I recently read Eve in Exile: And the Restoration of Femininity by Rebekah Merkle. Okay, I actually listened to the audio book while I washed dishes in the evenings. It was the time this mom had, but I’m pretty sure it still counts as reading. I found the book easy to follow and the author’s writing style very conversational and engaging. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and I’d highly recommend it to any woman regardless of her season of life.
Rebekah is calling us, as women, to take a fresh look at the scriptures and what God has to say about women, our calling, and how to glorify him in our lives.
The book begins with a brief overview of feminism and its history, which I found fascinating and enlightening. I hadn’t known much about different waves of feminism and the goals of the women behind the “women’s rights” efforts. I learned a lot.
One historical insight that stuck out to me was the idea that while inventions made housework easier (yay), they also made the job of caring for the home much less demanding. You didn’t have to store food for winter anymore if you could buy it at the store, and laundry was no longer an all-day task. So, while it was easier, in some ways it became less fulfilling since women no longer had to spend all day every day caring for the home. These inventions created a void and gaps of time in their day, which women didn’t know how to fill. I had a fresh sympathy for the housewives of the early 1900s and the challenges they faced with the change in “housework.” The response to those challenges wasn’t always right or biblical, but I could understand it in ways I hadn’t before.
The second half of the book focuses on four aspects of the creation mandate from Genesis, “subdue, fill, help, and glorify,” and then considers what it looks like to live out those mandates as women. I appreciated how the book spoke not just to married women or moms, but to women in all seasons. Rebekah clearly emphasizes how we are still called to “help” even if we aren’t helping a husband and to work to “fill” even if we don’t have children. She offers practical examples and suggestions without legalistic lists of exactly how our lives should look. I came away with my mind freshly sparked to consider how to grow in glorifying God in many sectors of my life.
I was specifically challenged in the chapter “Subduing Made Real” to ask myself if I am working hard in my home to subdue, and not taking the easy road to just get the bare minimum done. Within the reasonable bounds of my season of life, am I willing to work hard in and around my home to “subdue” it, or am I racing through chores so I can get to the sofa to see what’s new on Facebook? Rebekah says:
“The first thing we need to do is to stop trying to figure out how to make our jobs take less time so that we can have more time to lounge around. We should actually be asking how we can use all of that time we saved in order to build something. The technology we have access to makes it incredibly easy to spend very little time on the basics of living and then spend the rest of our days kicked back in neutral. But instead of being content with the bare minimum, what if we were to try to pursue excellence? What if, instead of looking for every possible way to cut corners, we were to look for every possible way to get better at our tasks?” [pg. 117]
I want to be this woman described in Eve in Exile. I want to be the woman who stands against the lies the culture is trying to throw at us, to be different, and for others to wonder why. I aspire to fully embrace the call of wife and mom, loving my home and my people and seeking to bring glory to God in the realms he places me in. I want to be a living example of a woman fully embracing biblical femininity, not only for the glory of God but also for my sons so that one day they can seek to find a wife who follows the same call.
I would highly recommend this book for personal reading. It would also be a great book to discuss with ladies in various seasons of life, hearing how they pursue biblical femininity in the place God has called them. I hope you are able to read (or listen to!) this book sometime soon and look forward to hearing what God has taught you through it.