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Hausvater: /HAUS-fah-ter/
noun (German)
1. Housefather.
2. Spiritually responsible head of household, including the housefather as assisted by the housemother.
>> Example: "As the Hausvater should teach it [Christian doctrine] to the entire family ..."
(Martin Luther, Small Catechism, 1529)

Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands.

(Isaiah 49:15–16)

In this passage, God speaks to His children with all of the warmth, tenderness, and reassurance of a breastfeeding mother. Women who have nursed a baby understand that, even if distracted by a project or travel, her body will not let her forget to nurse or pump. When her breasts fill to capacity with milk, there will be physical consequences for her—an unwanted milk letdown, inflammation, or even pain and infection. But, even if a nursing mother could forget her child, God cannot forget His children.


Think of how often you use your hands to serve your family on a daily basis. You use them, you see them, hundreds of times a day. Christ’s hands are literally inscribed with His love for you—they were ripped open in anguish with nails on the cross. The moment of His crucifixion and death was the culmination of all of the prophecies of longing and hope in the Old Testament. Jesus gave His life in your place, washing away all of your sins, giving you peace with God.

Like a mom with the names of her children tattooed on her hands, or a lactating mother, God has you constantly on His mind. He planned His rescue mission through Jesus from eternity because He loves you so much. What a beautiful picture God shows of His heart through the hands and breasts of a mother!

The Lord forsaketh not His flock,
His chosen generation;
He is their Refuge and their Rock,
Their Peace and their Salvation.
As with a mother’s tender hand
He leads His own, His chosen band—
To God all praise and glory!

(Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary, 435:4)

For Further Reading: Isaiah 49; John 20:24–27

Excerpted from Meditations on the Vocation of Motherhood, vol. 1: Old Testament (2018), by permission of the author.


Mrs. Marie K. MacPherson lives in Mankato, Minnesota, with her husband Ryan and their children, whom she homeschools. She is a certified Classical Lutheran Educator (Consortium for Classical Lutheran Educators), author of Meditations on the Vocation of Motherhood (2018), and editor of Mothering Many: Sanity-Saving Strategies from Moms of Four or More (2016).

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