I Need a Mother God

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Idelette McVicker -Mother God3

Right now, I need a Mother God.

I have three, four, maybe even five mothers. One birthed me, raised me and gave me a place of Love from which I could be released into the world. She has surrendered me to God and the work in the world I feel compelled to do. She has relinquished me, in Love.

A second mother saw me for who I could become. She called me out from the layers of confusion and self-doubt, bad judgment and bad choices and she called me onto my Path. Then she, too, relinquished me.

One has embraced me into her family, under her wing and her wisdom. I have watched her and learned much.

Another embraced me into her spiritual family—the garden that is church.

But lately, maybe these past few years, to be honest, I have longed for another Mother. I have longed for Someone to give me permission to stop working. I have longed for Someone to give me permission to rest. I have longed for a Mother who would see my life—ALL of my overflowing life and not just the parts I show the world—and see me in all of it and tell me, You have done enough.

I have longed for permission to just be.

In my recovery—my journey of healing from racism—one message that hounds me is this: You don’t have the right to be tired. You don’t have the right to stop working. You don’t have the right to stop working for what is good and just and beautiful.

I hear this voice over and over again: How dare you stop? You could never do anything to pay for the pain you have caused. How dare you rest?

The Accuser chases me down. It either tells me I don’t have anything to offer—how dare I even try? Or it wants to drive me to work without ceasing. I know the Accuser is not the voice of Love. But I get tired. Rather than facing this relentless taskmaster on my own, I have longed for a Mother God to rise and stand with me and say, Enough. She has done enough. Now leave my child.

I have longed for the words of the Healer to rise in me and the Comforter to call me up on to her lap and tell me, Hush, Child, you have done enough.

I have missed Her voice.

I hear the other voice so clearly. But I have longed for Mother God to say, You can’t set this world right, but I can.

I have never sat on my earthly dad’s lap, so to imagine Father God as God who invites me onto His lap, soothing me and comforting and telling me I have done enough, is hard.

So, for this season, I need a Mother God.

I have longed for this Mother God who both sees me and sees the world. A Mother God who holds me in her arms and rocks me, but also stands way back and cheers me on when I step out into destiny. I need this Mother God whose presence is Love. I need this Mother God who unleashes me to the world.

I am realizing the same things I long for us to be for each other in community, I long for God to be that for me.

Some nights, I just want a Mother God who tells me, You have done enough for today. 

At our Rise Up, Sister gathering in February, Fiona told us how she sings liberation lullabies to her children. All she did was insert a female pronoun into a familiar song, but that one word—that one shift—has re-calibrated  something in me.

Together we sang:

She’s got the whole world in her hands.

My life and my heart have been singing these words ever since. My heart is resounding with this message. She has the whole world in Her hands. O, yes, She does.

When I watched the movie, The Shack, I saw Octavia Spencer embody an image of God that was both gentle and strong, Love and beauty, soft and sassy, comforting and disorienting. She was all my mothers in one.

I could sit in that image of God—a gentle, wise place where there’s no earning, no striving, no performing—I could sit there and drop my shoulders and exhale and remember Love again.

More than anything right now, I need God to remind me that I am enough and I don’t need to earn love or strive to accomplish anything, or perform to any expectations.

Growing up, my mom used to sit at our yellow formica kitchen table and do her work. She would write curriculum or report cards and prepare lesson plans for her preschoolers. She would sit under the harsh fluorescent light and her presence to me was such calm.

With her, I didn’t need to do anything more. I was already so loved. In her presence, there was peace. I knew I didn’t need to do anything more to please her. She was already so pleased with me.

I need this Mother God right now. When the world is full of violence, war and competition, I need this Mother God who reminds me that She first loved us.

When there’s fear and anxiety all around, I need this Mother God who holds me in Love.
When the Accuser rises and yells at me, I need this Mother God to rise on my behalf.
When the Internet blows up, I need to see this God who is gentle and kind.
When I want to keep hustling, I need the Comforter to stop me and say, You’ve done enough for today.  You’ve done enough, Child.

I am starting to feel a deep shift in me. It’s like trying on a new wardrobe and singing a new song. It’s like God sitting at the yellow kitchen table of my life and I am finally beginning to truly know, O, how She loves us. 

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Idelette McVicker
I like soggy cereal and I would like to go to every spot on the map of the earth to meet our world’s women. I dream of a world where no women or girls are for sale. I dream of a world where women and men are partners in doing the work that brings down a new Heaven on earth. My word last year was “roar” and I learned it’s not about my voice rising as much as it is about our collective voices rising in unison to bring down walls of injustice. This year, my own word is “soar.” I have three children and this place–right here, called shelovesmagazine.com–is my fourth baby. I am African, although my skin colour doesn’t tell you that story. I am also a little bit Chinese, because my heart lives there amongst the tall skyscrapers of Taipei and the mountains of Chiufen. Give me sweet chai and I think I’m in heaven. I live in Vancouver, Canada and I pledged my heart to Scott 11 years ago. I believe in kindness and calling out the song in each other’s hearts. I also believe that Love covers–my gaps, my mistakes and the distances between us. I blog at idelette.com and tweet @idelette.
Idelette McVicker

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Idelette McVicker
  • Robin Baldwin

    Wow. I am in awe of your honesty and vulnerability that you’ve shared. You are not alone in the sentiments you’ve expressed. You’ve done enough and so much more! I have been so blessed to discover SheLoves and the Dangerous Woman Tribe, all thanks to your vision.

