In the beginning God created man and woman. In his very own image he created them. Woman was called “ezer,” in the Hebrew language, and the charge was given to them both to take dominion over the earth.
And then, they fell. You know the story, so I won’t tell it.
When woman is called Ezer we need to understand what it means. It’s been translated as helper or help meet (old English I’m sure) but I don’t think that communicates the full meaning.
In the beginning stood a woman, created in the image of God, capable of taking dominion over the earth, alongside the man. She is not presented as weak or a second string player or one who can’t be trusted. She is shoulder to shoulder with her man.
They have distinct roles and ways of being and relating, for sure, and each reflects different aspects of God’s character. She is the weaker vessel in the physical sense, but it’s only in our upside down world where muscles and bravado entitle a person to power. That isn’t the way of the Kingdom of God.
The word ezer is used many times in the Old Testament, and many of those times describe God’s working on behalf of his people. It’s when they are in need of rescue, refuge, help, salvation, redemption and deliverance, that He is seen as ezer.
I don’t dare say women are to do exactly what God is doing, play by play, but I say that to demonstrate that ezer indicates a position of strength, not weakness.
After Adam and Eve fall God tells the woman that her desire will be for her husband and he will rule over her. I’ve heard it said that God wasn’t commanding this curse, but rather, announcing that this would be the result of their sin.
I don’t think it has to be that way. I don’t think it was His plan for us to stay that way, especially once Jesus came to change everything and break through the systems we had created.
I don’t really want to park there too long, though. What I’ve got on my mind today is that I think we, women, need to be reminded of who we were created to be.
We are God’s image bearers. We are created to be strong, though we are nurturing and tender. It makes me sad to see what history has done, what fallenness has done, to women, and to men.
I don’t believe men were made to carry the burdens of life alone, to “rule,” alone, and I think one result of women being reduced to sidekick status, is that men carry an inordinate amount of weight on their shoulders.
Women are seen as weak, therefore our emotion and nurture are seen as nice, but weak. Therefore, men aren’t allowed to show those things.
And many women try to run from it, too. To have the ability to feel and experience pain, to empathize, is not weak. Weakness is when we try to escape it, so we don’t have to feel it.
I’ve tried that and it didn’t bring me life. I don’t think I ever felt more alive than when I was crushed with grief and couldn’t get away from it. It was horrible but I knew I was feeling it because I had loved and lived. That’s not weak.
I don’t really know where I’m going with this, other than to remind all of us ladies that we were made for more.
More what? I’m not sure what that means for you, but for me it means I’ve got more strength inside of me than I realize. I am not weak, unless I choose not to tap into the Spirit of God that became available to me when I was born anew in Christ.
In a moment of overwhelming anxiety today, I felt the assurance that I can do hard things and I can face hard things. I’m not alone. My emotions don’t have to be scary. I can show up as myself.
I don’t have to put on a performance or try to feel or be what is expected. When I’m faced with my own brokenness I know I can be made whole. I can love and serve in humility, without fear. I can put others first.
I believe Jesus came to return us to original manufacturer specs. It’s like hitting restore on an iPad – everything added after months or years of use, and misuse, gets removed and it’s wiped clean. It might look a little banged up on the outside, but it’s a fresh start inside.
I’m just not sure we know it. It’s hitting me in a fresh way today that I am Ezer (and thank you Mom and Dad for not actually naming me that). I’m created in the image of God and I carry great potential inside of me whether or not I ever choose to tap into it.
I want to tap in.