In the book of Matthew we get a whopping two lines about a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years and she basically sneaks up behind Jesus to touch His cloak, saying to herself that she knew she would be healed if she could just touch that darn cloak!
20 Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. 21 She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Matthew 9:20-21
If you do your homework, you will find that this was a HUGE no-no in this day and time. Leviticus Chapter 15 tells us that she was considered to be ceremonially unclean because she had been bleeding. This would be like our kids smelling up the bathroom and then coming to the dinner table without washing their hands – but times 100! It was shocking! It was outrageous! It was despicable!
Not only that, but in Mark 5:26 we find out that she had literally sold all she had to go to physicians to be healed and yet she was still bleeding. And not only did she not get better, she actually grew worse. She was DESPERATE, y’all. Desperate. For. Healing.
I’ve been there. I’ve been to see this doctor and that doctor and rearranged some savings to try this therapy or that therapy. I wasn’t a societal outcast like this woman though. I wonder what would be our modern-day equivalent — maybe someone with AIDs or herpes? A cancer patient who tries chemo but only gets worse and starts to lose control of their bodily functions?
If we keep reading in Mark 5:26, we see that she even came up behind Him, like she was scared of Him or ashamed for Him to see her.
Then she does it.
She touches his garment.
Now it’s time to flee!
But instead, at that very instant He knows and she knows that something has changed. Some kind of exchange has happened.
Can you imagine? Think of your absolute worst day. You don’t want anyone to see you, but you’re desperate for healing. You hear that Jesus is coming and you think to yourself “this is my chance, if only I can TOUCH HIS CLOTHES I know that He can heal me!” So you sneak up behind him, crouching down because you don’t want anyone to see you. You reach out and you do it. You actually touch his garment! And then you know — you can feel it. YOU ARE HEALED! But then… the unspeakable happens. He knows too. He knows that you touched Him AND He knows that He healed you. Your cover is blown.
Luke 8:45: “WHO TOUCHED ME?,” Jesus asked.
Awwwww man! Seriously?!?! This isn’t a drive-thru healing?
After each of the disciples all say “not it”, and Peter tries to tell Jesus he is nuts because they are in a CROWD and of course people are touching Him…. she does it. She finds the courage to tell Him it was her, and she literally does it in front of God and country.
Is your heart beating fast? Mine is.
Jesus then assures her that it wasn’t even her touch that healed her. There was no magic there. Her faith is what healed her.
And so Jesus says in Luke 8:48 Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
This woman went from unclean and outcast to trembling before Christ to declare her actions in-front of a CROWD of strangers. And then she was healed. And not only that, but He told her to “go in peace.”
What He did for her right then and there, He did for ALL of us when He was on that cross. While we might not experience drastic and immediate healing physically like she did, we most certainly can experience spiritual healing. I do. Every time I call on His name. And on some days, that is my entire prayer. “Jesus.”
If God granted your biggest wish right now, would it change your faith in Him forever or just sustain you temporarily until you had another wish you wanted fulfilled?
I ask this because at the depths of my angst and the heights of my chronic pain, all I wanted was to be healed. I thought if God would just heal me, it would change everything for me.
My faith would be restored.
I could finally make a difference in His kingdom.
People would see me and say “wow, God still performs miracles!”
I could find reasons to smile again.
Nothing would ever hold me back again.
I could fill my schedule back up with pool parties, coffee visits, bible study groups, serving here and there and there and there…. if only He would heal me.
But God didn’t heal me. In fact, I will always have fibromyalgia and arthritis. I will probably always struggle with some form of depression and chronic fatigue syndrome. However the journey, in and of itself, has strengthened my faith in God. I now have some wisdom, some life experience, and some ways to connect to other people. I never would have had these gifts if God would have healed me the first or the seventeenth time I asked.
I used to live landmark to landmark – waiting to see what was on the horizon and telling myself, “once this thing is past me, I’ll be fine.” And, “when I get to that next thing, everything will be GREAT!” And, “when I have a job again, we will be financially secure.” I was scared of the pressure while I was suffering physically. I was terrified of the life change. I felt forgotten, isolated, segregated, removed. The pressure of not knowing when or if I would feel good again was too much. I was scared of being in the dark.
I didn’t know how to rely on God.
And when I lived that way (constantly waiting for the next thing), I was essentially covering my ears and rocking back and forth … and shutting out God. He was trying to whisper to me, and sometimes He would send people to try to speak truth into me. But I couldn’t hear them because I was too busy making my own plans. I didn’t even see them because I was too focused on my anticipation of the next thing on the horizon.
