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Woman in God’s Creation Totally Not an After thought

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
When God made man He did so in community. It wasn’t a him who made man, it was an US that made man. It should not come by suprise then that when God made man a him was not in mind, but always a “them”. When God made man there was always a male and a female in mind. Females were not an after thought, rather they were always a part of God’s plan. God made man in His own image, after His likeness. So if God was a “US”, then mankind had to also be a “them” - always plural and never singluar. Always community and never isolation. For God, the Son and the Spirit and the Fater, to look into the mirror and only see a singular or isolated man by himself would distort the image of God. So hopefully its clear that females and males were in mind when God made man.
He refers to “them”, male and female, when He says “let them have dominion over the fish” or “…male and female He created them” or “God blessed them” or “…God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it...” or “Behold, I have given you (plural) every plant…for food”. God prepared a world for “them” In fact, this was observation that God made after making Adam: “It is not good for man to be alone”. Adam was on the earth as a single, but in the mind of God "man” always existed as we and as such there was a deviation. So to fix things He took the rib from Adam’s side and fashioned a woman. The woman was never an after-thought. She was always in the mind of God and now that she was with the man, when God looks into the mirror, His reflection is no longer distorted. The two were one () God’s perfect likeness, His perfect image was restored.
“Let US make man in our image, after our likeness”
So here it is: male and female were both made in the image and likeness of God. Both were to have dominion over living things. Both were blessed. This world was prepared for both of them. You need male and female to see the image of God accurately. You need female and male to see God’s likeness holistically. Seeing male apart from woman is like observing light without darkness, like heat without cold; how does one exist without the other? How does chaos exist without serene? How does the female exist without male and how does the male exist without female. I love the way Paul states that in the Lord the woman is not independent of the man and man is not of woman. We need both and they need each other. Both need God. Which brings me to a key point—why does Adam need Eve? What role does she play?
Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God.
Husbands who is your wife to you? What is her purpose, her aim? We know her role and identify is priceless and irreplaceable. We cannot remove her from creation, from life. She must be there, she must be in the picture. Not as an assistant, not as a maid, not as a convenient sexual partner. She is more significant than what she does or what she looks like—she is the Oxygen that if removed from Hydrogen all the water on earth would cease to exist. How do we as men treat someone that plays such an important of a role?
Let me introduce you to: Ezer Knegdo. Adam called her Woman. Her other name was Eve. My Ezer Knegdo’s name is Uwem. Point being: her place in my life is for life and is irreplaceable.

The Meaning of Ezer Knegdo

I will just come right out and say it: Ezer means to help with a meaning of deliverance or rescuing. This implies that she has the ability help and to deliver, to rescue. She is not an African American maid as in “The Help”. She is not weak and fragile. “Help” as recorded in , is written in the Hebrew implying that the one bringing the help has the capability to come to someone’s aid. Judah needed God to fight for him and help him against his enemies. God is certainly not weak. God certain has the capabilities it takes to deliver. So applying a “weak” or subservient meaning or sense to the word “helper” is completely inaccurate. No, husbands, our Ezer’s are mighty and able to give aid. Furthermore, we are the ones that need the help, the deliverance, the rescue, the strength they can supply. Does she necessarily have your physical strength or speed? Maybe not, but is that the only type of strength that matters?
And this he said of Judah: “Hear, O Lord, the voice of Judah, and bring him in to his people. With your hands contend for him, and be a help against his adversaries.”
Knegdo is a combination of three words which gives a picture of the woman standing opposite to the man, face to face, with the idea that she is comparable to him—similar to him. Face to face, not below, not above, not behind—face to face. She is not in competition with him, she is an Ezer, there to help him. Our world and culture can teach and does teach differently. But there was never a “lesser than” idea in the mind of God when he made woman. Husbands it’s important to see her not as opposition or a threat, or as lesser than or weaker than. She is similar to you and there to help you. Her wisdom, strength, beauty, nurturing, relational abilities are meant to help you.

