"Even when the rainbow seems to pass right by me....I'm still finding Gold in the clouds....."

02 December 2012

A Helpmate

I'm participating in this month's Marriage Monday Ministry, hosted by E-mom from over here.

This is a community of writers who encourage each other with various marriage topics, chosen by E-Mom. It's a valuable resource for me as I really enjoy my marriage, I love hearing about other Christian women's ideas and thoughts and struggles and I have often gleaned some very useful information to help with my own marriage!!  Just because one is married for 22 years, doesn't mean we always have a "perfect" answer or a "summer season" marriage! :)

This month's topic is HELPMATE according to the Biblical standard that God put into place when He created Adam and Eve based on Genesis 2:18.

"and the Lord God said, "It is not good that man should be alone.  I will make him a helper comparable to him."" (NKJV)

I decided to see what I could find from the word "helper" (or in some translations, "helpmeet" or "helpmate" in Hebrew.

Here's what I found in various internet searches.  There WAS no word for "helpmate" in Hebrew!!
Strong's # 5828 (Hebrew = ezer) aid: -- help
Strong's Root = # 5826 (Hebrew = azar)  azar = prime root: to surround, ie, protect or aid: help, succour

Gesenius adds that the primary idea lies in girding, surrounding, hence defending
(Hebrew = kenegdo) corresponding to, counterpart to, equal to matching
The traditional teaching for the woman as help (meet) is that of assistant or helper subservient to the one being helped. This definition would appear to line up with Strong's definition of the word. However, if you look at the context of every other use of the word ezer in the scripture, you will see that ezer refers to either God or military allies. In all other cases the one giving the help is superior to the one receiving the help. Adding kenegdo (meet) modifies the meaning to that of equal rather than superior status. Scripture is so awesome. God says just what He means.

Dr. Susan Hyatt gives the following definition from her book In the Spirit We're Equal "Re: Hebrew ezerkenegdo. In Genesis 2:18, the word "helpmeet" does not occur. The Hebrew expression ezer kenegdo appears, meaning "one who is the same as the other and who surrounds, protects, aids, helps, supports." There is no indication of inferiority or of a secondary position in an hierarchical separation of the male and female "spheres" of responsibility, authority, or social position.

The word ezer is used twice in the Old Testament to refer to the female and 14 times to refer to God. For example, in the Psalms when David says, "The Lord is my Helper," he uses the word ezer."

(source : God's Word to Women website)

Honestly, I got kind of bored reading the explanation for this. IT was long and just kinda.....well...not sure if I agreed with all of it! LOL

I decided to chew on the above and just write what I think it means to Dave and I.

So here are MY thoughts.

We are equals in that God created us to have a purpose and a plan. Our main purpose on this earth is to worship the Lord God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind.  All of us. Man and woman. Male and female. 
(Deuteronomy 6:5 and Mark 12:30)

We are also to love our neighbor as our selves.

This includes our spouse.

The word "helper" to me, if I am reading the Hebrew meaning correctly, simply means we are to be surrounding our mate, defending our mate, supporting our mate.

In my marriage it looks like this:  I manage most of the household. I work less hours. Even though my job is demanding (as is most special education jobs), I haven't been "Master Teacher" since 1995. In the summer of 1995, I stopped teaching full time to stay home with my oldest daughter who had just turned 2. We wanted her out of day care and in our own home. We were fortunate that the Lord had Dave in a computer software career that allowed me to do that and still have a comfortable suburban life-style. This means that Dave got used to me running the home and paying the bills. (we have a joint checking account and separate savings accounts).
We pay for all of our bills from the checking account including our daily expenses like gas, lunch, etc.
Our savings accounts are for the future.

