First introduced in Genesis 2:22, we find that "ishshah" is the Hebrew word אִשָּׁה for a woman; and yet just three short verses later, it's the same word used for a wife! So we can reconcile that an ishshah is a woman personally chosen and designed by God to live out her capacity as a wife in the earth. And God's own wording confirms this! For Proverbs 18:22 says: "he who finds a wife (not just a woman), finds a good thing."
Everything I do is done from the perspective of being an ishshah: a helper, support.
Many years ago, while still serving as an elder in my home church, the overseer of the congregation planned a retreat for its presbyter. However, we were given a preparatory assignment: "Come prepared to tell me who you are." We were given the assignment to identify who we were in the kingdom, and subsequently, how we believed we fit in and were to operate within that local church.
As I share in my first book, Ishshahs Basic Cornerstones for Marriage, this was not an easy task for me. The truncated truth is that all I knew was that I was good at being a wife. Thinking surely this wasn't going to be enough, I polled my family and friends. I was one who looked for and valued others' opinions because I always thought others were just so much better and smarter than I was. So, why not get their help now too? And boy did I want help. Yet I wasn't looking for them to give me a title or an office they thought I should fulfill, per se; I just wanted to know how they saw me. Some shared that they noticed how I operated under this anointing or how that gift flowed freely through me. Their words were kind and true, but I still knew something was missing. I needed more.
I'd never been asked that question before or if I had, it had (for some reason) never been more vital to me than it was at that season. I prayed, I examined myself, and I prayed some more. Tense, nervous, and insecure I became very afraid of going to the retreat. I was afraid that who I was wasn't enough compared to those I'd considered so mighty and Godly around me. So, I had one more conversation with the Lord:
"Father, I don't know how to respond to this assignment. I'm just a wife. I'm just a wife, God. How do I articulate that? How can I walk bravely and securely in that? How can that be used in church? I mean,* I know You've called me to several other offices as well (the prophetic, the apostolic, and as a teacher) but they don't see that. And if they have, no one has ever spoken that to me. Is that what I need to say? Do I need to identify my gift out loud? Or should I not even be concerned about that right now?"
I just kept praying and continued waiting and seeking Him. And do you know what the inner witness became EVERY time I sought the Lord? WIFE. The word "wife" warmed my heart when I prayed. The word "wife" appeared in my thoughts. Biblical stories of wives would flood my soul, prompting me to read about them and be propelled and regaled by their truths. His communications to me all seemed to center around one them: WIFE.
"Okay, Lord. I've got it. Thank You."
Finally, the day came. And contrary to my agony and my belief, the assignment that I'd dreaded so much really helped me. It gave me the identity and truth that I desperately needed, and didn't even know that I'd needed. So at the retreat, I was effectively able to communicate that truth: that I'm a wife.
That I'm here on the earth to help others meet their goals.
That essentially whatever God has joined me to (my husband, family, church, work) I'm a wife to that entity.
I'm here to carry its concerns in prayer.
I'm here to bring support, peace, creativity, wisdom, holiness, help to it.
I'm a multifaceted and valuable resource.
I'm here to help that body "be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:17).
Through that frustrating and panicked time, I learned the value of letting God teach me who I am in His eyes. I learned that one of satan's biggest attacks is against my identity and value; an attack he's all too happy to repeat with rapid-fire and constant bombardment. Whether it was through uncertainty, jealousy, or simply being unaware, I learned that when we're not settled and sure in our identities, and when we don't cultivate and aren't confident in our own strengths, this is what makes and keeps us weak emotionally, mentally, and Spiritually. And as a result, whether male or female, we'll forever fall victim and short of our Blood-bought glory every time.
So know who you are. Know that there's value in your gifts and strengths, even if you don't see it. Know that the Lord has purposes and plans for what it is that you do well. So that when people want you to be something you're not or hide who you are - even close family and friends (1 Kings 14, Genesis 20:2, Acts 5, Genesis 26:7, Esther), you'll have the wherewithal to stand.
The Lord knows how much pressure is required to remove the dark residue of life, or the protective coverings of your soul in order to release your indescribable shine.