Lately, I’ve been mulling over the question, “What does it look like to be a life-giving woman?”
As I think about the meals my family needs for the day that I don’t feel like fixing, I ask myself the question. When I hear screams from a kid’s bedroom at 7 AM, I again ask myself, “In this moment, how can I give life?” The Holy Spirit nudges me with the question again as I get annoyed with my husband for leaving laundry in the bathroom.
I believe that without intentionality on our part to first understand that God created women to be life-givers, it will be easy for our sinful life-taking nature to seep into our ways of thinking, and eventually ways of doing.
What is a Woman?
In the beginning, as a reflection of the Godhead, God designed male and female equal in value to one another. But our roles and responsibilities differ greatly, though some do overlap (Gen. 2:18-5, 1 Cor. 11:2-16, 14:33-35, Eph. 5:22-23, Col. 3:18-19, 1 Tim. 2:8-15, 1 Peter 3:1-7).
When He created woman, her specific design was of that of a helper and a life-giver. We image God in a beautiful way! The same Hebrew word used for helper–ezer, is used throughout the Old Testament to show and define God’s helping role toward us.
…defends (Ex. 18:4),
…sees and cares for the oppressed (Psalm 10:14),
…supports (Psalm 20:4),
…shields and protects (Psalm 33:20),
…delivers from distress (Psalm 70:5),
…rescues the poor, weak, and needy (Psalm 72:12-14),
…comforts (Psalm 86:17)
“God being called helper throughout the Scriptures brings honor to the position of helper.”
At the fall, women became life-takers. The default of our depraved state will involve a desire to rule over our husbands, and I believe men in general (Genesis 3:16). Apart from God, our hearts will be set on death. Our speech, our body language, our sexual choices, our financial choices will all reflect this reality.
We see it clearly in our culture, don’t we?
But there’s hope! After God gave the promise of the gospel (Gen. 3:15c), He also gave Adam the opportunity to step back into his God-given role as a head and leader, to re-name his wife (Gen. 3:20).
Life-Giver and Nurturer
He gave her a new name, Eve, which means life-giver. What Satan intended to steal and destroy, God redeemed. Woman was given an opportunity to step back into her God-given role, too.
The naming of Eve is a hopeful, redemptive picture for us. When Eve sinned, she didn’t lose her God-given design or ability to bear children. God designed woman, from the beginning, with a womb. This is a distinct difference from man’s design.
Have you ever noticed that the first children weren’t born until after the fall?
This reality is stunning. The enemy of our souls has always been bent on stealing, killing, and destroying, but nothing could thwart God’s plan for woman to be a giver of life.
But, not only was Eve’s life-giving design not destroyed by the enemy, God spoke “life” over her, after she sinned and created life in her body.
Isn’t it amazing that God not only named her life-giver but in His original design, he made even her body to be the one to foster and nurture and to give life? Women have wombs, but men do not. It’s not that men can’t be life-givers also, but a woman’s distinct role is that of life-giver.
We nurture life, physical and spiritual. It’s not a promise that every woman will bear biological children, but it is clear in Scripture that women can have spiritual children, regardless of their marital status or fertility (Psalm 113:9, Matt. 12:49-50, John 19:26-27, Romans 16:13).
You and I will either give life or take life. As redeemed women, we should seek to be life-givers in every relationship. We won’t do it perfectly!
It Starts with Our Heart & Mind
So, back to my original question, “What does it look like to be a life-giving woman?” Well, it must start with us giving thought to it.
Not knee-jerk reactions.
Not feelings-based decisions.
But prayerful, careful taking captive the thoughts that flow through our mind. As we encounter daily circumstances, trials, and relationships, we have many opportunities to give consideration to our role.
So, when my husband leaves laundry on the floor, rather than rolling my eyes, sighing, or complaining about it, I can simply pick it up and put it in the hamper, while taking my complaint to the Lord. In that moment of transaction, as I’m transparent with my Lord and my source of life, He enables me to give life through both my attitude and actions.
When my preschooler melts down and cannot get a grip on her emotions, I can cry out to the Lord in that moment of utter helplessness and feelings of desperation, and receive from Him what I need to relate to her.
He has given us daily opportunities to step into our life-giving role. But the only way we’ll be life-givers rather than life-takers is if we lay down our life in Jesus, giving our life to Him so that His life is in us.
Grow Into Our Role
That laying down of our life part? Well, it’s a daily process! Growing in awareness as to our tendencies or patterns of relating will prove helpful in our endeavor. When we step back and see potentially harmful or unhelpful ways of relating, we can lay that down and take up Christ, growing into our role as a life-giver.
Sister, you and I can be life-givers, because the Giver of life lives in us. As we daily seek Him, our life-taking tendencies will be replaced by His life-giving ways. There is abundant mercy to cover and forgive any previous life-taking tendencies when we humbly come to Him. And He generously extends resurrection-power to enable us to walk forward in life-giving ways.
 J. Ligon Duncan & Susan Hunt, Women’s Ministry in the Local Church, p. 34