Twelve Years: The Woman Jesus Healed from Bleeding

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For twelve years I had been bleeding, without stopping. For twelve years I had been unclean. For twelve years anyone that I touched had been unclean. Anyone who sat where I had been sitting would be unclean. I was an outcast. No one wanted to be near me. This bleeding pushed everyone away. Because when you are unclean, everyone is scared of you.

I was desperate, I spent every penny I had on trying to get better. I had sat back and watched my friends lives go on, while mine was on pause for twelve years. Gradually people drifted away from me, they didn’t care about the unclean woman. I missed sitting to a meal with my family. Over twelve years I had lost all hope of this ever stopping.

But then I began to hear stories of a man who could heal people, he even bought someone who was dead back to life. I had to meet him. I became obsessed by it. This had to be the answer to my prayers. I would hang around waiting to see if he would come past. Listening out to hear where he might be heading next. One day there was a huge commotion. I knew it had to be him, it had to be Jesus. He was surrounded again, but I knew this was my chance. If I didn’t do it now I never would. So I pushed through the crowd, not worrying about who I touched for the first time in a long time. Then I reached out and touched him. Well not actually him, just the cloak he was wearing. And Immediately I knew it had worked! I turned away to sneak off before anyone could notice

“Who did this?”

I was terrified. “it was me,” I whispered as my knees gave way. “I did it.” And then I explained why to all the people, hoping they would take pity on me.

“And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

“And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.

Mark 5:34

A story hidden between another Miracle, perhaps and a woman whose name time has forgotten.

When we read this story its easy not to realise the kind of suffering that she had faced. It wasn’t just the awkward pain of having a period that lasted more than twelve years. It was twelve years of almost complete social isolation. This bleeding meant that she was unclean and according to the Jewish laws anyone she touched was unclean, anyone who sat on a seat she had sat on was unclean, and stayed that way until evening. So people would have avoided her.

We don’t know anything else about her life circumstances, was she married? Single? Young or old? With or without children? Rich or poor? At the end of the day, none of this mattered, her illness made her live a life of isolation. I am sure that after this year many of us could relate to that. but imagine multiplying this year by twelve, and then knowing that you are facing that suffering alone. That’s why she spent everything she had on trying to get better. That’s why she was so desperate to get to Jesus. Her healing wouldn’t just make her body better, it would change everything for her. It would give her a future, it would change her entire existence.

He healed her, yes. He gave her a hope for the future, one which now had posebilities, But he also called her daughter. Can you imagine how that sort of acceptance would have felt for someone who had spent so much time alone. For someone who’s future seemed to have been ripped away. Jesus didn’t just heal her body, he restored her, and made her whole, and he sent her in his peace. Something that she probably hadn’t experienced for all the years of her suffering.

When we encounter Jesus, it doesn’t just change one part of our life. It doesn’t work like that. it changes everything. it must change everything. He doesn’t just set us a little bit free, he sets us completely free.

But sometimes taking hold of this complete freedom feels scary. We hold bits back. But Jesus accepts us, he calls us daughter and longs for us to be completely restored.

This post is part of a new series, in which we look at the stories of people found in the bible, whose names have been lost in history.

This story can be found in Mark 5.21-43, which focuses on two different healings.

A Quick and Easy Guide to Choosing which Book of the Bible to Read

Have you ever just sat there staring at your bible, wanting to read it, but not knowing where to start, then this is the post for you. There are so many different styles of writing in the bible, which is great, because we all like different things; but do you know what’s even greater?

They all point to Jesus!

This is my cheesey and slightly tongue in cheek guide to choosing which book of the bible to read next. Please don’t take it too seriously, but let it be a reason why you open your bible, and get reading. (I wrote this a few years ago, and to be honest, it does make me cringe a bit now, but it seems to have helped a number of people, being to only post on my old blog to go viral (by my very low standards) so I thought I would put it out there again.)

