Faith Bigger Than Fear

I’ve long been drawn to the story of the bleeding woman mentioned in Mark 5. She represents so many of today’s women including myself. When I’ve longed for healing from a sickness that I’ve battled over the last five years (another story for another day) I,like her,only have my faith in the healing powers of Jesus.

I then wonder what this bleeding looks like in today’s woman?

Are you bleeding financially?

Are you bleeding from an overbooked schedule?

Are you bleeding from past failures?

Are you bleeding from health issues?

Are you bleeding in your marriage?

Are you bleeding from infertility?

Are you bleeding from children who are making bad choices out of your control?

Are you bleeding from your own laziness/undisciplined choices?

This woman fought years,12 years according to scripture, for healing. She could almost be our entire list from above.

She struggled financially because she spent all her money on doctors.

She couldn’t have intimacy in her marriage if she was even married.

She couldn’t be hugged or kissed by her children if she had any.

She couldn’t have friendships because she couldn’t go out in public.

See in her culture she was labeled unclean, she couldn’t touch others, prepare anyone else’s food, be seen in public. She was a total outcast.

Yet she hadn’t run out of faith, she still had the reserves to reach out to Jesus. I know I can start to feel my faith waiver long before the end of a 12 year journey. That is a long time to pray, cry out, to beg the Lord for an answer and hear silence.

Until one day – one glorious day – the prompting to reach out. To take the shaky step of faith for healing. Verse 28 tells us “she thought to herself, If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.”

Then can you imagine her thoughts? “Oh my, really, I’m healed? Uh oh, he noticed. I’m unclean. Will I be punished?”

But she was only met with love.

I believe Jesus knew her heart. Along with those watching. That the healing couldn’t go unrecognized, this healing needed to be public because her shame had been quite public. So He stopped, turned to the crowd and said, “Who touched my robe?”

The disciples responded with, “in this crowd, who knows, lets go.” They were in a hurry to get to the house of the local synagogue leader, his daughter was dying. But Jesus wasn’t in a hurry he knew the importance of this moment.He kept searching for the one who had touched Him.

She then came, trembling and fell to her knees at His feet to confess what she had done. He responded with “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.” What a miracle, complete and instant healing. See Jesus isn’t just in the business of healing bodies but our spirits as well. He wanted to make sure that the crowd and this woman saw the healing. She had been isolated for 12 years unclean, untouchable. It’s hard for me to grasp the heartache that amount of loneliness would bring.daughter faith

I think the greatest thing is the teaching that came from the healing. While He was ministering to this woman, the child He was on His way to heal, died. The crowds are probably beginning to mumble “this distraction cost a good man’s daughter’s life. Look what this unclean, unworthy woman caused.” One response was “there is no use troubling the teacher now.” Such hopelessness.

Oh how sweet is the knowledge that our Jesus is bigger than 12 years of bleeding and of death, we only need faith. This child awoke from sleeping as Jesus called it, restored and healthy. Hope restored.

Are we allowing ourselves to be defined by what we bleed, our problems, our past, our brokenness? Will we have the faith to cry out to the Lord for healing, restoration, and hope, with faith like this woman? Our healing may not be instant, it may not be public. But it will come. It may not be your version of healing. But it will come.

faith bigger  than fear

Jesus will bring the healing you need and seek when you continue to have faith in Him. So press on dear sisters, the Lord is always close.

Love and Blessings

Winter

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A Letter to my Younger Mamma Self

Dear Younger Mamma Self,

You are so needed, needed by your husband, your children. Those times when you feel unimportant or that you aren’t enough are such lies. You are vital to them even when you are feeling like a failure, you are the farthest thing from a failure in their eyes. Love yourself. That teaches your daughter how to love her body and herself as she has been made. That teaches your son what value inner beauty and self worth in a women looks like. Slow down, enjoy each day because they never come again. Tomorrow they will be a little bigger and a little more independent. Let those dishes sit, the dust gather, if the choice is that or reading a story with them chose the story. Teach them how to play while working hard, its a skill that is vital. Love your husband, teach them what a marriage looks like, dress up for the date night, let them see you kiss each other hello-or just because. Take pictures of your adventures and of the everyday.enough

Focus less on your career, when they are bigger there will be more time for your dreams again. That starter business will take more time than you would ever dream it would. Laugh everyday, you do a good job of this so continue to laugh, show them that a water fight in the house is ok, their jaws will drop open in shock, I promise, I’ve seen it!

I write these things not because you didn’t do them well, but because some days you didn’t feel like they were enough. The world tells us our success is measured in the money we make, the house we live in, and the car we drive. This mamma no longer has newborns, toddlers, preschoolers; this mamma is on the verge of the teenage years, well into the school kid stage. I promise you at that stage you don’t see the value of money and career success the same as before. You see the real value of just holding your baby smelling that sweet baby smell, reading a story, being home in time for bed, playing in the dirt, or kicking a ball together.

