Mothering Sunday and a mothering God


Mothering Sunday (as opposed to the American MOTHERS' DAY in May) is the fourth Sunday in Lent, when traditionally we gave thanks for mother church. I think it was the Victorians who began to send their servant girls home for the afternoon to see their mothers, and it developed and was transformed.  Today it is fraught with difficulties in church, as clergy try to appease so many for whom it is difficult for whatever reason.

Mother's Day is here to stay.

Retailers love it.

But deeper far than any sentimentality (in the best sense of that word) is the mothering of God.

EL SHADDAI  -  I am the Almighty God  (Genesis 17:1 AKJV)   


EL - this very old word for God means might, or power. But  SHADDAI has a very different sense - that of provider, the one who pours out all that is needed. Just as a mother feeds her infant, and provides everything - strength and nourishment, love and contentment. Hugs. Oh the hugging of a mother and child in a loving relationship!


The Lord God, seen as a breastfeeding mother.

Pouring forth into us.

Pouring out all that we need to sustain and nourish us. 

Pouring out love and blessing.

Holding us, hugging us.


Lord, I need to know you as my El Shaddai today:  the lover of my soul.



This post is linked with a post  from my other blog,  (a daily devotional for those in the first year of bereavement) and is from Week Sixteen of The Scent of Water - the rest of the week continues the theme.


photos courtesy of Mother's day:Stuart Miles/Retrievers:khunaspix

The Scent of Water - part three

During November I am embarking on the NanoWriMo project, to get my latest book, THE SCENT OF WATER, under way. It's a year's worth of daily devotionals for the first year of bereavement - read the introduction HERE.  It will soon move to a new website (Grace2Help) In the spirit of NaNoWriMo, this is unedited, a first draft; we just keep writing! Grant grace ? And comments and suggestions are most welcome.  


For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize (with our weaknesses)

Hebrews 4:15

Jesus understands not just the facts of my grief; he understands the feelings too. He understands the pain, the depression, the hurt of being left alone. Far from being cold and heartless, he is full of tenderness and sympathy. He too knows the full gamut of emotions. Even if those around me try to understand, how can they know just how I am feeling today? Bless them for trying; but I  feel that they can't know exactly  how it is for me today.

But Lord, you truly do know and you truly do understand. You have experienced every single emotion. Only you can fully sympathise. Let me know your feelings in this with me today.



Emmanuel: God is with us 

They will call him Immanuel"--which means, "God with us."

Matthew 1:23 (NIV)

God, you are in this with me. You know how it is; you know I have to go through this path of grief. But you are here in it WITH ME. And I am so glad I don't have to go through it alone. Thank you, thank you. Keep close to me today Lord, otherwise I fear won't get through it. Just saying your name, Emmanuel, means a great deal to me today.


God with me.




So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Hebrews 4:16 (NLT)

It is not a failure to come to the throne of grace; it isn't a sign of weakness. Far from feeling that there's something wrong with me or that I'm not spiritual if I have this depression and huge sense of grief, I can actually know that this is a normal part of being human and alive, that our God welcomes me to come to him. At the throne of grace there is help when I need it most - his love and mercy and pure grace are there, ready to be poured out over me. Every day. Whenever I need it. And how I need it today.

Grace to help. I need that grace today.



He told them, "My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death."

Matthew 26:38 (NLT)

It cost the Saviour to walk the path of suffering and death. He experienced the deepest feelings, emotions and pain. Experienced them to the point of being so crushed, so depressed, that life itself seemed almost pointless. In the depth of my own sorrow, I am yet again amazed that he could reach this point - could know, could truly know, just how it is. Hallelujah, what a Saviour!






NaNoWriMo – a way to write a novel in the month of November. 50,000 words by the end of the month – no editing, no procrastinating, just write. And have a first draft completed by the end of the month.

I signed up.

But not to write a novel. Nor to write 50,000 words. I have had on my heart from some time to put together a daily devotional, as an aid for the first year of mourning and bereavement. Just a verse and a few thoughts, for the times when mourning and grief mean that anything longer, anything deeper, is impossible.

For those days when finger-tip-hanging is by just one nail. When grief is all consuming, raw, inconsolable.

I know that. I have been there. For a full two years I have been there. There were times when I barely clung on. When hugs rubbed me raw, and consoling well-meant clichés rang false.

When God seemed far away. I was far away.

I could not read. Anything, let alone the Bible. When the depression and the blackness were all consuming and life was barely worth living.

I had Amy Carmichael's  "Edges of His Ways,” a book of short daily devotionals usually based on a verse of Scripture. Some days were good, comparatively, and I read the brief thought. But it was not specific enough, did not often touch my deepest cries. I needed something more, something very short but very intentional.

I decided to write it myself.

And NaNoWriMo has given the incentive and, if I’m honest, the kick you-know-where to get going. So here’s the plan.

Every day I will post what I am writing. And soon, very soon, I will set up a separate blog to be this devotional, this scent of water. It’s called Grace2Help and I will send you the link very soon.

I will be posting the links and we will see how we get on. Please add your thoughts, suggestions, comments. And please pray.  For my prayer is that this devotional will one day help someone. If it’s only one, it will be worth it.

The book of Job and the telling of his suffering and bereavement  is probably one of the oldest books of Scripture. It asks one of the oldest questions: Is there hope?

Is there hope for a tree cut down?


At the merest scent of water it will bud and grow new shoots again. (Job 14:7-9)

The scent of water. My prayer is for this new project to be the merest scent of water for someone else who feels like a tree cut down.