I have been mulling over this post in my mind for many weeks. It's not a topic on which one can spout off opinions without considering all sides for a while. I doubt I have a concrete answer for everything yet. However, I thought I'd post it now since our 33Homes and Worship Gathering focused on Genesis 3 this past week. There was SO MUCH in this story that had never been in there before.... Ok, maybe that was just me having missed it.
Here's the basic story, but I would recommend you also read it for yourself here. (If you don't like that version, feel free to change it on the drop-down list at the top of that page.) Adam & Eve have the run of the Garden of Eden, which God "had planted" (not just created, but planted!) and placed them in. There is only one tree that he tells them not to eat from, a fruit that will take away their innocence. They were naked and happy, just like my 2-year-old running diaperless to the bath. God offers a choice: love & obey me, or don't. Then Satan shows up and confuses them. Long story short: Eve eats, Adam follows, mankind is cursed. Part of that curse: Woman will have greatly increased pain in childbirth (thank you very much!) and her husband will rule over her.
So how can submission be a blessing and a curse? It is a curse in the re-organization of creation. It is a blessing when it is honored.
Allow me to use the first aspect of the curse to illustrate the second. Having experienced natural un-medicated childbirth three times, I can tell you that pains in childbirth are ... oh... let's say, significant. (This begs the question: what was the original plan for a no-pain or low-pain childbirth??) But having come through on the other side? Oh yeah, worth it. Not just the baby, but having made it through that experience and survived made me feel so powerful! It was a role in our family that was uniquely mine, and I did it! *blessing* Did I do it alone? Uh, no. Could not have done it without my coach, leader, encourager, counter, support--my husband. He loved and led me through the entire process. (And it was, at times, not pretty....) I was able to respond to his lead to thrive in my role.
The same is true for submission. Is it a painful process? Sometimes, yes, especially when I try to assert my own will into it. I believe God created women with the same creativity to meet life issues as he created man. The curse is to reign it in to submit to someone else's plan over yours. Does a blessing come from carrying it out? Absolutely! I have learned over and over (somehow it doesn't stick the first time) that getting my own way in a matter is not always best. I have lived a much fuller life by doing things I wouldn't have decided to do on my own! *blessing* Again, I am able to do it best when I am responding to the love with which my husband surrounds and leads me. He does this, from Ephesians 5:
- 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
We are, by no means, perfect at this! We follow in Adam & Eve's footsteps and find ourselves giving in to Satan's confusing talk. We struggle to keep God first and each other ahead of ourselves. But when we love and submit: *blessing*.