    • Thank you, Robin! I am so so grateful. Our honesty connects us … I am grateful we have found each other.

      • Robin Baldwin

        Me too, Idelette!

  • Siki Dlanga

    Rest is warfare.
    Maybe we need competition for who is getting the most rest? Hebrews 3&4 invites us to this rest and goes as far as to say in Hebrews 4 that we must strive for it. 🙂 It seems so ironic.

    So yes and amen to these beautiful prayers. May the Lord teach us to be anxious. for nothing. May we be led gently to bed, to rest as work as warfare. love you sister Idelette. Rest a while.

    • YES to this piece. Yes to this too being what I need more than anything: “More than anything right now, I need God to remind me that I am enough and I don’t need to earn love or strive to accomplish anything, or perform to any expectations.” Yes to REST IS WARFARE! How to strive for rest? It is something I am learning more about every day but think I need to learn more about every day for the rest of my life to finally get it.

      • I am so grateful these words are speaking to you right now. My heart and my prayers are so with you.

    • Agreed! And Sabbath is Resistance, as Walter Brueggemann reminds us.

      Thank you, my sis. Yes, let’s rest a while.

  • Carey

    Read this through to meditate on the imagery of your words… my body and soul exhaled a long, tired breath. Thank you Idelette, your journey and honesty is a gift.

    • Thank you for reading, Carey. Let’s exhale together.

  • Tracy Nelson

    yes, yes, YES!!! Now I’m singing in my heart “she loves, us, oh how she loves us …” thank you. and just an aside …. you don’t have to stop completely to rest. rest should be built in -a margin …we often give grace to others, but we need room to breathe, ourselves, and to know in the breathing space, it makes us better … everythings … . but you knew that already … love you.

    • Hehehe. I will be singing over here too!

      I loved what you said about building margin for rest … I will be pondering that. For sure.

  • I love this! I get excited when I see this… I have felt the shift too. A few years back I began to practice saying God as not he nor she. However, I feel that God is both and represents both…just as we, both men and women, are both made in the image of God…so I need both images of God and I am stoked to see more and more people recognize the mother side of God, as She has been dismissed so very very often and always labeled as He. Thank you for sharing this empowering writing. Amen & Awomen!!

    • I did the same–I started saying God and being conscious of the gender several years ago … but I didn’t have the gumption to use feminine pronouns publicly until I listened to Fiona sing a lullaby to a room full of women in February. Then I started realizing that I not only long for a feminine image of God, I also need it.

  • Frances Stone

    You are such a gorgeous writer. Your words are like a soothing balm or a summer breeze. I have noticed for myself as well (is it 40?) about wanting to be more efficient over busy and have plenty of time for rest and fun too. Raised Catholic, I prayed to Mary, Mother of God and now my mother in heaven and I do receive this love. I’m grateful you’re easing into a new paradigm shift. I hope you’ll keep us posted!

    • Thank you, Frances. Hahaha … is it 40. 😉

  • O Idelette, I hear you. I hear your weariness and the hesitance to accept that permission to stop. Thank you for being so honest. Here’s the thought that frees me every time the taskmaster voice gets loud: Jesus has already done it all. There’s nothing I can do or not do to add to or hinder God’s restorative work in the world. As a mama, I account for the limits my kids have. So does Mama God toward us. You are SO loved, my dear friend. Enjoy lounging in Her lap for a while. xoxo

    • Thank you, Olive. So grateful for our Jesus.

  • This is beautiful. Thank you, Idelette. You reminded me of a prayer I sketched last year. I think the words were from Nan C. Merril’s Psalms for Praying: Enfold me in your love. https://jlsanborn.wordpress.com/2016/03/08/sketching-a-new-image/
    I needed that reminder of Divine Mother love today.

    • So beautiful. Thank you! It’s interesting … I have been praying through an image of climbing on God’s lap for years … so healing. But seeing your sketch–wow. That solidifies it so beautifully.

  • The image of God being the God we need…. Whether Mother God, Father God, Friend God, Helper God. I’m glad you are resting in the arms of a God of Peace.

    • Exactly. YES! Our God who is Everything we need.

  • Kathleen Bertrand

    Like Fiona, I have also been slowly changing pronouns in the bible stories I read to my kids for a while now but something in me cracked wide open we we sang together in that chapel. This is beautiful. <3

    • Thank you! Right … there was a loud cracking … 😉

  • Megan Gahan

    You wove the threads of these stories so seamlessly together, my friend. Thank you for gently and honestly inviting us to embrace the beauty and necessity of Mother God. You’ve given me a lot to ponder today <3

    • Thank you, my friend. I’ll keep pondering quietly in my corner. 😉

  • Kerri L. Banister Holferty

    This resonated with me, Idelette, thank you for putting your thoughts to words. Using she/her/hers prounouns for God was radical for me and felt so right in my heart..like a secret that had been kept was finally opened. And allowed. I still struggle with it…will I get in trouble for calling God a she? I am grateful my journey into a closer relationship with God and Jesus is not being done alone.

  • Jess Basson

    Last month, My mom wanted to sing ‘You’re a good, good Mother’ at our church on Mother’s Day because she says that line ‘You know just what I need before I say word’ is so not a Dad thing 🙂

    Having a beautiful revelation of Mother God myself. She is in indeed good.