Can I be of help?

In all of creation that was said to be good in Genesis 1, there was one thing that was not.

"It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." Genesis 2:18

Being a helpmate, a submitting, selfless, serving, hardworking, supporting, faithful wife is highly esteemed and often looked to in Proverbs 31 as THE women to be. There are so many definitions, thoughts, and identities behind the idea of being a helper to a husband.  God created and designed men to be cultivators and women helpers. Not limited to, less than, above or below, but different, complimenting each other.  By God’s design we desire to live out those roles. 

So what if I'm not married?  And is that “helper” role only for the context of marriage?

For many Christian women, a prolonged season of singleness or any longing unfulfilled becomes a holding place, while waiting for a desire to be a reality. It can feel unfair if there is a desire/design from God to be that helper yet He has not given you the season of marriage to live that out. But it can be in the context of your life now, for those around you and not something on hold, passively waiting as time and lives pass you by.   

A helper. The Helper. Both come alongside, rescue, offer aid, guide, support, strength, and protect to help others thrive. 

In Genesis 2:18 we read that something was not good and missing, and a suitable helper to Adam is what God designs to fill that which was lacking. A helper - to surround, protect or aid, help, one who fights alongside, ally, act as part of a greater whole, offer support, strength and power. The word for helper, ezer, is used 21 times in OT - two times in reference to the first woman, a suitable helper and the majority use is in reference to God as our helper in a time of great need and protection. This word alone indicates the one giving the help is superior to the one receiving the help. But in the case of Genesis 2, God is intentional with words in the use of a suitable helper/help meet – ezer kenegdo - adds that of equal, rather than superior. One who is the same in value as the other and who surrounds, protects, aids, helps, supports.

Ezer describes aspects of God's character - He is our strength, our rescuer, our protector and our help. We tend to focus on the role of a helper as a wife and I think we often can use a shift of our focus to what that word says about the Lord as our helper and how we are to live that out fully in every aspect of life. 

Don’t miss the here and now of your days by being in a holding place, waiting, hoping. When you look back at these days in your life, what do you want to see, what would have wanted to do with that time? Make that a reality. Don't waste right where God has you no matter the season. Our time is short, but a breath (Job 12:10; Psalm 39:5; 144:4; Eph 5:15-16). Have eyes to see, a heart willing and hands faithful to act.

Unfulfilled desires whatever they may be often shift our focus away from a devotion to Christ, inward towards self. We get discouraged, drained, despondent, and weary in doing good because we focus on what’s missing rather than our mission, entitlement rather our calling. Follow after Jesus and draw others to Him in all seasons of life. When my gaze is on Jesus, I look up and out and see those around me more clearly. There are women hungry, lonely, seeking, and we often miss them when we are focused inward. 

Whatever you may be longing for, wait in active patience, trust, joy, and assurance that allows you give of yourself on the behalf of others.

“Waiting isn't just about what you're waiting for at the end of the wait, but also about what you'll become as you wait.” Paul Tripp

Whether you are married or sitting in singleness The Helper has designed you to be a helper in your home and to those around you. Am I more focused on a longing unfulfilled than I am focused on being present to those God has placed around me?

There is a uniqueness that comes with a season of singleness - opportunity for time, flexibility, an undivided heart and focus. It’s the time God wants to secure a devotion to Him alone. There is a uniqueness that comes with marriage that one can be offered by inviting people into to your life to learn from, observe, and participate. What a gift to put your family on mission to help others – may just be the best thing for them to know how to give of themselves sacrificially and bringing others in even it’s uncomfortable. 

As women we can help others thrive or strive. Thrive to all that God has made them to be. Or strive to measure up, earn approval and please expectations because when we look to self, we are disappointed with what’s done to or for us. They can thrive because you have enough in Jesus to give of yourself. Not cause them to strive because you are unfulfilled and grasping for something from someone. 

We can look to and learn from some the women of old in the Bible that provide glimpses of what it looks like for a woman to come alongside others.

Abigail – 1 Samuel 25
I love this woman and how she steps in to speak into King David’s path. Who’s an Abigail in your life and who are you an Abigail to? Boldly and lovingly approaching someone with helpful truth and guidance. Sometimes the very thing we need saved from is ourselves and the path we are headed down, in need of someone confronting us. 

