And then there are (most) days when I wake up with a toddler picking my nose BEFORE I'VE EVEN GOTTEN OUT OF BED and I get in the shower only to watch through the glass doors as the same toddler (smiles adorably) and then smears cream blush all over the toilet. And I think, "Sweet hosanna, where is my life epidural?!?"
Because, let's be honest. No matter which side of the natural childbirth equation you're on, a guaranteed pain-free day would be an instant hit. Imagine the day you're going to take that college final and you haven't even read the textbook, much less studied, and - life epidural! You color in those Scantron dots with a silly smile on your face and a jaunty tip of your head. Or what about the day when you are parenting solo and one of your kids throws up and the washer breaks and you reach for the coffee only to find you're out? Life epidural! Get through the next 24 hours without feeling frustration, resentment or that raging headache.
Or what about when life really hurts? You miscarry the baby. Your spouse says, "I'm not sure I ever loved you." You find porn on your teenager's computer.
Life can hurt. ("Life is pain, Highness.") It's good, it's a gift, I'm the biggest proponent of sunshine-rainbows outside of Kelle Hampton. (Seriously. No one can top her in optimism. She's my hero.) But still. When we are lying in bed, not even awake, and we feel life's sucker punch to the ribs (or the toddler's head-butt to the nose, take your pick), we might be tempted to find a way to anesthetize our way through the day.
Through our life.
Pain is one of the consequences of sin, as I see it. The world is broken, thanks to Eve. She listened to someone she shouldn't have and believed what she shouldn't have believed. And today, we all live with the fallout.
But we don't have to repeat her mistakes.
Enter I Blame Eve, the new book written by one of my Internet BFF's, Susanna Foth Aughtmon. Susanna blogs at confessions of a tired supergirl, and she is every inch what you would imagine given her blog name. She's witty and real and not afraid to ask hard questions or embarrass herself. She writes in a disarming, girlfriends-chatting-over-coffee kind of way, but she writes deep truth.
I Blame Eve is all about us dealing with the waves Eve put into motion. (And yes, Adam is totally complicit too. He just stood there, silent and removed, as Eve discussed the merits of life change with a talking snake. So I'm not letting him off, OK? It's just that Susanna's book is for women, so we're focusing on Eve here.) Because of Eve, we try to hide from God, we have pain in childbirth, we battle dirty laundry daily (as Susanna points out, Adam and Eve didn't wear clothes; ergo, no laundry in the garden of Eden). But above all, we think God is holding out on us, that He isn't looking out for our best interest. In short, we think life would be better if we were in control.
Some of us try to bury the pain under guilty pleasures, self-soothing and pacifying ourselves. When life begins to feel broken, we go shopping or indulge in a new relationship or eat our way through a bakery. When the good feelings wear off an the despair begins to creep back in, we simply repeat the process, committing to a lifestyle of overindulgence to survive. Others of us respond by trying to control our surroundings. We figure that if we can make our world look like we think it should, then we will feel better. We organize ourselves into corners and negotiate impossible to-do lists. When we can't control our environment, we try to control other people, placing high hurdles in their paths and holding then to standards they can never attain. Still others of us try to perfect ourselves, thinking that if we can patch ourselves up with self-improvement books and breathing exercises we will lessen the pain of real living. Or some of us do all these things. Like me. As you can imagine, living with me is no walk in the park.
But the wildest part is that with all the pain and brokenness of this life, we have the audacity to think we can fix ourselves. We turn ourselves inside out looking for peace, for deliverance, for clarity, when as far as I can tell, we don't have a whole lot of peace, deliverance or clarity on hand. We try to set ourselves free when we don't have the ability to do so. Just like there is no way on this green earth that I could give myself an epidural, there is no way we can bring healing about in our own lives. We would be crazy to think otherwise. -I Blame Eve
Again and again, in this easy-to-read book, Susanna points to the only person who can bring wholeness to our brokenness. She uses stories from her own life and from the Bible to make her point that trusting God is better than forging our own path. Because Susanna's style is so approachable, this is a great read for summer, or to do as a study with your friends. She's even thrown in questions for small groups in the back of the book.
And really, sitting at the feet of Jesus with your girlfriends and a cup of coffee, reminding ourselves that our need for control is not going to get us what we crave - well, that's as close as we're going to get to a day epidural anyway.