I can’t go back, I wouldn’t if I could because you really are on your way to becoming a great woman. A woman who loves deeply and laughs without hesitation. So press on dear mamma your doing it right, don’t give up or lose heart. Don’t listen to the lies that are being told to you, I still know this is oh so hard because I still struggle with hearing the lies. Now I defeat them with truth. Find the truth and pour that over your heart everyday.

truth

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10

But Jesus looked at them and said to them, ‘With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. Matthew 19:26

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me? Psalm 56: 3-4

I love you dear younger mamma, you are a brave soul on a great journey. Hardships will come, love will see you through, be brave and have courage.

Much love,

Your Older Mamma Self-who still has much growing left to do.

PS: Mamma if you still doubt the importance you have in your child’s life take a quick peek at this:

This shows us we are so important to our children that they know us blindfolded. They have you memorized, they know you by your smell, the feel of your hands, the shape of your face and the texture of clothing you would have on. Your presence in their lives is so needed and precious. Don’t spend one more second thinking you aren’t enough!

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www.thebeautyinhisgrip.comamamasstory.comwww.lifeoffaithblog.comwww.proverbialhomemaker.com,

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Grace Comes

I blogged yesterday about my admiration for Peter’s heart. I also love how Jesus showed his love for Peter, how Jesus knew even before it happened, that the disciples would desert Him that Peter was going to deny even knowing Him. Peter is outraged by Jesus’s prediction, he says in Matthew 14:33 “Even if everyone else deserts you, I will NEVER desert you.” Can’t you just see his red face, hear his indignant tone, I sure can. Because I can hear it from my mouth. How many times have I said I will always follow You, I will always listen for Your voice, I will always run hard after You. Yet I get distracted, lazy, and filled of myself.

Jesus’s response to Peters’ outrage is “I tell you the truth, Peter – this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” Peter says “even if I have to DIE with you, I will never deny you!” Yep, he is so outraged he is declaring his death over denial. 

We know what happens don’t we, sure enough Peter denies Jesus. All… Three… Times. I picture as soon as the third denial slips past his lips the horror of what he has done swallows him and he drops to his knees in his guilt and tears. Don’t we do this in life, we vow to follow, to chase after Jesus, even die for Him? I certainly have done this, I have chosen to live selfishly instead of dying to myself.

Then the sweet, sweet voice of grace comes. After the beatings, after the cross, after the death, came the grace.  grace

John 21:15-18 recounts for us the grace that Peter experienced. At the beginning of the chapter Peter and a few of the other disciples headed out to fish, I picture they are craving the peace and comfort of the sea. That is the place where they know all is right in their world. While they are in their boat, catching nothing, they see a man on the shore, just the outline of a man wanting to know if they are catching anything? Their response is a shout of “NO,”  a frustrated no I would guess, this is the place they know, they are doing what they have always done best and nothing seems to be happening. Until this man on the shore tells them to cast their nets on the other side. I know I would be thinking, “I know what I’m doing and I don’t need the help of a backseat fisherman.” I’m sure they are feeling a bit frustrated and are willing to take a chance on that, maybe this outline of a man on the shore can be of help to them. What do you know, it works! They throw those nets over the other side and can’t even pull them back into the boat they are so full.

John was the first to recognize that the blurry figure on the beach was Jesus. He quickly told Peter, who again I see tripping over himself in the hurry to get out of the boat and to they shore. He had much to say to the Lord. After breakfast Peter and Jesus found a moment alone. Jesus dives into the conversation with “Do you love me more than these, Peter?” “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.” said Peter. Then feed my lambs,” Jesus repeats the question “Do you love me, Peter?” “Yes, Lord you know I love you” came Peter’s response. “Then take care of my sheep,” one last time Jesus says “Do you love me, Peter?” At this point Peter is getting his feelings hurt, Jesus asking THREE times if Peter loved Him? Of course I love you, you know everything about me runs through his head I have think. He responds with “You know that I love you.” Jesus again says “Then feed my sheep.”

The grace of Jesus to ask three times of Peter’s love, to cancel out each denial that tumbled from Peter’s lips. I find it amazing, perfectly offered over a man that had a heart to run after the Lord and in his hurry found himself tripping over his feet. Aren’t we offered that same grace, that same chance of grace to be poured over our mistakes? Absolutely! I praise Jesus for that because I certainly find myself tripping over my own feet at times. Not always in my hurry to do what the Lord has called me to do I will ashamedly admit. I have found myself being tripped up over my laziness, walking the path that is easier than the one I’ve been called to. I have found myself in the recent past on a path that wasn’t a bad path, only one that I wouldn’t leave. A path that God had called me to step off of and head a different direction but instead I dragged my feet for months. It was easy, it was comfortable, and familiar. This path that God has placed me on is hard, only because it requires faith, patience, and walking out onto the water. 

