Through giving me a mother, God has given me a frame of reference to understand Him. As a child, I looked up to my mother and understood that as I look up to her, I should look to God with even more reverence.
Understanding Allah Through the Lens of Motherhood
From a young age, we’re taught that God loves you 70 times more than your mother. It’s an incredible statement and one that we quill understand differently as we go through various phases of life.
As a young child, I looked up to my mother as the source of warmth, comfort and love. As I grew, this mother kept me in check, but always through love. However much I turned away, she was always there waiting for me to return. And as I entered adulthood, that mother was still there, guiding me through the new experiences I encountered.
Through giving me a mother, God has given me a frame of reference to understand Him. As a child, I looked up to my mother and understood that as I look up to her, I should look to God with even more reverence. For what my mother does for me is tiny in comparison to what He does, and the mercy my mother has for me is but a fraction of the mercy He has for me.
Now, in allowing me to become a mother myself, He’s increased my capacity to understand Him even further. For now, I’m on the other side of the table – I can put myself in His metaphorical shoes in some ways, and then take it a step further and understand that God’s role in my life is multiple times the role I play in my child’s life!
When my daughter was a baby, things were physically exhausting but otherwise relatively easy. I could choose her clothes, take her wherever I felt like and pretty much live my own life just with a car seat or pram in tow. As long as she was fed and got to sleep when she needed to, she was pretty happy taking in the world as I went about my day. I couldn’t imagine during those days ever getting annoyed at her! Fast forward a couple of years, though, with terrible twos and the onset of the threenager days and suddenly, however much I try and make sure her physical needs are met, her will often diverges from mine and some days it is all I can do to hold it together and not lose my cool!
Then I think, we as creation of God are not so different. Back when we were younger we were so in tune with our Creator and our fitrah. And suddenly as we grew older, our ego took over and suddenly, our will started diverging from His. And I imagine Him looking down at us, with all the love He has for every individual creation of His, disappointed with how we’re behaving and wishing we’d just listen for our own good!
My daughter is dependent on me, yet wholly separate from myself with the ability to make her own choices, even (especially?) at the tender age of toddlerhood! I have already envisaged a path for her with so many hopes and dreams for her. Mummy does know best! And so I have the responsibility to guide her, and when I do so it is for her benefit – not mine. When I’m not around I have the responsibility to put her in the care of trusted people who will guide her development in an appropriate way. I don’t want her to ever feel indebted to me, if she just advances on the right track through life that will be thanks enough. Of course, if she doesn’t and follows an unsavoury path in spite of us as parents set her up to succeed and achieve her potential, I will feel disappointed. Ultimately, however, she is on her journey and I am on mine, and I must respect the individuality of her choices later in life. And as a fallible human mother, there’s every chance my vision for her future isn’t where she is meant to go.
This relationship holds many similarities to the one we have with the Almighty. As much as my daughter is dependent on me, I am dependent on God to a whole new degree. And unlike us as humans, God has absolute wisdom and knows us, our circumstances and our potential. And so when He has a vision for our lives, it is perfect and exactly where we should be going. His responsibility is to guide us, through various mediums. He guides our life circumstances, ensuring that we go through the experiences we need to grow. He has chosen people He trusts as guides who will take us towards Him, and He has sent us the book with everything we need to live the life we were meant to. And He doesn’t need our thanks as lip service – all He wants is for us to fulfil the potential He has given us. Every time we err and slip off the path, we are being ungrateful for all the numerous blessings He has given us. Of course, He has the power to force us to do things, but if He did this there would be no personal growth, just as if we forced our daughter into making choices she didn’t come to herself, it wouldn’t do her any good.
As parents, we all hope that as our children grow through life they remain close to us and turn to us for support and guidance and love. We are conscious of this from day dot, and try to do all we can so that our children trust us and consider us their safe haven. But as they grow older and more independent it becomes up to them to receive this love and actually turn to us of their own volition when they need to.
This, also, is not unlike God with us. He has proved to us again and again that He has our back and that we just need to trust and rely on Him. From a young age, He’s always been there carrying us through the tough moments in our lives so that we turn to Him, and yet as we grow and think we are becoming more independent, we forget and think we are alone. God wants us to turn to Him for support and guidance, but the onus of doing so lies with us! And we just need to recognise and remember that when the going gets tough.
Of course, this angle is only one way of many to understand the relationship between us and our Lord – there are many facets to this complex relationship. But this additional understanding is an aspect of the gift of motherhood I wasn’t expecting when I fell pregnant and has been a huge blessing for me.