A woman who choose to boldly step out on behalf of others as she was sovereignly placed in a position in a specific physical place and time in history, “for such a time as this”. You are placed in a specific place and time with purpose, Acts 17:26-27, don’t waste that but keep your eyes up on the harvest. 

Proverbs 31 
Not only was this woman an incredible wife and mother but you find her being a helper to others and those around her. All of her doings involved others – whether that is her husband, her kids, the needy, or those seeking her out. She speaks words of wisdom. She is trusted by others to give sound advice. (31:26)

Rom 16:3-4 – sacrificially gave of themselves at the risk of their comfort, time, and lives.

Titus 2:3-5 
These women could only train, teach, and urge the younger women by living by example and inviting them in. 

1 Timothy 4:11-16 
No matter our age or season we are to set an example for other believers in our speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity. Not to neglect our gift. We have a gift of whatever season we are and our spiritual gifts - both to be used for the good and growth of others. 

2 Timothy 3:16 
The Word disciples us (teach, reproof, correct, and train) and we get to disciple each other by doing these same things, lived out in or lives by coming alongside each other. 

If you are longing and waiting to be helper to a husband, be a helper to those around you. If you feel constrained and restricted as a helper only to your husband, be a helper to those around you also, not neglecting your home but out of an overflow of your home. If you are uncertain what it looks like to be a helper, start by looking at The Helper who is our Help and Shield (Psalm 30:10; 33:20; 115:9; 118:7). 

“Because You are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.” Psalm 63:7

“Blessed are you, Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord? He is your shield and helper.” Deuteronomy 33:29

“You make Your saving help my shield; Your help has made me great.” 2 Samuel 22:36

Responsive Writing

Have you ever closed the pages of the Bible and wonder, well what am I to do with that or already forget what you just read? Been there and we often will if we don’t take intention to interact with the very living Word of God. 

As we examine the scriptures, may we respond to its examining of us.

What makes a conversation? Interaction. Responses. Yes there are many things said through non-verbal communication but dialogue makes life giving conversation. God is sharing His very heart with you on these pages and we often walk away silent without responding to His very words. 

I have found what I call responsive writing to be just one way I love to spend time in the Word. It has been revealing, life giving, and moments of great refinement in my life. 

You don’t have to be a writer to interact with the Word in this way so don’t shy away from it.

In our hurried days, slow down, deal with the Word, chew on it, process it, and respond. 

There are no wasted words in Scripture, just hurried readers of Scripture.” C.J. Mahaney

I’m a quality time person. I need time to slow down and just be with a person. To share what we are learning, growing in, struggling with. There’s no set amount of time or frequency to it. This doesn’t have to be every day. But find time maybe once a week to really slow down and respond to scripture and you’ll begin to hunger for more.

"Visit many good books, but live in the Bible." Charles Spurgeon

Take time maybe in one chapter, or just a few verses and try responding by journaling through these, but first start by simply praying Psalm 119:18 “Open my eyes to the wonderful truths in your law.”

What do you learn about the Lord - His attributes and activities? About yourself?

A friend of mine said something so true: “Knowing the Bible is one thing, knowing the Author is another. The book is even sweeter when you know the Author.” Perspective often comes from knowing who God is, His attributes and activities.

What examining of yourself is stirring in response to the text?

2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that all scripture is God-breathed and useful to teach, reproof, correct, and train. Teach (show you God’s path), reproof (show you when you’re off), correct (show you how to get back on) and train (show you how to stay on). 
Personalize and process what the words have for you and your life. Turn the verses to questions of your life and write a response to them.

Are there any word pictures in these verses that help bring clarity or deeper understanding to the chapter? 

God used specific word pictures drawn from the things around the audiences eyes and experience. We are each gifted uniquely with perceptions. What picture do you envision from the words read? Any pictures used in the text you are drawn to?

You may not walk away with much response every time, but keep at it. He breathed life not only into you and me, but also in these very Words to give us life through them. Linger there in His words, in His presence. 

I have found this to be such a great training ground to go to the Lord first and process with Him rather than running to someone or something. There’s something about pen meeting paper; responding to scripture personally, intimately and with authenticity. 

As we examine the scriptures, may we respond to its examining of us.