What was her name?
For her to touch anyone was prohibited. She was considered unclean in her culture because of her sickness. She had used all her money visiting healers who offered no cure for the condition that consumed her for twelve years. Even still, she possessed a tenacious faith.
For she said within herself, if I may but touch His garment, I shall be whole.
Matthew 9:21 Webster’s Bible Translation
The garment she wanted to touch belonged to Jesus Christ. Jewish men of His day wore cloaks with a required blue-tassel hem to remind them of the Torah (the law of God) and that they were God’s people. As an animated throng swarmed around the Savior, this woman pushed past her fears and cultural laws and grasped the hem of the healer.
And healed she was.
I see echoes of myself in this woman (how I wish we knew her name). My journey, strewn with one painful, draining condition to the next. And not all physical. There is a slew of emotional afflictions painted on my life’s canvas.
This painting of pain began early. Dark shadows trail in my mind of cruelties delivered to a little-girl-me by one I loved dearly. I recall abuses from my kindergarten teacher, like the day she wrenched my arm and dragged me out of a bathroom stall as she uttered nasty words. As I retrace these moments and many more, my heart feels the feels all over again. Oh, how grateful I am that the paintbrush rendered many cheerful colors along the way, but the blacks and grays are consistent in the mix. At times, I felt downright wrecked, as if my soul was broken.
Wreckage is a repercussion of pain. The damage is incalculable, the fallout overwhelming. It can hit us like a truck and leave us bleeding on the pavement with no oomph to seek help, and without the desire to get well. The wreckage in my life showed in different forms: depression, low self-worth, loneliness, emptiness, fear, nightmares, bad decisions, and the list goes on.
My God has shown me beauty in my broken.
You see when we flip the fall-out and allow ourselves to view our brokenness with a changed lens, our perspective shifts as we discover the fingers of God holding the paintbrush. This requires a tenacious faith, as the woman in Matthew 9 displays. Such a daring move by this long-suffering believer. This fighter.
We too must fight to be whole.
Most days, I fight. And it is hard. It is not natural for me. But I set an intention a year ago to work through some wreckage that was still wrecking. One day at a time, on my way to wellness, I put on my changed lens and fight. I read scripture, I talk with Jesus, I journal, I read books by wise writers, seek counsel, and I hold fast to the tassel on His cloak. I pray as God paints my pain with His purposes.
The greatest beauty, the greatest privilege in my brokenness, is the opportunity to encourage others in theirs. To look at a friend and say, “I know how you feel” or “I am here for you”. To point them to God, to support, and help. This is my purpose; this is my calling. May the light of Jesus shine through the cracks of the damaged places. My prayer is that none of my hurt is wasted, that God will get every single ounce of glory as He uses me.
Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love,
so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives. Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery!
Replace the evil years with good.
Psalm 90:14-15 New Living Translation (NLT)
God wants us well. It is worth the work, my sweet friend; He wants you whole in Him. May He replace the evil years with good and fill you with gladness!
What if we yield our beautifully broken souls to Jesus?
What if we truly believe we are worthy of His love?
What if we find purpose in the pain of our past and present?
What if we take a chance, like the woman in scripture, and fight for wholeness?
What if we come alongside others and point them to the hem of the cloak of Christ?