“This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man” (Genesis 2:23).
I sit here gazing upon an image, all too familiar, but also so mysterious to me-“The Creation of Adam” by Michelangelo. It is as though the mystery of the painting reveals a bit of the mystery of my own heart. In this painting, we see Adam, a lifeless being reaching out in desire, and God, the creator, stretching forth his hand to pass on his life to his creation.
In this image, though, there is an important detail that is often overlooked. Eve is also present, showing us a truth that we all need to hear. She isn’t in this unimportant place in the sidelines, but she has a primary place. She is in the Father’s embrace.
My dignity. There are so many times I struggle with admitting that I am loved into being by God and that I deserve love. While I am a woman who teaches of the love of God to my students and lives out ministry at my parish, it is only with difficulty that I admit that the reason I do the work I do with Behold is because I struggle with knowing of my own dignity, and need to encounter Christ’s healing touch through art.
And I know I am not alone in this struggle. It hits on a core part of all our hearts as women. We desire so much to be appreciated, loved, and pursued. We have this part of our hearts that seeks this out in so many ways. And often, very often, we strive to find this answer in finite things.
I am told intellectually of my value in light of God, but the doubt can often be there…Lingering in my heart. Perfectionism. Constant busy-ness. Vanity. All ways that I try to hide behind this wound that I don’t like to admit I battle with.
I have been praying with this image of creation recently as I probe into these questions of my heart. Eve is not placed in a random spot in the foreground of the painting. Her placement is so specific. She is in the arm of the Father, with an utmost dignity. She is reserved and upheld as an object of utmost worth…Someone who is so precious that God is not just giving her away. He is protecting her close to His heart until He can entrust her to someone who can receive that gift worthily.
My dear sister in Christ, how many times have you doubted this? How many times have you put your value in an unhealthy relationship? How many times have you striven for perfectionism, to hide the fact that you deeply desire and yearn for that affirmation of your value? If this is you, allow this image to penetrate your heart. You are the woman in the Father’s embrace, the one He protects.
In this painting, Eve is before the Father, and is without shame. Scripture tells us they were naked and they felt no shame (Genesis 2:25). Eve was able to be her authentic self, her most precious self, all because she was precious to the Father. She did not need to hide or put up a false image of herself…All because she was receiving the love of her Father.
This image of who Eve is shows us who we truly are.
Think of your true self. Who you really are; not who you want to be. Like Eve, allow yourself to be vulnerable before your Father and to receive His embrace. Place yourself in the embrace of a Father who keeps you, who protects you, who calls you daughter...Place yourself there- in the embrace of a Father who will always love you.
The images of "The Creation of Adam" by Michelangelo can be found at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Creation_of_Adam.jpg and https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Michelangelo,_Creation_of_Adam_04.jpg