Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man.” Genesis 4:1 (niv)
Being a woman isn’t always easy. Most of us discover this early in life. But every once in a while, the full realization dawns on us with startling clarity.
For me, the wake-up call came when I was on my way to the hospital about to give birth to my first baby. What an eye-opening trip that was! I’d lumbered to the car feeling calm and competent. Having spent months preparing for the event, I assumed I was ready. Baby showers, doctor’s appointments, and chats with other women about the thrills and
chills of childbearing had left me feeling supported, informed, and able to navigate the natal experience ahead.
Somewhere between home and the hospital admittance desk, however, my confidence dwindled. Looking down at the rotundity that nine months earlier had been my lap, I wondered if I was really ready for this after all. My heart skipped to a quicker pace as I considered my options. Clearly, I had none.
There was no way out of this. I couldn’t change my mind. I couldn’t delegate this task and ask somebody else to finish it for me. I couldn’t even procrastinate. Like it or not, ready or not, I’m going to give birth to this baby today, I thought. And I have no idea how to do it!
Glancing at my husband, Robert, in the driver’s seat, as he confidently gripped the steering wheel and maneuvered his way through traffic, didn’t do much to reassure me. He didn’t know any more about this than I did. Yes, he could deliver me to the delivery room, all right. But from that point on, he wasn’t going to be much help.
Actually, that’s not just a personal observation. It’s scriptural as well. As I realized some years later, I was experiencing a little of what Eve did when she gave birth to the very first child ever born. Her description of the event was simple but revealing: “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man” (Genesis 4:1, niv).
Notice, Eve made no mention of Adam. Apparently, whatever assistance he attempted to give wasn’t worth mentioning. (Some things never change.) From Eve’s perspective, the only one there who truly made a difference was the Lord. God alone could provide what she needed to meet the challenge of becoming the mother of the entire human race.
Eve’s story is so familiar to us that we often take it for granted. But can you really imagine what pregnancy and childbirth must have been like for her? Think of the questions she must have had! Unlike women today, Eve had no example to follow, no mother or sister to explain what was happening to her during those mysterious nine months. She had no books to read about the baby’s development, no childbirth classes to prepare her, no friends to share their experiences of labor and delivery.
When Eve’s birth pangs began, nurses weren’t hovering around her, timing her contractions and reassuring her that everything was going fine. She didn’t have a midwife to rub her back and put ice chips in her mouth. Doctors weren’t tending to her, as they did to me when I delivered my first child, with the efficiency that comes from years of training and experience.
Yet even so, according to the Bible and her own words, Eve was not alone. The all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving God was there to coach her, comfort her, and counsel her. And with His help, she did what she was created to do. She fulfilled the mission that had been divinely woven into her very DNA.
Eve stepped into the calling defined by her name, which means living or enliven, and brought forth life.
Can Anybody Show Me How to Do This?
As God’s women, we’ve been getting pregnant and giving birth, following in Eve’s footsteps, ever since. Not only have we birthed children, but we have also birthed all kinds of life-generating things: hopes and dreams, ministries and careers, books and businesses. The list could go on and on. But all too often, we’ve had to walk out the process the same way Eve did: pretty much alone, with only God to help us.
I know what that’s like. When I first married Robert and the dream of ministry was conceived in our hearts, I didn’t have any mentors—and I needed them badly. As a nineteen-year-old bride, plagued with insecurities that had nagged me all my life, I had no idea how to nurture and give birth to the plans God had for us.
Our lives before marriage looked nothing like they do now. Although Robert had rededicated his life a number of times in the Baptist church he attended, he really hadn’t been serious about committing his life to Christ. After one such rededication, someone at the church who knew he’d had a problem with drugs suggested he date a “good girl” to help keep him on the right track. So I was elected—that’s what brought us together.
The first time we went out together, we double-dated with my sister and her boyfriend. They hadn’t yet kissed, and her boyfriend had predetermined that this date would mark the big event. Thus, as soon as the date was over, Robert and I quickly disappeared and left them alone. Slipping around the house to the back door, we started to say our good-byes when suddenly my father surprised us, thinking we were vandals or thieves. Wearing only his underwear—yes, the tighty-whitey kind—he said with a dignity that belied his attire, “Deb, it’s time to come in.”
Mortified, I muttered, “Okay, Daddy,” thinking the date was over. Boy was I wrong! After my father closed the door, Robert kissed me and my whole life changed.
Shortly after we began dating, a local evangelist saw potential in Robert. He took Robert under his wing and opened doors for him to entertain church youth groups with funny skits and to share his testimony. By the time we got married, Robert was already preaching. There was just one problem: he didn’t really know God.
Just nine months after our wedding, our marriage was in trouble and I had no idea what to do to fix it. Robert was miserable. I realize now he was under conviction, but at the time I thought it was my fault. As a new bride, eager to please my husband and be a good wife, I wondered in desperation, What am I doing wrong?
Thank God, one night after preaching a borrowed sermon based on the Matthew 13 parable about the wheat and the tares, Robert began to realize he wasn’t saved. He gave his heart to Jesus the next day and was rapidly and radically transformed.
Although things got a little better at that point, life was still hard. I faced changes and challenges that left me reeling. We had recently moved to a new city where I had only a couple of friends. Robert traveled all the time in ministry, so I went by myself every Sunday to the class for young married believers. I felt like a misfit without my husband at my side. And despite both of us working forty to sixty hours a week, our combined income totaled only six hundred dollars a month.
I knew Robert had a strong call of God on his life. I also sensed that my role, like Eve’s, was to help bring it forth.
Honestly, I had no clue.
Like every woman, I needed a mentor. I wanted someone to walk alongside me, to love me and show me how to get where I needed to go. But I didn’t really have anyone. My wonderful mother just wasn’t the right person for me to talk to at that point in my life. (Now I have a married daughter of my own and I understand why that’s not always best.)
Months later I began working in the offices of James Robison’s ministry; while I admired his wife, Betty, from afar, I hardly felt like I could pick up the phone and say, “Hi, Betty! Would you mind being my mentor?” So I did the only thing I knew to do. I turned to the Bible.
Having memorized Proverbs 31 before I got married, I started asking God to teach me how to be a godly wife. He answered by turning my attention to the women of the Bible. Of course! I thought. Ever since my childhood, the characters of the Scriptures have appealed to me. I’ve never been captivated as much by theology (although I appreciate its value), but I’m fascinated by biblical people and their stories.
As I read and studied about women like Eve, Mary, Sarah, Miriam, and Zipporah, the Holy Spirit began talking to me about them. They became like friends and sisters and teachers. Their examples came alive and the Lord turned them into my mentors. Determined to learn everything I could, to gain all the tips and insights these women had to offer,
I found I could grow through their experiences. I discovered, one revelation at a time, what they could teach me about becoming a grace-filled, life-giving woman of God.
You might say they began to give me grace lessons. Lessons I would be learning and living for the rest of my life.
Excerpted from The Blessed Woman by Debbie Morris. Copyright © 2013 by Debbie Morris. Excerpted by permission of WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.