I have to admit, I was initially intrigued by this books title: I Blame Eve. I.Blame.Eve. It was, however, the rest of the book's title that sealed the deal for me, prompting me to want to read and review Susanna Foth Aughtmon's book.
My intrigue quickly turned to anticipation, an anticipation which met satisfaction.
From the onset of the book, the transparency and realness of the author is clear. Her authenticity translated well causing this reader to relax. Her personal accounts dispel any and all judgmental tones, replacing them instead with a sense of "I'm there, too." The reader is welcomed in, affirmed, validated and loved through.
THE Talking Snake.
Inside perfection, evil roamed. The evil one took form, purposing " to steal and kill and destroy" (John 10:10, NIV) Eve (and Adam), thus putting an end to the pureness of God's creation. The author develops this idea beautifully, giving our mind's eye a deeper look into how Satan lured Eve with GREAT intention.
Eve's luring is our luring. Satan's tactic, the one which brought down Eden, remains in his arsenal. He's intentional, yet subtle. As the author writes:
"It begins with the voice of doubt and chaos, the voice that invites us to wonder if we don't deserve more than we've been given. It begins with the thought that no one can tell us what to do. It begins with a hiss and a mirthless laugh as we wander far away from the heart of the One who breathed life into us. It begins with the snake." (Aughtmon, 2012, pg 29)
It is in the luring we can learn a valuable lesson. Let's face it, as a child of the KING, we'll be tempted. Our soul is secure, but how we live our life for him, the choices we make, the life we choose, can sadly still be in play. Eve had a choice: run or stay. I love how the author puts it:
"The problem was that Eve didn't turn on her heel and walk away. Eve paused a moment and gave his words credence. She weighed them against her own logic and what she recalled God saying to her. She did what so many of us have done on way too many occasions. Eve listened to the enemy of her soul." (Aughtmon, 2012, pg 33)
Like many of us, Eve took matters into her own hands. Instead of dropping and running to her Father, she began buying into what the snake had to say. Now, I truly don't believe Eve realized the fallout from just listening to the snake. I also don't believe she imagined the consequences, the generational consequences, from her one action. I do believe her pause changed everything. She paused to listen instead of running to the Father. As the author writes,
"It is important to invite God into the snaky conversations that take place in our minds and the niggling doubts that dig into our souls, because this is where the battle begins." (Aughtmon, 2012, pg 35)
Throughout the book, the author addresses "fallout" from the fall.
Chapter 6: I Want to Hide from God
Chapter 12: I Am a Perfectionist
Chapter 14: I Have Control Issues_Big Ones
Chapter 17: I Am a Little Self-Centered
But then, she beautifully writes the closing chapters, chapters intended to give us hope:
Chapter 21: I Need a New Idea of What Perfect Looks Like
Chapter 22: I Am Not in Control
Chapter 23: I Need a Paradigm Shift
Chapter 24: I Am Ready for a New Out-of-Control Me
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Susanna Foth Aughtmon did it even better in this, her third book. I can't believe how close to home she hit me this time! I surely never thought I had any issues with perfectionism or control, but she opened my eyes in a big way. I love her perspective on Eve and I think I can relate to my ancestor when I say that neither of us thought we were trying to do better for our life than GOD already was. But guess what? Yeah. That.
Susanna writes in such a personal style it's like talking to a friend and yet, if you can picture it, she has such lyrical paragraphs that it's almost like enjoying poetry too. A great combination of practical sense and spiritual prose. It doesn't get any better than this!
Susanna Foth Aughtmon writes in such a way one feels as if she's sitting in the audience at a women's conference. With her conversational voice and incredible sense of humor, I Blame Eve is a book I could chew off in small bites at a time and swallow easily.
Bringing the funny to perfectionism, control issues and our tendency to listen to the lies of humankind's biggest enemy, Susanna feeds us Scripture that will nourish our souls, fill our spirits and cause us to walk away from the unfullfilling things in our lives.
In chapter one, Susanna includes her list of forty reasons she wishes Eve hadn't taken that infamous bite out of the fruit. Be warned: Don't read this list if you need to use the bathroom or have a mouth full of your beverage of choice. Some of my favorite reasons are:
1. Female facial hair (mustaches, unibrows, etc.)
2. Exercise videos
3. Bad fiction
4. Body shapers (i.e. girdles - let's just call them what they are)
(If you buy the book for no other reason, this list is worth it!)
The timing of I Blame Eve couldn't have been better. Susanna touches on several hot spots throughout the book. I've been talking to God a lot these past few months about my cravings for things that get in between me and Him (like round chocolates - not quite an apple, but just as tasty). She touches on our personal forbidden tree and those things we crave in chapter four, aptly titled "I Crave Apples and Other Things That Don't Satisfy Me."
In chapter twenty-two, "I Am Not In Control," she writes about the choice we have to make between letting God call the shots or doing things our way. Considering I just blogged about allowing God to change us from the inside out and how we need to be patient and not try to take control again, my spirit screamed, "Yes!" as I read this chapter.
The book wasn't all I expected it to be, but it certainly covered the issues of perfectionism and control and lying serpents very well. I think I expected a bit more "how-to" than Susanna provided, but it doesn't detract from the value of the book at all. If you've struggled in any of these areas or claim them to be part of who you are, you won't be disappointed if you take the time to read I Blame Eve.
There are study guide questions at the end of the book. These are some of the most fun questions I've read in a long time. And I've read many reflection questions recently. I think you'll find yourself looking at them with humor, which reflects throughout the book. It's nice to be able to take my downfalls and poke some serious fun at them for a change.
I appreciate Susanna's transparency, her witty look at life as a perfectionist/control freak/snake entertainer. I'd highly recommend I Blame Eve, and if you read it, I'd love to know what you thought.
*Note: I received a copy of this book from Revell. I am not required to give it a good review, only to express my humble opinion of the book. I hope you found my review helpful.
** Available April 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group
you are seeking a bit of calm (Eden) from the crazy life
The this book is for you.....
The author shares many reasons why we as women should blame Eve for eating the forbidden fruit that day way back at the beginning of creation in the beautiful perfect Garden of Eden. Aughtmon twists in a bit-o-humor as she tries to get across to her readers that the battle begins in our mind. When we start doubting God is the beginning of our downfall. Satan likes to twist the truth just enough to bring about temptation and mislead us. Sin starts when the thought is planted you don't even have to take action. When we desire to take matters in our own hands that's when things begin to go in the wrong direction.
Thought out the book you will find the author leads the reader to find freedom from:
the cage of perfectionism
the hold of control issues
feeling hopelessness when your world is spinning out of control
feeling anger when plans go awry
When I first started reading the introduction I was a tiny bit concerned because the author leads the reader in the introduction to believe that man/woman was created first before all things. That caused some concern as in the Bible "Creation" account man/woman was God's final and crowning creation on Day 6. This concerned me somewhat, but the issue was never mentioned through out the book so I don't know why the author leads you at the beginning to believe this thought. After that I totally enjoyed the book and its contents.
a copy of this book was provided by Revell in exchange for my honest review