Perspective of Women in My Early Days

So now that we’ve got the theory understood, let’s talk about real life. I did not grow up with this understanding. My role models did not have this paradigm. My childhood friends did not see females this way. From 4th grade until my 30’s, my perspective of women was painfully disjointed from God’s idea of Ezer Knegdo. This is difficult to write, but I think I need to be honest and transparent. My early childhood friends were all girls. I played house. I played with dolls. I even played with Barbie dolls. I got along better with girls than I did with boys. In my early days, however, it was an insult to do girl things. It was an insult to be slower than a girl, get beat at a sport by a girl, and it was socially unacceptable to wear girl colors. Though many of my friends were girls, some of my best friends were girls, as I grew up, this became less and less acceptable. Naturally too, girls were less friends and my world was opened up to the idea of romantic relationships with them. So in my head a shift took place from buddy to potential girlfriend. Early on this was not sexually motivated. I was a romantic as a child always hoping to one day find the “one” that I would fall in love with and be with forever. Some of my favorite movies as a child were Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, Pretty Woman, and My Girl because I loved when the man and the woman, the boy and girl, would finally fall in love. I wanted to be in the movie, I wanted this to be me one day. Early on I never knew what sex was. I didn’t even think about it. All I thought about one day holding a girls hand or the day I would have my first kiss.
I don’t remember the first time I saw a naked woman, but I believe it was in 4th grade when my best friend at the time showed me his secrete stash of Playboys hidden in the woods by his house. I remember seeing the centerfold, my first look at a naked woman, and being in shock about what I was seeing. My first instinct was-gross. But I could tell a difference in the way I felt as I saw this image. Part of me liked it. I was 10 years old. This was my introduction to the sexual nature of a woman—seeing a Playboy centerfold. Now my curiosity was peaked. I don’t know if it was the fact that my friend hidden the magazine in the woods, but something told me things was a forbidden taboo thing to do and this made it that much more exciting. I remember the day he showed me the magazine, that same day, maybe it was guilt he was feeling, but we ended up burning the magazine. All I kept thinking was he had this magazine all along and I only got to see it one time. I wasn’t happy, but I compiled. I never thought to think: I wonder where he got this magazine from, after all his dad was pastor of a Lutheran church and his house was connected to the church. My best friend introduced me to a feeling that would plague the next 24 years of my life in addiction, self-hated, and even thoughts of suicide and I had no idea. It’s scary to think how one decision can change the course of your life, but it really can.
Next I was paying attention to underwear ads in the local newspapers. Eventually, I would find a stash of lingerie magazines. Then I would find a find someone who could finally, after years, get me back in touch with not just Playboys magazines, but also Hustler and the like. Eventually I would find live pornography and my sexual release would seal this new destructive habit. My paradigm of the female drastically had changed from pure romance to sexual intrigue to a tool to help me act out on my sexual desires. She went from being my best friend to being a tool to help me have a sexual high experience. If it were not for the threatening bark of religion saying if I have sex outside of marriage I will go to hell, I would have been promiscuous as well.
Within the context of this sexual disfigurement of women, I was exposed to men who would treat their wives like less than human. I would witness physical abuse of women, emotional abuse of women. The attempts at restoring the romantic part of me, that was still left, would be crushed by teasing remarks about how ridiculous it was to cook for a woman. Men in my life would show their disgust for their wives food, by getting up from the table, walking to the trash, and throwing their food away. I would see women in my life knocked to the floor for burning food as they were preparing dinner.
I would grow up watching movies where women were objectified and sexual conquest. Same sex attraction between two women was consider beyond sexy. Movies like American Pie, TV shows like Baywatch, Victoria Secret commercials were my favorites. I had become a young man that objectified women. I had witnessed violent treatment of women. I had been warned and prodded by other males to never display anything remotely feminine. The only hope I had was that I didn’t want to be like the men that I witnessed abused women, even though I was willing to still objectify them. Just with this experience females went from “face to face” to a tool I picked up from the shelf when I need them. In fact, in our country and in countries around the world women are still considered property. Through my sex addiction, I developed the same perspective. There was also still a little glimmer of romance left in me. I still wanted to fall in love. I still wanted to find the “one” amidst a perverted perspective of women. In fact, in my so called pursuit for the “one”, I went from girl friend to girlfriend. I would even start dating someone else before I dumped the girl I was currently dating. There was always someone prettier, someone more interesting, or someone that responded to my supply of attention. See I was always out looking for a “feeling”. I think back on my past now: It wasn’t the girl I wanted, but the “feeling” of connecting, flirty. The excitement of a new relationship. That feeling of infatuation was addicting. I would say it became an addiction. While in middle school, when I would go to the mall, I would look at girl after girl comparing, contrasting, admiring (not in a good sense). I remember the sister of my middle school friend, at the time, saying I was disgusting as I couldn’t stop “checking out” any girl that walk passed me in the mall. Looking for the next relationship, looking for the next experience to feel that falling in “love” feeling. Who would be the one that would catch my eye? Who would be the one whom I would walk up to and flirt with? Which one would give me their number?
So now, I have gone from girl as best friend to girl as a tool to girl as a dispensable means of feeling a certain way or a girl that would let me go a certain “distance” with her. I still remember having a choice to either date a girl at my local church or a girl at school who never went to church. I remember choosing the girl who didn’t go to church thinking I would be able to go further with her. I was not a good young man. God was far from my heart. Women were beyond disfigured in my mind. Writing this is beyond difficult because it is not easy facing the actions and motivations, especially, that drove those actions. I was the young man the all fathers should have hid their daughters from. My heart was not good. I think of all the hearts I damaged because my heart was damaged.

