At two in the morning as I drove home, the roads were empty and so was my heart. I knew it was time-I had fought against it with everything in me for months but I had reached my breaking point. Like the nameless woman of Matthew 9, I realized I had to reach out and touch the hem of His garment. I cried out with my heart and soul and surrendered all my broken pieces to Jesus and begged him to make me whole again.
The roads leading up to this life altering evening were filled with hurt, betrayal, shame, guilt, and pain caused by others and caused by me. Life began with heartbreak at a very young age. The divorce of my parents, loss of innocence much too young, family dysfunction with remarriages and step-siblings, and being a latch key kid created insecurities, shame, and isolation.
As I entered my teenage years, both parents separately dealt with major illnesses, more divorces, and my own pain overtook my heart. Depression sunk deep within me, and I made many choices to hide, drown, and diminish the scars that continuously haunted my thoughts. Rather than healing my pain, my choices only created more hurt and shame.
Life was also filled with many good memories and loving moments. My parents loved me beyond a shadow of a doubt. Teachers invested in me and my education. I had an extended family that created fond memories that can’t be taken from me. There were friends and neighbors that provided security and comfort during those difficult years. The thing about the dark times though is that they often overshadow the good ones. So even when I was smiling, laughing, and making it through each day, my heart still ached, my mind still reeled, and my soul was a heavy weight.
I met my husband at seventeen and he stole my heart immediately. We were married when I was twenty and our family was established instantly as he had two children from his previous marriage. I was young but confident I could do anything, and I believed the fairy tale life was on the horizon. Life changed dramatically-seven months after I was married when my mother died suddenly of a heart attack. I didn’t know how much more my heart and mind could take. The void of that loss was a gaping hole surrounded by all the other pain and memories. With each passing day, I did the best I could to simply put one foot in front of the other. My goal was nothing more than to maintain my family, my work, and my educational pursuits.
I became pregnant with twins and was ecstatic to meet my boys. I had no idea I would soon face another unbearable trial. Two days before my boys entered the world my father died of diabetic complications. I brought twin boys home from the hospital while mourning the loss of my daddy. I survived one day a time only by wearing a brave mask so that everyone would believe I was so strong and brave. But the dark canyon inside of me was growing deeper.
Two years later, the military moved my husband, four children, and me to a different city. The isolation, the memories, the hurts began to manifest in anger, bitterness, and lashing out. Regrettably, my family and those closest to me were the biggest victims of overflowing emotions. Burying the hurt became more and more impossible, and I finally fell apart. I lost all hope.
Falling apart wasn’t pretty for me, but it created something so beautiful. In Matthew 9:20-22, Scripture reveals the story about a nameless woman that suffered from a bleeding problem. This woman hemorrhaged for twelve years and tried all that she knew to become well. She faced isolation, was ostracized by others, and hurt in ways that no one ever understood. I relate to her—my story isn’t exactly the same but I feel like I was this woman in so many ways. My pain was different but just as real. As the story continues, the woman with blood reaches the end of herself. As she struggled through the crowd, she stretched with all her might—believing with her whole heart if she just touched the hem of Christ’s garment, she would be made well.
As I drove in my van in the middle of the night in May of 1998, I cried out to the Lord and with everything in me I touched the hem of His garment. And just like the woman of Matthew 9, He made me whole too!
I gave my life and heart to Jesus and vowed that very night if Jesus could restore hope to this broken soul, I would live entirely for Him. From that hour, I was made well by my faith in Jesus.
20 And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment. 21 For she said to herself, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.” 22 But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.
The book of Luke tells the same story of the woman with blood with more details and it concludes in Luke 8:48, “And He said to her, “Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” Peace, joy-and most importantly- hope entered my heart that evening.
Jesus didn’t take away future pain. He didn’t create utopia. He didn’t remove all troubles. But Jesus promised He would walk through everything with me, never leaving and never forsaking.
We, Jesus and I, began to trudge through the pain of my past and offer forgiveness to those who never asked for it and offer the same forgiveness to myself. We began to face the depths of my grief and make peace with losing those I loved so deeply. We began to crawl out of the depths of darkness into the marvelous light one baby step at a time. I faced many new obstacles that I didn’t think were possible- each with their own story of God’s love, grace, and provision. Living alone as a military life, raising chronically ill children, parenting teenagers, losing friendships, praying for a husband in harm’s way so many miles away, coping with betrayal, battling breast cancer, managing chronic pain, and much more over 18 years. But there was always peace, always joy, always hope, always clinging to the promises of God’s Word because I always had Jesus and He always had me.
Romans 8:38-39 states, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
I am more grateful than words could ever express that no matter my choices, my hurts, my burdens, my past, or my future, I have Jesus who touched me and made me whole.
Do you identify with the unnamed woman with blood? Your issue is not the same, but you may know many of the same feelings? Do you feel alone or ostracized? Do you feel like no one understands you?
The unnamed woman couldn’t find a way to stop the bleeding. Maybe you can’t find a way out of your addiction. Maybe grief has a hold on you. Maybe unforgiveness has taken control of your heart. Is it the pain of the past that consumes your thoughts? Is it the betrayal of someone close to you that won’t allow you to grow closer to others? Do you care for someone who is sick or are you yourself sick? Do you walk in pain physically or mentally, unbeknownst to others? Are you in the depths of depression? Have you lost all hope?
Reach out and touch the hem of His garment.
Matthew 11: 28-30, Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Lynne is a lover of Jesus, wife of 24 years, mom of four, principal, student, and friend extraordinaire. She loves Disney, coloring, and speaking to women about how Jesus has healed her. You can most often find her relaxing in her beautiful backyard overlooking the river, sipping on a Diet Coke. Lynne firmly believes in the power of ministering to those around her. Ultimately, she’s just a small town Florida girl trying to make a difference in the world. If you’re interested in having Lynne speak at your next event, contact her directly at Lgregory71@comcast.net.