In the beginning, God created everything: the heavens above and the earth below. Here’s what happened: At first the earth lacked shape and was totally empty, and a dark fog draped over the deep while God’s spirit-wind hovered over the surface of the empty waters. Then there was the voice of God.God: Let there be light.And light flashed into being. God saw that the light was beautiful and good, and He separated the light from the darkness. God named the light “day” and the darkness “night.” Evening gave way to morning. That was day one.God: Let there be a vast expanse in the middle of the waters. Let the waters above part from the waters below.So God parted the waters and formed this expanse, separating the waters above from the waters below. It happened just as God said. And God called the vast expanse “sky.” Evening gave way to morning. That was day two.God: Let the waters below the heavens be collected into one place and congregate into one vast sea, so that dry land may appear.It happened just as God said. God called the dry land “earth” and the waters congregated below “seas.” And God saw that His new creation was beautiful and good.God: Earth, sprout green vegetation! Grow all varieties of seed-bearing plants and all sorts of fruit-bearing trees.It happened just as God said. The earth produced vegetation—seed-bearing plants of all varieties and fruit-bearing trees of all sorts. And God saw that His new creation was beautiful and good. Evening gave way to morning. That was day three.God: Lights, come out! Shine in the vast expanse of heavens’ sky dividing day from night to mark the seasons, days, and years. Lights, warm the earth with your light.It happened just as God said. God fashioned the two great lights—the brighter to mark the course of day, the dimmer to mark the course of night—and the Divine needled night with the stars. God set them in heavens’ sky to cast warm light on the earth, to rule over the day and night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that His new creation was beautiful and good. Evening gave way to morning. That was day four.God: Waters, swarm with fish and sea creatures. Let birds soar high above the earth in the broad expanse of sky.So God created huge sea creatures, all the swarm of life in the waters, and every kind and species of flying birds—each able to reproduce its own kind. And God saw that His new creation was beautiful and good. And God spoke this blessing over them:God: Be fruitful and multiply. Let creatures fill the seas. Let birds reproduce and cover the earth.Evening gave way to morning. That was day five.God: Earth, generate life! Produce a vast variety of living creatures—domesticated animals, small creeping creatures, and wild animals that roam the earth.It happened just as God said. God made earth-creatures in a vast variety of species: wild animals, domesticated animals of all sizes, and small creeping creatures, each able to reproduce its own kind. God saw that His new creation was beautiful and good. And God paused.God: Now let Us conceive a new creation—humanity—made in Our image, fashioned according to Our likeness. And let Us grant them authority over all the earth—the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, the domesticated animals and the small creeping creatures on the earth.So God did just that. He created humanity in His image, created them male and female. Then God blessed them and gave them this directive: “Be fruitful and multiply. Populate the earth. I make you trustees of My estate, so care for My creation and rule over the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that roams across the earth.”God (to humanity): Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant that grows on the earth and every fruit-bearing tree. They will be your food and nourishment. As for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and every small creeping creature—everything that breathes the breath of life—I have given them every green plant for food.And it happened just as God said. Then God surveyed everything He had made, savoring its beauty and appreciating its goodness. Evening gave way to morning. That was day six. (Genesis 1:1-31 VOICE)
I’ve been thinking about you so much lately, about your design and your identity and your worth. When I say we’re in this together, I mean it. I told a friend and mentor last night that, while I might be a writer, I don’t want to impress you with words. Rather, I want to be part of the story of transformation in your life.
I honestly want us to be in this together. Is that too bold a thing to say? I hope not.
I want you to take hold of the “very good” that was spoken about you, want you to know how powerful the words “image and likeness” truly are. I want you to see yourself as hope-full, grace-full, impact-full.
Because before there was Genesis 2, there was Genesis 1. And your story begins there.
Genesis 1. God created. A million moments captured in 31 verses. God spoke. Light. Night. Heavens. Earth. Oceans. Sun, moon, stars. Plants. Wildlife. Green. Blue. Shades. Hues. Tone. Texture.
And then, He formed us. In the midst of all the creation He had spoken, He formed us.
There is such beauty in the way humanity is purposefully connected to heaven and earth and each other. We are not separate, not distant. We are painted into a masterpiece of thoughtful design. God spoke creation. He spoke color and shape, place and purpose, movement and light. He then grew quiet, and scooped up that color and shape, place and purpose, movement and light into his hands. Masterfully shaping it, He formed image and likeness, creating us carefully to complement the rest of His design. Next, He smiled, and did something more intimate than speaking. He whispered. He breathed His breath into our human lungs, filling us with divine life. A life embossed with imagination, creativity, emotion, connection, eternity. And He didn’t stop there. He again held us in His hands. He took God-breathed humanity, and formed man and woman. And then, He spoke again. With the same voice that filled oceans and formed mountains, He spoke, “This is very good.” His words reverberated throughout all creation. He saw man and woman as complete, as equal. He saw them as collaborative, as capable, as complementary, as community.
Now, in Genesis 2, a bit more detail is offered about the “very good” moment, about a deep sleep and God’s skilled hands shaping flesh and bone into new flesh and bone. So much has been written that conjures up images of woman as both the gift to make a man better or an afterthought to make a man complete. When explaining why God would choose to use a rib to design a woman, many wax poetic about a woman being by a man’s side and near his heart and under his arm. But before Genesis 2, there is Genesis 1. There is God forming, breathing, deliberate in His design of both man and woman to reflect His full image and likeness. They are designed with the same substance, the same breath, the same connection with creation. He looks at both of His masterpieces of design and calls them “very good.” He blesses them.
He didn’t merely form man and woman; he shaped our lives to form around each other. And He was purposeful in the word picture He chose to paint in that creative moment. You see, ribs guard heart and lungs. Ribs give strength to stand. Life can be sustained without many bones in the body. But life cannot be sustained without a ribcage. Ribs are flexible, able to expand and contract as needed to create space for breath. It’s only when those ribs are broken that they become a danger to the very life they are designed to protect.
There’s that beautiful word again. Breath.
Perhaps He chose a rib to remind us what we are knit together, strong together, sustained together. We are dangerous when we are broken. And we are most powerful when we give space to each other.
For just a moment, I want you to think about that moment of creation, I want you to close your eyes and hear His smile-soaked words, “This is very good.” I want you to hear Him announce to the world, “This one is blessed. This one will prosper—because she is Mine.”
Now, I want you to be honest. Do you believe His words?
Like I said, this is where the story begins. And like I said, I want to be a part of the story of your life, to talk about what it means to be a woman of divine heritage. So, this is what I’d like for us to do, if you’re up for it. We’ll start with email (rather like pen pals, if you will). And from time to time, we’ll get together in person, or via the wonders of technology. The conversations will be about women in scripture, but I promise they won’t be the standard fare. We’ll talk about plot twists and the power of mystery, what the women in the stories might be saying to you and me, and how our stories hove the power to change stories too. You know I’ll be your prayer warrior and encourager through it all.
So, are you in? I hope so!
Yes, I want to be part of the conversation about my divine heritage as a woman! I’m ready to #CelebrateOneWoman!