by Debra Neybert, Training Specialist He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. Isaiah 40:11 This scripture is a beautiful expression of the nurturing heart of God. The Lord gathers us in His arms, He carries us close to His heart, and He gently leads us. When God created us, He gave us amazing revelation into His nature. He first made man in His image, and then caused the man to fall into a deep sleep and took one of the man’s ribs to make woman. (Genesis 2:21-22). Both male and female were created in God’s image and likeness; Eve’s female identity contained attributes that reflected the female/mothering image of God. We often emphasize the heart of the Father, but do not always perceive the Lord as one who expresses Himself through the nurturing heart of a woman. We all need the love of a mother and a father. But in a fallen world, that need is not always satisfied. The scripture above is a precious word picture of the tender and gentle love the Lord wants us to experience in intimacy with Him. It is a healing love that brings us to life in our inner most being! Jesus used a nurturing image of Himself when He compared His deep concern for His people with that of a mother hen for her chicks. He said, in reference to Jerusalem: “How often I wanted to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks together…” Luke 13:34 The Lord celebrates and cherishes women. He carefully crafts each one to reveal His mothering heart, a heart that fills all the voids, that nourishes, satisfies, delights in, comforts, and provides peace. In this season may you experience His arms around you, carrying you close to His heart.