Design matters. The intent of the Designer matters.
Disclaimer: I was not paid or compensated in any way to write this review. I purchased this book on my own, and the thoughts and opinions are my own. This review contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small compensation at no extra cost to you.
Have you ever wondered how we got where we are today in our culture concerning gender roles? Our nation is obsessed with the topic of gender…or should I say misgender? Marriage no longer has anything to do with gender, several sports no longer recognize gender, and middle-aged men are being named “woman of the year” for crying out loud! Obviously, our nation is confused, misguided, and vehemently rejects our God-given roles.
Rebekah Merkle has a lot to say about the topic of women in her book, Eve in Exile. The book is well-organized into four sections: Two Distractions, Enter Feminism, What Are Women Designed For, and Living Out Our Design. Eve in Exile is one of those hard to put down books. It reads easy, although there is so much packed in a little over 200 pages!
Femininity – What it’s not.
Merkle begins with an attempt to eliminate two distractions, or ditches that can send us veering off course of how femininity should or should not look. The first is “Pretendyville” – If only we lived according to an earlier era like Little House on the Prairie, or a more “Godly” society, everything would be all right. The other distraction is what our society believes “fulfillment” is – a career, recognition, not letting anyone get in the way of your dreams, the “you go girl” sentiment. Tossing those two ways of thinking aside, Merkle then dives into the history of feminism.
Feminism – What it is.
To my surprise, feminism did not start with the free-lovin’, bra-burnin’ generation of the 1960’s. Merkle traces it back 200 years before that, before feminism was actually even a word. The author takes the reader on a history lesson highlighting figures like Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Margaret Sanger, Betty Friedan, and Gloria Steinem. It is quite fascinating to look at the timeline of notable feminist with World War II being the intermission between the two waves of feminism.
“Widespread emptiness, purposelessness, and unhappiness are not marks of a culture that is godly and thriving.” (Merkle, p.70)
Could America’s prosperity of the 50’s be what created that second wave of feminism? The same wave that left a wake so big that it still rocks us today? Were modern conveniences leaving women underchallenged, with nothing to do but work outside to gain the fulfillment they were looking for? Have women gotten so dang bored over the years, that they are embracing and promoting the gender identity crisis in America today? What’s going on? For one, each of the feminist mentioned in Eve in Exile, were not only mere unbelievers, they were opposed to Christianity. What’s worse is that “the feminist cause has been advanced for the last two centuries in large part through the diligent efforts of sincere but muddle-headed Christians who never bothered to ask how and why, and jumped on board anyway – and now they’re confused by all the consequences they never saw coming.” (Merkle, p.93)
What are we designed for?
Like it or not, we do live in a world designed by God. God also designed women for a specific purpose. One of those purposes is to work. Eve was created as a worker to stand by Adam’s side, together, to subdue the Earth. Another fundamental job for both Adam and Eve was to fill the Earth. Physically, everything about us is meant for mothering. Eve was also created to help Adam (not the other way around). Woman is also the glory of the man….and hold your breath, without submission there could be no true glory. Merkle does a great job at explaining much of this through Scripture.
Living out our design
This to me, is the real meat of the book, Eve in Exile. How do we maximize our design? Paul clearly describes our duties in Titus 2:3-5. If that sounds tedious or restrictive, think of what the opposite would be. Merkle beautifully tackles what “keepers at home” means to women, and it is more than you may think. The bottom line is “be invested in your people” (Merkle, 135). There is no limit as to what can be done in the home – and home doesn’t necessarily mean within four walls. With a creative mindset, and an attitude of “owning” your job as a housewife…..look out!
From food to fashion, Merkle offers practical, inspiring tips in making our lives interesting, big, and with purpose when we throw ourselves at it. Eve in Exile also touches on the importance of learning – remember, Eve was the one who was deceived. There is so much more to being a “housewife” than what our culture has conditioned us all to believe.
“If we women decided to take our motivation, our drive, our inspirations, our imaginations, and our creativity, and aim it toward our homes, our husbands, and our children, we would find a vast and glorious and transformative world of possibilities open up before us.” (Mercle, 166).
What I thought of Eve in Exile
Obviously, I enjoyed the book. Eve in Exile will encourage women to find the roles God has for them and to grow and bloom in that role. While the majority of the book is geared towards wives with children, she doesn’t neglect to mention the role of women who have no children, as well as women who are single. I love her passion, boldness, and I really like her snark. Personally, I’ve never felt inferior as a “stay at home mom”. This book not only confirms what I’m currently doing is the right thing, but motivates me to do even better! Those who may be questioning their role as a woman, or mother, or have been duped that you’ve “wasted your education”, I would highly recommend this book – twice!