Meeting My High school Sweetheart

So with this background I met the love of my life in junior year of high school. Prior to this time, the guilt of looking at porn had led me to throw away every magazine I had. See it was a God event. My father had to be rushed to the emergency room one night. I thought he was having a heart attack at the time. I immediately began thinking how this was my fault. How my addiction to sexual gratification was being punished and my father was paying for my sin. I got rid of everything as this never would had happened if I didn’t have the porn magazines in the house. So I immediately through them away and I was determined to never look at them again. I wish this were enough. But sexual gratification was still in my heart and would be in my life for still some time to come. Though I had found my true love, my heart was still sexually perverted and my perspective of women was still disfigured. See even though I had stopped looking at the magazines, I still had the images locked away. If I didn’t have the images from the magazines, I had the image of a past girlfriends. Now I had not been sexually active with them, but often daydream about being so. I was not a good man. But despite my heart God allowed my dream to come true, my girlfriend (the author of this book) and I fell in love and dated through high school and I had made up my mind that I would marry her one day. We clicked instantly. She got me and I got her. I, for the first time, sincerely cared for a young woman. We went to different high schools and we met at an indoor track meet. I was totally intimidated by how beautiful she was. I thought constantly how I was out of her league. I really didn’t know why she was interested in me, but I gladly received her affection and loved her attention. One day, I was over her house, and she was in the kitchen making tacos. I stood from the entrance of the kitchen just looking at her with her back to me and it clicked—she is the one. I would have dreams about her being my wife while visiting my parents. Kissing her took my breath away and time would just stop. Holding her hand was the best experience in the world. I never wanted to leave her side but we could only see each other on the weekends. She lived in the city and I in the suburbs. It was almost perfect. But inside me, in my heart, over time, I felt something brewing.