Jesus's grace over mistakes

I don’t know where you find yourself today, a path of comfort or laziness, a spot that is hard to see Jesus from or maybe you are running full out at Him. Regardless of where you are the grace of Jesus is right there, let it wash over you, listen as Jesus asks, “Do you love me?” and responds with, “Because I love you more then you can imagine.” Be ready to respond to His love, because life is going to overflow. Not overflow in perfection without trials but it will overflow with peace, joy and grace.

You can find me linked up at:

w2wministries.org,

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holleygerth.com,

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Getting off the Boat

If I was asked to choose a biblical character that I related most to, it would have to be Peter. His passion and full on sprint towards Jesus connects and relates to my heart unlike any other.  I love that he wasn’t afraid to get back up after failure. He had some really public ones that all generations get to know about and learn from. I’m so beyond thankful that my failures aren’t remembered and talked about for generations! With all his failures I have to believe it only caused him to fall more and more in love with Jesus. To vow to chase after Him harder, love deeper, learn more of Him, because I know that is certainly what it does for me.

When I read of Peter in Matthew 14:22-33, this is when the disciples had left at Jesus’s instruction so he could go into the hills to pray alone, they find themselves in a bit of trouble out on the water. These are experienced sea men, not the casual Sunday boater, so this is some really serious crashing waves and wind.  At three o’clock in the morning which I find significant, this isn’t just night but the dead of night, the loneliest stretch of night, and the waves are crashing all round. Does this ever sound like your life? It sure does mine, the darkest of dark when everything is happening at once, crashing in on me. But behold sisters, who is on the horizon of edge of the boat, Jesus. Oh Jesus, He arrives at the perfect moment but the disciples are afraid, they think he is a ghost.  Hmmm, again much like life, we call out, we want His response to our crisis, but when he shows up it and isn’t how WE planned, we are alarmed with how his rescue looks.

So Jesus responds in verse 27 with “Don’t be afraid, take courage. I am here.” Well Peter responds with a response I think would be like me “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” Yep, like me I want proof, I want to know that He has really arrived, I can’t just trust one sense, in this case for Peter it’s his sight-I mean Jesus is STANDING in front of him….ON the water.

Don't be afraid

Jesus, in his loving and grace filled, ways went along with Peter’s need for an extra step of proof. He said to Peter “Yes, come.” So Peter dove over the side of the boat, in my mind I picture no hesitation, just gathering up his robes in one hand and feet almost tripping over the other in his hurry to get onto the water. He takes a few steps probably the thought of “I’m doing it, I’m WALKING on water towards Jesus!” races through his mind. Then the edge of a wave catches his attention out of the corner of his eye, he then full on looks to his left and sees these huge waves feels the strong winds on his face and panic flutters in his chest. His eyes remain on the waves, he forgets to focus back on Jesus. Just like that his toes are under water, that panic grows its filling him now, more of him is falling under the water. Full panic has set in yet, his eyes haven’t landed back on Jesus yet. He calls out “SAVE ME, LORD”  From our vantage point it seems obvious we are mentally saying; “Peter look at Jesus, TRUST Jesus, and you wouldn’t find yourself sinking.”

Jesus replies while reaching out to grab him “You have so little faith, why did you doubt me?” Oh I think how many times has Jesus said this about me. “Winter, why do you doubt me. Winter, why do you have such little faith when distractions happen?”

I love that Jesus doesn’t criticize him for getting out of boat, for taking those initial steps on the water, or even wanting to have that proof, that it was really Jesus there on the water. He does draw Peter’s attention in the form of correcting him of the fact that he knew Jesus was right there, that Jesus has already shown that he is capable, heck just that day Jesus had fed 5,000 people on 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish all of which came after Him healing the sick. Yet Peter removed his eyes from Jesus, he showed little faith. He allowed his fear to be bigger than his faith. Faith comes at a great cost, it comes at the expense of being willing to get out of the boat. To try again and again, to chase after Jesus in ways that others will believe you to be crazy.

faith

Faith is tested in the storms of our lives. If you’re in the place that the waves seem as if they will drown you sweet sisters, let me tell you, Jesus is in the midst of the waves and wind. He isn’t on the shore or up above looking down. He is IN it with you, His hand is already extended out, ready to grab you. If you are on the edge of the boat, on the precipice of stepping out in faith will you be like Peter scrambling to follow Jesus out onto the water? No matter which position you are in you’ll notice that Peter had the wind and waves, on the boat or on the water. We are not promised a life or faith walk without waves or wind only that Jesus will be found in the midst of our storm. He promises to rescue us, to wipe our tears, listen to our fears and to stand over us in protection.

You can find me linked up at:

http://www.w2wministries.org,

http://holleygerth.com,

http://somuchathome.blogspot.com,

http://jenniferdukeslee.com/