I looked up the definition of hemorrhage today. Can’t say I’ve ever done that before, but there’s a first Google for everything, isn’t there?
It’s a noun and a verb.
It’s a thing and an action.
But if you’ve ever felt it — in your body or your heart or your life — you know that already, don’t you? Whether it has literally been a pouring out of blood from your body or a massive loss of money, joy, passion, tears, or people — you know, deep in your guts, that it’s not just a noun, it is a verb. A hemorrhage is a real thing and to hemorrhage is a real thing.
The definition uses words like “profuse,” “damaging loss,” and “uncontrollable.” And while I’m not currently bleeding in any way, that language makes me tear up.
Because I have stories of hemorrhage.
A few years ago, my life began to hemorrhage people. Important people, north star kind of relationships. Our kind God had given me a little heads up in my time with Him, whispering things about change to come, but I could have never been fully prepared.
Six people left my life in a span of as many weeks.
My best friend and roommate moved back to her hometown.
My pastor and mentor left our church.
A man I was dating ended the relationship.
Two very important coworkers left my company for two very different (and painful) reasons.
My godfather passed away.
Each time I began to recover from the previous loss, another one came. Like high tide waves and undertow in the ocean, I couldn’t get my head above water long enough to breathe before I was being ripped under again.
It was profuse.
It was damaging.
It was uncontrollable.
When it’s two relationships that are severed, you mourn. When it’s six? You’re stunned. You’re weakened. You’re crippled. You’re shocked to almost paralysis. (At least I was.)
I went into absolute defense mode, powered by fear. Who would be next? Who should I grip tightly to make sure they don’t slip out of my life? What can I do to slow the hemorrhaging? How can I fix this? (Sigh.)
Mark 5 talks of a woman who was hemorrhaging in the truest physical way. For twelve years! Scripture not only talks of her suffering but also of her repeated attempts to go to doctors and the way she spent all of her money seeking healing, to no avail. In fact, she was worse off. She had tried everything.
Yet she hears of Jesus and pushes through a crowd, thinking that if she can just touch His robe, things would change.
What it must have been like to be her. I can barely know. I think of the fatigue. I think of the doubts that surely riddled her mind. I think of the shame in that time and culture. I think of the unbearable loss — to her body but also to her social life and her hopes for her future.
She had to silence all of that — the voices of profuse, damaging, uncontrollable, incurable loss — to reach out to Jesus. And she touched His robe, just the hem, just with a fingertip or two, in the most desperate stretch of her life.
And the incurable was cured.
The unstoppable stopped.
The profuse profoundly stilled.
Jesus knew it too. That’s the part that moves me to tears. The healing is incredible, but the fact that our Savior felt the faith of a desperately outreached hand and asked around until He found her is as incredible. Why did He do that?
Personally, I think He wanted to see her. I think He wanted to be face to face with the woman who had suffered so long and yet, in her weakest moment, found Him to be her strength. I think He wanted her to know He saw her. He saw her suffering, He knew what she had been through. It was not just an exchange of power or a healing transaction; she meant something more to Jesus. And I do too. So do you.
When my life began to hemorrhage, she was my example. Crawl to Him, I would whisper to myself, reach out if you can. And in my heart, I would picture myself right there on a dusty road, pushing through a crowd of neighbors, trying to get one hand out to Him.
I grabbed hold of Him and didn’t let go. I don’t know that my heart can handle much more of this, Jesus, I wrote to Him in my journal, and in my mind’s eye, my body knelt on the ground and my hand just stretched to the corner of His cloak. And the hemorrhaging stopped. I can’t explain it except to say that suddenly the losses quit happening in such a profound and massive succession. (Humans are always going to leave. It’s not that. It was the intensity and the proximity to me that felt so hemorrhagic.)
And like the bleeding woman, I knew it was over. In my guts, I knew it. I knew there was a purpose I couldn’t see, and I knew it was done.
But mostly? I knew He saw my suffering. I know He still does. And that is the kind of Healer I will serve all my days — the One who heals and the One who sees.
You can run to that Healer, too, or crawl, or cry out. He heals you. He sees you. He turns to you, to your faith, and speaks straight to your heart.
We’re thrilled to share Annie F. Downs’ devotion from the (in)courage Devotional Bible! It’s just one of more than 300 devotions found in this beautiful resource. We can’t wait for the new (in)courage Devotional Bible to be in your hands on October 1st! But you don’t have to wait until then to peek inside — sign up below for the FREE sampler! You’ll receive two full books of the Bible (Esther and Romans), several devotions, reading plans, and more.
