I like to think of myself as a fairly logical person. I want proof for things I cannot see. I want someone to give me evidence for their opinions or thoughts. I frequently ask “why”? But that doesn’t mean I am heartless, as I have been accused. In fact, if anything, it has taken me many years to learn how to guard my heart so that emotions do not completely over take me (and I am still very much learning).
It has been two weeks and three days since we lost our baby and this has been the longest few weeks I’ve experienced in awhile. I feel like years have passed me by and yet I remain in the same space, doing the same chores, making the same meals, sticking to the same routine as before. It’s a strange place. Nothing much has changed, but it should have. It should have changed a baby’s worth.
I found myself asking my dear husband “I know (logically) that God cares and that He sees, but does He care about ME? Does He care about our individual hearts?” Even now, the question brings tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat. Because I know the Sunday School answer to this question is “yes, of course!”, but I need proof. I need evidence and more than that, I need to feel the presence of God right now.
Many sweet friends have pointed me to the Psalms or scriptures to encourage my heart. However, I found myself reading the words as God interacting with a nation. His People. A multitude. And I wanted, I needed to know, if God cared just about Israel or if He cared also about Amanda.
Friend, some of the best advice I have received is “When you don’t feel it, ask for it.” When you don’t feel brave: ask for courage. When you don’t feel God’s presence: ask to feel His nearness. So I prayed, and I honestly asked God “Do you care? Can you show me? The Church is wonderful and I feel their support, but Jesus, do you see me?”
When I first found out that our baby’s heart wasn’t working, I was drawn to the story of Jesus healing Jairus’ daughter in Mark chapter 5. If you are unfamiliar with the story, Jesus is preaching among a large crowd, when a man (a synagogue leader) named Jairus falls at his feet and begs him to come and heal his daughter. I felt that agony, the desperation, fear, and heartbreak with Jarius. I fell at Jesus’ feet and I begged him to heal.
However, the story doesn’t go as you might expect it to, does it? In the story, Jesus agrees to follow Jairus and he makes his way through the crowd to Jairus’ home. There he finds a crowd of people weeping and wailing because the girl, Jairus’ daughter, had died. Jesus didn’t make it in time. Jesus was too late.
But His time isn’t our time, is it? Jesus asks the crowd why they are upset and proceeds to tell them that the girl isn’t dead, but is asleep. He is laughed at, no one believes him, and beyond that, no one respects him or his authority. But that doesn’t stop Jesus or cause him to walk away from the girl. Jesus gathers the girl’s father and mother and three of his disciples and goes in to see the girl. He takes her by the hand and simply says to her “Little girl, I say to you, get up!” To everyone’s astonishment, the girl does arise.
Tears streamed down my face when I read this story and I pleaded with God to please heal my child. Tears still fall as I recount these very painful and vulnerable moments. But God was too late according to human time. My baby did not survive. My baby died. And a piece of me will always be broken because of that. What I do know, what I cling to now, is that my time is not His time and that because my child died here on earth, that does not mean that Jesus gave up or that he was too late for eternity. My child is with Christ who saves, who has defeated death and my time was not his time in this matter. My child has arisen, just before I wanted her to leave.
But what does this have to do with my original question: does God see Amanda? Because in the story of Jairus’ daughter is another story entirely. The story of a grown woman, suffering, in a large crowd of people. A woman pushed aside, rejected by her peers, struggling to be near Christ. She is the reason Jesus was “late” to Jairus’ daughter’s bedside. She is unnamed and I only know her as “the bleeding woman” and it is her story that gives balm to my soul and an answer to my longing.
“25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”
32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”” Mark 5: 25-32
His disciples couldn’t see her. The crowd was closed in around her. She herself attempted to sneak away, but Christ knew her. Her. An individual in the sea of faces demanding his attention. Her, among all the other life or death situations pressing in on him. Her, even when the leader of the synagogue was at his feet. Her. Her faith. Her approach was noticed. Her arms, reached out in desperation for healing, was noticed.
Jesus knows me. Jesus hears ME. Jesus has been here. Jesus has tasted death. Jesus has wept. I am known. I am seen. My heartbreak is his heartbreak. And sometimes, when I don’t believe it, when I don’t feel it, when I have been bleeding for weeks on end, watching life leave my body, I need to ask him to remind me. “Lord, be near to me. Hear my plea. Heal my heart and my body.” Jesus feels and he answers. He is present.
I am the bleeding woman. I am reaching out for healing. I am known.