September 11, 2012

You Matter to God!

 

We’ve all read the story of the woman who had an issue of blood for 12 years. You know her; she touched the hem of Jesus’ garment, hoping to be healed. Let’s look more closely at her story to understand how deeper healing takes place. (Read Mark 5 and Luke 8 for the story.)

Here is a woman who was an outcast. She was labeled an unclean woman, socially unacceptable, undesirable, and dirty. Jewish law mandated that if someone touched an unclean person, they would need to go through the Jewish purification ritual in order to regain their rights to enter the temple. She was an untouchable woman and people kept their distance. She had spent all her resources to find help, but she only got worse. This woman heard Jesus coming and thought to herself, “if only I can touch his cloak, I will be healed.” And to her surprise, she was!

Immediately she tried to escape the crowd unnoticed. Remember, she touched Jesus and, according to Jewish law, that made him unclean. How embarrassed and scared she must have felt when Jesus turned and said, “Who touched me?” If she identified herself then, everyone would know what she had done.

Let’s step back for a moment and look at the larger story here. Jesus was heading to Jairus’ house. Jairus was a Jewish leader, a ruler of the synagogue. Yet he approached Jesus for help because his young daughter lay dying. Jairus was a daddy before he was a religious leader, and so he fell at Jesus’ feet begging him to heal his daughter.

It was on the way to Jairus’ home with the crowd pressing in that Jesus stopped and asked who touched him? I wonder in that moment what Jairus thought and felt? Did he feel impatient, anxious for Jesus to hurry up and get to his house? His daddy’s heart wanted his daughter healed. I wonder if he also felt a bit angry at this woman for distracting Jesus and taking valuable time away from a more pressing need. I suspect he might have even felt angry at Jesus for not prioritizing his daughter’s life threatening illness over this woman’s chronic bleeding problem.

Jairus was a person of influence and importance. He was a leader: he spoke and people listened. He risked everything to beg for Jesus’ help and now Jesus was wasting time asking who touched him while his daughter lay dying.

Do you ever feel like Jairus? God isn’t moving fast enough for your emergency? Angry and impatient that other people’s prayers are getting answered while you are still waiting?

Jairus was a daddy and wanted to see his daughter healed. But, dear readers, one of the lessons of this story is that this unnamed woman had a daddy too, and her daddy cared about her needs and knew she had no one who begged for her healing. Jesus stopped and called her forth because he wanted her to know something very important. Listen to his words. He said, “Daughter, go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” He wanted her to know that her daddy (the Heavenly Father) saw her suffering and told Jesus to help her too.

Jesus wanted her to know that she mattered to God. Although her culture rejected her, God did not. Although she was judged to be unclean, Jesus declared her whole. He wanted her to know that she was a person of value and worth. Even in a pressured moment, Jesus took the time to have a conversation with a nameless woman who felt unclean, unloved and unimportant. He wanted her to know who she was. She was a daughter of a daddy who cared.

How about you? Perhaps your mother abused you. Maybe your husband rejects you, or people don’t understand you. You feel like an unclean women, like damaged goods. If only you could touch his cloak, you’d be well. I have good news for you. Daughter, go in peace and be freed from your suffering. God wants to help you. He wants you to know that you matter. You are important to him. He sees you and knows you and he is never too busy with more important people to meet your very personal need. You are not nameless, or worthless, or hopeless. You have a daddy, he’s called Abba (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6). Believing that is the beginning of your healing.

As for Jairus, Jesus didn’t forget about his concern--although Jarius probably felt that way when he got word that his daughter died. Jesus turned to him and said, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.” What did it take for Jairus to walk those next miles home, heavy with sorrow, still clinging to faith? Perhaps that’s where you are right now. You feel hopeless or angry or disappointed. But Jairus trusted what Jesus said to him and, because he did, he saw a miracle. Jesus took Jairus’ precious daughter’s hand and said, “Honey, wake up.”

What is Jesus saying to you right now, even in the midst of sorrow, heartache, broken dreams and shattered promises? Can you trust what he is saying and continue to walk in faith? That is healing. He says to you right now, “Honey, wake up”.

P.S. I want to warmly welcome ALL new subscribers who have joined our community since last month! You are going to love the resources you find to help you grow. I'm thrilled to have you here!



P.P.S. Don't keep this to yourself! Forward this newsletter to your friends and colleagues or send them to www.leslievernick.com so they can register for themselves.

