Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Eve (part 1)

~All quotes from Captivating, unless otherwise specified.

"From water and stone, to pomegranate and rose, to leopard and nightingale, creation ascends in beauty....The greatest of all masterpieces is emerging. What was once formless and empty is now overflowing with life and color and sound and movement in a thousand variations. Most importantly, notice that each creature is more intricate and noble and mysterious than the last. A cricket is amazing, but it cannot compare to a wild horse....In one last flourish creation comes to a finish not with Adam, but with Eve. She is the Master's finishing touch....Given the way creation unfolds, how it builds to ever higher and higher works of art, can there be any doubt that Eve is the crown of creation? Not an afterthought. Not a nice addition like an ornament on a tree. She is God's final touch, his pièce de résistance. She fills a place in the world nothing and no one else can fill." (pp. 24-25)

I am irreplaceable, that's what this says to me. Not just because I'm me, and have giftings that God has given me. No, I'm irreplaceable because I am a woman. God didn't make me as an afterthought. I also wasn't created just so I could wait on some guy hand and foot, never to be appreciated, loved, thanked, or cared for. In fact, I was the final work of art created by a loving Master who knew exactly what He was doing. And created in His image to top it off.

"God wanted to reveal something about himself, so he gave us Eve. When you are with a woman, ask yourself, what is she telling me about God? It will open up wonders for you.

"First, you'll discover that God is relational to his core, that he has a heart for romance. Second, that he longs to share adventures with us--adventures you cannot accomplish without him. And finally, that God has a beauty to unveil. A beauty that is captivating and powerfully redemptive." (pg. 26)

"Man's love is of man's life a thing apart
'Tis a woman's whole existence."
~Byron (pg. 26)

"Whatever else we know about women, we know they are relational creatures to their cores. While little boys are killing one another in mock battles on the playground, little girls are negotiating relationships....This is so second nature, so assumed among women, that it goes unnoticed by them....Most women define themselves in terms of their relationships, and the quality they deem those relationships to have....This is not a weakness in women--it is a glory. A glory that reflects the heart of God." (pp. 27-28)

Boy howdy, is there truth in that! As a woman, I frequently think about the relationships I have with others, and whether or not they're going well. Am I succeeding as a friend, sister, daughter, etc. As a single woman, I especially find myself often thinking on romantic relationships (or lack of them) and wondering if somehow I'm failing in that area of my life. All relationships are important, but most important is our relationship with God. As relational creatures, you'd think that women would have an easier time investing in that relationship, cultivating it and growing closer to our Creator. Personally, I've found the opposite to be true. I get so distracted by my other relationships that I sometimes forget to spend any time investing in the one relationship that matters, and affects all the others.

"The vast desire and capacity a woman has for intimate relationships tells us of God's vast desire and capacity for intimate relationships. In fact, this may be the most important thing we ever learn about God--that he yearns for relationship with us. 'Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God' (John 17:3). The whole story of the Bible is a love story between God and his people. He yearns for us. He cares. He has a tender heart." (pg. 28)

"Not only does God long for us, but he longs to be loved by us. Oh, how we've missed this. How many of you see God as longing to be loved by you? We see him as strong and powerful, but not as needing us, vulnerable to us, yearning to be desired. But as I wrote in Wild at Heart,

After years of hearing the heart-cry of women, I am convinced beyond a doubt of this: God wants to be loved. He wants to be a priority to someone. How could we have missed this? From cover to cover, from beginning to end, the cry of God's heart is, 'Why won't you choose me?' It is amazing to me how humble, how vulnerable God is on this point. 'You will find me,' says the Lord, 'when you seek me with all your heart' (Jer. 29:13). In other words, 'Look for me, pursue me--I want you to pursue me.' As Tozer says, 'God waits to be wanted.'

"Can there be any doubt that God wants to be sought after? The first and greatest of all commands is to love him (Mark 12:29-30, Matt. 22:36-38). He wants us to love him. To seek him with all our hearts. A woman longs to be sought after, too, with the whole heart of her pursuer. God longs to be desired. Just as a woman longs to be desired. This is not some weakness or insecurity on the part of a woman, that deep yearning to be desired....God feels the same way. Remember the story of Martha and Mary? Mary chose God, and Jesus said that that is what he wanted. 'Mary has chosen what is better' (Luke 10:42)." (pp. 28-29)

To all women, let me say, I've always had a hard time with the longing to be desired, to be sought after. To know that it's not a fault or a weakness, but it's a reflection of God's own heart, is freeing. No, it's not something to dwell on, but it's legitimate to feel that longing. It's ok to talk about it, it's ok to feel it. It's not ok to let it become your whole life.

"This whole world was made for romance--the rivers and the glens, the meadows and beaches. Flowers, music, a kiss. But we have a way of forgetting all that, losing ourselves in work and worry. Eve--God's message to the world in feminine form--invites us to romance. Through her, God makes romance a priority of the universe....Tender and inviting, intimate and alluring, fiercely devoted. Oh yes, our God has a passionate, romantic heart. Just look at Eve." (pg. 30)

Have you let God romance you yet? If romance is a priority, then we need to make sure we're experiencing it. First, from a loving God who not only wants to be desired, but desires to romance us. Simply look at creation, and you'll see all the ways in which He does so. You don't have to go far, just step out of your front door. Watch the sunrise or the sunset. Look to the beauty of flowers growing wild, or even of the bouquets in the grocery store. Listen to the music of His creation. Know it was all made for you, to romance you.

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