Mark 5:27-34 English Standard Version (ESV)
27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” 29 And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” 32 And he looked around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
Yesterday, my church wrapped up a series (3/6, 3/13, 3/20 and 3/27) on the subject of Jesus’ scandalous grace. Scandalous is defined like this:
- causing general public outrage by a perceived offense against morality or law.
My pastor did a great job of explaining it. He said this is the kind of grace Jesus is famous for. The kind of grace and love that makes us say, “Really?! I mean, like, REALLY Jesus?! You would give HER grace?! You would offer THAT woman grace?! Wow, Jesus, don’t you know who she is?! Don’t you know what she’s done?!”
That’s the kind of grace Jesus has shown to me. That’s the kind of love He has for me. The kind of love that is blind to my past. I am forgiven. I am redeemed. Scripture shows us that if ANYONE is in Christ he is a new creation. I am a new creation in Christ. I am a someone to Him.
Today is my first “Birthday” in Christ. On March 28, 2015, I sat on a sun porch with three of the most beautiful friends I have in this life and walked through the process of making sure I had accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior and that I was surrendered to Him. After I was secure in that, we walked through some healing prayers that taught me, for the first time in my 45 years on the planet, to seek the face of Jesus. And I saw Him. I saw Him telling me that He was my strength and that He was the Father I had longed for. I saw Him say I was forgiven and that I was fully His.
When I left there that day, I was in such a place of utter peace that I was unwilling to give it up, so I didn’t speak the rest of the day except to say thank you to the clerk at the Christian bookstore I stopped at on my way home. That’s the day I bought my first Bible. Oh, I have a collection of Bibles, but I’d never actually bought one for myself before that day. I also bought the devotional ‘Jesus Calling.’ If you’ve not seen it, this picture is of today’s message. It’s wild because it’s read in the voice of Jesus. Like every day, He makes a point to tell me something He wants me to know about Him.
In the past year, I have found a way to deal with my morning commute on Pellissippi Parkway- instead of sleeping until I absolutely have to get in the shower, dress quickly and leave, I start my days now with coffee, my Bible and Jesus calling. I sit down to see what He is saying to me for the day, coffee in hand, and- you may think this sounds crazy but- I can see Him in my mind, sitting across the table from me, His own cup of coffee in His hands. Jesus makes eye contact with me. He listens to me. How crazy is that! He actually wants to hear what I have to say, so we talk. We’ve talked a lot this past year. Sometimes, depending on what’s going on in my life, He is on my side of the table, next to me, with His arm around my shoulders, just holding me. Letting me lean into Him. Comforting me. I know Jesus loves me. That has been, in my opinion, much easier to say than to believe. But today, I really do believe it.
Today I am in a quite different place from where I started this journey. When I walked onto that porch last year, I felt like the dirtiest outcast that had ever tried to get close to Jesus. I was reminded of that day a few weeks ago when my church started this scandalous grace series . They started it in Mark 5. I had heard the story of the woman with the issue of blood so many times before. But in this season of my life, the message brought something out that I had never seen before. Look again at verse 33:
33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth.
She told Him the whole truth. The whole story. She spoke it out loud, even with her voice shaking. And she was healed.
I have known my entire life that God was the God of the universe. I have known my entire life that Jesus died on the cross at Calvary for the redemption of mankind. I have always known in my head that I am not the ruler of my life. This past year, I finally allowed that knowledge to get into my heart. When I surrendered to that knowledge, He indeed became my Lord. This past year has felt like a whirlwind of change and a roller coaster of events and has been both the hardest and the sweetest year of my life. But that has not come easily. It has taken a lot of prayer, even more listening for Him to tell me where I am and to show me where He wants me to go. It’s taken faith that He will be my rock now and even when it’s all said and done. It’s taken the faith to follow Him where He calls me. Even into scary, unknown places with people I don’t know, in order to start dropping the weight of the baggage I’ve been carrying for decades. And I have dropped it… by the ton…
Like the woman with the issue of blood, I knew He was a healer, but the crowd was so big…. And He healed me anyway.
Like the woman caught in adultery, I knew I was guilty and the crowd was so angry…. And He forgave me anyway.
Like Zacchaeus, the crowd was just too high over my head…. And He dined with me anyway.
And like the second thief on the cross, I deserved that death for what I had done in my life…. And He paid the cost for me anyway.
I am free. I am not perfect and have no A) ability to be or B) desire to be. But I serve a mighty God who has equipped me. I have the full armor of God to protect me daily. I have been set free from the lies of the enemy. I am the daughter of the One True King and am an heir with Christ! If you are in Christ, I hope you know that you are, too! If you are not in Christ, I pray you will come to be today.
We closed out the service yesterday with a video of my testimony. I was asked why I wanted to do this. My answer is simple: I made the video in obedience to His call. If it takes only one voice to set 1,000 more free, then let me be the one. If it takes only one person to stand up and say ‘No More!’ to the enemy and his lies in order to empower another to do the same, then let me be that one. Voice by voice, story by story, we really can be victorious in Christ.
Scripture reminds us in Revelation that we have conquered him (satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony. Mine was an ugly story to tell. Mine is a story some people want me to keep to myself. But it’s not really my story- it’s His story and He will be glorified by it. In the past 9 months, I went through a Deeper Still retreat, I went through the Freedom in Christ classes and freedom appointment, I gave forgiveness when I knew it wasn’t deserved- and I myself was on the list of those receiving that forgiveness! I gave my public testimony when I was baptized last October, I spoke my testimony live in front of over 400 people at the Deeper Still banquet this month, and I finally made this video. It’s online here and on my church’s website for the entire world to see…. and I praise Him for it.
As a reminder of where I’ve come from, I have a group photo from that Deeper Still retreat on a shelf in my living room. Every day, I set my coffee down on the shelf below it so I can gather my purse and keys before heading off to work. Quite often I say their names out loud and then, “Lord bless them today. I know where they’ve been.”
My prayer today is that you too have sought healing for the junk in your life. I pray that if you have not, that if you would just say yes to Him, you will find that the first step is always the hardest but that the next ones do come easier if you just trust Him. I began to trust Him when the only thing left to lose was my life. That’s when He saved it.
I tell my story because I don’t want to forget those women; the ones needing healing or the ones walking us through it. I don’t ever want to forget that beautiful weekend on the lake. I never want to forget seeing the image of my sweet Jesus throwing His head back in laughter, clapping His hands as He celebrated me wearing the Mother’s Mantel in honor of my status as the mother I was created to be!
I pray you are free. I pray you have received grace. I pray you spend time getting to know our good, good Father in a way that continues to grow deeper every day in my heart. I pray that each one of you is able to live fully in the freedom that Only He offers.