If you’re feeling invisible as a woman and don’t know what to do next, this last post in our image bearing series is for you. Maybe you feel you’ve lost your identity, purpose, or image. Yes, being a woman who bears God’s image is wonderful.
It’s wonderful to have a purpose that fulfills our heart’s deepest desires: to look up at God, love Him fully, and to look around and see the goodness He’s given us.
But here’s the problem we run into:
We tarnished the image. Our purpose is veiled, difficult to find day after day.
And this is where Jesus comes in.
Today, we get to see where Jesus comes and heals a woman who was, truly, invisible.
If you haven’t yet visited the first 4 posts in our image bearing series, you can find them here, here, here, and here. Trust me, that background information is important for understanding the fullness of the story today!
Today’s story is about Jesus and the bleeding woman, where we’ll see a real life example of a Scripture we looked at last week, 2 Corinthians 4:6. We’ll see what it looks like when the light of Christ pierces through the darkness of our lives.
And through her story, we’ll discover together how we can be good stewards of our image bearing purpose as we go about our lives.
Download your Devotion Questions here: A Story of Invisibility_ Lessons from the Bleeding Woman
Meeting the Invisible Woman
So today, I want to introduce you to a friend.
I want you to see her and get to know her.
I want you to feel what she’s feeling and experience what she experienced, because this woman you’re about to meet?
She’s me. She’s you.
She’s a woman who bears the image of God, and yet, is invisible. She doesn’t even have a name.
In Scripture she’s called “woman with a discharge of blood.”
Not a friendly title, is it?
From this we’re immediately thrown into her darkness, her mystery – her invisibility. But it’s here, in her anonymity, where we might find ourselves reflected in her story.
And to hear her story today will be to discover together how we, as women, must respond to Jesus’ call and be good stewards of our purpose, even when we feel nameless and invisible.
Devotion Question #1
- Have you ever felt invisible as a Christian woman?
- What made you feel that way?
- Before moving on to the next questions, write out with pen and paper Psalm 8:5 – praise God for that truth.
You can download a PDF of today’s “What to do when you feel invisible” devotion questions here: A Story of Invisibility_ Lessons from the Bleeding Woman
The Invisible Suffering Woman
Let’s start the story of Jesus and the bleeding woman at the beginning. In Mark 5:25-26, this is how she’s introduced,
“And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse.”
Tell me, what was your immediate reaction when you read these two verses?
If you’re feeling what I’m feeling, you’re overwhelmed by this woman’s darkness. It feels like there’s no hope in her story, there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.
I’m familiar with that overwhelming darkness, and I’m guessing you are too.
We’re told the bleeding woman has an incurable condition. One that separates her from society, a disease that caused her to be nameless in the pages of Scripture. Her discharge of blood plagued her for twelve years.
And not only that, but the help she sought from doctors and supposed experts did nothing to help. In fact, it only made matters worse.
Scripture says she “suffered much” under their care. And then, what did she pay for that suffering?
Everything she had. All of her money was given to find a cure. And still, nothing. This is how the story of Jesus and the bleeding woman begins.
With a darkness you and I can identify in our own lives.
I’ve been there – crying out to God from my bathroom floor, asking for the healing I know He can give. Seeking, but still suffering.
The Invisible Bleeding Woman
There’s a question Scripture’s begging us to answer here: What does this invisible woman need?
Perhaps you know the answer: Jesus. Nothing and no one else.
And the bleeding woman knows this too.
She’s exhausted every available resource. Now, she’s heard rumors of this man who performs miracles and healings. And this is what she needs – a miracle.
If she can only touch the hem of this man’s garment, maybe, just maybe, she’ll find the healing she so desperately desired. And then?
After twelve years of isolation, pain, poverty, and depletion, this woman sees the face of her Savior and finds healing.
She’s no longer a woman invisible, but one who is seen. As Jesus turns to face this woman, she looked into his face, and light pierces through.
The invisible woman finally receives her name: Daughter.
The only time in the gospel accounts that Jesus calls any woman this title is here in Mark 5:34, “And he said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.’”
Jesus redeems this woman’s life when he gives her a name. It’s a beautiful call, one that deserves unpacking.
The Bleeding Woman Saved
First, I want to establish this: If you are a woman who follows Jesus, a woman who bears God’s image, then you are called “Daughter” by your God.
Your faith in Christ has made you well.
I know, you might be fighting me on this. Maybe you have an illness much like the bleeding woman, and you have been waiting and waiting and waiting for Jesus to heal you.
Or maybe you battle depression, and you’ve cried out year after year asking that God would lift the weight and bring you freedom.
