Getting to Know the Mother Heart of God

is the holy spirit a woman?

Welcome to my third post regarding my personal journey toward discovering the feminine image of God — our Mother, the Holy Spirit. [Go HERE to read my first post.] My journey was not short, or easy, or uncomplicated, and it certainly wasn’t painless. But it was exciting. It was an adventure, to say the least. I have decided to use the Naked Pastor’s drawings throughout this post since he does a great job of illustrating the painful process of deconstructing false beliefs…

Sophia – DECONSTRUCTION “A young woman’s courageous journey towards her independence and wisdom.” The Naked Pastor

In my last two posts I described how the Holy Spirit had appeared to me — as a woman — twice in my dreams. At this point in my journey, I was now constantly praying, asking God to draw me deeper into this mystery of God as Mother.

In 2002 my Christian journey took a turn. My husband and I found ourselves in a new church. We had just moved from our small prairie town to a somewhat larger center in Alberta, Canada. Here in my new church, I was attending a week-long, church-sponsored conference.

Actually, this was the second church we had attended in our new city. The first church we attended was a large community church. The kid’s programs were great and the music was fantastic;  however, things got rocky for me when I took a “Learn Your Spiritual Gifts” class. This class was offered in order to help place individuals into meaningful places within the church where they could serve. I eagerly took the class along with my husband.

At the end of the class, we were all separated into groups according to our “gifts.” Many attendees had the gift of administration, and many others had the gift of helps (including my hubby). My gift, as well as one other participant’s gift, was revealed as faith. (I did notice that there were no gifts such as prophecy or healing on the list.) The pastor conducting the class then asked everyone to explain how their gift worked. When it came to my group’s turn, we both responded with something like: “Well, we hear God speak and we believe Him (or Her… in my case), then we try to act on what we hear.”

Strangely, we were greeted with bewildered looks and the pastor, a young man in his 30s, quickly scooted us into the hall and asked us to clarify what “hearing God” meant. Certainly, we must mean that we read the Bible and in that way we “hear” God. We explained how that was merely one way in which we hear. I then asked if he believed it were possible to hear God in other ways such as dreams for instance?

In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. — Acts 2:17

Well, I was soon invited to a meeting where I was told, not out of anger, but out of complete puzzlement, that this particular church just didn’t know what to do with my spiritual gift of faith; therefore, it would be best if I found another church. The pastor even said to me that he couldn’t believe he was asking me to leave based on the fact that they didn’t know what to do with “faith.”

Unfortunately, they didn’t like the idea that I was hearing from God — not only from the Bible — but in other ways also, which brings to mind Job 33:14 “God speaks in one way and then another. We might not even realize it.” (NIV)  It seemed I was allowed to have a relationship with a book, but not a relationship directly with the Spirit — which, honestly, seemed really weird to me. So here I was kicked out of my first church. Surprisingly, I wasn’t angry that I was asked, quite pointedly, to leave this church. I wasn’t angry because I didn’t know what to do with this spiritual gift of faith either!

A month or so later, I was now in a new church where I was enrolled in a conference to learn about the “Glory of God.” This week-long conference was offered by the church because so many Christians were experiencing manifestations of the Holy Spirit in larger degrees. And this conference was here to tell us, “It’s okay to be Christian and to experience the spiritual side of God.” In other words, it’s okay to hear God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit speak; it’s okay to have visions and dream dreams; its okay to live as if the book of Acts never ended. It was a message I desperately needed to hear at this particular time in my life.

But then something happened that I was not expecting. As our instructor began teaching about the Holy Spirit something she was saying was grating on my nerves. She was calling the Holy Spirit “he.” For some reason it was all I could hear. It was agony to my ears. Of course, I had lived all my Christian life (ten years at this point) referring to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit all as “he.” After all, God is our “Father” and Jesus is the “Son.” The third part of the family of God seemed no different. The Spirit was simply the invisible “he” which was better than saying “it.” The Bible seemingly backed this theology up.

However, unfortunately for me, by this point in my life I now had two encounters with a very feminine Spirit under my belt and referring to “her” as “he” now seemed impossible for me to do. A switch in my brain had been flipped, and I had to look away and stare at the wall as the repetitive “he” grated in my ears like fingernails down a black board.

Of course, I had no intention of being so negative. In fact, I was looking forward to this conference since on the first night the Holy Spirit manifested at our church. There was nothing to see during this visitation, but the presence of God had a profound effect on those who attended (mostly women). Some women began praying and groaning during prayer (as though they were birthing a child). Many of us could smell amazingly sweet smoke and wonderful florid perfume — I experienced the sweet smoke. It was during this time that the woman leading the conference began prophesying over people.