Your life is now, not later.
Dont’ wait for the next thing, because you’re going to miss THIS thing. And believe me when I tell you, there is a lesson to be learned in every situation. There is joy to be found and there is sorrow to shake your soul. Just like the Bible says in the book of Ecclesiastes, there really is a time for everything. Don’t wish away these times like I did. Because gems are only produced under pressure. You are a gem to Him. I am a gem to Him. Don’t believe for a second that your worth is what this world tells you it is. DO believe that you ARE a precious gem of the Lord’s. He formed you. He made you. HE PICKED YOU! You have worth and you have sparkle.
So dont’ be afraid of the dark.
God has the ultimate flashlight. He sees you and He loves you. He has not forgotten you. Don’t give up hope in Him.
Look for His light.
Because that’s where you’re going to sparkle.
My friends know that I am pretty much an open book. There isn’t a whole lot that I am too embrassed to share about myself. I think that comes from years and years and years of medical issues. I have been programmed to give the details. All of the details. So that nothing gets missed. But sometimes I go too far and by the time the information is out of my mouth, it’s too late to take it back!
3 Signs You’re Sharing Too Much Information
1. You don’t want anyone to meet your spouse. Or your brother. Or your boss.
Early in our marriage, I had to learn to do a lot of things on my own due to my husband’s work shifts. I learned to fix things around the house, I learned which line to stand in at the tax office, and I even learned which car repair place was honest (and unfortunately also learned which ones to avoid). We struggled early in our marriage because we didn’t know how to grow together instead of further apart. Since he wasn’t around for me to talk to, I talked to friends. After our son was born I was tired with a capital TEE-EYE-AR-EEE-DEE and he was still only home one night a week. I created a horrible pattern of dissing my husband to my friends and family because deep down I wanted people on “my side.”
Now, I was never actually in a courtroom battle with my husband, nor did anyone stand us face to face and ask to hear my side versus his side – but alas, I felt the need to gather an army of troops. Let me skip ahead and tell you how that worked out for me in the end. It didn’t. It just didn’t work out. I noticed I would get nervous when people I worked with would meet him because I wasn’t sure what they would say – and vice versa, I got nervous when he would meet people I worked with …. are you sensing a pattern here?
RESOLUTION FOR SIGN #1: Just go talk to the person who is driving you nuts. You don’t need an army. Period. If you can’t work it out, then seek wisdom and guidance from one or two people AFTER you have prayed about your sitation.
2. You start a conversation with, “this is probabaly TMI, but ….”
Again, I admit that there are things I have discussed with people that are just awkward and … weird. Like bowel movements for example. ( I know, I’m not heeding my own advice very well!) But I have to tell you, once you find out who your IBS friends are, you know you can share great tips that you just can’t seek out from anyone in your contacts list! But let’s just say you’re walking through the grocery store and you run into a neighbor you haven’t seen in awhile and she says, “HEY! How ARE you?!?!”
Warning: This is not the moment you’ve been waiting for you share the intimate details of the unidentifiable rash on your son’s rear end. It just isn’t. The chances are that this type of in-passing conversation would be grounds for concise yet honest information. If you are really going through some hard stuff – just be honest and say, “You know – I’m not the greatest I’ve ever been but this isn’t the best place for me to go into details. I would love to catch up with you over coffee, though!” If they bite and set up a coffee date, then great — let’s talk about how you’ve diagnosed your son with a disease that will maim him in 3 weeks thanks to Dr. Google. If they don’t bite – don’t be offended. This is probably not the friendship in which you want to share deep details of your life anyway. And that’s OK! Really, it is.
RESOLUTION FOR SIGN #2: When in doubt (or in a public place), keep it simple and always keep it honest. There’s no reason to lie and say “I’m GREAT!” if you really aren’t great. However, going into the details of your Aunt’s mental illness in the office at the elementary school isn’t really a splendid idea either. Keep it simple, honest, and concise.