Maybe the part of the story of Jesus and the bleeding woman you identify with the most is the waiting. The twelve years of waiting and searching, maybe even praying like you might be.
The “well” that Jesus declares this bleeding woman to be is physical, but it’s more than that. It’s a saving from spiritual death as well.
And if you follow Jesus, you also have received salvation from your Savior.
Devotion Question #2
- Do you identify with the bleeding woman in her season of waiting, or in her season of healing?
God is with you in both seasons –
- Write out one way God has shown himself with you in the past week.
Stewarding Your "Go"
After Jesus heals the bleeding woman, and declares her saved, Jesus tells her, “Go in peace; and be healed of your disease.”
There are two parts to this I want us to see – the first, Jesus tells the bleeding woman to “go.” Then, he tells her to “be.”
First, the going.
I want you to notice that Jesus doesn’t command the bleeding woman to “be” anything before she goes on her way.
You don’t have to be the perfect wife, the perfect mother. Your daily schedule doesn’t have to be in perfect order, or your career all planned out.
No, the first thing Jesus commands of this woman he’s saved is that she goes.
And how is she to go? In peace.
I don’t know about you, but this would be a tough one for me. Sometimes we can over-spiritualize stories in Scripture, looking at the bleeding woman only to say, “Jesus just performed this miraculous healing and she no longer has to deal with any of that old disease stuff anymore!”
I don’t think that’s true. Think about it, she has spent twelve years of her life completely invested in finding healing.
You don’t get rid of twelve years of your life that easy.
Jesus knows this, so he tells her: Go about your life now in peace.
Free from worry.
Free from the shackles of your previous life. And as you go, be.
Stewarding Your "Be"
Now, how to be… it’s a question all women have when we look at our lives. And yes,
Jesus gives an answer.
Jesus tells the bleeding woman, as she goes about her life, to “be healed of her disease.” But wait, didn’t Jesus just do this?
Wasn’t he the one who already healed the woman of her disease?
I don’t know about you, but I certainly would have some questions if Jesus said this to me.
Are you saying my disease is going to come back? Did you not fully heal me? What do I do now?
And then I remember, ah yes, Jesus already told me what to do:
And so here’s what I think Jesus is communicating to the bleeding woman:
Live in your freedom. Don’t stay stuck here – go! And as you go, don’t look back, worrying about what I’ve already saved you from. Be the healed woman of God that you are!
Jesus has declared this woman’s identity – Daughter. She is no longer invisible, but seen!
This demands movement on her part.
How will she do it, how will she steward her new identity? Will she do it well?
Let’s end today by looking at the final part of the story of Jesus and the bleeding woman. Here we’ll discover exactly how to be good stewards of the call Jesus makes on our lives, even when we feel invisible.
Devotion question #3
- Which part of the bleeding woman’s call “to go and to be” is the most difficult for you?
- Is it harder for you to get moving on God’s mission in your life, or to rest in your identity as a saved daughter of God?
- Pray about the why behind your answer, and ask God to heal whichever side of the call you shrink from.
What happens next in the story of Jesus and the bleeding woman is well, nothing.
Jesus gives her this beautiful call to go and live her life in peace, remembering her identity. But literally as he’s telling her this, Scripture says Jesus is interrupted and the story of the bleeding woman is cut off.
We don’t know what happens next. We don’t know how she’ll be a good steward of her new identity or if she chose that at all.
And so, if you’ve identified with the bleeding woman at all today, this is what I want you to see:
What’s next is up to you.
You are seen by Jesus, a woman of God with a redeemed image bearing purpose, you have been saved, and you have been called.
You are to go, and to be.
But there’s no “10 steps on how to be a good steward of your purpose.” No, Jesus simply calls you to go in peace and remember the work He’s done for you.
If you want a nudge in the right direction, here’s what I recommend you do this very day:
Yes, even if you’re that very woman who feels invisible. That’s what I want you to do – look for a woman around you who’s getting missed, falling through the cracks, who needs light to shine through her darkness.
See her as Jesus sees you - a daughter.
And then, as you fulfill your call to go and be, invite her to go and be alongside you.
Follow Jesus together. And remember this truth from 2 Corinthians 3:18,
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
Devotion Question #4
- Think of one invisible woman in your life. Write her name down, and pray for her. Then, shoot her a text or call, and ask her out to coffee this weekend. Be intentional about the time you spend with her, and ask her questions about her life.
If you haven’t download your “What to do when you feel invisible” devotion questions you can do that here: A Story of Invisibility_ Lessons from the Bleeding Woman