So many of us women have redefined our identities as Helpmeets as we grew in our personal walks with God.
I’m sure that I’m not the only one that has ever struggled with reality of the title given to me the day I said “I do” to my husband. I said I will be his Helpmeet. Those words were easy to identify with most of the time. Over the last 7 and a half years of marriage I have tried to become better at it. There are so many times though that this title has made me want to just forget my role and reject the difficult task of being a helpmeet. I’ll admit that it’s just not in my personal nature to want to help my husband out when all I’ve been doing all day is taking care of our baby and toddler, doing laundry, cleaning, and cooking. Over these past 7 years you might think that’s a long enough time that has lapsed that I should have already figured out. Yeah. There are times of triumph and failure for me. It seems like God is always working on me and showing me areas that I need to yield to Him and trust Him more. I honestly hope that this will be the story of my life though. That I will never do anything that will put up a wall in my relationship between me and God. And when I do that I’m teachable enough to see it. Being comfortable with where I am spiritually is really the most dangerous place to be. I want God to work and change me until my dying day.
Last week God put the word Enabler in my mind. I was actually surprised when the word popped into my head. It made so much more sense in my life as a missionary wife in the 21 Century. What made me think of this word anyways? Why in the world do I even think it’s different then the word Helpmeet? Does it give me more power and a false sense of control because I feel like I’ve enabled someone or something to happen. Nope, not at all! And here’s little background story that will put into perspective what I went through and how the word Enabler has become more of how I identify my role.
The back story :
When we realized that God was asking us to serve Him as missionaries in Bolivia I felt like we were given the Olympic Torch. Finally!!! Finally we were shown what God wanted for us! We didn’t care where God led us or as what, we just wanted His will. We had prepared for this for years as teens and young adults. We personally spent thousands of dollars for an education that we thought would help us in our personal pursuite of God’s will for us. I realized that God had been guiding our paths torward this our whole lives. So while on deputation I was quick to say that we are BOTH missionaries. I didn’t understand how my role as helpmeet would fit in PLUS what it meant to be missionary on top of that.
When we got to the field it was pretty much like this: I felt like I was “THE missionary” since my husband didn’t speak any Spanish except for greetings. So, I did ALL the talking, translating, negotiating, shopping, consulting, phone calls, introductions, small talk, deep talk, and everything! From buying groceries, a vehicle, to his paperwork, and renting a house. It was stressful and I was pregnant with our first baby. I never realized the reality of my role until then. Being a helpmeet/wife and soon to-be-mother was a lot to handle especially transitioning our lives to a 3rd world country on a pretty tight budget. I had to be the helpmeet that my husband desperately needed me to be at this time. There were times I felt like it was more than I could handle especially the closer I got to my due date with braxton hicks coming on and haveing to hold Tyler’s hand so he could pull me along as we walked up the steep hills. I can only imagine the mental struggle he was going through though. No family, and basically me being almost the only one he could speak to! Realizing that this was the new country we were going to make our life in. Imagine your world being reduced to only 1 person that you can talk to. Almost 3 and half years later, he now preaches in Spanish, and holds full conversations! He even understands and gets the funniness of a Spanish joke. I would say he’s fluent. And anyone who has lived in a foreign country gets what this means. It’s no small feat!
This past week Tyler was helping out interpret for a group of medical doctors down here with CWE Medical Missions. I stayed home and watched the kids while he was gone. Amazingly 20 people from the village we are working in, Filadelfia, came to see the medical doctors! A few believers from our group had brought visitors with them. There were 11 salvation decisions that day! Only God knows how genuine those hearts were, but we also have no right to take away from God’s glory just because we may be skeptical. If anything these are 11 more people we get to work with and disciple. We are so grateful for what God is doing.
On our way over the second day we were just enjoying the beautiful spring drive over the mountains to where the doctors were servicing that day. Tyler looked at me and just said he was so grateful that he had a beautiful missionary wife and so grateful for what I do because he knows how much a sacrifice it’s been for me. He knows exactly how much I liked dressing nice, hair and makeup, shopping, the whole girlie package, which I don’t do much of here. I don’t bc honestly, I don’t want to look out-of-place like an astronaut walking around the grocery store holding a baby! I know that every wife alive gushes inside when her husband speaks words of genuine appreciation for her. Not to an audience that’s listening, but to her alone.
So, since I grew up in Bolivia as a missionary kid, I knew what I was missing out on in the States in my teen years. It was a dream come true when I moved there for college! I got acclimated to the entire package when I lived there for 8 years. I was pretty Americanized and had no real intention of leaving. So I knew what I was coming back to. What I was going to give up all over again when God led us back to Bolivia hit me harder when we actually got here and saw how VERY different things were and had become while I was gone. In Tyler’s own words he said so many are just not willing to settle for anything less than the American dream. So many of us think that God actually wants that dream for us, but you won’t find it or anything like it in the Bible. But it is exactly that, just comforts that so many times weigh us down and intoxicate us -keeping us from saying whole heartily and obediently “Yes, God use us where and when and how. My ambitions are nothing compared to Your will.”
Don’t let family discourage you from serving God where you know He wants YOU. Don’t be afraid of finances. We took a 2/3 of a financial cut coming to the mission field, but it was worth it to do what God wanted for Ty and I. And don’t let ambition blind you. It really is never too late. We have 2 couples that are down here in different areas that came as missionaries when God called them- and they were already retired when God called them here!
So many of us have suppressed that time He quietly spoke to us. He does not need to ask a second and a third time. He will undoubtedly use someone else who will obey. How many of us were God’s second even twelfth choice? I’m sure we weren’t His first choice because we’re just Tyler and Sandy, pastor’s kid and missionaries kid- nobodies…
Back to The Story:
It was on that drive that I realized how important my role as a Helpmeet is. I realized in those moments that more than a Helpmeet I was an Enabler for my husband to effectively serve God in the remote places He’s called us to. I used to think the missionary wife HAS to be right by her husband’s side so that she’s a missionary too. In reality though, tagging along those exhausted/hungry babies that are crying and that are preventing you from being able to give the Gospel is not fair to your kids who don’t even understand what is going on or to that person you are witnessing to.
I had a lot of high and unrealistic and even un-Biblical expectations for myself and my family. But I’ve realized as God has given us 1 then 2 little kiddos that my most important role right now is to be their mother and give them an environment that nourishes them as children and someday as God’s children. After all, what will my life have been worth if I pour myself into others and neglect my kids. There really is a season for everything as King Solomon wisely spoke. I am involved in ministry as much as I possible can be and at the moment it is just being by Tyler’s side, making visits with him sometimes, and acting as babysitter to my kids (and sometimes other people’s kids) during church services and greeter to the folks in our little church. I miss being able to just sit and listen to someone preach. I’m here for my kids and my husband at this stage in our young family. It’s the little things that make a big difference in the long run of our lives, our kids lives, and the ministry here. Thinking about my role at this season of life in terms of being an Enabler has helped me a lot. I feel like the word Enabler adds more value to our roles as wives and mothers across the world. God is our ultimate Enabler, but He has given us women the privilege to be the enablers in every facet of life He’s placed us as individuals.