call!

Yet, we love them.

I believe this is why the Scriptures speak of God as Father. Jesus actually teaches us that the relationship we have with God is so much more intimate than the term father. Jesus and the Apostle Paul use the word “Abba” (Mark 14:36, Romans 8:15, Gal 4:6), which means Daddy. It speaks of an intimate relationship. Not God afar, but a God who draws us close.

When I’m candid with myself, I’m the three-year-old in the grocery store demanding Marshmallows; God’s the parent. Too often, we travel through life only looking for fulfillment. We pray and expect God, like any good vending machine, will give us what we want. We’re like the little girl in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory singing

“I want a feast
I want a bean feast
Cream buns and doughnuts
And fruitcake with no nuts
So good you could go nuts
No, now”

I Want It Now

Sometimes we get what we want out of our free will. There are other times, because of the love of God, where our wish is at a distance from us.

Just because you ask, doesn’t mean you should get it. 

I am the child in the relationship who wants and needs–cries and screams. I fight when something good, but something I don’t want, is demanded of me.

Though I know, I still fight it. I fight my heavenly father because I think I know best. I know best as my four-year-old knows best–not at all.

My Prayer:

Lord, I need help. I don’t know what I’m doing, though I pretend I do. Help me to heed your words and follow your instructions. Most importantly help my heart to be soft, so I continually see you for as the loving Dad you are. You are my peace and my hope.

Amen

Resources used in this post

Is God Mother or Father?

There has been a lot made in the last little while about the gender of God.

Is God our mother or our father.

For some, hearing “mother” in front of God sends a liberal shiver down their spine. They can only see God as a strong and mighty warrior.

For others, they might say, this is an old conversation. It’s old news in many circles to whom evangelicals and many mainline churches might call “liberal.”

However, this question is not something that should be pushed aside.
What do we do when someone cannot see God as a father due to a damaging relationship with their own? Or how about the person who had a toxic mother and knowing that there is a perfect mother in God is restorative? Maybe there is someone who never knew either parent, are we supposed to say God is only a mother or only a father?

There is a lot to this, and it is vitally important that we understand the question of God being a mother or a father. So, which one?

To which I would answer, YES!

(Some of you just hit the x on your browser.)

In Genesis 1, it states that both Male and Female are created in the image of God. I have known many women and some men who have struggled with this concept because of how God is spoken of in male language. Is God more concerned with them being able to refer to “Him” in a masculine tense than “He” is with them being able to connect?

We understand language has its limitations. When that language is coming from a patriarchal dominated society, those limits can become baggage. What we see as we look through the Scripture is a personal God, and thus a Gow who relates to us in a personal way.

As I look through Scripture, I can’t help but see a God who is more concerned with you being able to relate, than a God who has to be seen as either mother or father, as if the genitalia is an essential part of God.

I would argue that if you are dogmatic about God being either mother or father, that the problem isn’t the other side, it’s you.

The Scriptures paint the picture of a God who is more concerned with us being able to see him/her in our limited capacity than portraying him/herself as something so that we cannot see God at all. After all, any picture we do have of God is limited by our knowledge and experience. What God does is reveal him/her-self to us, and as we grow in the relationship reveals more. Isaiah writes, “Can you picture me without reducing me?” Isaiah 46 (MSG)

No, we can’t!

Whatever picture you have of God, it’s incomplete.

Yet, we must relate to God. So, is God Mother, Father, or both? Here are a few verses.

“like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them aloft.”

(Dt 32:11)

As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.

Psalm 103:13-14

As a mother comforts her child,
so will I comfort you;
and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.

(Is 66:13).

“Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, The mighty in battle.”

Psalm 24:8

He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” 8 So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night.”

(1 Ki 19:4–9).

Maybe God’s a Nonna?

“Going a little further, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass for him. ‘Abba, Father,’ he said, ‘everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

(Mark 14:35-36

“I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them.”

Ho 11:4.

God is both our perfect Mother and Father. However, he is not limited to either. John 4 tell us that God is Spirit!

If you can’t relate to God as Father, try Mother on until he can heal the wound. If you can’t refer to God as Mother, try Father. God would rather you be in a relationship than not. It is only as we begin our relationship–allowing God to heal our hearts–that God is willing to meet us at where we are at, in order to reveal His/Her character in fullness so that we may know abounding grace and love.

Most importantly, know that we have a heavenly mother/father who loves you and wants you to know him/her intimately.

How do you see God, Mom or Dad….or Nonna?