Ahhh…feeling refreshed and renewed

Okay… so here we are at the beginning of a brand new week, and I am feeling refreshed, renewed, and invigorated.

I love my two babies to death, and everyone knows this, but I am not one of those moms who lies or pretends that every single second of motherhood is the most rewarding moment ever. Sometimes I need a break from them, and sometimes I crave alone time with my husband. Finally, I got it. Last night, my son went to spend the night with his uncle, and my daughter spent the night with my parents. BLISS!! If only for several hours before we got tired and fell asleep watching a movie, my husband and I were able to just hang out together with no interruption. We went to the movies and saw Identity Thief–which I thought was pretty funny despite the negative reviews–and had dinner at Chili’s.

Being with my husband just makes me marvel at God’s omniscient character. It takes me to the book of Genesis, the beginning chapters, where God’s creative juices were flowing something wonderful. First, God created the world so that it could naturally supply our every need–doesn’t that seem to imply that He intended on creating us awhile before? Doesn’t it amaze you that the world is so complementary to man? We need water to live–water is in abundance in the earth. We need carbohydrates, protein, all sorts of vitamins and minerals–they are all here for our (over) consumption. Yet people believe the creation of this world was spontaneous????? No, such careful loving consideration requires an all-powerful, all-knowing being. GOD.

Jump to Genesis 2:2: “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work”. This is not to imply that our omnipotent God got physically ill, as he is not confined to a human body prone to aches and pains, fibromyalgia, sciatica, etc. No, instead I liken this part of Genesis to how I feel after I have prepared an exhaustive meal and watched my family devour it with much pleasure. Me being a foodie, I derive great satisfaction from preparing a good meal. When it is served up and looking and smelling delicious, I rest because I am pleased with my work. I picture God looking at the wonder he had just created with much satisfaction. He may have even given himself a pat on the “back” (joking).

God goes on to bless the seventh day and declare its holiness (Gen. 2:3). I like that God decreed a day of rest, and I think it is unfortunate that we do not all allow ourselves a day of rest. I hear my elders often reflect on their childhoods, when absolutely nothing was open on Sundays. The day was left for worship and family. Not so much anymore. And although the Sabbath does not apply to Christians, I think the more important part of this Scripture and references in the New Testament are that Jesus gave us the freedom to observe the Sabbath, but it is not commanded of us as Christians. I also think it points to the importance of REST. These days, most of us GO GO GO GO GO without stopping, and a lot of the activities that consume our days (and nights) get in the way of proper fellowship with God. I am guilty of this. Ever get so busy you neglect your prayer life? (Raises hand)

I can go further. I don’t know about you, but when I do not get enough rest, I am FAR from Christ-like. I am short-tempered, impatient, indifferent, grumpy, just flat-out ornery. But when I am rested I am sweet as pie.

Let me wrap this up. Back to my husband.

So next in Genesis is one of my favorite Biblical stories–that of Adam and Eve. Not much is said, but a lot can be inferred.

Genesis points to a Utopian existence, where God had provided EVERYTHING man needed in perfect form, this of course being before sin entered the picture and destroyed the perfection. It talks about there not yet having being any rain, so God allowed for streams to spring up from the earth and water the grounds (Gen. 2:5-6). There was also no one to work the ground–henceforth came Adam.

God could have used anything he wanted to create Adam. It is interesting to me that he used DIRT. Who wants to think they come from something as lowly as dirt? Well, the characteristics of dirt/soil provide an interesting parallel to humans. The basic components of soil are as follows: Air, minerals, water, and organic matter (BioFlora, n.d.).  What do we need to survive? Air, minerals, water, and organic matter (carbon compounds). I may be reading too much into that one, but it makes me happy and doesn’t hurt anybody… I hope.

God put Adam in the garden of Eden, and also added strategically placed trees–the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God told Adam: “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die” (Gen. 2: 16-17). After explaining this to Adam, God created Eve–so it is fair to assume that Eve did not receive this direct instruction from God.

