The Day Superwoman Lost Her Grip (And Found God's)

Something was bound to happen.

Tying off one bullet wound after another just so you can stay in a gunfight eventually catches up with you.

Where to begin?

My dad died suddenly in 1986. For the next two years, I drove to my nearby hometown two or three weekday evenings and every weekend to take care of my ailing mom.

My husband and I were quietly in the throes of a divorce. I found myself trying to raise a very confused and angry six-year-old on my own. I was hurting over my husband's rejection of everything I was as a woman and a Christian.

Nevertheless, I continued my work as a radio announcer at a Christian station--still smiling, praying for others, speaking at churches, and bleeding to death on the inside.

At the time, I knew no other way to handle my problems. I didn't want to let people down or ruin their expectations of someone who serves in full-time Christian ministry.

My body finally spoke for me.

Another busy day was planned--home from work, drop off my son to his father, grab fast food on the road to see mom; afterward, pick up Jeremy, head to the apartment, get ready for bed and do it all over again the next day.

I was thumbing through a magazine in the Intensive Care waiting room at Anderson Memorial. Mom was in the hospital again with lung problems, and I still had a few minutes before the family visiting hour began. A few quiet minutes--what luxury.

Suddenly, my heart began to race. Everything around me started to slowly spin. I waited. The feeling subsided but returned in a few minutes.

I got up and walked out into the hall.

"Father, please help me!" I whispered, trying to maintain my composure.

Minutes passed. I gripped the rail, standing still-waiting, praying.

Then, it happened. The "spin" accelerated; I broke out in a sweat. I felt that at any moment I was going to be sucked out of my body into a long, dark tunnel.

I stumbled to the nearby back elevator. When the doors opened five floors below, I fell into the arms of the ER's security guard.

I was immediately put on a gurney, taken to a cubicle, and hooked to monitors.

It was as if a giant wave traveled through my body every thirty seconds or so. When it "crashed", I could barely hang on to consciousness.

Was it a heart attack? A stroke? No one was with me. Mother had no idea what was happening...neither did anyone else. I was dying alone (or so I thought).

My life was full of loose, frayed ends. My son was only six and needed me more than ever. My mother needed her only child. I was thirty-two years old and full of hopes and plans for better days. Yet, in that cold, little room, I surrendered.
Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, Lord.
Just then, one of the alarms sounded!
(Now let me digress a bit. This happened in the late 80ˈs, and digital technology was not standard. The EKG (electrocardiogram) still printed results that rolled out like toilet paper.)
No doctor had been in to see me yet, but I assumed the alarm would send a team of specialists running down the hall! Yes, I'll see my curtain flail any moment now...

Nothing. No one.


How can they NOT hear it?

I watched all the medical shows on TV. I knew an alarm on a monitor meant something was seriously wrong. On an EKG, I expected the flat line at any second.

I prepared for the trip. I closed my eyes.

I guess I'll stop breathing and then... What? An angel? God, I've never done this before...

My celestial homegoing was interrupted by a forceful yank at the curtain that sent the rings screeching across the metal bar like nails on a blackboard.

"*&#*!," she spit in disgust. "I would've been in here sooner, but I got tied up."

Not quite the angel I expected and the greeting-oh, well...

I turned my head to see a frustrated nurse at the EKG machine, picking up rolls of tangled paper.

"What's wrong?" I asked, dreading to hear the truth.

"Sorry you had to put up with that alarm, hon," she explained, patting me on my shoulder. "We've been real busy tonight and I got back here as soon as I could. The doctor's on his way now."

I grabbed her hand. "Nurse, but...but the machine, the alarm--"

"Oh, it aggravates me," she said. " I could have sworn there was enough paper in that thing! Stupid machine runs out at the worst times!"

I tried to sit up on my elbows to get a better look at the culprit. "So the alarm..."

"...means we're out of paper!" she scowled, rolling her eyes. "Now lay back down, sweetie."

I was embarrassed. The waves were still coming and the room was still spinning. But I cracked a smile, and then laughed. I actually laughed. And I think God chuckled, too.

I survived-obviously. It wasn't a heart attack or a stroke, but it WAS a wake-up call.

I was not John Wayne who could take bullets all day and keep on fighting, nor was I the Bionic Woman who could carry everyone's problems on top of my own.

And more importantly, my pride almost killed me. I was bleeding to death emotionally. I felt like the woman with the issue of blood-unacceptable; so, I relentlessly tidied myself every day to keep others from noticing, judging, and rejecting.

