The Hidden Burden: a prayer reflection on the woman with the flow of blood

Unknown, The healing of a bleeding woman, Rome, Catacombs of Marcellinus and Peter, 4th century.

“And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years….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.’” (Mark 5:25, 27, 28)

The burden I carry is quiet and hidden,
only seen in my most vulnerable times.
But it is always with me. It gnaws at my dignity
and my sense of self in ways I cannot fully describe
or measure. Oh, just to be free. Just to be whole.
Without my lifeblood constantly draining out.
O God, how long I have cried to You
for deliverance and healing. I am waiting
and watching for You, like a watchman
waits for the morning: bone-tired and ready for rest.
The conversations and activities around
seem necessary but not deep enough, not true
enough, not life-giving enough. I try to see
through it all to You. Then a glimpse
through the crowd, as a spark of sunlight glimmers.
I see You and my attention trails off from all else
as I chase after You. Do You see me? I pass through
the crowd and stretch out a trembling hand
in order to touch You. Do You notice? A jolt, like electricity,
and I know something has happened. I know You know.

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