A Quick and Easy Guide to Choosing which Book of the Bible to Read

If sweet romantic stories tickle your fancy you will love reading Ruth, curled up on the sofa with a bar of dairy milk!

If you are always watching home improvement programmes like Grand Designs then be sure to read Nehemiah.

If you enjoy a bit of gore and violence then pick up the book of Judges.

If you like stories with a strong female lead then go ahead and read Esther.

If you always loved the problem pages of magazines then head over to James.

If you think it’s fun to read other peoples post then 1 and 2 Timothy will be perfect for you.

If adventure is your thing then you will love Exodus.

If you are into rules and law then check out Leviticus.

If stories set in the future float your boat then go to the back of the bible and read Revelation.

If poetry is more your thing then stick your finger in the middle of the bible (and slightly to the left) and pick up to Psalms.

If you prefer your poetry to be more emotional and angst filled then Ecclesiastes is the book for you.

If you just love family history then start at the beginning with Genesis.

If you enjoy underdog stories then 1 Samuel will be right up your street.

If you want little nuggets of wisdom then look into Proverbs.

If you like intense, edge of your seat, danger and suspence, then Daniel will be sure to thrill.

Finally if you want to read something life changing then the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) really are the thing for you.

The bible is an amazing book, there really is something for everyone. I guess God made us all different, so made His book just as diverse!

If you have more to add to the list feel free to share them in the comments section.

Three Years On

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Although I haven’t written on this blog for well over a year, I have had his date in my mind for several months as the date I should begin to share again. Because this was the date I made the most important, difficult, journey of my life. (Not just because I had a phone call from the police, as I was going in and out of coverage across the Yorkshire countryside side on a busy train carriage, asking for details of a crime I had witnessed earlier that year, and even if I wanted to pick the suspect from a line-up.) It was the day I finally left an abusive marriage

It wasn’t the first time that I had left. And when I was leaving, I didn’t realise it would be for good.

I remember my dad picking me up from Sheffield train station, and telling me I didn’t look good: in the most loving way possible. I remember truths slipping out through tears, as I realised I could never go back. I remember switching off my phone to break all contact. I remember the confusion of making decisions of my own for the first time in years. The freedom of knowing it didn’t matter that if I got it wrong.

But the thing I remember the most was just how close God was then. I would close my eyes and he would be there right in front of me. He was big, and he loved me so much. I have never known this is such a tangible way as I did back then.

And that was the most important thing. If that is where the story ended, if God didn’t do anything else apart from love me, that would be okay. But he did so much more.

He healed me. And he provided for me. In those months and over these last three years he has done so in such detail.

Jobs, finances, friendships and even a new relationship.

Within a couple of weeks of leaving, I was provided with a job in a card shop. That would have been enough, but God had more. I had registered with an agency, to work as a teaching assistant. On the very day I bought my car, I got a phone call from them, offering work a cars journey away.

These were the big things, but God even had the smaller details sorted out as. One day I got the bus over to Doncaster to do my Christmas shopping. I knew I wanted to get something more than I usually would for my parents. As I was walking along the high street I felt drawn to go in to one of the shops. I ignored it. I was on a mission, and it was the kind of shop that looked like even more of a jumble sale than TK Maxx. But the same thing happened as I walked back up the high street. After all, that feeling was one of them God kind of ones, although I wouldn’t normally get them to go into shops. I took a deep breath and went in. Right in the entrance there was a pile of board game. Including the one that my parents had been asking for, which normally retailed at around £40 they were selling is for £7. I had to chuckle on Christmas day when my mum commented on how generous I had been.

God has kept on working out the details for me. I could go on and on. I am now blessed to be working in a church doing a job I was made for as a children and families minister, just up the road from where I grew up. Even moving here I have been provided with an amazing flat, with a balcony (something I had always dreamed of) and two bedrooms, so I have space for friends and family to stay. (hint hint)

I guess what I really want to say is this: Whatever life throws at you, whether it is your fault or not, God can redeem it, and he can use it for good and for his glory. As October is domestic abuse awareness month, I want to make it clear that leaving an abusive relationship will be one of the hardest things you ever do, but it will also be the best. There is so much life after, it does not disqualify you from serving, or new relationships.