Michele Morin says
Annie, I love the story of Jesus healing that desperate woman, and your thoughts today have reminded me that God is okay about us coming to Him desperate. When life is overwhelming, there’s no where else to go.
Blessings to you and thank you for your ministry.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I have experienced both physical hemorrhaging and emotional hemorrhaging. Neither is pleasant . In a short period of time I lost my marriage (my husband left), my dad died, my best friend from high school passed away, I lost my job, my dog died, and I went through two of five surgeries. I still look back at those dark times and say Lord, thank you for bringing me through. I remember having the distinct feeling that God was saying, “It’s just you and me, Bev, what are WE going to do to get through?” It was in the isolation that God got my full attention. It was through those painful, dark times that I learned to desperately cling to my Savior. I felt like I was hanging on by a thread, but He had a firm hold on me with His victorious right hand. Like the helpless lamb, Jesus held me close to his heart and I had nowhere else to go, but to just give in to His love. Through those time, as painful as they were, I knew that God saw me (even though it might not have felt like it at the moment), He cared about my pain, He was faithful to see me THROUGH the valleys, He never left or forsook me, He loved me when others didn’t. Weeping did endure for a long night, but joy did come in the morning. Had I not gone through that crucible, I would not have the relationship that I have with Jesus….that I know. He does bring beauty from ashes. Beautiful post, Annie…..right there with you praising our Healer and Redeemer!
ps. Please pray for all of us in NC and SC that are being hit with this hurricane. Close to 400,000 without power, flooding, wind damage, tornadoes and the eye hasn’t even made landfall yet…..thank you.
I have been thinking of all of you and praying for your safety. I discovered this written on a sign in a picture taken at a coffee shop on Myrtle Beach Boardwalk in South Carolina yesterday.
‘God Is Good’
Sending love, hugs and prayers to you all,
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Thanks for the prayers Penny….please keep them coming as this will be a long slow storm. We are okay at the moment, but people just 40 miles away are flooded out of their homes. The coast was hit hard! Yet, through it all, God is Still GOOD!
Joanne Peterson says
Bev, I’ve been thinking of you and praying for you, for safety, sustenance, provision, peace through the storm, etc. Thank you also for you comment. I do really need it. It dovetails, and fleshes out what Annie wrote. Blessings and hugs my friend. Joanne
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
SO good to hear from you. Your prayers are being felt. Though I am not often in touch I think of you often and the wisdom you have imparted to me!! Lifting you up in prayer right now my sweet friend. God sees and loves you greatly!
Love and blessings,
Beth Williams says
Praying for all in eye of the storm. Praying no huge storm surge hits land. May God protect everyone!
Kelly McFall O says
Thank you, sweet friend- His Truth has pierced through my “hemorrhaging” that is so strong this morning through your Spirit-led words.
Leslie Kuebler says
Beautiful devotion Annie….thank you ❤️❤️
Annie, thank you for that encouragement today.. feeling like I’m hemmoraging this summer and now in a hurricane with hurting friends in September I felt the hem of His garment today.. in unspoken prayer requests to write, thank be to God , let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven! Whatever you ask in my name, I will do…. His love is steadfast and we need to recognize and receive it! Blessings to y’all today \0/
Lara Sadowski says
Oh, Annie, what a beautiful devotional! I am sitting here with my steaming cup of coffee picturing that woman, weary from her hemorrhaging and desperate for healing, crawl to her Jesus. WOW! I needed to hear this today. Jesus longs for me to come to Him with all of my hurts and my desperation. He never leaves us nor forsakes us. What a Mighty God we serve!
Thank you again for bringing the story of this woman to the forefront of my mind today, Annie! <
Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow!
Joy in Jesus,
Lara Sadowski <
I can truly empathize with Annie. My heart has been slowly bleeding out for 53 years. I am now at the point where I almost feel nothing. With each incident, my heart has bled and my spirit has shriveled. There seems to be no end to the bleeding. My Savior is my only lifeline. Please pray for me.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I am praying with you right now and we claim that where two or more are gathered, there the Lord will be. Praying for God to stop the bleeding and restore unto you the joy or your salvation. I don’t know exactly what you’ve been through, but God will never ever let go. Lean into Him and He is big enough for you to pour out your pain to Him. His name is Healer and Restorer. Praying and claiming his healing and restoring power upon you today. Know you are seen and loved….
