Publisher: Thomas Nelson (April 6, 2021 Pages: 224 pages ISBN-10: 078523554X ISBN-13: 978-0785235545 ASIN: B08BZ1B4S5
“The moment the woman’s truth was uprooted and replaced with inquisition is the moment humanity took a sharp turn.”
“To every woman determined to abandon what was and bold enough to discover what could still become . . . this one is for us.”
“If an actual lightbulb appeared over our heads each time we had an epiphany, in that moment a high-megawatt beam would’ve been shining brilliantly over mine!”
“Maybe you’re like me, and you “closet eat” french fries in the car before you get home with everyone’s dinner.”
“This is by no means a judgment. If you’re still on this planet, then there’s an area of your life that is still growing to its maximum potential.”
“We’re finally going to lean in instead of running away. We’re going to pass through a tunnel that allows us to reconnect with our soul, hopes, passion, and power. We’re going to stop pretending that it never happened because there is a realization more powerful than any painful truth you’ve experienced.”
“That declaration was God’s original intention for all of humanity. So, girl, this world literally needs you. We need you to be fruitful and multiply, not just with beautiful babies but with incredible ideas and opportunities. And if you don’t commit to filling this earth, the alternative does not exclusively affect just you.”
“If being late is hereditary, then I’m certain it was passed down to me from my mother, and, well, God is still working on me in this area.”
“My first devastating foray with forbidden fruit was different from Eve’s. I wasn’t in a garden God created for my personal enjoyment and dwelling. I wasn’t walking around in my birthday suit in the middle of the day, with grass mingling with my toes or birds chirping in the air. I can’t even say there was a slithering serpent that got in my head and ruined my life.”
Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Three years ago I fell deeply in love with Eve. Yes, the Garden of Eden Eve, the woman who basically ruined God’s plan for humanity over a piece of fruit.
I know what you’re thinking: Fall in love with Eve? How is that even possible? The woman most popularly known for being the gateway of sin, debauchery, cramps, bloating, labor pain, dysfunctional relationships, insecurities, depression, disease, stretch marks, acne . . . ? Yes. That’s the one.
For years I rolled my eyes whenever Eve’s name came up. I saw her as the woman who had one job and failed so miserably that it changed my life, and yours, thousands upon thousands of years later. Before it could even begin. A fantasy of traipsing around a tropical garden with a flat tummy, picking organic fruit from trees—never worrying about the cost of living, global warming, or obsessing over social media—comes to a screeching halt over a little ol’ piece of fruit. Picked from a forbidden tree.
I’ve always had big plans to get to heaven and give Eve a full neck-twisting, eye-rolling, hand-clapping dissertation on the effects her choice has had on the rest of us. But all of that changed at a women’s conference. I noticed that all the volunteers (and most of the registrants) wore matching shirts. This isn’t uncommon at a women’s event; however, these shirts were different. They displayed the names of women in the Bible who are celebrated for their commitment and faith: “Sarah. Ruth. Esther. Mary. #squadgoals.”
Since we are just getting to know each other, now may be a good time to tell you something you should probably know about me. From time to time, there’s this petty part of my brain that needs to be reminded that I know Jesus. Is that anybody else’s testimony?
That day at the conference, that petty part of my brain tapped me on my proverbial shoulder and whispered, “Chiiillle, look! You ain’t the only one who doesn’t want Eve on her squad.” I immediately smiled at the thought.
As I walked from the backstage holding room into the crowded auditorium, I looked over the audience. The “Sarah. Ruth. Esther. Mary. #squadgoals” shirt was literally everywhere I turned. The band had taken their places on the stage. The singers had grabbed their microphones. The music was blaring, and everyone in the room was lifting their voices in worship. But I was stuck.
I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. I should have been opening my heart and lifting my hands to sing along with all the others. After all, in just a few short moments I was scheduled to take the platform and share a message meant to confront, transform, and empower the women in the room to pursue the vision God had when He created them. Yet all I could think about was Eve.
Logically I knew why her name was not on the shirts. Seriously. Who in their right mind wants Eve on their squad? She was so easily tempted and manipulated to abandon what she knew was right and engage with what would leave her (and the rest of us) in the world struggling.
If an actual lightbulb appeared over our heads each time we had an epiphany, in that moment a high-megawatt beam would’ve been shining brilliantly over mine!
Compassion for Eve hit me like a ton of bricks. This time I wasn’t viewing her from my high horse but from a position of empathy that can only come from knowing what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes. There I was, in the middle of a women’s conference, where the virtues of women who showed ridiculous faith and righteousness were being proclaimed, but all I could think about was Eve—my heart longing to go back to the garden to tell her that she still had value, promise, and worth.
YOU’VE GOT SOME EVE IN YOU
Value. Promise. Worth. Aren’t those the words we all need to hear? Especially when we find ourselves in our own inevitable Eve moments? Haven’t we all had a moment when we knew better but didn’t do better?
Let’s be honest. Our inclination to choose a path that pushes us further away from our moral, ethical, spiritual, financial, physical, relational, or emotional goals is not a foreign concept. Yet Eve has been vilified for making a similar choice. One we all can relate to making at some point, in some way.
If you raised your eyebrow at that last sentence, allow me a moment to prove it to you.
Every day we are given many opportunities to choose what we know is good and right for us. But if you’re like me, there are times throughout the day when my discipline to do what I know is good and right is overshadowed by the temptation to do what I know will ultimately slow my progress. In other words, you know what it’s like to know better but not do better.
