Guest Post: Musings on Judy Blume and a Feminine Divine

by Jessie R.

A few months ago I saw Are You There, God? It’s Me Margaret in theaters. It was a wonderful movie and a surprisingly cathartic experience. The theater was full of women-mothers and daughters, sisters and friends- laughing, groaning, and cheering at all the best parts. We were the target audience, after all, and what could be more relatable than an 11-year-old girl navigating a changing body, a new group of friends, and her relationship with religion?

Like Margaret, I spent the entire runtime contemplating about my own understanding of God–in particular, what it meant to grow up female, in a world where God was known exclusively as male. Heavenly Father. He. Him.

Young me was perplexed by this. How could a Father ever really understand what it was like to get your first period, to stuff tissues into a training bra? Did He care? Were those things unimportant-silly, even? Only now, years later, do I recognize the shame I felt about my femaleness–my “otherness”. After all, with my girl parts, I would never truly be made in God’s image.

Over time, my ideas about God have changed. I now accept God as mystery, with a powerful, baffling love for me and all creations. When I pray, I still use the spiritual language I was taught all of my life. I truly believe that God hears me, and all of us, regardless of the words we choose to use.

God feels plural to me now. I don’t just picture a father, but a mother as well. Equally loving and equally powerful. A mother I wish I knew more about.

“It’s not that an idea of god the father [is] so upsetting to me,” Meggan Waterson wrote in her book, Mary Magdalene Revealed, “[it’s] that [it’s] so incomplete…. It just [feels] like one side of a far more inclusive and radical love story.”

At the end of the movie, Margaret cries tears of joy over getting her first period (Spoiler. Sorry!). In that moment, I imagined a divine feminine face. I wondered if there was a Heavenly Mother who heard her prayer of gratitude. Perhaps She had been walking beside her all along, listening to her prayers, whispering in her heart, crying with her, cheering for her. Relating to a daughter as only a mother could do.

All I have is speculation. This is the God of my own understanding, pieced together by the answers to my most personal prayers.

But expanding divinity to include the feminine feels a brave step into the unknown. It feels like strengthening muscles I didn’t know I had, like painting on canvas with a wider, brighter array of colors.

It feels more … whole.

Jessie R is a math teacher, aspiring data scientist, and mother to two little girls. She likes to write about her faith, if for no other reason than to quiet her own mind.


  1. Such a lovely post. I agree. I’m far more drawn to the idea of God as a plural They than as a singular He. I never use Heavenly Father language — only “God” language, because “God” is not an exclusive He to me. You’ve inspired me to want to watch that movie! I’ve always loved Judy Blume.

  2. Judy Blume’s books are wonderful for kids (and adults) to read (or have them read to kids) because she deals with real kids living real lives and having real experiences that they have to navigate as best they can. Most of her books are also extremely funny.

    Heavenly Mother was a fraught subject for me for a long time because of my difficult relationship with my own mother who wanted me to be a Molly Mormon, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t please her because I wasn’t being my authentic self. Then I thought of Heavenly Mother being like my beloved paternal grandmother who loved, supported and encouraged me to be who I was in all aspects of my life. That completely changed my ability to love and worship Her.

    I have friends of many faiths and no faith at all who now believe in Heavenly Parents which thrills me. I’m not alone in needing to connect with the Divine Feminine who once was lost but now is found and desperately needed again.

  3. I loved that movie too! And I love your point about praying to a more expansive God, even while using the same language you became accustomed to as a child. I often find it easier to default to the words for god I was taught, even if I think of god differently now.

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