I like how God decided to create Eve. Now just awhile ago, God had surveyed his work and was satisfied. Now he sees a new need. He saw that Adam, amongst all the creatures who had suitable companions, was lonely and needed his own companion and helper. There were all sorts of creatures for Adam to commune with, but God saw that they were not good enough. Instead of creating another man, God caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep, took one of his ribs, and made Eve.  To me, this refers to the complementary nature of a man and woman. I can see it in my marriage–oftentimes it is frustrating, but it is also worthy of some laughs. Granted I am only speaking of MY marriage, so I cannot say with certainty that everyone else has the same thing going on in their relationship, but I can definitely see how my husband and I complement each other…

Despite the fact that I weigh about a thousand pounds more than he does, his physical strength by far surpasses mine. Yet I am better at multi-tasking and dealing with stressful situations. I am more diplomatic, he is more fiery. I am better with language, he is better with numbers/math. How we deal with conflict and emotions is different yet complementary. I could go on–as we continue to get better at this marriage thing, it becomes more and more obvious how we fit together like a lock and key.

There is also something else that we should all take away from the creation of Eve. One of my favorite parts of this story is the location from which Eve was taken. Not from Adam’s backside, not from his front. The ribs are located toward the sides of the body. As I have been hearing for many years, that is symbolic of Eve’s place in equal footing with man. Something I have struggled with as a woman is the idea of submission–it was one of the main reasons I really did not consider marriage. In my mind, there was absolutely no way I was going to have some dude telling me what to do. However, I have come to understand that submission is not about woman being under man’s control. A Christ-like man is not going to want to control his wife. Instead, he will value her input, even seek it out and solicit it in terms of matters pertaining to the family, but at the end of the day, there can only be one clear leader.

In the United States, there is only one president. In other nations, there is one prime minister, one king or queen, etc. They usually have boards, vice presidents, or other persons appointed to help them carry out their governing responsibilities. I have learned to not be offended by the fact that Christian households are to operate in the same manner. It is important to note a few related Scriptures:

Ephesians 5:21 states “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ”.

Moving on: “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior“. (Eph. 5:22-23).

In return, the husband is commanded to “love their wives as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her…” to “love their wives as their own bodies…”

The love exemplified by Christ provides us with the example upon which we are supposed to base our entire lives, and if we all were capable of doing this all the time, this world would be a magical place. From this Scripture, I came to a better understanding and respect of manhood and womanhood. First, I could not imagine myself with someone who was just like me–how boring! My husband and I make the best decisions when we use our collaborative strengths. Second, I flipped through the Scriptures and got a better respect for the role of the man. Historically, men have had to go to extreme means to provide for and protect his family. They were the ones getting killed in wars, for example. Women have always had a protected status and you know what–I appreciate that. Third, if the man is in order–if his relationship with Christ is where it ought to be, and he is following the example of how Jesus loved the Church, then he is going to treat his wife with the utmost love and respect.

This also points to the problem of some couples being unequally yoked. I have heard of couples who are of different faiths. If it works for them, that is their business. I personally could not have ever ended up with a man who was not a Christian, because then the rules by which I base my own life would not apply. Although a Christian wife who is married to a non-Christian husband is still supposed to allow him to lead, and is supposed to still act in a Godly manner so as to possibly influence her husband to join her in her walk with the Lord, I still could not imagine a household where there may be fundamental differences in the foundation of the marriage. But to each his or her own.

Genesis 2:24 says that “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh”.

I could make all sorts of jokes about that, but I will keep it simple. As applied to today, I have seen plenty of mothers, particularly Black mothers, who are afraid to let their sons GO and be men. I hate to say it, but I have seen single mothers in particular who have come to depend upon their son for the companionship and help that they would normally receive from a husband. The result? Grown men who are torn between their own independence and their allegiance to their  mother, and usually end up afraid to venture out into the world and make a way for themselves because their mother has selfishly failed to equip them with the tools to allow them to thrive away from mother’s smothering bosom. It may sound harsh, but please admit that you have seen it. I know I have.

I have gotten a bit more long-winded than I initially intended, so I will discuss Genesis 3 and end for the night. I apologize. I just love this stuff.

Genesis 3 is where sin is introduced to the world by the craftiest of the crafty, Satan (DUM, DE DUM DUM DUMMM!!!)  A year or two ago, I took a course on angels, and it was one of my favorites. I learned so much–first, there were no female angels, and they had all already been created by the time Adam and Eve came on the scene. There are only three named angels in the entire Bible–two of them were good angels–Michael and Gabriel–and the third was a fallen angel, Lucifer, best known as Satan.