3. You are more comfortable talking to your friend than you are talking to God.
Can I just out myself here and tell you that I’m guilty? Because I’m guilty. One of my favorite friends to talk to about big issues almost ALWAYS responds with, “have you prayed about this yet, Ann?” Ok kids — take note: THIS IS THE BEST KIND OF FRIEND TO HAVE! She listens, and she always turns me right back to God which is where I should have started in the first place. Talking to God is prayer. Prayer is talking to God. It’s a relationship. When you met (insert name of a great friend here) you didn’t start in with “so I have this weird bump on my arm” – you had to build the relationship first before you could start sharing TMI types of tidbits. It’s the same with God on OUR end – but not on His end. He is already there. He’s warmed up and ready to go. And guess what? Nothing will surprise Him so you can share every TMI thought you’ve ever had with Him.
RESOLUTION FOR SIGN #3: If you don’t have a friend who reminds you to talk to God — starting BEING that friend. Start asking your pals if they have talked to God about the things they are sharing with you. If you set the stage, you’ll start attracting the same types of encouragement from others. And just start talking to God… He is aching to sit and have coffee with you.
5 If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. James 1:5 (The Message)
If you’re a parent, you’ve seen these faces before. They are most likely planted in a “device” as the carpool kids call it — ipad, iphone, tablet, blah blah blah. My son LOVES Minecraft and he builds some pretty amazing things on that game. But there’s a problem with it all. No matter what else is happening, all he sees is that screen. I can holler “dinner is ready!” and get a weak response of “k, just a minute!” I can holler “the cookies are done!” … same response. I could scream “FIRE!” just as a test — but that would just be mean (and sorta funny, I mean … yes, what a terrible thing to do to your child).
It’s annoying isn’t it? To be ignored? It can be downright maddening.
So I wonder how God feels when I make my schedule all nice and neat in my calendar app, make a to-do list on my February pad of paper (OCD jokes are welcome — I agree, it’s funny…. but it IS February so let’s use the correct pad of paper mmmkay?), and then it happens.
A friend texts and asks if we can have coffee so we can talk about real life stuff that’s happening. So I check my calendar.
I experience something or feel something and I immediately have a blog post idea in my head so I jot it down — and forget about it.
My husband walks in the door from work and tries to tell me about his day, and I am completely consumed with trying to knock out every last item on that to-do list (you know, the February one!).
I wonder how many times God has gotten really excited and hollered “FRESH COOKIES!” and I completely ignore Him because I’m so focused on my device/list/agenda.
I wish you could get the full effect of my cursor sitting here blinking at me for the past 4 minutes while I re-read that last sentence over and over and over again. It makes me feel ashamed. I mean, didn’t I just learn this lesson? Haven’t I already gone through this obstacle course and realized that God’s way is always better in the long run? So how did this happen again? How did I get so busy with things that don’t matter in the end?
I don’t know.
But I did.
And He’s been hollering at me but I had my headphones on so I could watch Heartland on Netflix while I sewed.
So now what?
Well, that February pad of paper needs to go because it’s filled with things that *I* want to accomplish and zero things that God wants me to accomplish. And it’s time to get back into prayer and let Him guide me.
In the 4th chapter of Esther, I love this line of scripture, “Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for such a time as this?” Mordecai basically said, “Yo, this is going to be dangerous and isn’t exactly what YOU had planned — but what if this is exactly what GOD had planned for you? What if He made you queen for such a time as this?!?!?!”
So my question for you today is — What has God perfectly positioned you for at this moment in your life, but instead of saying “pray for me, because I’m ALL IN” like Esther did, you’re hollering “k… just a minute!” from your place of comfort?
Chance are you know what “it” is. So on the count of three, let’s crumple up the lists on the February pad of paper.
1, 2, …. NO, you cannot copy it into your phone first! … 3!
I live with chronic pain. While my husband doesn’t physically have chronic pain, he too has to live with it. He lives with mine. Neither of us got manuals on how to live with this incredibly unfortunate disease, and sometimes that shows. We think we are in a good rhythm and then our roller coaster cars drop from the highest peak and take us screaming through tight turns and unexpected plunges.
We just want off the roller coaster. Amen?
From my perspective, here’s where my ticket to ride stems from:
I think I can handle more, so I take on more. And then … I can’t handle it. I panic. Then I get sad. Usually my over-commitment comes in the form of wanting to bring in more money so my husband doesn’t pass out from exhaustion.
I feel like I have already given up so much of what used to make up my “normal” life, that I cling to the last few things I do/have until my knuckles turn white.
My joy can be depleted on day 3 of immense pain – and then I am a grumpasaurus rex to my family, complete with drooling and teeth baring.
And here’s where my husband’s ticket to ride comes into play:
He wants to be helpful but he. is. exhausted. He is working full-time (and then some for extra money), he cooks, he makes lunches, he does laundry, he cleans, he mows, he does repairs on the house, and sometimes he actually gets to go out with a friend for guy time.
