Here in the creation story, in the primary passages God uses to define and describe who men and women are, we find something totally, noticeably missing: a detailed description of gender roles. Yes, it becomes clear that the woman will carry and give birth to children (Genesis 3:20), but any other ideas we get about individual duties or responsibilities are absent. That leaves us with a wide range of possibilities for a specific calling on any one woman's life. Rather than limiting us, being an ezer (strong helper) sets us free!
Even the short, but significant list of things a strong helper is not unleashes each woman to her full potential in whatever situation she finds herself. Let's review them:
A domestic servant. Think of it! Adam hardly needed a cook, since they picked the perfect nutrition required off the plants in the garden. There was no cleanup, since they lived in the great outdoors. And as far as clothes, who needs 'em? The Bible says they were "naked, and they felt no shame" (Genesis 2:25). Adam didn't need a servant at all, but a strong partner.
You know as well as I do that women do an amazing amount of homekeeping chores, and that they are often more than capable in this area. It helps me to remember that God has given me the ability to take care of the things he's entrusted to me; he simply hasn't mandated that I must do domestic chores because I'm a woman. It may be part of my weekly responsibilities, but it's not a primary key to my identity.
Defined by marriage or motherhood. Did you notice that Eve was a strong helper before she had sexual relations with Adam? And did you realize that Eve was a complete ezer–or strong power–at least nine months before she gave birth to children? This amazing truth, and the fact that God didn't use a word for wife when creating Eve, sets every woman free to be the strong helper and strong power God intended her to be–single or married, mother or not.
If only I had discovered this freeing piece of biblical wisdom in my thirty-five years of singleness! Even now, as I face infertility, I take comfort in knowing I will always be an ezer, no matter my social status in life. God has a plan for each of his daughters, and we are defined by his intentions, not by our current circumstances.