Partial spoiler alert if you have not yet seen Pixar’s Brave. I’m not giving the whole story away, just picking up on one point. It would be safe to continue to read…
My little princess is now thoroughly 2. Not only has her determined streak become apparent, but her affection for anything baby doll and princess related is creeping into every corner of our house.
We have two Tinker Bell movies now, and Cinderella. Tangled has been on TV enough to not have to purchase that one, but I finally broke down and purchased Brave this weekend. (I think we are in the process of getting Netflix.)
Truthfully, it was more for me than her. My daughter’s girly girl way of being has drawn me in and I have embraced it! As I type, I am wearing a pink long-sleeved T-shirt, something even last year I would have never dreamed of! Plus, one of the bridesmaids in our wedding could be Merida’s stand-in.
Recovering from the holidays (and two weeks of grandparents and an uncle visiting), my husband and I were drawn into the movie – having to ask the kids to keep the noise down! (The next day our princess pleaded to watch it and was transfixed.)
It was quite a different movie watching experience. When we are young, we identify easily with the princess. But now I found myself wavering between the two, not quite fully in the mother’s shoes as my daughter is still in diapers. Yet, the image of the mother bear is so heart-wrenching close.
I realize that not all parents would leap between their child and any danger (unfortunately sometimes the parent is the danger). My husband and I do our best to limit the evil and pain our kids face, but at the same time attempt to let them experience consequences and life themselves – as they are able. Yet, there are definitely times when I turn into that Mother Bear.
We are extremely blessed that we live in a community and have found friends where we feel completely safe to have our kids involved and do not need to hover. I thank God that we do not need to worry about bombs, stray bullets, and IEDs. I don’t have to take my claws out as we walk down the street, or worry about them in my home. I thank God that I can be a Mother Bear, and not a threat myself.
I would and will protect them as much as I can, sacrificing all I have and am. Yet, I am not fully comfortable with the Mother Bear roll. Through my Mother Bear eyes, I can still see the other as a Child of God. I still wonder, in the midst of my internal anger and confusion and clawing, what is driving this other persons’ actions? My actions are tempered, but the inner bear is still alive.
My mind turns to God. Would God be a Mother Bear? With all the images of love and peace, even a comparison to a nursing mother (Isaiah 49:15). Sure, the earliest scriptures are filled with images of wrath, but that of a mother bear?
Yet I have been the Lord your God ever since the land of Egypt; you know no God but me, and besides me there is no savior. It was I who fed you in the wilderness, in the land of drought. When I fed them, they were satisfied; they were satisfied, and their heart was proud; therefore they forgot me. So I will become like a lion to them, like a leopard I will lurk beside the way. I will fall upon them like a bear robbed of her cubs, and will tear open the covering of their heart; there I will devour them like a lion, as a wild animal would mangle them. (Hosea 13:4-8, NRSV)
God can be a Mother Bear too! Here in Hosea (please read more in context) God’s ultimate line has been crossed, and the claws come out.
I am in no way promoting violence, but I find comfort in knowing that my intense urge to protect my children, even if it includes violence or sacrificing my life, is something that God knows.
God as Mother Bear.
My heart, my soul, just took a breath. In that moment of heightened animal reaction, instead of moving away from God, I got to know God a bit more.
Lord, help me to continue to reflect on my actions. Help me embrace my life and search the Word so that I may move ever closer to You – rather than stray under my own misconceptions and expectations. Help me Lord, to discern how to be a Mother Bear. Amen.