He never knows what kind of day I’m having, therefore he never knows what he will be walking in the door to find after work, which is totally not fair and makes him put on a defensive suit somewhere between his truck and the door to the house.
He sees my tennis match of emotions (back and forth, back and forth) and he so badly wants me to just figure out that I’m different now and I have to act in accordance with my limitations.
Hold the phone. I have limitations?
For the love of all things chronic – if you’re reading this and you suffer from chronic pain, YOU HAVE LIMITATIONS! And guess what, if you’re reading this and you don’t suffer from chronic pain, YOU HAVE LIMITATIONS!
Why do I sometimes think I can do it all? And I mean all. It is usually about the time I am half-way through my grocery list in the store when the fatigue slams me, my feet start to spasm, and I have this overwhelming feeling to lay down on the packages of toilet paper on the shelf when I realize — “oh crap, I did it again.”
I want off this ride. I didn’t ask to ride. I want this ticket revoked!
Tough circus peanuts. These are the cards I have been dealt. I, Ann Skaehill, have fibromyalgia and a weak immune system. I think it’s fair to say, this roller coaster is here to stay and it’s time for me to grow up and accept it. I need to appreciate and care for my family FIRST before I fill my schedule with things that make me feel good about myself. I need to be grateful for medications that can help with a few issues and TAKE THEM. (Lord have mercy, medication is a whole blog post in itself!)
I’m getting there, but I’m not there yet. I think if I can embrace this new reality more firmly, then the turns and drops on the roller coaster won’t be so alarming or drastic. For me, or my husband.
Two days ago my 10-year-old son said, “Hey mom? You know how sometimes you just get so mad at me for things I do or should have done? … Well, maybe you can start giving me a sign that I should go in another room. Why don’t you blink four times and I’ll take off running!”
Reality check. When I open my mouth to speak, my son is flinching and expecting the worst. That is a huge problem that I have addressed over the past 2 days with him. Grumpasaurus rex may still appear from time to time, but I’m working towards her extinction. Ain’t nobody got time for the damage a dinosaur makes in the modern age.
Today is a new day, and the Bible tells us in Psalm 30:5 that joy comes in the morning. Embrace your clean slate, and make wise choices today. First on my list? Washing all the sheets in the house and ensuring my family has good food to eat. What should be first on your list today?
This is Keian. He is 15 in this picture. Handsome, isn’t he? He is taking the typical teen selfie — ok who am I kidding, even adults do this now! He is taking the typical selfie pic with his phone in the mirror probably before he heads out the door for school.
Keian’s mom, Marcy was taking her kids to school on October 31st, 2012. She dropped off her two sweet girls and probably gave them all kinds of tender advice for their day. Then it was time to take Keian to the High School.
But they never made it to the High School.
A 21-year-old woman was headed the opposite direction as they were, and it appears from the investigations that she was texting and driving. I do that all the time.
“Yes, on my way.” or …
“UGH – I know! Boys are so crazy!” or …
“K, will email it to you when I get home.” or …
“On my way to the store, need anything?”
I can type pretty fast with my right thumb. I was actually disappointed when we upgraded to iPhones because I was a beast with my old phone. I could feel the buttons with my thumb and could text without even looking… 4 … 555…666…888…33…88 (I love you). I had the keypad memorized. Easy-peasy.
I’m careful to only text when I’m not in a huge pack of cars on the highway, or when I’m at a stoplight — ooops, it’s green!, and I only text in neighborhoods after I’ve made sure no kids are around.
Is this transparency making you cringe? It’s all truth. And I am embarrassed to admit it all, but hey, I’ve never been in a texting related accident so clearly I know how to do it.
That 21-year-old female in New Mexico driving to work or home or to see her mom or wherever she was heading — I bet she had never been in a texting related accident either. But that day, her actions ended up killing Marcy and Keian.
Their family never saw them again.
I wish you could see my cursor blinking right now, and hear my heart pounding, and see the tears pooling in my eyes.
I don’t want to be responsible for a Marcy and a Keian not making it to school, or even worse, not making it to the dinner table to laugh and pray with their family. Their family will never go on another family vacation without feeling the weight of the two people missing from their car. They will never go to another restaurant and ask for a table for 3 without thinking “it used to be a table for 5.” I don’t want to sit in a courtroom and hear how thoughtless and selfish my actions were that ripped a loving and tender mother away from her daughters… and took a dad’s only son from his life … forever.
