[Editor's Note: This post was originally published on Judy's blog on 12/1/2014. Reposted with permission.]
I get asked the same question everywhere I go.
Whether I am in India, Mali, Indonesia, Netherlands, Ethiopia, Hungary, the U.S., it’s basically the same question:
Who am I and why am I here?
More specifically: What is God’s purpose for me as a woman?
At transition points in our lives, when we feel dissatisfied or confused about our lives, when we have dreams that seem beyond our reach, and at many other times, we wonder who we are and what our purpose is.
God has answers. And for women these answers include specifcs for all women and for each woman. Here is just a summary of those truths—the discovery and living out will be unique for each woman over her lifetime.
“So God created human beings in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)
This is one of the most amazing truths in Scripture. God made us like Himself—in His image. So we could live in fellowship with Him and so we would show the entire creation what He is like! (In the Fall, we drastically dimmed that reflection, but we are still God’s image bearers.)
And the image bearer reality is true for the span of our lives.
STRONG HELPER: EZER
“The LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’” (Genesis 2:18)
The Hebrew word for “helper” in this verse is ezer. It is a powerful word, used in three ways in Scripture. Armies that came to the aid and protection of Israel were called ezers. The most common use of the word was to describe God as our ezer, our Helper, especially in time of trouble. When Scripture says God is our Helper, or God will help us, the word for Helper is ezer. In both of these uses, the word has military connotations.
The first time we see the word is in the Scripture above. God said it was not good for the man to be alone, so He made woman as an ezer, a strong helper, a co-laborer in the assignment God gave them, a partner in the battle ahead.
It is a remarkable calling or assignment–to be a helper even as God is our Helper.
And the ezer reality is true from birth to death—for the girl, the single woman, the wife, the mother, the widow. All women are ezers.
“God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:28)
God blessed the man and woman and gave them an assignment: To increase their numbers—to have children. To cultivate the earth and make it fruitful. And I believe, as image bearers, to reflect and represent God, to be spiritually fruitful.
They were to do this together, in a blessed alliance. Sin caused these allies to become more like adversaries, but Jesus restored this alliance. A woman’s primary partner is her husband, but over a lifetime she might ally with many others–men and women–in powerful ministry teams.
(In my next post I will develop this concept more in “The Purpose of Men and Women: We’re Better Together.”)
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)
In Psalm 139 we understand that God was there, forming us in our mother’s womb—making each of us just as He wanted us. In the verse above we see the result: He declares that we are works of art! I’m sure He said, as each of us was born: “That’s it! She is exactly what I had in mind—a masterpiece!”
And then He tells that He made us the way we are—all our strengths, gifts, talents, idiosyncrasies, weaknesses—for the purposes He intends for us. He already has good works prepared—and who we are will be just right to accomplish those assignments.
Our responsibility is to walk with God, discover who He made us and what those good works are, and to do what He says–to answer His calling on our lives.
“Jesus said to him, ‘…you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.’” (Luke 9:60)
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last…” (John 15:16)
Those good works God has prepared for us will include our explorations to discover who we are, our growing years, our various vocations, our marriages and our parenting, and even in retirement.
And they will also include our part in Kingdom work. God is building His Kingdom, and each of us has a role—even many roles–to play in that great endeavor. His design equips us for Kingdom assignments He has for each of us.
Personally, I never get over that God so lovingly and specifically designed me—because He wants to be with me and has amazing life plans for me—and invites me to be on His Kingdom team!
What about you? What have you discovered about God’s purposes for you?