Gray

 


Leslie Answers Your Questions


 

Is There Hope for Reconciliation?

QUESTION:  My husband has had several affairs--one sexual and the other emotional. After each one, I have tried to work on me and felt they occurred because I needed to fix things in my own life. I needed to be more loveable, appealing and easy to be with. In so many ways, I have been completely humbled and broken, but, despite the changes in my own life, I recently discovered he had resumed calling the woman he had been having an emotional affair with 4 years ago. In addition, he has confessed to having a sexual addiction or integrity issues involving pornography and pleasing himself sexually. Yet, even while he has been doing this, I have felt loved and cared for by him most of the time.

My biggest concern has been, however, that when we have discussions, I feel very intimidated by him and end up backing away or apologizing profusely because I’m afraid of his anger and intimidation. I’m not perfect and see so many of my own faults and insecurities, but I desire to have intimacy with God. I’m fit, I have a great profession, close relationships and work at being a good parent to my son (16) and daughter (18).

So here is my dilemma. My husband and I are separated. After the last affair, it was agreed if he ever did this again, it would mean automatic divorce--no more counseling, etc. When we first separated, I felt scared. Now after 5 months, I’m fine and our children are fine. They say they prefer him gone and we have needed time to heal. Before, I tried so hard to re-build my marriage that our children took a back seat. Now I’m enjoying the peace of our home instead of always being anxious that I would make a mistake that would drive him into the arms of another woman.

I’m thriving, going to a great Christian counselor and reading and trying to understand sexual addiction. However, my husband wants another chance and feels he now understands why he made so many hurtful choices. He periodically meets with a pastor from our church, but has not sought counseling or a recovery group. He seems softer, has realized much and constantly says he misses me and loves me, but I have lost my desire for him. I almost would be embarrassed to put myself through this again, but feel guilty or unsure if I’m disobeying God. Isn’t God a God of second or fifth chances?

I have never been good at discerning when my husband was betraying me. How can I ever trust him? How do I know if he is fully recovered? Am I being disobedient at not giving him another chance?

ANSWER:  Oh, how we wish life’s decisions could be black and white and that God would just tell us what to do. I struggle with the same dilemma of “not knowing” the future or the reliability of a person’s words. Talk is cheap and insight, even good and truthful self-awareness, is still a long way off from faithful and consistent change in a person’s heart and habits (as I mentioned in my own struggles lately).

The good news is you don’t have to decide just yet about whether or not to follow through with divorce. You indicate you are getting good counsel, so I’m going to just give you some things to talk about with your counselor to make sure you are moving in the right direction.

Pay attention to your feelings, but don’t allow yourself to be ruled by them. You feel anxious by his anger and intimidation. Is this true in other relationships as well or mainly with him? You indicate your own insecurity issues. Sometimes people who fear rejection are easily intimidated into compliance because they fear disapproval or loss of relationship even when the other person isn’t intentionally trying to be controlling.

This season of separation can be a good test for you to observe the fruit of your change as well as his. Are you able to speak up and say no, even if you still feel anxious or intimidated? And, can he hear and respect your “no” the first time without arguing, trying to change your mind or threatening you with loss of potential reconciliation? If you’re still not able to be clear and direct with what you want or don’t want because of fear, you need to figure out why. Is it him or it is your need to please, to not disappoint, and to always be the accommodating one?

Your husband has done great damage to your family and marriage, yet he seems to not want to work very hard at making sure he never does it again. That does not sit well with me. Why has he not gone to personal counseling, joined a recovery group or taken other steps to deal with his problems? You say you’re reading about sexual addiction, but is he? You seem to have done lots of work to mature, grow, and become a more godly woman, but what exactly has your husband done to identify his problems and change them?

From what you describe, it seems to me that your husband has been ruled by a selfish and a lazy heart. (These are defined more fully in my book, The Emotionally Destructive Relationship.) Pornography and masturbation are selfish and lazy ways to have sexual pleasure and release without the responsibilities of relationship or mutual giving. It’s all about him! From what you describe, most of the marriage has been all about him and what you’ve lacked or not done to make him happy or keep him faithful to you.

Affairs are also selfish and indulgent. He wasn’t thinking of you or your children, only about what he felt and what he wanted. From my vantage, what you describe as your husband’s change is really just more of the same but now, instead of the other woman, you’ve become the desired object he wants.

