3 Ways We Experience the Mother-Heart of God

My Barefoot Dreams bathrobe was my best friend.

When I had newborn babies, multiple times every night I’d hear them cry, turn off the monitor, crawl out of bed, grab my thick cozy bathrobe, slip on my slippers and shuffle down the hall to baby’s room.

My postpartum experience usually included severe night sweats, so in the chill of those late fall or winter nights I’d wake up drenched in sweat. That big, fuzzy, Barefoot Dreams bathrobe was the difference between teeth-chattering chill and cozy bliss.

The routine was the same. Scoop up baby. Grab the nursing pillow. Sit in the rocking chair. Pull a blanket over my lap. Put my feet up on the nursing stool and settle back. Baby would latch on and start feeding.

I loved those midnight moments.

Don’t get me wrong, three or six months into middle-of-the-night feedings I was exhausted and ready to sleep all night. But for those first few months, those midnight moments felt sacred.

Soft light glowed from the nightlight–just enough to banish whatever loneliness threatened in the dark. Baby and I were cuddled close together. Between the robe and blanket we were toasty warm. The only sound in the room was the subtle sigh of the baby swallowing.

The most significant bonding happened in that quiet, intimate space.

Lately I’ve been thinking about how those beautiful, still moments reflect the mother-heart of God.

1. Comfort

As one whom his mother comforts,
so I will comfort you;
you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

Isaiah 66:13 (ESV)

The first thing a mother offers her crying child is comfort. She picks him up and holds him close. She might speak gently or walk with him around the room. Mama’s primary aim is to help the little one settle down to receive whatever it is he truly needs.

Similarly, whenever we are in a dark place or difficult circumstance and we cry out to God, He is swift to come. We may not always recognize His presence, but He is there, holding us and offering us comfort.

In fact, Comforter (or Helper) is one of the names for the Holy Spirit (John 14) which means that when we need His comfort or His help, the Holy Spirit is able to be a fuller expression of Himself. Comforting us is not a burden or a bother. He is not annoyed or disappointed that He must help. He is relieved because bringing aid, bringing comfort is at the very heart of His character. Just like it is a relief for a painter to express themselves by painting, the Holy Spirit delights in bringing us comfort.

2. Nourishment

Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.

John 6:32-33 (ESV)

In those midnight moments with my newborns, right after offering my babies comfort, my very next goal was nourishment.

A newborn baby needs to eat every couple of hours. In the repetitiveness of the feeding routine baby bonds with her mama learning that she can depend on mom for nourishment. Not only is the physical nearness of feeding a baby bonding but the repetitive nature of mama showing up again and again builds trust, knitting their hearts together.

Similarly, our God nourishes us. He loves to look after our practical and spiritual needs (Luke 12:22-31).

The nourishment God offers us spreads beyond the physical realm of food to nourishing our spirit as well. We find spiritual nourishment as we abide in God’s presence (John 15:4), as we grow in our skill in the word of righteousness (Hebrews 5:12-15) and in coming to Jesus as the Bread of Life (John 6:35).

3. Blessing

The Lord Bless you and keep you
the Lord make His face to shine upon you
and give you peace, and give you peace, and give you peace forever.
The Lord be gracious to you
the Lord turn His face toward you
and give you peace and give you peace and give you peace forever.
~From “Barocha” by Michael Card

When I laid my babies down to sleep every night, or perhaps multiple times a night, I would sing a blessing over them . This particular blessing is taken from Numbers 6:22-27 .

In the middle of the night with no one but my babes to hear me, I would sing boldly this blessing believing it would mark my kids for their whole lives. While I believe the blessings of both fathers and mothers are important, the blessings in those quiet, intimate midnight moments are powerful and special.

Did you know God is singing over you as well?

The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.

Zephaniah 3:17 (ESV)

I believe this verse expresses God posture over us. He is with us. He rejoices over us. He is full of gladness about us. He will quiet us with His love. He sings loudly over us in delight. Blessing expresses both the mother and father heart of God. Please receive it. Let it sink in. He is delighted in you. So much so that He’s singing.

Midnight Moments

Mother’s Day has come and gone but the motherly aspects of God’s heart endure. When you are in the dark, in pain or in need, He loves to comfort you. It is who He is. If you are hungry, in spirit or in body, He loves to nourish. Jesus is the very bread of life. He will teach you the mature food of discernment and righteousness. He is also the vine we are to abide in. Lean into His presence for your well-being. And lastly, our God loves to bless us. He pulls us close to comfort and nourish us and then He sings over us in exultant triumph and delight.

When I look back on those midnight moments now, I recognize that it wasn’t the Barefoot Dream bathrobe that made those moments memorable, I believe it was the presence of God in the quiet place comforting both baby and mama as we bonded and recovered from childbirth. The bathrobe kept me warm but the mother-heart of God sustained my soul.

Wherever you find yourself as you read this, whether it be in the throes of motherhood or the throes of menopause, I hope you will still your heart and receive the love of God. Let Him come near to you in comfort. Let Him fill you up and nourish you. Listen closely to His singing. He delights in you and loves having you near. Relax and relish in your own midnight moment with the Lord.

Holy Spirit,
Thank you for every way you comfort and nourish us. Thank you for answering when we call to you. Thank you for giving us peace and hope in our midnight moments. We are so grateful for your mother-heart. In Jesus’ name, I banish every lie that tells us that we are all alone and every lie that tells us that you don’t care. You are with us. You are mighty to save. It is in your very nature to help us and comfort us. We chose to lean into you for aid. And we listen, in faith, expecting to hear the song of blessing you are singing over us.  Thank you for your lavish and tender love. Amen.

If this post blessed you, will you please forward to someone else who may need comfort right now?

If you are mom who is short on patience right now, consider reading this entry on conquering the dark side within each of us.

Or perhaps your pain goes beyond the fatigue of sleepless nights, I think this entry may encourage you.

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