This post comes to us from Stacie Tchividjian.

I was recently reflecting on my deepest regrets as a mom. My mind started stumbling down a path it doesn’t like to go. I sobbed from a deeply painful place as I agonized over the choices I’ve made that have affected my two sons. When I see them hurting and struggling, I blame myself. 

From becoming a young, unwed mom at 18 to countless moments of bad parenting weaved in between three marriages and two divorces, I often feel plagued by the way my poor life choices have damaged my two boys. To realize I have broken my boys’ hearts breaks mine.

After several minutes of relentless gut-punches from the fist of my own faults and failures, God brought the mother of all mothers to my mind: Eve. The mother of all humans…and the mother of sin.

Experiencing awful guilt because I am the cause of lifelong aches and pains for my boys makes me sick to my stomach. The stains of my sins have marked the steps of my sons. The fact that anything I’ve done, directly or indirectly, has hurt my boys grieves me in ways that nothing else does. 

But thinking of Eve, the first mother, brings me comfort—a sweet reminder that I’m not alone. 

She was a woman like me, right? I like to think that she had all the various female emotions and thoughts, physical limits, hormonal reactions, and spiritual deliberations that I have. She was given a perfect situation and ruined it—not just for her, but for all humanity. (Yeah, yeah, I know—Adam did too. But I am only considering Eve’s part because I’m a mother.)

Then the Lord God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever.’ Therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken.He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.” (Genesis 3:22-24)

I think about being in her skin…

It was because of her sin that childbirth is painful. She was the first mother to figure out how to feed and care for babies without the benefit of wisdom from previous generations, books to read, apps to use, and parents to help. She started with their two sons, Cain and Abel. She had to navigate the rough terrain of raising two sinful boys, watching them grow, breaking up fights, teaching them how to love and forgive one another—all without the aid of any written Scripture, or podcasts, or parenting books and conferences.  

Sadly, she was also the first mother to experience the death of a child and the mother of the first murderer. She loses both of her sons in different ways. As a result, she faced a grief that, I’m sure, terrorized her for the rest of her life: this was all her fault. It was her sin that ushered murder and jealousy and death into the world.

She lived for hundreds of years and gave birth to more children and had to watch as this fallen world developed, knowing that it all started with her! Unlike me, a typical mom who blames herself for her kid’s struggles, Eve had to deal with the deeper guilt of being the cause of it all.  

How did she deal with all of that? For that long? I’m 44 and when I think too long about my regrets and the pain I’ve caused and endured, it makes me pray for Jesus to come back quick or take me now! That’s how weary and grieved I am by the realities of my sin. I find it debilitating at times to cope with a life deformed by my selfish imperfections. Eve had to drink from her cup of culpability for hundreds of years!

After Adam and Eve plunged God’s good world into a state of brokenness, God made them a promise: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring[e] and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15).

He could have abandoned them in the mess that they made. But thankfully, “God is not the God of second chances. He’s better than that. He’s the God of one chance and a second Adam.” Into Eve’s guilt and shame, God delivers a promise that the solution to the problem she created will ultimately come from her. In that promise, God announced that He would send a rescuer to fix what she broke.

What sustained Eve is the same thing that sustains me: the Promise of God.

In those moments when my failures as a mom weigh the heaviest, God reminds me of this Promise. And the way he typically does this is by pointing me to my actual relationship with my boys. Despite the ways I have failed them, they love me. I have asked them to forgive me more times than I can count, and time and time again they have sweetly reassured me of their love, their forgiveness, and their deep appreciation to God for making me their mom. I have delivered hurt into their lives and rather than holding it against me, they have delivered healing into mine—a priceless and undeserved gift—just like the gift of God’s Promise. Every loving moment with my boys is a reminder of God’s Promise to “make everything sad come untrue.” They are valuable souvenirs of “the fixing” He has guaranteed. 

More devastating to me than my failures as a mom, though, is the fact that I have failed God. And yet His Promise reassures me that He loves me and forgives me. He reminds that the substance of His Promise is a person—a person who has come to do for me what I could never do for myself. 

In the person of Jesus, God fulfilled His Promise that He made in Genesis 3:15. Jesus is the seed of the woman who came and crushed the head of the serpent. He took all of our guilt and shame and regret and gives us His perfect record. 

Like my husband says,  “The Law Maker became the Law Keeper and died for us, the Law breakers.” 

In many ways, Eve was a failure as a mom. So am I. But her hope (like mine) was not in the perfecting of our imperfections but rather in the One who was perfect for us. Resting in His substitution rather than our transformation is what makes my heavy heart feel lighter. 

I can rest in that trophy of Truth. So can you.