Title: Mother God
Author: Teresa Kim Pecinovsky
Illustrator: Khoa Le
Published by: Beaming Books
Price: Available from Blackwells from £8.26 (March 2023)
Good for: The pages are majority illustrations with small sections of text, so great for children aged 3 to 7, but I will be reading this with my children who are 9 and 11.
Best bit: It’s simply written, with beautiful text and evocative illustrations; it reads like a storybook, yet it is deeply theological.
Worst bit: The worst thing about it is it’s printed in the states, so I am unlikely to be able to get free copies to giveaway!
This is not a book for everyone, as sadly some people will find it offensive to think about God as a mother, whereas the Bible is full of images of God as a mother.
Personally, I found it liberating, deeply moving and a wonderful new way of exploring some of the passages in the Bible in which God is feminine.
It starts with the words:
“You know God the Father, but God is your Mother too. You were made in her image she is making all things new”.
The first of many delightful images is of a mother in a room filled with clay pots including ones that are mended Japanese style, with gold to fill in the cracks. She is at her potter’s wheel and between her arms is a young child about three or four years old; together they are making a clay pot.
The book then goes on to use images of motherhood such as giving birth, nurturing a small baby, and then teaching them to walk.
It has a wonderful page which says God is ‘Sophia wisdom’ and because I have a daughter called Sophia this is a particularly wonderful page for us.
“Sophia wisdom teaches what is true and right. Wisdom works, creates, orders and plays. She calls us with joy and delight.”
This image and wording are from the Proverbs passages about wisdom.
Later there is a bit about creation, and God is like a mother hen. Another page describes God as a bear. The accompanying illustration is an awesome mother bear roaring into the night with two little cubs behind her in the cave. It says,
“God the great mother bear, as fierce as she is tender, she guards them in her care.”
I like the image of a guarding bear which is different from guarding like a soldier or guarding a tower.
There is one page which had words which surprised me, and made me really think about how I think about God:
“God is a lurking leopard, secretive, skilled and strong, teaching her young to swim and climb, she roars, and they tag along”.
I love this leopard analogy showing how God leads us.
It goes specifically into the motherly things God does: God kneads and bakes good bread to feed the entire neighbourhood, God is a skilful seamstress and God is also a woman with grey hair. She is the God who sees you. God weeps, mourns, and cries.
“She comforts you through the longest night keeping watch until sunrise. She quiets us with her songs, singing lullabies in the night. God our nurturing mother wraps us in holy moonlight.”
Of course, it’s not that being up late through the night with the children is just a woman’s job but it is often women and so it is beautiful to think of God as our mother who is up with us in the night.
And then it finishes with,
“God is your loving mother; you are made in her image too. God calls you beloved, she is making all things new.”
It’s a beautiful book, very visual and will draw children in. Quite honestly, I bought it for myself because I thought it might help me—a particularly visual person—to see images of God as a woman and God as a mother. I was not disappointed it blew me away. Yes! It really did! It gave me goosebumps, so I would highly recommend you get hold of this book!