The title of this post is only partly clickbait. Women with the audacity to refer to God as “her” have received death threats, after all. After my last post, which was an emotional beast to write, I was sitting at my desk having lunch and mulling things over a little more. I asked myself, “When you think of grace–of pure, unconditional love–who do you think of?” Without a doubt, the answer to that question is my mom.
My mom is neverending support, love, and goodness. We don’t always agree, and we see some things differently, but we’ve always been able to talk about anything, to express anything, and there has never been one moment in my life when I thought she would stop loving me. There were moments when I knew she’d be mad, and I dreaded that, but I never even considered she’d turn her back on me. She’s what I see in my head when I see grace.
Part of accepting grace, for me, is having a more expansive view of God. I’m not kidding when I say that women writers have received threats for referring to God as “her.” But, I have to be honest, I have a hard time seeing God as a gender…much less a man.
Part of this is my personal bias. Men in my life have rarely been wellsprings of grace (my grandfather and husband are the exceptions). My mom and dad divorced when I was young, and he wasn’t around. I wrote a post here about “just showing up” when that’s all you can do…and he didn’t even do that. While my mom is a fountain of grace, my dad was a dried up well with a board over it. Envisioning a heavenly father is less realistic in my head than a heavenly mom.
At the end of the day, I truly believe God is bigger and more diverse than gender. Given the lack of gender-neutral pronouns in English, I often just refer to God as Them, but when I pray or when I meditate with God, I find endless comfort in the glimpses the Bible provides of a mothering God whether it’s a mother bird sheltering her chicks under her wings or the wisdom of God as a woman.
People have been heralded as heretics for discussions like this, but I am not afraid. If God is a sheltering, loving, involved God, they are not afraid of this discussion either. And I believe, so let’s talk about it.