An Authentic, Sometimes Gritty, and Always Hopeful Blog for All Who Live with Severe Physical Pain

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

God, our Mother?

Each year, I have looked forward to a pair of chimney swifts to return in the Spring to nest inside our chimney. 

They started coming when our chimney cap was blown off by Hurricane Isabel in 2003; I convinced Warren to leave it off when I learned what voracious misquito-eaters swifts are, how easy their nests are to clean up, and how difficult it has become for them to find adequate nesting sites.  Chimney swifts most often return to the same chimney where they meet up with the same mate--so I have named our pair “Lucy” and “Ricky” because of their constant chatter, both as they soar high above us around our house, as well as, inside our chimney.  They usually arrive the second week of April, raise a noisy bunch of “young ‘uns” and leave for South America the last week of August.  

Twice in those nine years, though, the mother has stayed behind after her  mate and mature chicks have migrated. Two years ago, I continued to hear chirping through the middle of September.  I was told by an expert that most likely a chick was sick, so the mother had remained, trying to nurse her little one back to health. Finally, in October, the chimney was quiet.  When I cleaned it out, I was sad to find a skeleton of the little chick.  “Poor, Mom,”  I whispered as I scooped the little bones into the trash bin.   

This year I knew the mom had another weak chick when chirping continued into the mid-September; although I was hopeful becauseI could also hear the quieter baby chick’s chirps intermingling with the mother’s.   As September ended, though, I could only hear the mother, who now did not return to the nest every night.  After just a few days a cold snap hit and the chimney became quiet.  This meant the mother had set out on her migration, and I wished her well, facing a more difficult journey due to her delay.

So sure that she was gone, I cleaned out the chimney right away so we could turn on our gas logs. I found nothing but bones again-- this time of a more mature chick than before.  The mother had also built a second, larger nest for the chick on a shelf to the right of the damper.  Knowing that swifts do not “light” this larger nest required a monumental effort for the mother, grabbing what twigs and leaves she  could as she flew.

Now it was October 6th, and darned if I didn’t hear the mother back in the chimney!   I guess she hand’t completely given up after all; although she had been away several days. I didn’t regret having made the decision for her though--she was facing too much danger to stay. 

Illness allows me much time alone to consider more deeply the workings of God through all things.  The circle of life and death lived inside my chimney has led me to ponder about a “mother’s instinct.”

I have witnessed a mother’s instinct in all sorts of creatures: birds, sea turtles, deer, cats and dogs... 

...but none of those compare to the mothering nature of women.  Science has proven that a woman’s brain reacts to a child’s crying more than a man’s.  We  women are “wired” to mother.   Instinct has been implanted in our DNA by God, because God knows what children need.     

Please hear me--I’m not proposing we begin to refer to God in a gender-neutral  manner.  

Instead, what I gain from this is awesome comfort to know God has compassion on me, and nurtures me infinitely greater than the “best” mother could ever do.   He loves me more than I could possibly consider loving my children.  He would remain by my side until I was nothing but dry bones.  Indeed, he has made sure my “dry bones” will not mean a thing, for I--the true me--my soul and spirit--will be with God forever.  Because I have been redeemed by Jesus!  (Read more about this in my post “Jesus, the Light” )

The following verses testify to the motherly love of God: 

“I was like those who lift infants to their cheeks.  I bent down to them and fed them.”   Hosea 11:4

“Like the eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, God spreads wings to catch you, and carries you on pinions.”  Deuteronomy 32:11-12

“The Lord said, ‘Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child in her womb?  Even these my forget, yet I will not forget you.’”  Isaiah 49:15

           “The Lord said, ‘As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”  Isaiah 66:13 

My faith is enlarged as I let these wash over me. 
For it is a mother’s comfort I so long for amidst the pain and suffering wrought by illness; 
yea, by life.

Until next time,


  1. A Mother's Love~~

    Judi-a beautiful poetic posting, lifted up by scripture, and every word is true of being a Mother.

    I think of Mary-the Mother of Jesus~~ what agony she endured as her child suffered, and she still loved.

    You are right-A Mother can't turn her love for her children off~~ Love runs forever.

    I also connect this with my own Pain-how many times I "long" for my Moma, as I ache and need
    comforting. It seems like the "Internal Mom" within me has begun to learn how to comfort myself! Oh yes, my dear husband can hold me, love me and if he could, I know he would take my Pain on himself, but there is nothing like the love of a Mother.

    God bless you for writing this Judi.


  2. So glad you didn't think this was too radical-sounding, because I surely didn't mean for it to be! Yes, we need mothering!

    Hope you have good weekend!


    1. Judi-
      YOU sounding RADICAL~~~~~ never my friend. Your heart speaks and we are blessed to hear courage, strength, struggles, heart breaking times, and LOVE-all coming from you by HIS grace and your endless LOVE for HIM.

      We all do need some Mothering.. I recall a recent ER visit as the receptionist said my name "Martha Lynn" and I proceeded to cry like a baby! She looked at me~~obviously lost and yet wanting to help me and I managed to get this out between sobs "My Moma was the only one to call me that way" and back to crying I went.

      Finally I pulled it together and told her "No matter what age we are, when we feel bad, we really could use our Moms~~ but my Mom passed many years ago." She clearly understood my reaction~~ and you have phrased it perfectly~~ We all Need Mothering!!!

      Hope your weekend is a good one too Judi! Thanks for writing this~~ it is wonderful..

      Blessings, Martha

  3. Thank you for sharing this tender moment! Yes, we all need mothering!

    Blessings back to you!


  4. Really enjoyed this post Judi...little boys always want their mothers when they are hurt and an adult man will usually call for his mother when dying. God has put it in us to mother...our chidlren no matter the age. I miss my Mom a lot, we were best friends, played cards, went to bingo together when we would visit. She now is in a nursing home very frail, unable to do mostly for herself. I grieve everytime I go see her, for the state she is in...thanks for the beautiful written post...Blessings

  5. Betty, I prayed for you and your precious mom as I read difficult to bear this loss of your special relationship...yet while she still breathes. How I pray that you will sense her love for you, and yours for her. The body does fail....the spirit lives on.

    Blessings, friend.