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Missing the Point

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I am worried that I have completely missed the point.

Being more worried about how many people are following me… than the one I am called to follow.

Being more concerned with looking good… than doing good, than actually being good.

Putting more effort into the contents of my bank account… than the contents of my heart.

More interested in making people like me… than making disciples.

And, frankly, I am sick of it. I am sick of being so selfish. And what’s even more disturbing that I don’t seem to be alone. This idea of success has seeped into the whole culture of the church.

And no where is this more obvious than in the bizarre world of blogging.

A world of perfect hair and perfect teeth and selling your soul for an extra like; spending our days sat in comfortable homes writing words of “encouragement” instead of getting out there and helping the poor and needy.

Blogging is a nice thing, but maybe, for some of us, it’s the easy option. The safest option, that avoids any real connection, or any real risk.

Blogging is a good thing. It helps me organise my thoughts, and I know it helps other people on some level. But lets not let this, or anything else get in the way of the real Christian work.

The Christian life involves actually getting out there and getting your hands dirty and helping people in the worst kind of need. It involves real community and a shed load of the hard kind of love. It means you will often get hurt. It is not the easy road. But it is the road that we need to take.

When we take this steep and stony road, which probably involves a few dark valleys or, even worse, rickety rope bridges across those dark valleys; a lot of mud and dirt and hurt, but the road that has the most beautiful views. This is the place where we meet Jesus. This is the place where we find adventure.

For many people reading this there might be other good things getting in the way of great things. Maybe the pursuit of education and knowledge; a good career; the idea of the perfect family or the perfect marriage, no matter what the cost.

While, like blogging, these can all be great things, they can become a hinderance if we do not keep them in check. If we do not look beyond our own lives and towards the rugged cross. After all, Jesus didn’t die so we could have a nice comfortable life, he died so that we could have a relationship with him. He calls us to a life of risk and discomfort, but the only kind of life that is really worth living.

Before I Go Home, I’m Going to Give Him Everything

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I am excited to share this guest post from my sister-in-law Cassie Stanford with you all today.

Before I go home, I’m going to give Him everything.

I find that when I’m going to talk about a topic, I try to give an analogy. For some people, this analogy may bore them senseless, but please bear with me.

I run for fun. I also run because it is challenging, it pushes me physically and mentally. It is suggested that you find some sort of phrase, or saying to get you through those tough, gruelling miles, where it seems like you just can’t go on. My phrase is: Before I go home, I’m going to give Him everything.

I realised during one of my runs, that my phrase could also be applied to every day life. Before I go home, I’m going to give Him everything. Home being heaven. Before I stand face to face with God, I want to give him everything.

Sounds easy in words. Difficult in practice. Let me reassure you that it can be done.

We have a God that is so loving and forgiving, A God that gives us a gift of a fresh new day. He knows our days before we wake, and he knows our hearts before we pray. He knows our struggles.

Within the book of Hebrews it says “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith”. Just prior to this verse we have the cloud of witnesses, those who had hardships but still put their faith in God, they have run their own races.

Maybe you are in a position where you have started your day so badly. Everything is going wrong and you are down about things. God accepts the negative things, and the hard things too. You can start to give him anything from any point in the day and he will be grateful to you.

Maybe you are in so much pain and bed ridden, you won’t be doing much at all in your day, but you can still give what little you have to Him, and He will be grateful.

Maybe your day is going great and you are over flowing with blessings and happiness, He will be grateful for everything you give Him in your good days too.

I try to remind myself to give God everything every single day even when things are hard and I feel like tearing my hair out. I stop. Breathe. And say: Before I go home, I am going to give Him everything.


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Cassie Stanford lives in Worksop with her husband Ed and son Isaac. She likes to run, Mostly after Isaac.