We just moved to Kansas City a few months ago and the community of Christians here talk a lot about “Spiritual Family” or “Kingdom Family” in reference to the relationships with each other and with God. For example, the idea of having a “spiritual dad” is common. Understanding God as a good Father who loves his children; and receiving that you are a Son or a Daughter, are ideas on repeat here. I love this understanding of God. It’s not a new concept to me but witnessing the way an entire group of people who actively engage with God as their Father IS new. And I think it is integral to being free and healing the wounds that we have carried into our present. People don’t say “God” in conversation or prayer as often as they say “the Father” or simply “Father”. They also talk about being secure in or understanding “sonship”. This is such a beautiful thing to discover and learn more about for me. Here is a revolutionary and foundational book called “Orphan, Slave, Son” by Ben Pasley that encapsulates the whole of these ideas.
So if there are three personalities we can relate to within who God is, God our Father, and Jesus is his Son, who is the Holy Spirit?
I heard on the radio the other day that Jesus referenced the Holy Spirit as his mother. And in a flash it made so much sense. There is so much talk of God our Father, and Jesus his son, but Holy Spirit our Mother? This is such a new idea to me and I want it to be true for so many reasons on such a deep level that I feel like I’m tip-toeing out onto a frozen lake one baby step at a time.
Wouldn’t it be so amazing to have my womanhood be a true image of who God is?!
The idea that who I am is an image bearer of God is completely new to me as a woman. I’ve heard all my life that “God made man in his image.” But woman in her image? Not once. Not in this deep confirming way.
The Holy Spirit is called “the Helper” over and over again in the Bible.
“When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning. (John 15:26, 27 NASB)
And in Genesis, the first thing said about Eve was that she would be a helper to Adam.
“Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18 NASB)
One of the only times Jesus’ attitude was translated as harsh or unforgiving has been this verse below. It has always bothered me. He was talking about using the Holy Spirits name in vain or with slander.
“Listen to this carefully. I’m warning you. There’s nothing done or said that can’t be forgiven. But if you persist in your slanders against God’s Holy Spirit, you are repudiating the very One who forgives, sawing off the branch on which you’re sitting, severing by your own perversity all connection with the One who forgives.” He gave this warning because they were accusing him of being in league with Evil. (Mark 3:28, 29 MSG)
The message gives some liberal context but here’s the version I grew up hearing:
“Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.” (Mark 3:28, 29 NIV)
That’s pretty heavy stuff to sift through at face value. But with this new view of the Holy Spirit as Jesus’ mother, I see a son defending his mom from bad-mouthing. Of course it got heated.
“No yo-mama jokes allowed y’all! You can’t talk about my mother that way!!”
Jesus also talks about being born a second time.
“Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. (John 3:3-6 NIV)
Here is an article that talks about the linguistic viability of using the pronoun “she” in reference to the Holy Spirit.
The Female aspect of the Holy Spirit
The fact that I’ve never connected this being born again concept to a female aspect of God is astonishing to me! I think there is a need for celebrating the female perspective and what it brings to the church community. And yes we need to deconstruct our views of God as our Father in light of our biological dads, and allow Him to reveal himself to us new and bring healing to our brokenness. But is that it? What about God our Mother being an example for mothers and children? We have missed a piece of Kingdom Family without God our Mother.
Women, you are not forgotten by God! And you are not a mystery to God.
There is so much more to explore and think about in this topic, so more soon. But it’s good to get some of this down.
I’ll end with a prayer I need to keep praying and invite you to join me.
Our Mother, Holy Spirit, Holy is your name. Comforter make your home in me. Teach me to love my femininity and see myself as you do. Speak to the places that say I’m less because I’m a woman. Forgive me for believing those lies. Mother Spirit mother me and teach me your ways. Reshape my ideas of other women and bring unity. In me as it is in you.
Added Jan 2016:
Here is a teaching called Journeying with the Holy Spirit shared by Trent Sheppard. Around minute 15 he talks about the feminine aspect of the Holy Spirit.