We experienced the Holy Spirit for two hours that night. So the next day’s class was frustrating…

He, He, He.  That word tormented me and I sincerely thought I might need to leave the class in order to relieve the discomfort. I began wondering if I would have to live the rest of my life like this. Honestly, I wanted to return to my prior existence (to before I had the dreams) so my brain could live in cohesion with the rest of my new church. I liked this church, after all. I was angry. I didn’t care if the Spirit was feminine, I wanted peace and order. I didn’t completely understand it at the time, but my deeply ingrained belief in an all-male God was being completely dismantled and I didn’t like it one bit.

I was so distracted by my intense feeling of “cognitive dissonance” that after class, I went home and prayed, “God, take this highly annoying feeling away or else give me encouragement regarding what I suspect… are you really a mother?

At this point, I was finishing up with writing my first book (a spiritual memoir about my childhood) and I was now wrestling with the idea of writing a book about the dream I had regarding the “she” in God. I was thinking of calling my book The Mother Heart of God. On this night, I felt desperate. I simply did not want to live with my brain fighting between “he” and “she.” God had to do something — take the idea of the “she” in God out of me (because it was simply too painful for my brain to function in a church setting) OR birth it!! “Please God,” I prayed. “Give me encouragement or take these thoughts away!!!”

The next day was my birthday, and little did I know but I was about to receive a unique birthday present. As our teacher stood in front of our class she asked if anyone had a “God dream” the night before. I had been expecting it to be me. I thought after I prayed my prayer God would speak to me in a dream, as He sometimes did, and tell me, “Yes, there is a womanly image in Me and you should write about it” or “No, let go of this crazy idea because I have more important things for you to think about.” (Honestly, I was hoping God would say, “Leave this crazy idea alone.” That would have been easier and would have required far less perseverance on my part.)

But as our teacher asked our group about any possible visions or dreams, I had to remain seated because I had heard nothing. However, from the back of the room came a small voice. I recognized the woman who now stood as an unusually shy lady from church. She said in a shaky voice, “God woke me up three times last night.” Our teacher called her to the front and with a whole lot of encouragement she stepped forward. (I was later to find out that this was a woman of intense prayer who often heard from God and because of this she had been called a dreamer or sometimes even “crazy” by members of her last congregation — so to step forward was difficult for her.) Once at the microphone she said, “I don’t know what this means. In fact, it doesn’t make any sense to me, but God woke me up three times last night and each time He said to me, “YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THE MOTHER HEART OF GOD!””

I was awe struck. It was the answer to my prayer the night before. Actually, it was the title to the book I wanted to write. Our teacher thanked the lady for sharing and the lady retreated to her seat without any idea as to the importance, at least to me, of what she had said. Needless to say, we became fast friends after I approached her and told her the little I knew regarding the Mother Heart of God. God had brought us together to discuss a topic that proved to encourage us both. (In fact, I started this blog after she once again visited me — some sixteen years later — further encouraging me to teach on the subject.)

“You know nothing about the Mother Heart of God.” I have to admit, at the time the above happened, I knew very little about the Mother Heart of God. I knew some things, of course. For instance, I knew that at times the Father Heart of God seemed somewhat feminine as in Psalms 91 which states, “He will hide you under his wings” (like a mother hen does with her chicks?)  Or how He’s described going into labor in Isaiah 42:14 “I [God] have held My peace a long time, I have been still and restrained Myself. Now I will cry like a woman in labor, I will pant and gasp at once.” Or the way the Holy Spirit is referred to as the rather feminine “comforter.” Or the way scripture illustrates God “birthing” things: “he saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5). I also suspected some things, but I certainly didn’t have the whole picture yet. (And I certainly don’t have the complete picture now.) I had a lot of questions turning in my mind and few answers. But that didn’t bother me. After all, I had a promise. A promise that God was the revealer of mysteries:

“There is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries” — Dan. 2:28

And since the Mother Heart of God was just that — a mystery — and since I desperately wanted to know God better, I began writing and studying the Bible just expecting the Holy Spirit to lead me through to a complete book. The words, “You know nothing about the Mother Heart of God” were enough to fan into flame a passion in me that had been planted long ago. I now became desperate to know something — anything — about the Mother Heart of God. Because if this were true — if the Holy Spirit is the original image of Eve (and all women) — God was going to have to prove it to me through the Bible. And that’s exactly what God began to do.

A prayer of Invitation:

Holy Spirit, we accept that we know very little about your mother’s heart. Teach us more. Reveal yourself to us — your children. Reach out to us and enlighten our minds and our hearts. As we read the Bible teach us to understand what is written about you. Be our helper and our teacher during this journey of discovery. Amen.

Further Study:

Is The Holy Spirit a Dove?

Significant Verses:

[God] speaks in one way and then another. We might not even realize it. He might speak in a dream or in a vision at night. — Job 33:14–15, NIV

In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. — Acts 2:17

My thanks to The Naked Pastor.

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