Monday, March 11, 2013
What Does Being a Help Meet Mean?
"And the Lord God said, it is not good for the man to be alone; I will make a help meet for him." (Genesis 2:18)
What in the world does "help meet" mean? Is this some antiquated notion that doesn't apply to us today?
Simply put, a help meet means "one who helps". And for ministry wives, I think it is one of the best gifts that we have been given.
Perhaps you agree with me or maybe you are ready to quit reading right now. If you fall into the latter category, please stick with me!
I grew up watching my Mama be a help meet to my Daddy. She would iron his shirts faithfully. She had dinner on the table every night by 5:30 sharp. She cleaned the church, typed up the bulletins, taught Good News Club, lead the choir, went visiting whenever Daddy asked her to, mentored other women, taught Bible studies, was involved in the missions committees. If it was asked of her, she did it.
And so, I thought that this was what my marriage was supposed to look like. Being a helper was about doing things for your husband and as a ministry wife it was about doing whatever the church asked of you.
When my husband and I were first married, he was a youth pastor. I worked faithfully by his side and LOVED it! I was a small group leader. I enjoyed hanging out with the girls. I was at every retreat, every event, every youth night. I sang in the church and was also involved in Bible studies and women's ministry. Fortunately for me, my husband did not expect me to iron and was not a stickler for meals being at a certain time (especially since I was working full time!).
We talked about everything in regards to ministry. We prayed together and read books together. I enjoyed being the one he would go to with problems or concerns. I enjoyed being his help meet (or what I thought that meant!).
But as we added children to our family and as our ministry responsibilities changed, I began to see that being a help meet to my husband was not about "doing" so much as it was about "being". I was no longer able to do all of the things that I wanted to do to help my husband. He had more pressures at work, but also more staff members to discuss things with and to work along side. I began to feel like he didn't really need me. It was during this time that I realized that I had allowed my doing-things-for-my-husband to become my identity. It was a difficult time for me.
It was through all of these changes and challenges in ministry that I learned what being a help meet really is. Being a helper to my husband is not about figuring out how best to help him and then doing that. It is not about trying to make our home life perfect, so that he doesn't feel any pressure in his "castle". It is not about doing; it is about being.
Being a help meet is about being who God has made me to be. It is about seeking the Lord with all of my heart. It is about spending time getting to know God through His Word and then allowing His truths to overflow in my life.
This has changed my understanding of being a helper. The best way to love and support and to help my husband is to be who God is making me to be. What I do will flow out of these things.
I recently read through the gospel of John in my personal study. I was so challenged and blessed by this close reading of John. A few weeks ago, my husband told me that he was trying to decide what sermon series he wanted to do leading up to Easter. Since the words of John were so fresh in my mind, I suggested that he preach on the "I Am" statements of John. He liked the idea and yesterday, he preached the first sermon of the "Jesus- in his own words" series.
And as he preached, I was overcome with joy in knowing that I have been able to be a help meet to my husband. This is what I meant by the statement that being a help meet to our husbands is one of our greatest gifts. When we allow God to transform us and work in our hearts, we are given the opportunity to see how those things can in turn help our husbands.
Have you struggled with this idea of being a "help meet"? Has it always made sense to you or have you had to learn along the way as I have? How have you been blessed by being your husband's helper?