by Annette Bridges. ©2009. All rights reserved.

There’s nothing like a mother’s hug!

Remember the days when the only thing that would console you was being held tight in your mother’s embrace? It didn’t matter if you were afraid, sad, hurt, disappointed or sick, once you were tucked into your mom’s arms, everything suddenly seemed much better. You felt safe, loved, comforted and protected. And you knew that somehow, in some way, everything would be okay.

Of course, we don’t always have our mother around to give her miraculous hug. She may live a thousand miles away or maybe she has passed on. It could be that your mom now needs you to care for and comfort her.

Maybe the child you thought was happily married, suddenly comes back home not so happy and in need of your encouragement and guidance. Or the spouse you’ve depended upon for support and strength unexpectedly needs you to take charge. Or perhaps you have other family members and friends looking to you for help.

You want to help. You want to be whatever anyone needs you to be. But sometimes it all just feels a bit much — more than you can handle. You find yourself longing to be safe and snug in your mother’s hug.

I’ve been reminded that “mothering” isn’t limited to adults or exclusive to mothers. I remember when my daughter was very small. When she saw me sad or upset, she would put her little arms around me and pat my back and say, “It will be okay, Mommy.” And in that moment, I would know she was right.

There have been many times I’ve walked into my house and plopped down on my sofa feeling discouraged or frustrated. About that time, my dog would jump into my lap and lick my hand, as if to say, “Don’t worry. I’m here for you. Everything will be okay.” And in that moment, I would know it would be.

And certainly there have been even more times when all I needed to feel reassured was the tender — dare I say motherly — embrace of my husband.

Maybe we can’t always have our mother’s hug. But that doesn’t mean we can’t feel the same assurance we felt in her arms.

The Bible says, “For thus saith the Lord, As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you…” (Isaiah 66:13) I love thinking of God as mother — especially when I really need a hug.

Like as a mother, God is right there with us to pick us up when we skin our knee, when we have a bad dream, when we feel picked on and bullied, and when we have a tummy ache. His comfort — or perhaps I could say Her comfort — is a promise. In fact, the Bible verse in Isaiah continues, “…and ye shall be comforted.”

So what does it mean to be comforted by God?

It means fears are allayed, worries are relieved, anxieties are put to ease, and burdens are lightened. Outlooks brighten, spirits refresh, faith is reassured, hope is restored, solace is revived and courage is bolstered.

God meets our needs just like an attentive and ardent mother. We are never alone or without help and support. Realizing God’s gentle ever-presence — feeling His motherly love for us — will make all things better.

Whether it’s our mother’s hug, our child’s arms around us, our puppy snuggling with us or our spouse’s embrace — all are wonderful examples of God’s mothering love for us. We can never be separated from God’s love. And we can feel this love embracing us right now — wherever we are — assuring all is well, all will be well, all must be well.

Basking in God’s love — His tenderness, compassion, wisdom, strength, protection and warmth — is like getting a big hug from your mom. And there’s nothing like a hug from your Father-Mother God!