An Essential Counterpart

When I look back on the last twenty years of my life, I see a lot of trying to figure out who I am and what I should be doing – a lot of hard work and accomplishment, yet frustration in not finding the lasting fulfillment I longed for. These years were filled with great opportunities – my dream of playing college basketball becoming a reality, the privilege to teach and coach, the huge blessing of working with female college athletes and coaches through the ministry of FCA, and the opportunity to be a stay-at-home Mom. In hindsight, in each of these endeavors, I was looking to my role as my identity.  It was as if I was only looking at the surface – what I could do and produce and not at the deep reality of who God had made and equipped me to be. When each of these previous roles came to an end- “basketball player”, “teacher/coach”, and “FCA staff member”- I found myself frustrated, discouraged, really seeking purpose and significance and questioning who I was.

I am so grateful for the clarity I’m continually gaining regarding my identity – something that never changes no matter what season of life or circumstance I find myself in. The more I bring application to the reality that I’m created as an ezer kenegdo (an essential counterpart), an indispensable companion, a corresponding strength, the more I’m finding freedom and contentment in what God says is true about me – how He’s created me and the capacities He’s given. He is giving me more understanding about how these capacities, inviting, nurturing and partnering, can be played out in whatever situation I find myself in or opportunity that is presented.

“I’m learning there is such beauty, such power and contentment, in embracing and unleashing the capacities we each have been given right where we are.”

Over the last few months I’ve had the opportunity to partner with my husband by being the office admin for his plumbing company. I’m now doing things I never envisioned myself doing or even wanted to do. I honestly did it begrudgingly for a while. Answering service phone calls, scheduling appointments, invoicing customers and running payroll, none of which did I have ambition to do, until God began to allow me to see the power in partnering and the freedom that comes with not looking to the role of admin as my identity, but to the reality of being an ezer kenegdo that has the privilege of partnering with my husband during this season. This is a completely different lens to look through, which has given me a completely different perspective. My husband has been encouraged and strengthened. He senses a genuine desire from me to use my gifts and abilities to help him move towards his goals and advance the mission of his company. He sees me owning his cause.

I’m learning there is such beauty, such power and contentment, in embracing and unleashing the capacities we each have been given right where we are.  Partnering, the intentional proactive utilization of God-given gifts to bring strength and further a mutual cause, is what the Spirit is specifically teaching me about in this season. Whether it’s parenting two young daughters, walking with high school girls through the process of discipleship, or coming alongside my husband in a business venture, partnering really is active and intentional. You really do have to lay yourself down for the sake of another.

There’s great benefit to taking a step back and assessing your past. I look back and see a pattern of finding identity in good things that were never intended to carry that weight. I’m grateful for the Spirit exposing these, bringing conviction and providing resources though our Ezer ministry with Biblical truths that have brought significant movement to my life in the right direction.

Are you finding yourself dissatisfied in your season of life? Do you struggle with meaning and purpose in what you do on a daily basis? Are there any “roles” in your life that you are seeking identity from? What do you need to do in order to move toward embracing the reality of being an ezer in your season of life and the capacities God’s given you?

-Heather O’Shields, Powdersville