Our contributor this week has made a huge impact on my life, as I have known her for most of it and we began an endearing relationship when I was about 12 years old. She is also related to me by marriage and has been an influential individual: a mentor, a counselor, an accountability and a friend. Beyond that, she is a practicing therapist with years of experience under her belt. This week's #TestimonyTuesday is coming from Deborah Rosa, and will be posted in three parts.
“When is life going to feel like it’s supposed to?”
“Why is everything going wrong?”
Through the years of listening to people tell me their journey, problem and struggles, I have found a common theme of hurt that resonates with many young adults. It is a desolate place many find themselves in, usually after some realization that life isn’t going the way it was envisioned or after some significant loss. Symptoms include, but are not limited to, an awareness of overwhelming dissatisfaction with life; a longing for something missing; bitter, angry feelings that don’t go away; and/or a state of perpetual disappointment. If this sounds familiar, you may have found yourself in the cemetery of dead dreams.
In order to explain this cemetery, and how we get here, I need to tell you about Eve and her story; because I wholeheartedly believe there is always a biblical reference point to everything.
The aftermath of the fall of (wo)man
Now most of you know the story of Eve and what happened to her in the Garden of Eden, and our history comes from her fall. Eve made a mistake — costing all of humanity — and she cannot live it down, and neither can we, especially when it comes to the whole childbirth curse. Ouch! This sets the stage for our roles as women for the rest of history, but her story after Eden is just as tragic and important to grasp, yet easily overlooked.
Eve has two sons, which were her promised blessings after the curse. Even when we are in sin, God offers redemption. In Eve’s case, her seed would one day crush the serpent’s head.
GENESIS 4:1 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” 2 Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel.
But Adam and Eve don’t pick up and start a ministry to win back the Garden.
In the space of a sentence Eve loses her blessings. Cain murders Abel, and Eve is left with the reality of burying a son and forgetting the other, who is exiled and banished.
That’s a tough task for a woman who has no one to talk to -- no therapist, self-help group, book, prayer meeting or women’s retreat to tell her how to deal. She has nothing but a God who no longer walks with her in the cool of the day, and a husband who hurls accusations and blame her way. Bring on the depression, anxiety, desperation, anger and fears!
The scripture doesn't mention Eve while discussing what happens to Cain. A good part of Genesis chapter 4 follows Cain’s journey; he leaves Adam and Eve to start a family of his own, has a bunch of kids and spends years of family building ... somewhere else.
Then finally in verse 25, Eve is mentioned again, and we are informed that she conceives another child named Seth.
Although this information is given to us quite quickly, I want to acknowledge that years passed between the death of Abel and the birth of Eve’s new child, Seth. This is where we pause … years passed …
And time goes by
Years passed. Years where there is no mention of what God was doing to fulfill his promise. Years of silence for Eve. Years of spiritual barrenness for the mother of humanity. Years of pointless dreaming, and the mundane was not worthy of talking about. Years of wondering: “When will it all make sense?” So much time to think about her fragmented family and how it was NOT how she envisioned it or thought it would turn out. Years where she did what she had to do in order to survive. Years where she talked to God and felt he wasn't listening to a word she said. Years where Eve, much like many of us, sat at a cemetery and mourned.
I’m sure Eve did other things; she had other children to tend to, a husband to take care of and, you know, animals who needed her care, so I’m sure her days were filled with things to do ...
... but her heart had failed her.
She was stuck in a spiritual and emotional cemetery; and this is where you may be as well.
Deborah Rosa is a therapist in Orlando, Fla., where she has worked with teenage boys who have been convicted of sexual misconduct. She has years of experience working with teens and young adults and holds a master's degree from the Alliance Graduate School of Counseling from Nyack Christian college in New York.