I should let you know that I’m on the verge of ugly crying as I write this.
I came across this picture on Facebook today as I scrolled through my feed. I almost passed right by it but thankfully it caught my eye and now my heart is exploding from all that this painting symbolizes and means to my soul. Look at it again, my friend. Look at Eve’s face. Then Mary’s. And pay special attention to their feet. I’ll get you a tissue.
The painting is by by Sister Grace Remington, OCSO
Sisters of the Mississippi Abbey in Dubuque, Iowa.
You can purchase prints of this painting and while you’re at it- how about you buy like 78 for me to hang all over every square inch of my house so I can live and breathe this reminder every day. It is accompanied by this poem that a fellow sister wrote:
My mother, my daughter, life-giving Eve, Do not be ashamed, do not grieve. The former things have passed away, Our God has brought us to a New Day. See, I am with Child, Through whom all will be reconciled. O Eve! My sister, my friend, We will rejoice together Forever Life without end.
— Sr Columba Guare © 2005 Sisters of the Mississippi Abbey
Do I even need to write about this? I feel like I could post just this- all day every day and it would breathe freshness into your soul every time.
If I can pick myself up off the floor for a minute to squeak some words out- it will be these: No more shame, dear Eve.
While there is a ton of deep theology we could get into here, I want to focus instead on what this means for you, dear friend. Don’t get me wrong- deep theology feeds and fuels my soul in such a special way, but what are all those historical facts and meanings without letting it touch your soul? We hear a lot about “the Second Adam”- referring to Jesus. There are countless verses that talk about Jesus redeeming the mistakes that Adam made, surrendering His life to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane. Gardens are where things go down, I guess. And there is beautiful theology wrapped all up in those teachings.
But rarely do we see Eve redeemed.
I’m not going to get all women’s rights on you here- that’s not where I’m going with this. After I had Ella, I wrote about her birth in a post called “Dear Eve”. I’ve long since lost it (cue ugly crying) but all through Ella’s birth I kept thinking of Eve. How scared she must have felt, how terrifying the pain must have been without knowing the joys that would follow with her sweet babe. Adam, wondering if his wife was dying. The regret they must have felt for the choices they made in the garden.
Adam and Eve are by far at the top of my “To Meet In Heaven” list. (Paul? NO THANKS. That guy would make me feel bad about myself, I’m sure of it. Peter is probably number 3. Because that dude is hilarious.) Everything about Adam and Eve’s story intrigues me. I’ve spent hours and hours reading, studying and gleaning all that I can from their time in the garden, wondering what it would have been like to be them.
If you’ve never read The Jesus Storybook Bible, you are missing out friend. It is by far my favorite thing ever. Here’s a video of their story:
The thing is- I get Eve. I SO get her. People are harsh when they speak of her- angry, even. But who on this Earth has never heard that same lie? “Poor you, perhaps God doesn’t want you to be happy.” That lie she believed led her to more heartbreak and shame than she ever thought possible. That one bite, that one slip up- total shame.
How many of us have had the same experience, friend? When I look into Eve’s face, I see my own. The pain, the shame, I’ve felt it too. The hopelessness from being entangled in one of Satan’s lies- it’s almost too much to handle. And yet here we see such a beautiful, peaceful “No more.” I wish this painting could have happened in real life. I wish that Eve could have peered at the redemption of her confusion- seeing that God’s goodness really is bigger and better than any mistake she could make.
Friend, are you Eve today?
Do you have a lie wrapped around you, blocking you from seeing God’s goodness or redemption in your life? Shame is one of the ugliest tools I’ve ever seen Satan use. Shame is sticky. It’s hard to shake off. Once you think you’re rid of it, it likes to pop back up like a sticker you can’t get off your dang finger. And Satan knows this- he’s such a jerk.
But today, this Christmas, this next year and beyond: what if we looked instead at the babe in Mary’s tum instead of the fruit in our hand? What if we dropped our shame and failures and used that hand to reach for Him instead?
Friend, wherever you’re at, whatever season you’re in- there is hope for you this Christmas. There is redemption for your mistakes and healing for those failures that have become wounds. We are loved by a God who never lets us go and never gives up on us. He is making a way for you, dear sister. Where there seems to be no way- He’s already started making a way for you. Where there seems to be no hope- He is bringing the hope TO you. He’s already on His way. There is no shame too big for Jesus. No failure too ugly for Him to redeem. No set back big enough to tear us away from all that He has for us.
Do not fear, dear Eve. There is no more shame for you. A babe has been born in Bethlehem and He will be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.” And that Wonderful Counselor, He can heal you. Our Might God- He’s bigger than any mistake. Our Everlasting Father- His love for you can never be swayed. And The Prince of Peace- He can calm your storm, dear friend.
Christmas seemed distant to me until today. Here, seeing this miracle in a new light, I am reminded of the beauty that Christmas is. The bustling Bethlehem, a filthy stable, the screams of labor, then the Holy Moment– at last. And just like that- He made a way for Eve. For all the pain her choices caused her and her children. For all the regrets, set backs and lies believed- He made a way that Christmas night.
And this Christmas night I will remember- He can and IS making a way for me and every other one of Eve’s daughters. Reach out for Him this Christmas, friend. He’s made a way for you.