Beth Williams says
Praying for you sweet sister! God knows what you’re going through. He understands your pain & anguish. May you feel God hugging you tightly. He is always with you guiding you through each storm. Cry out to Him & He will hear & answer you! I pray your joy, peace & contentment may be restored!
Thanks for being so honest about your pain. I’ve never thought of loss in this way. I only thought of it from a physical standpoint. I can gain healing from this awareness.
I’ve suffered from a chronic pain/disease 28 years.
The past 4 years have been full of so much transition, loss and stress.
My husband answered the call to move cross country to be in ministry. There were many joys and sorrows. But the most difficult part was being forced terminated even though we did all we could to reach this community with the gospel. We almost lost my husband, he was diagnosed with PTS disorder following our move back to Texas. He worked several jobs not sure if he would ever return to ministry. We stayed with family 18 mos and all we owned was in a movers POD. My children had questions regarding the God we trusted to provide.
What we lost this is just last year..,including our home eventually through foreclosure, my husband being hospitalized for an rare autoimmune disease, and stroke the following month, was replaced by the Lords abiding provision and peace. We will never this side of heaven realize why many of these things happened. We do know that to choose to trust God in spite of our circumstances is the right thing to do!
My sons and I were in a car accident last fall 2 months after my husband had finished his chemotherapy & returned to work.
The grace that his job showed us indescribable, the love poured out through our church family. And yet more trials continued…both sons with concussions, loss of a vehicle and doctor appointments, physical therapy and medical bills continue to overwhelm me at times. Again I say He is faithful! Many things are clear to me now….He is Able and will make a way! I will trust in the Lord with all my heart and not lean on my own understanding, in all my ways acknowledge Him and He will direct my path.
Thank you Annie.
Have a blessed, safe day all,
Hemorrhaged but Hopeful says
Thank you, Annie. Thank you, JESUS. Tears of gratitude flow because you have put into words “my hemorrhaging.” I have “hemorrhaged” people during the past eleven months. My mom passed away in October of last year, then six months later my dad. In the period of each of their passings, some friendships and some close family relationships were severed and I have hemorrhaged. JESUS has seen me and sees me
right now. I’m in the healing process. I hold on to the edge of His cloak. His nearness—His love—His Word comforts me. Your story inspires hope—hope that soon I too will say, I am healed.
When we reach out and touch his cloak, cling to our Hope, Jesus never fails us. Praying for your continued healing.
Kristin Vanderlip says
God is so good and faithful in His timing and ways. Annie I cannot even begin to tell you the healing balm your words were to my own hemorrhaging. The reminder and your words about the woman in Mark 5 spoke to me in new and fresh ways that I needed to hear exactly at the moment I opened them in my inbox. Thank you for this gift today. And thank you Jesus for this healing and love you offer us.
Such truth and honesty. I’ve experienced this and its utter devastation. Thanks for giving voice to it.
I have tried to subscribe the Devo Bible sampler a few times, and nada. Please let me know if I am doing anything wrong subscribing. Thank you. Prayers go to Carolinas!
Thank You friend! I’ve lost six friends/colleagues to death in the last year. All of them under the age of 40. Your post was healing balm to my soul.
Beth Williams says
Thank you for a unique perspective on the woman with the bleeding issue. Jesus knows our pain & suffering. Sure He felt the power leave Him. More than that He turned around to acknowledge & praise her for the faith it took. This world cries out for “do it yourself” “be strong”. Having faith in an unseen God is crazy to most. When the storms come & they will we Christians must cry out to Jesus for the flow to stop. Reach out our hands to His & tell Him how we feel. He will send His healing touch to our lives.
Becky Miller says
Rebecca Jones says
Understanding both, it is life draining from you, this is when to say Holy Spirit pray for me. He does see and is easily touched and thankfully He touches us, to make us whole, He wants us to be in faith, face Him and go in peace.
Emily B. says
Read “Land of Silence” by Tessa Afshar if you want a fictional inside look at the woman who reached out to Jesus. It’s heart-wrenching and sooo healing at the same time.
Thank you for sharing. I need to reach out more. Please keep me in prayer as I will you. Bev praying people will be safe in this storm.
This is profoundly beautiful and a balm. ❤️