The more I study the story of Leah, the more I realize that this is going to turn into a series. God is revealing so much to me, and my heart has been feeling so full spending time in my bible. I haven’t felt anything inside of me for a while now. But when I’m reading and studying the story I feel a mixture of ache and hope for a future that was often eclipsed by my depression.
If you have not read Part 1: you can do so here, as that sets the stage for this next post.
As I have been reading, though this journey originally started with how I am coming to see myself in Leah, I believe that an even more accurate representation of myself is painted by separating the child inside of me and my adult self. While reading about Leah, the similarities between Rachel and I became too much to ignore.
I will try my best to include all relevant information but for a better understanding I suggest reading Genesis 29-30.
When Jacob arrived in the Land of his Uncle Laban, he fell in love with Rachel, Laban’s daughter, at first sight. Totally enamored, he agreed to work for Laban a total of 7 years in exchange for Rachel’s hand in marriage. At the end of the 7 years, Laban tricked Jacob by disguising his elder daughter Leah, and bringing her into the wedding chamber that night.
Jacob who was probably drunk and excited from the wedding festivities did not realize He christened a marriage with Leah and not Rachel until the morning. Jacob was furious, but Laban explained that it is not their custom to marry the younger daughter before the elder daughter. Jacob agreed to marrying Rachel the following week, in exchange for another 7 years working for Laban.
Rachel is described as the younger more attractive sister, in contrast with Leah, who is described as having weak eyes. The bible doesn’t say how Leah must have felt watching her younger sister be chosen over her, but for Laban to resort to deceit to marry off Leah, makes me feel like Leah must not have suitors that were interested in her. What the bible does make clear though is that Jacob loved Rachel way more than he loved Leah, and that both Leah and God felt the pain of this rejection. I will dig into this more later but for now suffice it to know that God comforted Leah by blessing her with children compared to Rachel’s Barrenness.
Seeing Rachel in the Child in me:
14 years. That’s how much of Jacob’s time it took securing Rachel as his wife. Despite Jacob expressing his love for Rachel in both word and deed here is what the bible has to say.
When Rachel saw that she was not having children for Jacob, she became jealous of her sister. She pleaded with Jacob, “Give me children, or i’ll die!” Then Jacob became furious with Rachel. “Am i God?” he asked. “He’s the one who has kept you from having children!” Genesis 30:1-2
I am ashamed to say that I exhibited the same intense jealousy towards my attachment figure and even sometimes my own siblings concerning my own mother’s affections. The thing with jealousy is that it clouds the reality of things. Whenever my attachment figure would express affection towards her Pastor (aka Spiritual Mom), or I would feel they had something that me and her didn’t, my emotions would go through the roof. One time it also led me to almost seriously harming myself. Like Rachel I could not see the expressed love that my attachment figure had for me, and I instead drove her away with my need and jealousy. But Jacob stayed and loved Rachel, continuously, she never did anything that lessened his devotion to her.
Once, Leah’s son, maybe about 4 years old at the time brought his mother some
mandrakes. Rachel asked her for the mandrakes, and said “I will let you sleep with Jacob tonight if you give me some of the mandrakes.” Imagine! She knew the power and authority she had over her husband, that she could even dictate when he does or doesn’t sleep with his first wife, her own sister, Leah, then use that to her advantage.
Unfortunately, though Jacob loved Rachel endlessly and unwavering, Rachel died before allowing herself to experience and walk in that love, purely, and wholeheartedly. When God finally granted her request for children, after the first child, she petitioned God again for another son. While giving birth to the second son, she died, and in her last breath named that son Benoni (son of my sorrow). How sad, she had everything and yet died trying to attain what she already had because jealousy made her insecure. She realized too late that her quest for children only brought her sorrow.
I have brought on myself increasing amounts of pain seeking the perfect mother and the perfect friend. In the process I have lost people who mean a great deal to me. I have tried adamantly to gain them back because I felt like I was missing what they offered me. But i’m not.
I have the most amazing mom and group of friends. Show me someone with better friends than me and I will probably not believe you. All five of my closest friends are so unique, and so caring, funny, ambitious, strong/perseverant, that when I allow myself to think on the beauty that is all of them, I am overwhelmed. I think about the patience that they all exhibited towards me in the throes of my illness. When I would get hospitalized, without a doubt I could phone one to bring me clothes. When I was hurting they all were there in the best way they knew how from studying for exams by my hospital bed, to massaging me and providing laughter. When I allowed my reactions to my attachment figure to cause me to withdraw from them, they never held it against me because they understood. But now I know better and understand better and don’t desire to portray that level of selfishness again.
For when I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a (Wo)man, I put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:11
By the Grace of God I did not die in my sorrow, and I have the opportunity to grow in giving love and experiencing love. I want to maximize on that opportunity.