Moniqua Acosta has been a part of the Women in Leadership Project since 2012. She previously served as an intern and advisory board member of the former Women’s Concerns desk at Mennonite Central Committee. Her educational background is social work with an emphasis on children and families. She is currently a member of the New Holland Spanish Mennonite Church Jesucristo es el Señor, and has attended the church for the last 29 years.
Our Creator is above being defined by gender, but often I experience a mothering God in my dreams and thoughts. I don’t feel bad or ashamed about this, not at all. Really, the idea of our Creator as a male had been pounded into my head all of my life, and so opening up my mind to realize the fullness of God – symbolized by both masculine and feminine images – has been quite liberating. And what beautiful images come into my mind picturing our Lord in all of her glory.
A mothering God offers quite an example for how I should parent my children, along with my husband.
It has been a struggle to find my way as a mother; to really find MY own unique way. I carry with me generations of cultural and societal traditions and expectations. And most directly, I have my own madre who serves as an example, as well as my mother-in-law and many, many sisters in the faith.
My main struggles come from my insecurities – of being able to give my children more than I had in the way of opportunities, experiences, connections, love and even money. I want them to have everything I always wished I had or thought I needed. I find it difficult because I know that my personal upbringing, along with the Creator’s hands, have made me who I am today.
And while there are many things I wish never happened and pray never befall my children, the experiences have been instrumental in shaping me and I proudly own them. I own them because I am still standing!
My children at times feel that I am over-involved in their lives with friends and school, but I tell them that I have a small window of time with them until they are off, and so they just need to deal with it. As they have gotten older and my two oldest have become teenagers, I have begun to let some things go. I give them space and opportunity to flourish and even at fail. I do so with the hope that they will learn to be productive and confident in life. I am taking baby steps though – letting go is difficult.
I have seen some of the fruits of my labor from time to time and it is really special. My oldest, who will be 16 this summer, told me that going into her junior year of high school this fall, she will take on making her own breakfast and lunch for school. She also said she’ll start doing her own laundry, so that she is ready to be on her own when she leaves for college. I do admit there is grief involved in letting go, as a Latina mom (or any mom really), I hold on very tightly to my kids. My 13-year-old has reassured me that I may continue to do these things for her as long as I wish. My youngest is my 8-year-old and only son. And he is an entirely different can of frijoles. Let’s save that for another blog post, entitled, “You will never be good enough for my baby boy, and he is never leaving me.”