For the month of January we Heart Matters gals are going to be writing about brave women... women who had courage, women who faced into whatever life offered them. Women like you and me. Women from the Bible.
We pray that their lives will be a blessing to you...
She packed up her potential and all she had learned, grabbed a cute pair of shoes and headed out to change a few things — Leigh Stanley
Have you ever been so desperate that you were willing to risk everything, even your reputation, to find healing for all your broken bits? To finally find the wholeness you've been longing for?
Most of us are timid to share the truth about ourselves. Our secret struggles. The ugly stuff lurking just under the surface.
I think that's why I love the story in Mark 5:24-34 so much. The character in this story is known only by her condition. She's called the bleeding woman. She's given no name. No other details. Just her ailment.
Can you imagine being labeled by your ailment? "Oh, there goes worry wort… there goes the gossip." Or perhaps you've been struggling with a health issue, or a mental health issue, or an addiction…to prescription drugs, alcohol, overspending or overeating. Imagine being known only by what you are struggling with.
In that woman's day, a bleeding disorder would have been cause enough to be ostracized, perhaps even banished from family, friend, social or even religious gatherings.
In her despair and loneliness, the bleeding woman would throw a shawl over her head and secretly make her way through town to see various doctors. Always looking down so no one would recognize her. Unfortunately, her bleeding problem was never resolved, and she remained to all those of her acquaintance unclean.
Then she heard that Jesus was coming to town. It took a sheer act of bravery for her to walk out her front door and wade into the crowd to get close enough to him to touch his robe.
The woman heard about Jesus, so she followed him with the other people and touched his robe. She thought, "If I can just touch his clothes, that will be enough to heal me."
As soon as she touched his coat, her bleeding stopped. She felt that her body was healed from all the suffering.
Her solution worked but it brought more than she bargained for. For Jesus knew immediately that someone had touched him, he therefore stopped in his tracks and adamantly insisted to know who that person was. In a crowd that size, how mortified the bleeding woman must have been. She could not retain secrecy any longer. She had been exposed.
The woman knew that she was healed, so she came and bowed at Jesus' feet. She was shaking with fear. She told Jesus the whole story. He said to her, "Take heart, dear woman, you are made well because you believed. Go in peace. And be freed from your suffering."
Jesus wasn't ashamed to be identified with her uncleanness. He hadn't called her out to embarrass her. He wanted to applaud her bravery. To praise her amazing faith. To commend the courage that she had to step out her front door, walk into that crowd and seek him out.
Courage is found in unlikely places. ―
It may take a sheer act of bravery for us to come clean to Jesus, to ourselves, or to someone trustworthy, about the things that we are struggling with. It may take some boldness on our part to make that appointment. To go back on our meds. To face into the things we are too ashamed to admit.
But, if we're ever going to find healing, we will have to muster courage enough to trust God to lead us to the right place where we can unburden ourselves and take that step toward wholeness. It's risky business to expose our inner self, to lay bare our scars, our issues and our sin to another. But, just as Jesus cheered that woman on for her bravery to seek his help, so he is cheering you on as well.
Be strong and brave. Do not be afraid. The Lord your God is the one who is going with you. He will not fail you or abandon you! — Deuteronomy 31:6
I don't know exactly what's next, but I'm stepping forward with grit anchored in grace. — Julia Graham