[Jesus said] “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering” (Mark 5:31-34 NIV).
This passage has really hit me this week. Two weeks ago the LORD gifted me with a healing miracle. I had a very nasty eye disease that would take a long while to clear up. During the weeks or months of trying to get this condition under control I could develop scarring inside my eyes that could lead to blindness and/or glaucoma. In the first week alone that I had this condition my eyes got worse and I had an intensely unpleasant migraine because of my eyes. My doctor was concerned. I was scared. The Pastors at Mars Hill Church prayed over me that Sunday, and then my Community Group prayed over me on Thursday. The following morning I went in to see the doctor. Much to her surprise, and my own, she found absolutely no traces of the disease in my eyes. She said she expected them to be worse, not to be completely healed. I just laughed. She said the medicine must have really worked with my body. I told her I was pretty sure it was Jesus.
Following this miracle healing I had to tell everyone, naturally. I felt so completely giddy inside. I wish I could say I now have a better understanding of how the woman in this passage must have felt; but I doubt it would be accurate. I had this eye problem for all of two weeks. The woman in this passage had been bleeding for twelve years. For twelve years she suffered. She was an outcast. She spent everything she had on trying to fix this problem. Then in an instant, when she was bold enough to reach out to Jesus … to touch Him … she was healed. Completely healed. She was freed from her suffering.
While this is one of my favorite stories in the Bible it wasn’t until yesterday that I was struck sorta dumb by it. When I first read this verse of Scripture I immediately thought of my eyes. I did a mental jig with the Holy Ghost, and wiggled in my seat. Then as I continued to read the “Girlfriends in God” devotional I was struck by my lack of understanding and faith. I had no doubt in my heart that God could heal my eyes. But I do have … maybe not doubt … more like a lack of understanding when it comes to a ‘condition’ I have been living with for twelve years. What surprised me is I had never looked at this wonderful story and applied it to my condition.
For about twelve years now I have been doing everything I can to deal with my condition. I poured out all my money into going to school to help me better deal with aspects of my condition. I have kept myself an outcast, refusing to get close to people. Twelve years ago the man I was in love with, engaged to, decided to do me harm. I had been in a car accident. I pinched three nerves in my lower back and crushed my kneecap. I was in so much pain. He didn’t want to hear about how sex hurt. Not even when I begged him to stop. So for six months he raped, abused, and tormented me every day and night. The physical therapists couldn’t understand why I wasn’t getting better. He was the only one there to help me. So my abuser would assault me, then help me shower to get cleaned up, then take me to the doctor or to physical therapy, and then he would take me home to assault me again.
This destroyed a good decade of my life. No one around us knew what was going on. I had completely checked out. It took me about seven years before I would check back in. By that time it was too late to press charges. And it took several more years for me to really understand it wasn’t my fault. Sometimes I still slip into that lie. But because of that abuse I put on a lot of weight. I thought if I had gained weight he would no longer find me attractive and so he would leave me alone. After we broke up I kept the weight on because I wanted to keep everyone away from me. I felt so disgusting and horrible on the inside, it felt appropriate to look it on the outside. It hasn’t been until this past year that I have been in a good enough place spiritually that I can finally start to work on my weight. I hadn’t felt good enough inside until Christ.
Now I had become a Christian almost four years ago, but I was dealing with so many other issues that I hadn’t really immediately invited Jesus into this part of me. I had always assumed I would always be completely broken inside. My soul is like thousands of tiny shards of glass scattered across the ground. Jesus and I are just starting to mend those pieces back together. I went to Redemption Group at Mars Hill. It was really good, but I fear I might need to go again. I know I am just scratching the surface of all the ick I have locked away. I know Jesus has taken away the sins done against me. I know He takes away my shame. I know these things, but my heart doesn’t always understand them.
So considering this is one of my favorite stories in the Gospels you can imagine my dumbfounded surprise when I read this devotional by “Girlfriends in God”. I am freed from my suffering. My faith healed my eyes. I know I need to pray for the faith to heal these much deeper wounds. The wounds that have spread into every aspect of my life. Reading that verse over and over again my head knows all I have to do is reach out my hand to Jesus. It is really that simple. I can’t really explain to you why my heart thumps in my chest dimwittedly. I don’t know why this concept is so hard to put into action. I love Jesus. I want Him in every part of my life. But I am not entirely sure how to give this to Him.
It’s not like I don’t want to. I just don’t know how to. This has been mine for so long, and I have been trying everything I can to simply function around people in a normal way as possible. Most people are completely oblivious to how often I simply want to run, hide, scream, or freak out. People have no idea how hard it is for me not to scratch the skin right off my hands sometimes. It is getting better, so much better. My PTSD is improving. Since having giving my life to Jesus I haven’t had a single night terror where as I used to have them once a week. I still haven’t had a good night’s sleep, however, in twelve years. It is an improvement, but I know I am stuck.
I am working on a journal to walk through what happened to me with the LORD. I am not enjoying that journaling. Most of the time I avoid it for as long as I can. I just don’t want to go there. I am being stubborn about it, I know. But I want more of this peace I am already tasting. I want to be freed of my suffering. I know a major part of my problem is I cling to the chains. The chains are all I know for the last 12 years. I have only known Jesus for almost four years. I know Jesus is trustworthy, and yet I don’t know why I struggle with it. I know part of it is shame, and fear, despite the fact I know Jesus took my shame and tells me to not fear. It is a battle of wills and I want mine to lose. I pray mine will lose. I want my faith to heal me. I want to be bold enough to reach out my hand to touch the hem of His robe.
It was so easy to do when it was my eyes. It was so easy to trust the LORD with my health through cancer. I even found it easier to sink into the love of my Savior with the crippling of my ankle/leg. It is simple for me to trust with physical things. The deeper things go, the more I clam up, and the more distant I become. I don’t want that sort of relationship with Christ. I know He doesn’t want that sort of relationship with me. The deeper sides to me are no more complex to the LORD than my eyes. He is fully capable of perfectly mending my soul. It doesn’t make sense to doubt Him. I know deep inside I don’t. I am trying to figure out why these shallower and medium levels hesitate and resist.
Abba, Father I believe, please help me with my unbelief. Turn this fear filled heart of stone to the trusting beating heart of flesh. Build in me the trust for my deeper understanding of you. Help me break down these walls of fear and years of building. I know I can’t do it on my own. Only Your mighty hand, and Your great mercy can safe me from my self. You are powerful enough to mend our broken bodies. You are gracious enough to soothe our tortured souls. You only are worthy of praise, worship, and unfailing trust. And yet I fail to give you all those so often. Please help us LORD to be better worshipers of Your glory. Holy Spirit please soak me in love for Christ, drench us all in love to be the abject slaves of our Savior. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.