The Past Catches Up to You

You see the past catches up with you eventually. There was an anger, a frustration brewing inside. At the time I wasn’t sure where it was coming from and would often shove it down and push it away because I didn’t want to ruin how it felt when we were together. But it came out over the years. I was not just intimidated by her beauty, I was intimidated by her intellect, her confidence, her friends, even the fact that she knew my friends before they were my friends. As I learned more about her, I saw more flaws in myself and I did not like that feeling at all. She had a bright future and I didn’t even know if I could get into college. My insecurities were screaming so loud that they sounded like yelling coming from my mouth or silent treatments I would make Uwem experience. See the violence you see early on in life has an impact on your life. I was an angry and insecure teenager who constantly needed gratification to calm the storm inside. This anger, insecurity, and people pleasing would become the fuel that would feed the arguments my wife and I would have later on in marriage. To add on to the complexity, the closer we got while dating the more sexually intrigued we became, but both of us were determined to wait until marriage. However, eventually, not even not even religion could keep us from a sexual interaction (a topic for another book). The problem was, once I experienced sex, when it was not available (exactly: when it, not she, but it) I became upset, controlling, and almost panicked. See I had become well acquainted, prior to meeting her, with gratification on demand and having another individual that was independent from me, controlling it, as I saw it: when and how often, it, became problematic. I tried to play it off, but I felt it inside. I felt the lack of control. Looking on it now, it scares me.
All these years the female value was degraded and now it was affecting the relationship I had waited so long for. This beast in me wanted to be fed. When she was not interested, I would find other methods of gratifying myself even without porn, which achingly was a sign that the act did not involve a desire for her, but a desire for the way it felt. Two beast roared in me: insecurity and anger and the only way to put it out was sexual gratification. The only time I think there was an true desire for intimacy was the first time we had sex. Afterwards, I enjoyed it, but my heart was not right. If they day sucked, at least I had sexual gratification to look forward to at the end of the day. If I felt like a loser, at least in my daydreams and the world I created during those moments was an escape from that reality.
Insecurity, feeling like I was worthless, drove so many fights with my wife. I thought she was competing with me. I thought she was using sex and controlling me with it. I was angry thinking she controlled when we had it and when we didn’t. I felt powerless. I thought she thought she was better than I was, she was always right and I was always wrong. I thought she didn’t respect me (she really had no reason to and by the way when you want respect like that it’s a warning sign). I was determined, every fight we had, to prove that I was right this time and she was wrong. I compared her to other women who were less head-strong, women who were skinnier, and women who had longer hair. I wanted her to act like my mother and take care of me the way my mother took care of my father. I wanted to be king of my house and I wanted her to submit and give me what I wanted.

Ezer Knegdo in a Sinful World

The very thing that was meant to help man, man considered a threat and keeps trying to destroy —this is the power of sin in our world. Let’s look how quickly this happened. As soon as sin entered the world it became to impact the male female .
But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.”

How I Misused the Scriptures

I loved the scriptures that told her to submit, especially the ones that told her to “give it up” as her body was not her own, but it was mine. I loved the “man is the head of woman” scriptures because they put my wife in her place. I wondered why doesn’t she “call me lord” like Sarah did i.e., why doesn’t she look up to me the way other wives look up to their husbands (I never wanted her to call me lord, that’s just too weird). I wanted her in the kitchen, cleaning the house, always looking good and attractive, and available every time I wanted to have sex. I wanted to come home from work, kick up my feet, and be catered to. I wanted her to cater to my insecurities. I skewed the meaning of the scripture: woman was created FOR man. I was a masaegonist. I didn’t think I was better than her, but I wanted her to show she thought I was. My expectations were so unrealistic: Follow my lead. Tell me I’m a good decision maker (even when I really am not a good one). Tell me I am a great husband. Don’t embarrass me when I am among men at church. Never bring me dishonor by fighting with me in public. And never, make me feel like I am “less than” in the presence of others. Don’t show any sign of public affection, especially in the sight of my parents. Honestly, as I write this, I cannot figure out why my wife did not divorce me a long time ago. I squashed her personality. I was annoyed by the aspects of her identity that make her so unique and wonderful. I silenced her voice in our marriage just like the examples I had seen when I was growing up. Well, even though I twisted the scriptures, Jesus came to untwist them. He came to give women a voice. He came to free them from oppression. He came to show them their worth and importance. He came to show that it is through women that a Savior was born. It was through women that Jesus’ resurrection was reported. It was women who valued Him. Women who didn’t abandon Him at the cross. It was God who showed the world that He could use a woman named Rahab to deliver her family, Esther to save a nation, Deborah to deliever Israel from the hands of their enemies. God showed Moses that women could own land, own property. Abagail was able to save her husband through her quick actions. Rebeckah was able to bring comfort to a mourning Iaasc. God showed Leah that even if her husband didn’t love her the Lord did. God showed that even if men would consider you an outcast just one touch of my rob, not only would He heal her, but He would acknowledge her. He didn’t let discrimination play out against the woman caught in adultery. Nor did He let his disciples prevent Him from speaking to a woman. God loves women. They display His image in a way man cannot and I was wrong to treat my wife the way I did—I was dead wrong.