Yes, God is a God of second chances, of fifth chances, of hundredth chances, but you are not God. You do not know his heart, only God can discern his true motives. However, you can use the growth you’ve achieved to speak the truth in love, ask him to do the work required in order for you to be willing to consider reconciliation and build trust again and see what happens. If his heart is truly changed, he will. If not, he will get angry, blame you and want you to do the work to trust him. You’ve already been around that bend several times and you’re wise to not repeat it.

I’ve been pondering the whole paradox of thinking in categories of both/and versus either/or. I’ve written more about it in my latest book, Lord, I Just Want to be Happy. We humans like things to be either black or white, good or bad, right or wrong, ugly or beautiful, hard or easy, etc. But I’m afraid things are much messier than that. There is good in bad, bad in good, suffering in blessing, blessing in suffering. There is both/and in much of life and in our spiritual walk.

God calls us to be loving and truthful, forgiving and prudent about dangerous or destructive people, as well as tough and tender. How we navigate through those biblical paradoxes isn’t always clear and that’s why we need a community of believers – our church family, good friends, pastoral help as well as wise Christian counsel--to understand not only the big picture of our situation, but also the big picture of scripture. It’s so easy to take one verse out of context and try to make it a rule or principle that we must follow in order to be right with God. God knows your heart, and scripture says we walk by faith not by sight. We don’t always know the right way, but if we are seeking God’s best, he promises to direct our steps (Psalm 32:8). I believe that when we do that by faith, we do not need to be anxious. God understands our humanness and is gracious even with our failures and mistakes.

Gray

Connect with me:
 
IN THIS ISSUE

ARTICLE

You Matter to God!

 

COACHING
Coaching Spots Available

 

WHAT'S NEW

Free webinar recording of "Does God Really Want Me to Be Happy" when you sign-up at my new website!

 

BOOK GIVE AWAY

Live Free by Kendra Smiley 

 

LESLIE ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS

Is there hope for reconciliation?

 

COACHING INFORMATION

For more information on Leslie's coaching program, please click below. 

Leslie Vernick Coaching Programs

WHAT'S NEW

NEW WEBSITE HAS LAUNCHED!

We are so excited to announce that our new website has launched! Please take some time to visit us and sign-up to receive a free copy of Leslie's Webinar, Does God Really Want Me to Be Happy.

www.leslievernick.com

On Leslie's new website, there are many valuable free resources as well as a comprehensive listing of past blog topics, newsletters, products offered, etc.

BOOK GIVE AWAY
 
 
Live Free book cover
 

LIVE FREE

by Kendra Smiley

 

Every life event, large or small, presents you with the choice of how you will respond.  LIVE FREE is for those who are not content with living lives ruled by "what ifs" and "if onlys".  This is a collection of real-life stories from real-life women who faced real-life challenges and refueled to let circumstances rob them of their joy, peace, and contentment.

Kendra Smiley brings wit and wisdom to her writing, speaking, and national radio program, Live Life Intentionally.  Named Illinois Mother of the Year, she and her husband, John, live on their family farm where they raised their three sons, all of whom are married.  Kendra is the author of nine books and a sought-after speaker for women's and parenting events.  For more information, visit: www.kendrasmiley.com

Just email your name to assistant@leslievernick.com by Friday, September 14th for a chance to win one of two copies!

UPCOMING EVENTS

September

Sep 27-29 AACC Conference, Branson, MO

October

Oct 12-14 Agape Total Life Center, British Virgin Islands

Oct 17-18  Focus on the Family Radio Broadcast of Finding Freedom from Destructive Relationships

Oct 19-21 Ladie's Bible Conference, America's Keswick, Whiting, NJ

Invite Leslie to speak at one of your events. Call us at 1-877-837-7931
leslie@leslievernick.com or
visit www.leslievernick.com

We were blessed by the truths that she presented so clearly. Throughout the weekend and since that time, our staff has received numerous comments on how helpful, practical, powerful, and timely Leslie's messages were to them. Leslie was able to share deep truths of God's Word regarding how to live a life that pleases God in the midst of difficult circumstances and relationships in a way that people could understand and relate to. 

Carla Smith
Emmanuel Baptist Church
Johnstown, PA

 

LESLIE WELCOMES YOUR QUESTIONS

Leslie wants to help you grow in your personal and relational effectiveness. Send your questions about dealing with difficult people, stress, or relationship issues to:

Leslie@LeslieVernick.com

Then, visit Leslie's Blog as she posts her responses to one question per week.

Note: Due to the volume of questions thatLeslie receives, she is unable to respond to every question.