He shuffled into the living room, shoulders slumped, and with a great sigh lowered himself to the couch. His clothes bore the marks of a man who worked hard for a living.
He could barely meet my gaze, as if he were somehow lacking or not enough. I knew he needed my compassion and encouragement, but instead of sympathy, I felt only frustration.
After all, I thought, I’m working hard in this season, too. I’m weary, too. What do I have left to offer? It feels like too much, and I have nothing left to give.
Besides, he’s a grown man. I’m busy caring for children and our home all day long, on top of the demands of work and ministry roles that I am responsible for. If I can keep myself going, why can’t he keep himself going?
And just like that I missed the opportunity to be a warrior wife.
Have you ever been so caught up in the busyness and stress of life that you forget who you are or who you were created to be, friend?
Especially as a writer and pastor’s wife, I struggle with balancing my family and home life with the demands of ministry life. Without realizing it, I begin to neglect important relationships because I’m “just so busy.”
I become task-oriented rather than people-oriented, a slave to the to-do list rather than a Spirit-led woman.
And it’s downright frustrating how quickly and easily I slip into this mode of doing rather than being!
At a recent women’s conference, I received a wake-up call from the Lord. One speaker in particular, Dana James, reminded us of who we are created to be as daughters of the one true King in relation to our husbands.
Dana shared with us that God designed us to be “helpers” from the very beginning.
“Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’ ” Gen. 2:18
Yes, I know we’ve all heard this verse before. Our job is to help, right? That’s our God-given “role,” right?
Dana drew our attention to the original language, which uses the Hebrew word ezer (pronounced ay-zer). The word ezer is used 21 times in the Old Testament, but the majority of those uses are in reference to God himself, His character. In such cases, the word ezer is used in connection with words like shield, sword, deliverer, mighty, and hope.
Thus, ezer refers to the warrior aspect of God’s character – the One who fights on our behalf, our Shield and Defender, our Rescue.
As I looked further into the meanings attached to this word and its definitions, I found connotations of assistance or aid, especially in times of suffering or distress. It means relief given to someone in need, removing or reducing something that is painful, unpleasant, or even oppressive!
And this very same word ezer is used to describe a helper suitable for Adam.
Do you see what this means for us, my sisters in Christ?
When the Lord God chose to create woman, He instilled in her very character the properties of this ezer. He created us to be warrior women, warrior wives, who will bravely fight spiritual battles on behalf of our husbands, who will provide aid and relief to the men in our lives who are worn down and discouraged by the demands of this earthly life.
Here’s the rub: I think we all know this intuitively and most of us truly desire to live this out.
So when I saw my hard-working husband down and out on a day when I was already in that weighed-down place myself, I chose to look the other way. I chose to put my needs first.
I left him without his ezer, his helper.
It was a selfish choice that I’m ashamed to say I make often when I’m already stressed. And I wonder, why do I make this choice? What is it that feels so hard about being a warrior wife? What secret am I missing?
The secret to being a warrior wife lies in our perspective.
“It’s who we are, not a role we play!” ~ Dana James
When I see being a warrior wife as a job I need to do, it’s easy for me to let it slide on the days when I’m worn out or discouraged. It’s easy for me to call it “too hard.” But when I see being a warrior wife as part of my very identity, as a reflection of God’s character that comes not from trying harder, but from yielding to the Spirit, then I’m left with no excuses.
It is who I am called to be in Christ, and it’s who you are called to be in Christ, too, friend. Don’t leave your husband without the helper he really needs.
You were created for this and in Christ, you are equipped for this.
Let’s be warrior wives who fight the right kind of battles, not against our husbands, but for them.
Let’s choose to aid rather than to ignore.
Be an ezer. Fight!
*Much of the content for this post came from Dana James’s talk “Being a Very Strong Helper” at Tranfsormed 2016 (Central Conference) and was used with permission from Dana herself. If you’d like to connect more with Dana, she writes at The Prime Rib, a website for minister’s wives in Tennessee.
For a practical take on how to encourage a discouraged husband (and how NOT to), try this one from Club 31 Women.
Recommended resources for being a warrior wife:
Sharing with: Grace and Truth