On our own we are unable. We cannot muster up salvation with human hands. The only work You require is to simply believe. Believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Human effort accomplishes nothing. We could wear ourselves out for the trying, the working, the earning of this free gift you offer. Yet, anyone who believes has eternal life.1 It is not reserved for the holy, the good, the kind, the successful, the perfect ones. It is intended for the broken, the needy, the searching, the desperate ones.2
So nothing is required, but You ask for everything.
With this belief comes surrender. To believe in You is to set aside our preconceived notions of what our hearts desire, for our hearts are no longer our own. They belong to You. Those previous desires melt away as our souls cannot get enough of You. We want what You want. With our belief in You, a transformation occurs.3 We cannot think the same way anymore, even if we tried. For we have seen something better, something true, something real. We have new-found purpose and meaning and now nothing else matters except to accomplish Your will. It is an undoing as our bodies turn inside out. We are forever changed, a new creation you might say.4
It’s the sort of process that isn’t really noticeable all of the time. We have massive growth spurts, but most of the lasting growth happens with consistent pruning over time. It doesn’t hurt, really, for we see the flowers blooming as a result.5 This gradual, continued effort of giving everything to the One who requires nothing turns us into more than we could have ever hoped by our own striving. We aren’t the same anymore. One day, we look in the mirror and hardly even make out those old details of who we used to be. Did that person really exist? She did. And we realize every bit of the process was worth it. And then we wonder…if He has brought me this far, where will He take me next?6
Sometimes, I wish the pruning was a bit more immediate. Can’t You just lob off this whole branch? Is it really worth saving? But to You, it is. And deep down I know this slow, steady process of cyclical surrender and growth allows me to move forward, whereas I might topple over if I tried to make it all happen at once.
Your way is better than mine.7 I see that again. You are not slow, but patient.8 You love the process as much as You love the result.
So here I am again. Surrendering. Believing. This is all You require. It isn’t much, but it is everything. I don’t want my everything anymore. I want Yours.
*I’ll be talking a lot about female physical issues in this post, so if that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, feel free to turn around before reading further. Consider yourself warned.*
For about two years, the story of the woman with the issue of blood has connected with me on a very personal level.
You can find her account in Mark 5:25-34. The Bible says she suffered from constant bleeding for 12 years and had spent all her money trying to find a solution from a doctor, and yet her bleeding only became worse. She believed that she would be healed if she could only touch the robe of Jesus. She made the touch happen; He took care of the healing. Jesus told her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.”
My physical story began about two and a half years ago. My baby was four months old and, awesome, my period returned. I chalked it up to being a little unlucky.
Everything was normal at first, but a few months later things started getting weird. In January of 2015, I noticed extra spotting. No big deal as I knew my hormones were still out of whack. I was breastfeeding and expected a little weirdness.
It got weirder though. More spotting, more frequently. Sometimes more than just spotting. A pattern gradually developed and I seemed to be getting two periods every single month. Two weeks on and two weeks off. Sometimes it was every other week.
I still blamed the breastfeeding and decided that as soon as we were finished in that area, I’d make an appointment with my doctor and get back on the birth control pill. Hoping, really, that the situation would resolve itself in the weeks before my appointment.
The situation did not resolve itself and I so forward to the magical pills that had always regulated everything so nicely for me.
But, the pills didn’t work. In fact, my first month back on them, November of 2015, I bled every single day.
Every. Single. Day. Fear tried to wiggle it’s way in to whisper the possibilities.
While I didn’t bleed every day the next month, we had hoped for a more significant level of improvement. In January of 2016, an ultrasound was scheduled to make sure there were no other issues present. The ultrasound revealed that I have a “beautiful uterus”, at least, according to my doctor. Good, yet bad news, as now we would simply play a waiting game with pills.
Every few months I would try a different pill, hoping it would work. Every so often, I would have a normal month, just to have things start back up again the following month. I never knew what to expect. We tried timing pills differently, skipping weeks, and so forth. Still, the bleeding continued.
If you read my last post, Out of the Fog, you might have put together that this physical issue coincided with my loss of joy, and ultimately, the decision to attend counseling. I now believe my issues with postpartum depression and random bleeding were connected.
On a logical level, the irregular bleeding was a nuisance more than anything. On an emotional level, I felt defeated every time it reared it’s ugly head. I half-heartedly contemplated how freeing it might be to just remove my uterus and be rid of it all. But, that’s a significant surgery with significant side effects, so it never went beyond a thought.
Two years of inconvenience in my world. I cannot imagine twelve years of suffering in Biblical times without all our modern conveniences.
I ended up making the decision to stop taking birth control pills in hopes that my hormones might regulate naturally; thereby having a positive effect on both my emotions and my cycle. It didn’t happen in an instant, but where I am compared to a year ago feels like a dream.
I believe healing is a process. It is a reminder of our dependency on the Lord and that despite what we would love to believe about ourselves, we have some serious weaknesses that only He can strengthen. It strips away our pride and forces us to kneel at His feet, surrendering ourselves entirely.
When we come to Him broken, fully relying on what only He can do in our lives, we get that opportunity for Him to look us in the eye and say, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”
So, I am letting go of the need to fix it and I’m taking it all to Him. I may not be able to physically touch his robe, but I am His daughter. And I have faith. He can make me well.
“O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you restored my health.” Psalm 30:2
“O Lord, if you heal me, I will be truly healed; if you save me, I will be truly saved. My praises are for you alone!” Jeremiah 17:14
“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has a great power and produces wonderful results.” James 5:16