What Eve Can Teach Us About Being a Mom
When it’s time to hand out mother of the year awards, few of us would think to nominate Eve. Her entire story is told in only four little chapters in the book of Genesis: she was created, she sinned, she was banished, and she bore children. Her children sinned and then she died. It may not sound like the makings of a Hallmark Mother’s Day special, but Eve has much to teach us about who we are as mothers.
Eve’s name sounds like the Hebrew word for life-giver. Fitting, since she is, in fact the mother of us all. Aslan reminds us of this truth in The Chronicles of Narnia when he refers to Susan and Lucy Pevensie as the “daughters of Eve.” We may want to distance ourselves from Eve, much like a tween on her first day of middle school (“no kisses mom puh-lease!”). But just like most of us realized how cool our own moms were about the time we delivered our own bundles into the world, if we look closely we will find that Eve isn’t as clueless as we thought.
After Adam and Eve sinned in the garden and God passed down His punishment, here’s what Adam did: “The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all the living.”
Prior to this, Eve had only been called “woman.” But in the face of her sin and punishment Adam’s response was to give his wife a new name that highlighted her ability to give birth.
In Genesis 4:1 we read Eve’s words after she gave birth to her first son, Cain: “With the help of the Lord, I have brought forth a man.” You can almost hear the wonder in her voice.
In Genesis 4:25 she became the mother to Seth and she said, “God has granted me another child, in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.”
At both of her recorded birthing accounts, we hear gratitude as she gives credit where credit is due:
“With the help of the Lord . . . ”(Gen. 4:1).
“God has granted me another child . . . ”(Gen. 4:25).
Eve recognized God’s hand in her role as a mother. And she shows us our choice; we can focus on our pain, loss, or frustration; or we can praise God for the unique joy that comes with bringing forth new life.
John 16:21 puts it this way, “When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for the joy that a human being has been born into the world.”
Eve knew the sorrow of childbirth. Every contraction was a reminder of how badly she missed the mark. Every pang reminded her of how much was lost in the Garden. But each little baby face was a testament that she did not lose her relationship with God, and she did not lose His mission for her to multiply and fill the earth.
Why did Adam remind Eve that she was the mother of all the living on the heels of the curse? Because he knew her sin was not the sum of her legacy.
Yes, Adam and Eve’s sin has been passed down to every generation. But that’s not all they’ve given us. The part of her story that we tend to overlook is that at least some of Eve’s children and grandchildren called on the name of the Lord:
“To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord” (Gen. 4:26, emphasis mine).
There were no outreach events, youth pastors, or vacation Bible schools. Adam and Eve were solely responsible to build their family on the foundation of knowing and serving the God who created them. Eve told her children about God and they told their children and they told their children. Yes, generations of sin can be traced back to her, but so can generations of moms who give God glory for the gift of mothering and use motherhood as a platform to tell of the good things He has done.
I don’t want to minimize Eve’s sin. Sin is a huge deal and it’s something that still permeates the way we relate to our children and how they relate to us. But, Eve’s decision to sin in the Garden of Eden is just one song we should be singing about Eve. If we look at the big picture, her children were her opus.
The idea of pouring our lives out for others rather than living for successful careers, beautiful homes, or a relaxing retirement has lost its luster in our culture. But Eve reminds us that only by passing the baton of faith and telling our children and grandchildren (and nieces and nephews and neighbors) about our awesome God can we build something eternal.
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