It may be the season of epiphanies, but in this season of sleepless nights, as Daniel and I wake to feed a hungry or otherwise disconsolate newborn, I can barely string two coherent thoughts together. (Case in point: I recently found the peanut butter in the cabinet with the frying pans and lost in a game of a memory to a three-year-old.)
But the other night, as I thought about this verse from Isaiah, it made some kind of three-in-the-morning sense:
Can a mother forget her nursing child?Isaiah 49:15
Can she feel no love for the child she has borne?
But even if that were possible,
I would not forget you!
I’ve long loved this tender image of the mother-like love of God. But I thought of the love it describes only in terms of volitional love—the love a mother chooses for her child, the love God chooses for his people.
But now, as I find myself overflowing with milk in the wee hours of the morning, it occurs to me: a nursing mother’s love is more than an act of sentimentality. In fact, it’s hardly a choice at all. She has milk to give, milk that must come forth. It’s part of her very nature, and it will pain her not to give what she has.
And so it is with God. Love pours out of him; it is part of his very nature. He must give love.
According to scholars, the Hebrew word for love used in this chapter of Isaiah also means “womb.” God is not distant or aloof; he pulses with love—the kind of mysterious, unbreakable bond that forms between a mother and her child as the child rests beneath her own pulsing heart.
God is committed to you with an irrepressible love—a love that flows out like a life-giving force. He loves you with a womb-love that defies explanation. He is tethered to you, by choice and by nature.
He could no more stop loving you than he could stop being God.
We are never more restricted nor more liberated than when we are in love.C. S. Lewis
Kristen Joy Wilks says
So beautiful! Your little guy is so precious! Hang in there, Momma. I remember how Scruff used to snuggle the boys during that first four-hour sleep time so that I could rest. He would drape a blanket on the baby’s head (so they wouldn’t see the screen) and play a calm video game. We got a different video game for each boy. Such amazing memories. Now they are all teenagers (and they are hilarious) but man those baby years are fleeting and last forever at the same time!
“Fleeting and last forever”–that says it perfectly!
Tracy Smith says
So LOVE this! Thank you! I believe too that He loves us that way. Just beautiful!
And your little guys is adorable. Awwww!
Thank you so much, Tracy!
Kathy Bostrom says
Beautiful and poignant as always! I love the idea of God not being able to stop the flow of love to us. Thank you for such deep insight in the midst of sleepless nights! And that is a beautiful baby!
Thank you, my friend!
Maggie Rowe says
I’m the fourth reader to comment that this reflection is just beautiful. I need to reach for another word yet it’s so apt. Thank you for pointing us towards the mother-love of God, Stephanie!
Thank you so much, Maggie!
This reminded me of the story in the Bible where the priest offered to cut the child in half and give each woman that claimed to be the mom one half. Then, of course, the one that said no, she can have him all, was declared the mother because her love for the child was so selfless.
When we pray and lift up a family member or friend, we always say Lord, I know you love them more than we do. Thank you for reminding us of His love.
What a good connection! So true.