Not to mention how it would impact my own family. My son would grow up without me and I would be in a cell in some prison looking at his pictures and reading every letter over and over and over again. I wouldn’t be able to teach him how to drive, or be there for his High School prom, or graduation, or college years. I might not be there when he gets married, and would be giddy to see the wedding pictures that come in the mail to my cell…. and I don’t mean phone… wait, would he even want a relationship with me anymore? Would I even get pictures and letters? My husband would struggle with the choice to stay married to me, a killer. We wouldn’t snuggle in bed and laugh at stupid commercials together… I would ruin all of that for my family.
I’ve been texting and driving for at least 7 years if not more. With my son in the car. On highways. In neighborhoods. In parking lots… all because I thought my messages were incredibly important and couldn’t wait.
But the message of taking someone’s life because I needed you to know I will email you when I get home? That’s a message I don’t ever want to send….
Click on that link above to take the pledge with me. Stop texting and driving – TODAY. Write Marcy and Keian on your steering wheel if you need to. Just stop. I’m on my 8th day of no texting and driving — and it isn’t easy to break a 7+ year habit, but taking someone else’s life isn’t something I can live with…. waiting to send that text is TOTALLY something I can live with. Thanks to my friend Beth, who knew Marcy and Keian, my perspective has changed.
Leave a comment if you will take the pledge with me.
Because I’ve taken the pledge before and failed — and I need to know there are others out there who will stand with me and will make the change with me too.
I know I am in the fires of life sometimes, but it’s when I let myself believe that I am actually burning-up that I get into trouble.
In the movies when a shuttle or space capsule reenters the atmosphere I am completely amazed and wide-eyed. It’s burning, but not burning UP. And then it’s just fine when it gets through to the other side. I think sometimes I forget that there’s an “other side” to my life struggles.
Last week I tackled the first of three questions that I would be asking myself continuously if I didn’t have a strong faith foundation. Here are the three questions:
Is God punishing me? (click link to read the answer)
Did God make all this happen in my body?
Why won’t He take it all away?
Did God make all this happen in my body? Is He to blame for all this pain and dysfunction? It would really be great if I had someone to point at and scream at and say, “THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!” But — God is not to blame.
I am going to assume that mostly those with chronic illnesses are reading this post. And I am also going to assume you have exhausted all testing and physicians to find out exactly why you are sick or hurting and what in the world you can do to fix it. It’s amazing how desperate we can get for answers. Been there. Done that.
I want you to think about the body types of your friends — some are beanpole thin and they eat Taco Bell for lunch. Some of your friends are apple shaped and have big middles but tiny legs. Some have tiny waists but have some junk in the trunk. WE. ARE. ALL. DIFFERENT. God made us all different — so you can “blame” Him for that at least if you’re really jonesing to blame someone for something.
Why is this important? It’s important to realize that what might work for patient A, might not work for you. What caused the issues with patient D, might not be what caused your issues. Some people can’t tolerate milk. Some can’t tolerate gluten. Some can’t tolerate their inlaws … oh wait, that’s another topic completely, and some eat Taco Bell every day and have no issues at all. (I deleted my inappropriate commentary about these people)
I am not a conspiracy theorist (except for our cat’s impeccable throw up timing — ALWAYS when I am in a hurry) but I can’t help but wonder what in the world is going on in our environment, in our food, in our water, and in technology that is creating more and more medical issues that we just can’t define/see. Sure there has always been illness, look how many people Jesus healed, but SOMETHING is causing more and more cancer, and autism, and ADHD, chronic pain, and whatever else…. something.
God’s reign over us is not like an ant bully with a magnifying glass who squashes us with His thumb for fun. God’s reign is actually WITH us, around us, in us, through us … it’s like a big fluffy robe and hot tea … it’s comfy and something you long for (unless it’s 100 degrees in Texas, but you know what I mean.) Why in the world would He cause harm to the ones whom He created and loves to the nth degree? If our goal is to be like Jesus, why would He thwart those efforts by making us sick, especially our children!?!? God does not – does not – does not go down the list and say, “I think I’ll give Billy cancer today — hey Peter, watch this!”
God is for you. God is with you. God is on your side.
If you let Him in, He will THRIVE in you.
He will work through you
And you can feel His peaceful presence!
So why won’t He take it all the pain away? Stay tuned.