Physically, I was diagnosed with Adrenal Exhaustion, brought on by sustained stress. Each "wave" I experienced was a super-release of adrenalin. After that initial attack, it took me over a year to recover. At times, smaller attacks would happen. In between these episodes, my adrenal glands barely functioned, and I was bed-ridden and fatigued.

Healing emotionally and spiritually was paramount to my physical recovery. I am still on the journey. I've been detoured and delayed-all at my own doings-but God is merciful to show me the way back to the main road when I've had enough trudging through the back woods.

However, a significant turn around began when I repented and became willing to show my feet of clay. I had to dare to touch the hem of the Savior's garment and risk exposure...revealing myself as a "bleeder"-a very needy and desperate woman!

Let's look closer at the story of the woman with the issue of blood in Mark 5: 24-34:

We see that she had been suffering from internal bleeding for twelve years. She consulted many doctors, but her condition grew worse and her resources were depleted.

Satan will come with deceptive distractions-anything or anyone to keep you from receiving thorough wellness and freedom. He'll surround you with "doctors" that offer solutions to your problems, but in the end you'll be worse.

These "doctors" can be well meaning friends, pastors or Christians teachers, but if--in your crisis and cry for help--THEY become the answer and not just a tool towards healing in the hands of Jesus, you will despair even more.

Some of these "doctors" are unwittingly bound by the desire to control others, and you are a prime candidate in your weakness. You'll get enough relief to be grateful. If not discerning and strong enough to resist, you'll obligingly prop up your benefactor--spending your money, your talents, and your dreams to make him or her appear successful.

Jacob was cooking a meal when his brother Esau arrived from a hunting venture. He was very tired and oh, so hungry! He begged for a bowl, but his cunning brother asked for his birthright in exchange (double inheritance and head of the family). Esau, thinking he was going to die of starvation, gave away his future! (Genesis 25:29-34)

You may be talked into surrendering something you'll regret later...for just a little relief now!

I learned the hard way to press beyond people and keep my focus on touching Jesus. My one desire was to be made whole...not to be secure, well liked or always understood.

"Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth..."
(Mark 5:33)

To end your suffering, you have to fall at HIS feet, willing to tell him the whole truth-the reality and depths of your emotional pain--confessing how you turned time and time again to people for a cure, but to no avail.

Wouldn't you like to hear these words?

"Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering." (Verse 34)

Bleeding without remedy in Israel made one an outcast. The community considered such people "unclean". Jesus publicly proclaimed this woman's healing so that she could re-enter society and live a normal life.

In Luke's account, Jesus called her, "daughter"--a particularly tender term (Luke 8:43-28). She was the only woman Jesus addressed in this manner.

I don't know about your situation, but I had a crowd of folks that loomed large over my vision. They blocked my ability to see Jesus.
Consequently, to get past others and myself and exercise my faith, I had to:

1) Lighten the load!

I thought I was dying, but the monitor (designed to keep track of my condition) was simply signaling for a refill.

Remember the nurse's excuse? We all get busy and don't take regular inventory of the important things.

God first speaks in softer tones all around us, but when we fail to hear, a nerve-wracking, yet necessary alarm goes off!

I let go of a tremendous amount of baggage-false responsibilities, religious burdens, and other people's crosses-stuff I was never commanded by the Lord to carry. I practiced saying the most anointed word in the Kingdom of God: "NO"...and then used it.

When I did, some people panicked, others cursed. High-minded, super-spiritual folks who benefited from my dependency upon them thought I'd been hoodwinked by the devil.

Alarms go off all the time in people's lives, even in churches and ministries.

May I speak frankly?

You can pull the plug and silence the alarm. This will enable you to live in denial and make up all kinds of spiritually impressive excuses for your problems. I did; for THIRTEEN years I silenced it after my breakdown!

Although my body was healing, I was not well emotionally and I became easy prey for those who needed a stooge to cover for them. When I found the courage to face the alarm and what it was saying, I exchanged healing for wholeness.

You can stop the drama and decide to live authentically--not perfectly, but truthfully--like the woman in our Scripture who finally fell at the feet of Jesus, not men.

Don't misunderstand! We need each other. But I can't really help you until I, too, am at the Savior's feet, telling the whole truth and seeking healing for myself.

2) Lighten up!

You're not out of're probably just out of paper!

Repent; then, get a good laugh with God about your skewed perceptions.

Get up and head towards the crowd. See their smiling faces? They're eager to keep you needy to make them powerful. But you know that now, right?

Why don't you really surprise them?

Press past them; don't stop until Jesus is within your reach.

Fall at His feet.

Be made whole.

Go in peace.

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