Embracing our inner “Eve”

“Mom, what do you think Eve looked like?” That is the question that one of my kids asked me when we were eating lunch after church yesterday afternoon.  We had just heard a sermon about suffering and God’s place in the suffering that we are all inevitably faced with in this life.  Naturally, Adam and Eve came up because a lot of suffering is caused by nothing less than human decision!  Not fun to hear, but very true!  We, as humans, are predisposed to sin and with sin comes suffering!  There are different degrees of it, of course, but even a “little white lie” could cause someone in our lives to suffer a great deal.

So, when describing my version of Eve to my 3 kids, I told them that I believed her to be a beautiful tall woman, with long, wavy, thick hair that covered her breasts and she had smooth, young, soft  skin.  Sounds like a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, right?
To me, she was glamorous for her time and was created “perfectly”.  I went on to say that she really screwed things up when God gave them an entire garden filled with fruit, berries, figs, etc. and He had specifically told them to avoid one tree in the entire garden and that’s the one Eve chose!  Really Eve? Come on now, you didn’t make a good name for the ladies!

So begins the story of sin and suffering! (Again…thanks Eve)!

So today when I was thinking a little more about Eve and her decision to eat that fruit, I googled images of her and found her not to be as “perfect” as I had imagined and described to my kids!  I understand that nobody was taking pictures of Eve with their iPhone back in the beginning of time, but the drawings and illustrations of Eve are not at all as I had created in my head.  In fact, in several drawings, Eve looks a little heavy and her facial features are not as beautiful as I had envisioned.  Her body is not very proportionate and her hair looks a bit thin and disheveled.  She doesn’t look “perfect”!

Eve inspired me today because of the many comparisons women make when we look at each other or when we envision what someone else’s life may look like on the outside and what it truly is on the inside.  We spend so much time comparing ourselves to others, that it often weighs us down and just ends up making us feel worse about ourselves.  Don’t we have enough to battle with relationships, finances, work, children, family and on and on and on?  Do we really need to agonize about the fact that Susie next door just got a brand new, top of the line, fully loaded luxury vehicle and I’m still driving my used mini van with cheerios embedded in the floor board?

I do it all the time!  This person is skinnier than me, that person has a happier marriage than I do, that friend has kids that never seem to make a mistake, that woman is more “christian” than I am.  It can be overwhelming at times and it definitely is a huge waste of time and energy!

But this is what I am learning through ministry to women that are trying to heal…we are all imperfect! We all have a story and very few people know it!
What we see on the outside of another person could be very different from what another person might see.  If I look at a friend of mine that has revealed her life story to me and shared with me her sins and the pain she has caused her family and friends, but has since found Christ and what it means to be forgiven, I might see redemption, peace, hope and beauty in this friend.  Someone else that doesn’t know my friend’s story may find a woman that’s closed off, shy, indifferent or uppity. How can we possibly make these assumptions when we do not fully know one’s truth or life experiences?  We can’t!

We get so caught up in comparing ourselves to others, that we neglect to see the beauty that God has created in each of us and the past that comes with us!

Eve made a huge mistake in eating from the single tree that God instructed her not to eat from and we make huge mistakes every day too!  When she sinned, she became naked and vulnerable, just as we do. Does our brokenness and sin make us any less lovable than the girl next door?  The answer is a firm NO! God knows every intricate detail of our past, he knows about our failures, our sin and our heartache and we are loved fully, completely and unconditionally! I believe we are called to look at one another that way also!  Most of the close people in my life have grown to accept me and love me even more completely once they got to know some of my secrets, sins and parts of my past that I kept hidden in a very dark corner of my being.  They recognized who I am on the inside today because of my story of suffering and they choose to love me anyway. What a gift!

We are broken, but we are beautiful.  If every one of us could look in the mirror every day and regardless of what we see physically, we could embrace our gift of imperfect broken beauty, wouldn’t the day be so much nicer?  Suppose we see beauty in the mirror but when we lay our head on the pillow we question ourselves as mothers, wives, or friends and we beat ourselves up for the things we said or the way we react to others…Try replacing those negative thoughts with thoughts of being an imperfect broken beauty!
What if we looked at each other like that too?  What if we looked at every woman we come in contact with throughout the course of our day as an imperfect broken beauty?  Even the cranky woman behind the cash register, the woman with road rage passing us on the highway, the woman at the school looking glamorous when picking up her kids?  What if we looked at each of them as an imperfect broken beauty?
The answer is, we would see just that!  We would see imperfection because we all have flaws and scars, we would see brokenness because we know that we have all sinned and have caused suffering to those we love in some form and we would see an incredible beauty because our Creator hand crafted each and every one of us very specifically for His purpose.

We all have a little bit of Eve in us, embrace the Eve in you and in other women and perhaps the comparisons will stop and the healing can begin…for all of us!