The pull toward pain is irresistible. I am frantic to nourish; nights are restless to give my babies sleep. I cannot shake the image of ducks — mothers who pluck feathers from their breasts to line their nests, to create security and wholeness for their young. It’s not the leftover feathers that serve this purpose, Ann Voskamp reminds us, but those plucked fresh. And it is a fresh, very present pain I feel as I hold my baby close. I cannot resist the instincts to comfort cries, though I am worn so thin, and sleep bares its teeth to taunt me, asks me to worship it. (Oh, sleep, you are useful, but you are not all-sufficient. And you are not necessarily true rest.)
I’ve taken to calling God my Mother since the birth of Ray. I needed strength then from someone who cherished me and totally understood birth. And I do not think She minds, since it was in Her image that She created human beings — male and female (Genesis 1.27). Actually, if you’d peek into my journals, you’d notice the Trinity according to Carrie is this: Abba, Jesus, and Spirit-Mother. Spirit-Mother is who has been walking with me through my recent wanderings through the Bible. You should see how deftly She cuts apart scripture and opens my mind and heart to its truth.
Spirit-Mother brings to mind passages such as Deuteronomy 32.11 (NLT):
Like an eagle that rouses her chicksand hovers over her young,
so he spread his wings to take them up
and carried them safely on his pinions.
God reminds me that She understands mother-love. It’s She who says, “Carrie, I love you. No, no, you didn’t hear me. I said, I love you. There is nothing you can do that will ever make me stop loving you” (see Romans 8.38-39). She knows the tearing pain of feathers plucked, for She will always feel it most deeply. That God lets me in on a picture of Her love by allowing me to be a mother myself is an extravagantly rich gift. I am humbled to hold it in my hands.
Can I rest in the pain of the daily struggles knowing they are producing a greater work? Can I give in to the instinctual pulls when it’s only brokenness I see? Curse them, and I miss the point: love.