Momma: “Georgia Mae, what would you like to say to Jesus tonight?
Georgia Mae: “I want to know where He is. I can’t find Him.”
Momma: “Because you can’t see Him, right?”
Georgia Mae: “Yes. I can’t see Him. Where is He?”
Momma: “Well, after Jesus came back to life, He lived with His friends for awhile and then God took His body up into Heaven. But then, Jesus came back to us as the Holy Spirit. We can’t see Him as the Holy Spirit because He is like the wind when it blows in the trees. We know it’s there but we can’t see it.”
Georgia Mae: “Okay, but where IS He? Where does He LIVE?”
Momma: “Now that He is with us as the Holy Spirit, He can live inside you and me.”
Georgia Mae: “Where inside me?”
Momma: “Where do you think He lives?”
Georgia Mae: “I think there is a little tiny baby Jesus living in my womb and when He’s ready, He’ll come out! (Pats her belly and then says with a sing-song voice) Hello, baby Jesus, I love you.”
On their birthday, I tell my children their birth story. We talk about where I was, what was happening, how I felt. They have a good sense of what a womb is: A place that gives life. A place of deep connection. A place of safety and nurturing. A place that when you are ready, you emerge out of with celebration and joy (and real pain – I don’t sugar coat it.)
When I see marriages crumbling around me, when I feel so tired of petty politics, when I feel the heaviness of just getting through the day, I ask Georgia Mae’s question: “But where IS He? I can’t find Him.” Like her, I expect Him to be somewhere outside, doing something “out there.”
But in the Christian worldview, God only lives “in here.” God’s dwelling place is no longer a building or that gold box from Raiders of the Lost Ark; it is you…and me…and when you get all of us together, we “rise to become a holy temple in the Lord…[who] are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:21-22)
Jesus is no longer out there. He is in here. Do we nurture that life? Is it a place of interdependence, of safety, of deep connection for Him and for us? Is it a place that when He is ready to emerge, we let Him come out when and how He wants to and we welcome Him with joy and celebration? (and at least submit to the attendant pain?)
Whether we became a mother by birth or adoption, welcoming a child into the world is a wonderfully unpredictable event. We don’t have any idea when He will show up or who we can become when we welcome Him.
May we pray as Georgia Mae does: “Hello baby Jesus, I love you. Please come out whenever You feel like it.”
How do you experience your inner life with God? How does your inner life with God prepare you for welcoming Him into your mothering and the world around you?
Heather Fosth is her husband’s best friend, a mother of two dynamic, wildly different children(ages 10 and 6) and a sometime spiritual director. If given the choice, she would always be in her garden.