God’s Mothering Heart
Editor’s note: This week is the annual Cry of the Orphan campaign and MomLife Today hopes you will become informed and involved. We would like you to meet adoptive mom Kerry Hasenbalg who is part of the Shaohanna’s Hope ministry team.
by Kerry Hasenbalg
But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me. (Psalm 131:2)
Sometimes there is just so much to get done around the house that I can’t figure out how to possibly do it without getting a little bit of help. I recently had one of these kinds of days. After I had finished home-schooling my 6-year-old son, Cole, and after my 2-year-old daughter, Maya, had gotten up from her nap, I decided to solicit Cole’s help in attending to Maya so that I could get a few things done upstairs. “Cole, would you mind keeping an eye on your sister for a few minutes while I straighten up the bedrooms?” I asked.
“Well, sure, Mom,” he replied. But after only about 10 minutes, Cole called loudly up the stairs, “Excuse me, Mom. Maya is sad and I think she really needs you.”
“What’s wrong Cole?” I asked.
“She needs to get back into her natural habitat, I think,” he responded.
What? “What does that mean, Cole. What’s Maya’s natural habitat?”
Cole answered, “Don’t you know a child’s natural habitat is with their mother?”
At first I thought, He’s watching way too much animal planet. But then I thought, There’s some real truth in this little one’s words. I had recently learned that the root of the name of God, El Shaddhai, is actually Shad which means “breast.” We translate it most often as “the all-sufficient One.” And as any mother who has nursed a child will tell you, a mother is her child’s all in all. You are an infant’s complete source for everything—food, drink, movement, and comfort.
Several weeks after this incident with Cole, God shared more with me about His nurturing and mothering ways. Scott and I found ourselves at Steven and Mary Beth Chapman’s home crying out to God in prayer. It was only a few months after we had lost our daughter, Isabella and only about a week after the Chapmans had lost their precious daughter, Maria. But the reason we had come together in prayer was actually to intercede on behalf of a mutual friend of ours who had suddenly lost his ability to walk. With all this loss and pain, the four of us were are all struggling to even know how or what to pray.
Just as we began our time of prayer, my daughter Maya, who was very tired at the time, began to cry and to call out for me, “Mama, Mama, please hold me, Mama.” So I took her up in my arms and she quickly became quiet and calm. And just as she did, Steven prayed, “Lord, this is exactly how we feel right now, just like little Maya. We don’t know what to do or say. We just know that we need you to hold us and comfort us, Lord—just as a child needs a mother to hold them.”
And at that very moment I really understood the great truth hidden in the words El Shaddhai. Now I really know, as my son Cole pointed out, that a child’s natural habitat is truly with its mother. Children really do need mothers to comfort them just as we as adults need the great heavenly Comforter.