The first woman. The mother of all the living. Adam’s companion.
What do you think of when I say her name? How do you picture her? Are your thoughts positive–or negative?
When I was offered a copy of this book by a representative of Franciscan Media in exchange for my honest review, I wondered what the title could mean, and my thoughts weren’t positive. My gut reaction was to think of Eve as that weak and sinful woman who brought sin and death into the world through pride and disobedience, dragging Adam and all the rest of us down with her.
And my reaction is kind of the whole point of the book. Our feelings about Eve mirror our feelings about ourselves–women who are no longer able to walk before God naked and unashamed.
But Colleen Mitchell encourages us to go back to Eden, to think about how Eve must have been before the Fall, to empathize with the weakness that led her to sin, and to discover our own “Eden instinct” that draws us to seek God’s original desires for us.
She encourages us to remember how good it was when God first made the world, and especially the unique place woman held as His final creation: “As the culmination of God’s creative love, we arrive at the shaping of woman . . . in all the world, nothing exists that can fulfill the need for woman.”
This is a book that begs to be read carefully and prayerfully, and probably several times. It would be ideal for a women’s book and/or prayer group. Each chapter includes quotations from Scripture, reflections by the author, a story from an individual woman about her journey back to Eden, and questions for further study. It concludes with a section of benedictions for your body that are incredibly moving.
This book made me cry more than once. The personal stories shared in each chapter brought to mind some of my own struggles with body image issues. As most women know, this is an incredibly painful topic that many would rather avoid than confront as this book encourages its readers to do.
But this is a joyful book, too, because it offers us hope that we CAN make our way back to Eden, and I recommend it to any woman who would like to reclaim some of that original joy.