Maybe you’re like me, and you “closet eat” french fries in the car before you get home with everyone’s dinner. Or you overindulge and buy things you know you don’t need (but convince yourself you really do). No doubt we all stalk the social media pages of those who have hurt us, allowing our thoughts of shame, anger, fear, anxiety, insecurity, and doubt to take the mic—sometimes to the point we no longer have the faith required to live life with integrity or confidence.
In those moments, when we choose to resist what we know we should do, we are subconsciously also choosing to live inwardly unfulfilled, envious, and apprehensive, in toxic relationships, and addicted, stressed, depressed, ashamed of ourselves . . . the list goes on and on, but all of it ends in a state of devastation. The truth is that no matter how easy people may make it seem, it can be incredibly challenging to abandon toxic habits and instead choose to do what we know is right.
This is by no means a judgment. If you’re still on this planet, then there’s an area of your life that is still growing to its maximum potential.
If you’re journaling or taking notes—and if not, now is a good time to grab pen and paper; you’re going to need it—I invite you to take a moment to look within your soul. What’s an area of your life where you continue to repeat a cycle that ends with you feeling less valuable? That, my dear, is your forbidden fruit. Now, consider how evolving for the better in that area would change your life. That’s the new pattern I want you to achieve. And to help you with these kinds of deeper reflections, I’ve added “Working It Out” opportunities in the chapters that follow. Please take a moment to pray each time before you begin to work it out. I think you’ll be amazed at the way God honors those prayers and your work.
MY FRIEND EVE
It was the way her eyes moved before her eyelids ever parted that indicated she was ready to be introduced to a whole new world. Flutter, shut, flutter, shut, she practiced the opening and closing of them until she finally allowed them to remain open. Then, slowly, she lifted her delicate hands to eye level. Like a newborn baby trapped in a woman’s body, she stood in the middle of the garden, fascinated by her fingertips. The warmth from the sun covered every inch of her like a blanket. She studied the backside of her hands and marveled at the hints of red and gold peeking from beneath the top layer of her bronzed skin. Turning her hands over, she discovered the intersecting lines embedded on her palms. Her fingertips traced the trail of lines as they mingled and danced, creating abstract art unique to her tale. Her eyes roamed the length of her arms. Her right hand grazed the roundness of her left shoulder and the fragile protrusion of her collarbone. She paused only to rest the pads of her fingers in the cove that held her pulse. She took a moment and felt the rhythm of her blood flowing through her body—steady and controlled.
Slowly but surely, her focus drifted, and she began surveying the rest of her frame. Devoid of another woman’s body to serve as a point of reference, she felt no need to compare the roundness of her tummy with others she’d seen. Nor could she judge the appropriate thickness of her thighs or ideal width of her hips. Instead, she did what so many of us fail to accomplish: she reveled in the beauty and simplicity of her existence. The woman was fascinated by the dimensions of her power. She had the innate ability to touch with a delicate finesse or with a firmness that demanded the recognition of her strength.
Still utterly consumed with her personal examination of the body she now possessed, the woman’s trance was suddenly broken when she heard the rustling of life happening around her. She took what she thought would be a quick glance around, but her eyes widened with astonishment and admiration as she surrendered to the beauty of her new home. The birds swirled above her head. The lush grass danced with her toes. The bushes crunched as the creatures passing by divided their square form. Undeterred by her stares, the creatures went about their way, not nearly as intrigued by her as she was by them. The rivers streamed with a familiar pulsating rhythm, reminding her of the beat she felt happening in the cove of her neck just moments before. The woman had so much to learn yet no urgency to do it. This moment, her introduction to the world, had to be fully breathed in.
She continued to skim the new land until the only being powerful enough to break her trance came into focus. In a world full of so many textures, colors, shapes, and forms, he was the only thing she’d seen thus far that resembled her own frame. The differences were subtle but undeniable. His shoulders were broader and arms much longer than her own. There was a bulge in his neck that resembled the fruit she’d observed on one of the trees. His face was decorated with hair that began by his ears and circled around his mouth. Her eyes landed on the corner of his lips and she noticed how they curved slightly upward. Instantly, she mirrored his expression. When she finally focused on his eyes, she had a knowing that while she stood taking in her environment, he’d been studying her.
He was standing there staring at her as if she were the most fascinating organism he’d ever encountered. He surveyed every inch of her beauty with his eyes and became irrefutably mesmerized. It was the way their eyes locked that made the earth stand still. The flowers stopped their sway, and the breeze broke its pattern. It was almost as if the whole world were applauding that he’d finally found something akin to him.
He took her hand in his. Palm to palm their hands conveyed what their spirits already knew. Their connection began long before their fingers, presently intertwined, ever touched. It began in a realm much more divine. A realm that not even words could define. Immediately it became obvious that the sun would rise and set many times over before their infatuation with each other’s presence grew dull.
He navigated their world with ease and comfort. She studied her environment like a new student eager to please and desiring to do well. He shared with her the names of all the creatures and plants. He exemplified the power they both possessed to command the earth to do as they wished. The man often stressed that everything was made in sequence of importance, with her entrance serving as the apex of all creation. It felt like the woman was late to a party that had been going on for hours. Her delayed entrance into the world meant she would have to catch up from last place while somehow exhibiting a confidence that relayed she deserved to be first. He tried to help by reminding her of the commandment that they’d been given when God handed them the “reins.” God had said, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” This intimidating world was created to adjust to the tone she set, but she would have to be intentional about setting that tone or she would get lost in the rhythm the world set.