Satan is the author of sin, the originator of the sin of pride that almost ALWAYS leads to more and more sin. Lucifer was a stunningly beautiful angel who had a position of high esteem among the host of angels, who fall into several different ranks. Lucifer decided he wanted to be more than the one who had created him. It is almost laughable that one can think he can surpass the very being that brought him into existence, yet, that is what apparently happened.

So by the time Adam and Eve were created, Lucifer had already fallen and taken a significant amount of the heavenly host with him. It is interesting to me that Lucifer did not target Adam, the one who had received the command from God not to eat the fruit from the tree–instead he appeared to Eve as a lowly serpent. Although Eve had not directly received the command, she did know it well enough to repeat it, but obviously did not heed to it. She ate some of the fruit under the guise that she would become as wise as God, and presented some to her husband as well. Immediately they realized their nudity. I’ll bet that was awkward.

Interestingly, when they heard God approaching, their eyes were opened enough to where they had the audacity to hide. Again, that is almost laughable–God is everywhere, and knows everything we do, even if other people do not. With God our sins are never hidden, yet that is exactly what Adam and Eve attempted to do. It gets even better, as Adam immediately blames his wife for the indiscretion after God questions him: “How did you know you were naked?”

That response makes me wonder how old Adam was, because it seems to be an immature response, yet we know Adam was old enough to reproduce. He blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the serpent. I also like the fact that God called out to Adam: “Where are you?” As if he did not know what Adam had done. Kind of similar to a parenting situation–sometimes when kids do something naughty, they hide. A knowing parent usually knows that they have done something and probably even knows their favorite hiding place. And in a lot of situations, when I know my son has done something, I will still question him as if I don’t know to see if he will lie. This here indicates to me a parent-child type of love between God and Adam and Eve–and the rest of us as well.

God curses the serpent, and he says something I really like:

Genesis 3:15: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel”. Jesus, perhaps? Jesus is rightfully the offspring of woman, not man–He had no earthly father, and Satan bruised Jesus’ heel on the cross.

But then God says something I do NOT like:

Genesis 3:16: “To the woman he said, I will make your pains in childbirth very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children.”

Uhhh, he was NOT joking, folks.

With my first baby, my son, I gave in rather quickly the pain and got an epidural. Although it wore off toward the end, it dulled the contractions for the first several hours enough to where I was even able to go to sleep during labor. I only really felt the last pushes. However, with my daughter, I waited too long to request the pain medication and ended up having her naturally. I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO DIE!!!!!!! Eve and I have beef because of that!!!!

Adam was punished as well. The Garden of Eden had been a beautiful, wondrous place, where his and Eve’s needs were met with relative ease. Now, the grounds were cursed, and Adam would have to toil for his necessities, and “from dust you are and to dust you will return” (alluding to what happens to our bodies when we die).

Although I have been referring to Eve by her name, only after all of this did Adam give her her name. And here is something else I like: The punishments have been meted out, yet God continues to provide for Adam and Eve. He made clothes for them. Then he showed the extent of his love:

Genesis 3:22: “And the Lord God said, ‘The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever”. Up until then, it had been okay for Adam and Eve to eat from the tree of life, which would have made them (and us) immortal–in a perfect, incorruptible state. That had now changed. Time for Plan B.

Who is the “us” God is referring to? I believe it is Jesus. Jesus has always been with God.

Genesis 3:23-24: “So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life”.

A couple of things, and then I am done:

Why did God put the trees there in the first place??

In my very humble opinion, it was a test. The thing is, God could have created us without free will. He could have made us to be robots and do whatever he wanted us to do–but how would he get glory from that? It is like my relationship with my children. I would not be satisfied if they grew up and were to say they loved me simply because I was their mother, or that they blindly obeyed me without question because I was their mom–I want them to feel genuine love and appreciation from me because of who I am and what I do. Even now, we have the choice to either obey God and receive the blessings or disobey him and receive the divine chastisement.

As we know, Adam and Eve’s disobedience brought sin, evil, decay, and death to the world. Our bodies are corruptible and not equipped to go on forever. Hence, Adam did not need to eat from the tree of life. I think with this being said, we need to have a better appreciation for God’s “job”. Think of all of the evil you have heard of occurring in just the last 24 hours. Would you really want to have knowledge of ALL of the evil man is capable of perpetuating upon one another? Could we handle that kind of information?  Also, if they had eaten from the tree of life, there would be no death for Jesus to overcome.  God did not want us to live eternally in sin.

Wow, that went on longer than I expected. I guess I should get some REST. (wink)

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