Fast forward to 2011.  Our oldest daughter graduated from high school, earned a very good scholarship to a private Christian college in New England, and.....I had to help pay whatever the scholarship and small federal loan didn't cover. So...my savings was used for the college bill.  I had gone back to special education on a part time hours basis in 2007 since both girls were in school full time and I enjoy using the talents/giftings God has given me (teaching). Dave enjoys the extra money for little extras.  However, because of the way the economy is going and the fact that private bank loans for college students are ridiculously high (interest), he decided to NOT have her take out a bank loan. Which means I really needed to go for the full time hours the district was offering me.  I accepted it (full time aide) and don't really like it. Before I started working every day in 2007, I had worked for 5 years in a ministry as a VOLUNTEER (they paid for my parking and some of my daycare costs) 2 days a week. It was a crisis pregnancy center. It was for a season when my youngest was 8 months-kindergarten. I then stayed home full time for another year.

I don't like working full time.

Yet...I'm doing it because I want to help support my husband's wise decision. I don't necessarily agree with it. I had loans to pay back. He had loans to pay back. We did it.  Yet....those loans were acquired in the 1980's when interest on college loans were very low. It is NOT the same for our children.  Dave has pointed out that he doesn't want our daughters to be in debt like we were, because THEIR debt will be a lot higher than ours.  And with this country heading in a "not so good" direction...well....we are trying to be wise.

I need to support him on this.  I am helping to bring in more income.  And my youngest is in junior high so it works out.

Basically, being a helper in the marriage means just that. HELPING!!!!  Coming along side and helping to make decisions TOGETHER. If we are at a point where we can't agree, then I submit since that is God's perfect plan for married people. If it doesn't hurt my children, me or goes against God's Word, then I submit. Simple as that. 

Do I like working full time?? not at all. certainly not doing the aide job. BUT...if I was master teacher again in a private school, like my first teaching job, then I wouldn't have time or energy to manage my household well, to be involved with Claire's after school events, or to lead a small group ministry which is definitely God's plan for me at this time. Working full time as a master teacher in a New York State public school is very time consuming due to all the new Core Curriculum standards. Most of the stuff I don't even agree with. So, Dave and I discussed this and decided that for now, teaching as a teacher's aide, is ok.   The actual title "teacher's aide" is defined as "teacher's helper".  No responsibilities (no report card, conferences, IEP meetings, Family Court appearances, home visits, faculty meetings, Annual Reviews or CPSE meetings like I had to do from 1987-1995!) and all the fun of special education/teaching.

Now...if I can find a private school/early intervention job as a special ed teacher for next year, then yes, I would stop being an aide. BUT...with this economy, that is difficult in our area.

For now, I am helping my husband with college expenses. All of my income is going to Gordon College. Literally. I have chosen direct deposit so I never see my money.  I am happy that I can help my husband have less stress and help my daughter have that Christian education which is so important to her and to us. (she was in public school from k-12).  And God willing, our youngest daughter will choose Christian college, too.

Some of you might ask "well, what if you lose your jobs? what then?" well, then we will seek God about that.  We work together on those things....we thank God for where He has us and for what He has brought us through thus far in our marriage. It has not always been easy. We have sacrificed many "things" for better things...eternal things...like investing in our children, in our church/ministries, and in our friendships and extended family. We have not missed cable tv, or going out every weekend, or taking luxury resort-type vacations.  We are trying to do God's will for our marriage and our family.

A helper is one who comes alongside and supports.

Just like my job title at work, is my job title at home: HELPER!

What does helpmate mean to you??


Rachelle Dawson said...

Thanks so much for sharing your personal story on this topic. It's interesting to hear how you're doing something that you don't personally want to do because you're supporting your husband's decision and submitting to his leadership. When we do our best in this area to obey God's plan for our marriages, I think God also accepts it as worship of Him.

e-Mom said...

Awewome Faith! You've obviously thought through individually and as a couple, how best to use your time and resources. I appreciate your openess here, and willingness to work--even though you dislike working full time.

God bless you as you seek Him in all your financial decisions.

Hugs, e-Mom