When you think of a Christian woman, what do you think of? Personally, I think of anything and everything I’m not (which can mean a lot of different things depending on my mood).
What we should be expecting and seeing in the Church, however, are women who are assured that they are defended by the Creator who molded them for a specific purpose that only they can carry out. Because that is exactly who and what we are—beloved, purposed, empowered, and defended.
What I see instead are women who are afraid to tell their stories because they
- Don’t have it “all together,”
- Believe their sin is worse than anyone else’s,
- Expect that they truly are unloveable,
- Carry overwhelming shame,
- Know their image is only skin-deep,
- Can’t keep their house, children, husband, cars, clothes, and dishes in perfect order and happiness,
- Ache with loneliness for someone to love and be loved by,
- Feel unnecessary, unimportant, overweight, ugly, too much, too little, too smart, too dumb, not enough and certainly not defended.
Satan has distorted Eve’s story so that all we see are short-comings, doom, and a wrathful God. Historically, western society seems to expect women to suddenly strip naked and offer random people apples, seducing the world into sin and moral depravity. We ourselves suspect that we are less than the woman next to us, aren’t what we should be, and can’t offer anything worthwhile until we “get it together.”
And when we don’t pull off perfection, we expect God: the Old Testament Tyrant to judge us, then smite us for the tiniest mistake. And if he doesn’t punish us sufficiently, we take on the job and replay our mistakes, shames, and failures over and over again until we are incapacitated by our worthlessness.
What a victory for our enemy.
But I have news for you. God made you perfectly you. Utterly capable to achieve the good purpose He created you for (Eph. 2:10). You are an echo of Eve: life-giver, nick-of-time-helper, relationship-inviter, and enemy to Satan.
No matter the availability to evil and consequences of life after the Fall, no matter your mistakes or screw-ups, you are created in the image of God and you have dignity. But you also have an enemy. This enemy wants you shackled, shamed, and utterly deceived about your true role, power, and dignity. You’ll be no threat to him then.
Eve’s power came from accepting her role and identity as prescribed by God. Her extraordinary defense occurred because of her humility and honesty before God. I suspect that I am not the only woman who has been deceived, mocked, cheated, and shamed in my lifetime. We are no longer perfect beings living in a perfect world. That is not our role or identity on this earth. Our role as women is to stand before God and invite Him to defend us and reclaim our dignity, worth, and power.
Eve’s story guarantees that He will.