And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years.
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.
When she heard about Jesus,
she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak,
because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.”
Immediately her bleeding stopped
and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him.
He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
“You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered,
“and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ “
But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it.
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 5:25-34

“God’s way is the way of faith and freedom. When we bring our struggles with food, eating, and weight to him in honest surrender, we can be restored. For this to happen we must allow God to lead us to a place where we are:

  • Free to risk–letting go of the past in order to live unencumbered in the present (1 Peter 5:6,7)
  • Free to change–being transformed from the inside out by the renewing of our minds (Rom. 12:2)
  • Free to trust–trusting God and the way he made us (1 Cor. 6:19)
  • Free to love–loving as Christ loves us (John 13:34)

As we act in faith and surrender to this kind of freedom, we will experience a new relationship with God, with ourselves, and with our bodies.”

(Get Thin, Stay Thin page 12 – Formerly Thin Again)

This idea of being free to risk has really hit me afresh. We talked about this in our Thin Within online support group chat the other night. If we give our coping mechanisms–if we dare to reach for the hem of Jesus’ robe even while we lay hemorraging in the dust–what if he doesn’t choose to heal? What if he doesn’t choose to change me?

The hemorraging woman in Mark 5 believed that just a touch of Jesus’ robe was all she needed. In that act of faith, I wonder if she got more than what she bargained for–God’s power surged through her in a burst of healing. She had risked everything she had left–all her hope, all her dignity (if she had any left)–to weave through the crowd even though the culture had declared her “unclean” for years. She had tried everything else–and had always come up with dashed hopes. She had to be free to risk…this time the last of her hope as well as everything else. With the last bit of daring she could muster she lurched for the hem of his robe–even through the crowd of people, all who hoped to get closer to him…

As she risked it all, dared to put “all her eggs in this basket,” she experienced transformation. But in order to do that, she had to be willing to risk losing it all…again.

When we come to the Lord with our disordered eating, and choose to change the way we cope with anger, with frustration, and with all our other emotions…when we willingly surrender the way we have turned to food in order to cope, we take a huge risk. How will we cope now?

We begin to see the truth–the truth that sets us free–that our issues with food, eating, weight aren’t about food–not really. It is about something so much deeper and thus, it has the power to hurt so much more profoundly. What IF I hope and am disappointed? What if I am left…hungry…I mean with my soul hungering yet?

IS it worth the risk?

I wonder…had the bleeding woman not been healed if she would have regreted the act of lungeing for Jesus’ robe. I wonder if, in spite of disappointment, there would have been something in her that would have rested in resolution. Somehow, I don’t think she would have regreted taking the risk, even if things had turned out differently.

But things didn’t turn out differently. She was healed.

Am I willing to let go of the past in order to live unencumbered in the present? That means letting go of the way food has comforted me, been a companion for me, numbed me to anger and pain…been the focus of my Saturday nights and celebrations. Am I willing to let go of all the “been there done thats” that have come before and believe that God is even now doing a new thing? Am I willing to risk?

Are you?

I challenge you to journal a prayer about your willingness (or lack of). Ask God to meet you where you are just as he met the bleeding woman.

NOTE: I am leaving for DisneyWorld early tomorrow morning. My daughter and I are meeting up with my dear friend, Jan, and her daughter for 5 days in the happiest place on earth! If I don’t have a chance to blog while I am gone, I will see you when I return!