As young as I can remember, hearing everyone refer to God as “He”, never sat well with me. At church we prayed “The Father, the Son“. Before meal time we prayed, “God is great, God is good, let us thank him for our food“. Before bed time we prayed, “Our Father, who art in heaven“. And the lists of praises to “Him” goes on and on. At some point I questioned my mom about the absence of the women in prayers. I wanted to know why “She” wasn’t included with “He” when it is “She” in fact that had “Him” It was then explained to me that God is not a man but instead a spirit. My response, and I clearly remember saying this, “Then why call God he?”
At some point I started to whisper my praises to “Her” during all prayers. I had to acknowledge the feminine aspect of life. The father cannot be a father without mother. The birth of creation is given to this Universe through the womb of a woman. So why is the role of “She” not as important in the presence of many religious practices?
As a mother, I’ve made it my duty to educate my children on the importance of a women and how vital it is for society to acknowledge the feminine power. Women possess the seed for the creation of life that represents the infinite potential with what she is born. In other words, WE GIVE BIRTH TO OUR EXISTENCE. What does that make us? Is that not a GOD?
Showing appreciation to the feminine aspect was yearning in my soul. Then the idea of Feminine Transitions to me. From there, I discovered a whole new world of feminists projects, bloggers, artist, books, etc. One book that immediately captured my attention from a post on Facebook was, The Girl God by Trista Hendren. The title alone is powerful, the combination of the beautiful paintings by Elisabeth Slettnes create a stunning luminous beauty. I finally found a children’s book I can share with my daughters that expresses the significance of a woman in a “Godly” manner.
For this blog, I interviewed Trista about her experience with The Girl God.
What is The Girl God? The Girl God is the feminine form of God. She is the mother, daughter and sister in all of us women. She is the woman who gave birth to each of us and to life itself. She is grace, compassion and love.
How did you come up with the idea? I had tried to raise my daughter as both a Muslim (as I had converted) and a Christian (as my family raised me). One day she sneezed, and we had a discussion about what that meant in Islam. I had taken for granted that she knew what I meant as I blessed her, but she did not. The discussion was enlightening for me. I realized I had failed her as a mother. I had used what I knew to raise her the best I could, but somewhere deep inside me I knew that same system had failed me. I had succumbed to materialism in pursuit of “raising a family”. But in doing so, I had lost sense of my own core values and what I needed in order to thrive as a woman. In losing myself, I realized my daughter would not have a fair chance at life. If I did not honor my truth, she would really struggle to honor hers.
I wrote the original text in about 15 minutes after this conversation. It has changed some grammatically and in small detail, but the original story and message is still very close to the original. In a way, it has been sort of an apology and an amends to both my daughter and to all the women of the world. It is also a love story to my daughter and to myself. It is the story of the love our Divine Mother has for all of us and how empowering it is when we embrace her love.
What do you want little girls to walk away with after reading The Girl God? Alternative views of the well-known scriptures as well as new ideas from feminist *thealogians* and the strength that comes from knowing you are a beautiful creation of the Divine Feminine.
Do you think that there is a lack of appreciation for the feminine in religion? If so, why? Yes. I think it is not only not appreciated but intentionally stamped out. All of the world religions come from a place of social justice and all of them have some aspect of the Divine Feminine if you look hard enough. This has benefited men but hurt women.
What was your first recollection of praises to “He” and not “She”? The first idea that God could even be a woman was when I purchased Patricia Lynn Reilly’s “A God Who Looks Like Me” in college. That was a transformative period in my life. I had come into both Women’s Studies and Islam at the same time. For whatever reason, I did not finish the book then. Perhaps I was not ready for it. But I kept it despite numerous moves over a 15-year period. As I was going through a divorce about 4 years ago, I went finally finished the book and was blown away.
Finish the sentence:
A woman is…powerful
Creation is…transformative and necessary.
When I think of pregnancy I think of…New life. A chance to also re-birth yourself.
What I love most about being a woman is…Fluidity.
I want to change….The inequality of the sexes. The foundations of which for me are religion, sexuality and economics. Religion is the most powerful force in most of our lives. Until we get to the root of what we believe and why, we can not really change anything. A change in the way we view the divine – especially when we can imagine the divine as feminine, will change the inequality of sexual norms and economics. And then, women’s lives will change.
I want my daughter to know…That she is worthy. That she does not have to constantly sacrifice herself for the sake of others – as so many of us women do. That her aspirations are just as important as any one else’s.
If I can change anything with The Girl God, it would be…That women would come into themselves much sooner. So often it seems that women wake up after 30, 40 or 50-years. I want girls to know their worth from the get-go and hold onto it.