I understand and I’m Sorry

So husbands I get the struggle who may have. I have had the thoughts you may have experienced. I have had the insecurities. The anger. The desire for respect and admiration from my wife. And I also realize how unlike Jesus I was at the same time. And wives, if this resembles remotely your experience in dating relationship or marriage, I am so sorry you had to experience that treatment. I will forever be sorry my wife did. I am sorry you have had to deal with men objectifying you, treating you like you are lesser, making it seem like it’s the WORST thing in the world to be a woman. I am sorry that men’s insecurities became a reason for you to perhaps question your worth or value. I’m sorry that we didn’t show you how glad we are that you speak your mind. I’m sorry we didn’t ask what was on your mind. I’m sorry you became to us just a means of gratification, a meal service provider, a maid, a photocopy of the mother of our childhood. I’m sorry we didn’t say “I’m so thankful for you”, “how can I bless you”, and “what can I do for you”. I’m sorry we didn’t pass on a promotion to spend more time with you, you didn’t capture our attention when we were with you or away from you. I sorry we didn’t rub your feet or rub your back, we didn’t open car doors for you, give you our coat when it rained, walked you to your car. I’m especially sorry we didn’t preserve your purity. I’m sorry we didn’t see God when we saw you because you carry a unique ability to display Him in way we cannot. I’m sorry we made you a threat instead of a blessing. I’m sorry we didn’t take the time to figure out how you like to be loved. Or take time to initate going to a marriage consoler. I’m sorry we didn’t think enough of you to make a change in our life. I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you. I’m sorry I compared you to others. I’m sorry I didn’t make you feel beautiful. I’m sorry for hurting you in the most vulnerable way. I’m sorry for using the scriptures to manipulate you. I’m sorry the church uses those scriptures to oppress you. I ask for your forgiveness.

BUT God…

But the past does not forever define us. Wounds heal. Yes the scars are still there, but there are more of a testimony to what God can do with two broken people. God did not leave me the condition in was in, with the paradigm I had. He didn’t leave me with a screwed up perspective of women. He did not allow me to continue to find ways of escaping the pain, anger, and insecurity that lied inside of me. He went after my heart, He went after Uwem’s heart. See I had reinforced the lies her feminine heart believed because of men like me. God had to heal and still is healing her heart. God, He used my Ezer who was face to face with me on the day I confessed to her my sin to break the captivity addiction had placed over me. He used my Ezer to bring me to marriage counseling when I would eventually confess my sexual addiction to our consoler. He used my Ezer on the day we saw each other at the indoor track meet and intersected our paths. What He knew that I didn’t know that this glance would bring grace, He would use her to rage war on the beast inside my heart. She became to me a painful mirror. He showed me the pain I had and would cause her as the reality of my sin set in. He would use my Ezer to ask tough questions and to say tough things for me to hear. I thought God was giving me my dream girl, and although He did, He had so much more in mind. We run from pain, we run from hard conversations, but it’s through those hard moments God does His most powerful work. Just ask Jesus. Just ask Joseph. Just ask us. Jesus had to let Lazarus die and stay in the grave 4 days to show Mary and Martha that there was no limitations to circumstances He could change. He had to let our marriage break, let me be knee deep in addiction to show us that He was not only the resurrection for men like Lazarus, but for dead marriages like ours, like marred hearts like mine. Jesus didn’t resurrect everyone’s dead loved one, but Lazarus was special, he began to have impact on the faith of others. Others began to believe that maybe Jesus really was the promised Messiah. Our marriage was resurrected, I believe, to give you courage to believe that yours is not beyond the resurrection. Men your heart is not beyond His resurrection. Wives your heart is not beyond His resurrection. If you don’t give up, neither will He. After all, God took a heart who used women and transformed it into a heart that believes that life without my wife would be like world without oxygen. I now see better that she is not hear to fight me, but she came in my life to rescue me from something I didn’t have the strength to do alone. Praise God for my Ezer Knegdo. Praise God for yours. Amen.
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