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I entered the church sanctuary a woman with a hurting and heavy heart. Too many worries on my mind, some unkind words spoken at home, and not enough love wrapped around my shoulders were getting the best of me. What I longed to find was Jesus in a rocking chair, extending His arms to me, welcoming me into his lap, and inviting me to exhaust myself into Him.

I sought out an empty pew where I could hide in anonymity, where I could read my bulletin if I didn’t feel like listening to the announcements, sing if I felt up to it (or be silent if I didn’t), cry if I needed to shed tears, or peruse the memorabilia in my Bible, such as some treasured notes from my Grannie that I keep tucked inside.

But just minutes into my hideout, a friendly and familiar face appeared and asked if she could sit next to me. I looked up and smiled and made a place for her in my solitude all the while wondering why God sent her over. There was a reason for the interruption, I was sure . . . darn my luck. Now I would have to sing or she would wonder why I wasn’t singing. Now I would have to pay attention and not rifle through my Bible if my mind wandered. But sometimes a warm body beside you is comforting, and after all, I had walked into the sanctuary wanting to crawl into Jesus’ lap, hadn’t I?

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Luckily, the songs for the morning service were familiar so I put my alto on auto-pilot and sang along. I wasn’t into the music emotionally, but I got through it. Soon enough we were all seated and our pastor took his place at the podium. I opened my Bible to the passage in Mark outlined in the order of service, and I opened my mind along with the pages in my New Testament. Something I heard in the opening remarks triggered the need I had that morning. Something about life spinning out of control.

There we were on Palm Sunday, and the message had nothing to do with Jesus on a donkey or cheering crowds or people waving branches. The pastor wasn’t addressing any of the typical subjects on this week before Eastertide. Instead, he was speaking directly to this exhausted, hurting, 40-year-old, overweight, mother of three in the seventh row, left-hand pew. Perhaps the rest of the congregation was hearing a different message, but I was hearing something meant just for me.

The fifth chapter of Mark begins with a story about the healing of a demon-possessed man. A man whose life is spinning out of control. The pastor rhetorically asked us if our lives had ever felt as if they were spinning out of control. “What, are you kidding?” I thought to myself. “If ever? How about every day?”

Then he explained that he intended to focus on the next part of this chapter, a story of two more healings. For 12 years, a woman had been bleeding. Hemorrhaging. No doctor had been able to cure her, and she had depleted all her financial resources. Financially she was broke. Physically she was broken. (Emotionally, too, I’m sure.) All she had left was the certainty that if she could get to Him–just touch Him–she would be healed. So with every bit of physical strength, with every bit of faith she had, she tore through the mass of people following Him through the street as He proceeded to Jairus’ home to restore life to this church official’s only daughter (who, by no coincidence, was 12 years old).

The woman touched Jesus’ robe, and as stated in Mark’s gospel, the flow of blood immediately ceased. Jesus felt a sense of power leave Him, and he questioned who had touched Him. The woman answered him, and “told Him the truth.” Then, Jesus calls the woman “daughter,” a name, said the pastor, that is not again recorded as being used by Jesus.

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My heart gasped as he expounded upon these verses, as my mind correlated the uncanny similarities between this woman and myself.  How my world so often spins out of control. How 12 years equaled the years I had been married (on the 12th day of June), and how even after 12 years, I still didn’t understand how I was to fulfill the role of wifemy most difficult journey in so many ways. How I do tell Him the truth when I confess all my sin. How I still have faith that He will work miracles. How I just want to touch Him, be healed, and hear Him call me “daughter.”

Before I left church I got a hug from our pastor and a hug from the friend who came to sit beside me. I received kind words from friends who know me and love me and who always pray for me. Until I find Jesus in unmistakable form, I’ll have to let those simple touches and words and glances from His people carry me. But let me warn you now, just in case you may need to get outta my way, when the day comes that I do find Jesus in the street, I will do whatever it takes to reach Him, just to touch the hem of His garment.

“Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.'” (Mark 5:33-34, NIV)

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Adra Diane Johnson

Adra Diane Johnson writes stories and inspirational pieces from her own experiences as a wife and mother of three college-aged boys. Her oldest son was only nineteen months old when her twins arrived, and her life has been a lively adventure ever since. The family lives in Oxford, Georgia with two bossy cats and one lazy Cavachon.

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