When you think of your identity as a woman, what comes to mind? Maybe you are proud of the fact you are a woman and enjoy “feminine things,” such as dressing up, putting on makeup, or even having children. Or maybe, you feel ashamed and disappointed in your identity as a woman because you don’t think you fit the mold of a “typical girl” and don’t share many interests with other women. Or maybe still, you feel frustrated and angry because you think like you are treated differently or not given the same opportunities as the men around you. Maybe you feel boxed in by what you think you are supposed to encapsulate.
Regardless of where you have come from or what you have been raised to understand or feel, God created women with intentional purpose and calling. There are fundamental truths in the Bible that speak to the very essence of what it means to be a woman, and what God had in mind when He created the first woman.
Genesis gives us great insight into God’s heart for women and who He created women to be. Before creating Eve, God said, “It is not good for the man to live alone. I will make a suitable companion to help him.” (Genesis 2:18). At first, this passage may feel unimportant, maybe even offensive for some of us. Were women really created just to be helpers to men?
By no means! When we look at this verse deeper, we begin to understand intention and purpose; by unpacking meaning and definition. The Hebrew word that God used for “suitable helper” is “Ezer Kenegdo”. This name God gave to women at the beginning of creation is also used throughout the Bible to describe God Himself being a “suitable helper” to Israel. A name after God Himself. “Ezer Kenegdo” is used in other parts of the Bible to describe different parts of God’s character. For example, Psalm 54:4 uses the term “Ezer” to describe God as a helper, sustainer, and upholder. This aspect of womanhood is maybe familiar and known about the character of God and calling portrayed and displayed in women. And, these are really beautiful reflections and characteristics of this character.
But there is more; it does not stop there!
God named Eve after Himself and gave her an identity, even before Adam decided to call her “woman.” This means that our primary identity as women comes from the Father, is rooted in that we are named after God Himself and created in His image. When the word “Ezer” appears in scripture it brings color, depth and power to the calling and identity of women. Ezers are reflections of God’s character – a Refuge and Rescuer (Psalm 125:1-2), a Deliverer (Psalm 33:20), a Protector and Shield (Deuteronomy 33:26), and a Creator (Psalm 124:8). The word Ezer means warrior, and redeemer, a companion, and a fighter. As women, we reflect the loyalty, comfort, boldness, empowerment, honor, and love of our Creator. These passages and characteristics give us insight into what God had in mind when creating women. We were not made to only be “helpers” to men. As women, we are called to be rescuers, helpers, deliverers, sustainers, and protectors just as God is all these things to us.
The history of humanity is complex when thinking about the way women have been treated over the course of time. And although it has often been far from perfect, the dignity that God first prescribed over both man and woman remains true, no matter how humans act. What an amazing and liberating truth it is that we were named after God Himself, created in His image, and called His daughters. We were given God’s name and made with love and dignity. This means that we do not have to compete with other women, because our identity as Ezers are secure in God. It also means that we do not need to strive to be “better than” men or feel as though we were created inferior to them. We are called to compliment because we are made with intention and purpose, not to compete.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” —1 Peter 2:9.
We get to proclaim light in a world fighting darkness. As fighters, truth-speakers, comforters, and deliverers, we get to push back the darkness and bring forth the light. As an Ezer, you are created uniquely, named after the Lord, and given freedom to be who He created you to be; ground your identity in God and trust the calling and freedom He has designed in you.