A comment made on one of my blogs regarding Jesus touching and reaching out to lepers caused me to recall how important human touch is to me, especially when I was going through treatment. Many times we fail to reach out to those who are critically or chronically ill because we don't know what to say or do. We're afraid of hurting them, depressing them, offending them, etc. so we do nothing. Sometimes, our own pain overwhelms us and so we run and hide leaving the person to deal with things on their own.
As Christ-Followers, we must stop doing these things. If we are indeed the Body of Christ, then that means we are representatives of His hands in this world and His hands are the hands of healing. I believe God always heals. Sometimes healing is administered through physical healing however, I also believe there is a healing far greater and that is the healing of heart, mind and soul. Far too often we fail to recognize the latter even though it is more important for us to be well in our soul which is eternal rather than in our body which will eventually pass away.
What I'm about to write may seem somewhat graphic to some individuals but I'm trying to drive a point home and feel I need to be blunt. I just want to warn you ahead of time before you continue to read this blog.
Last winter, I faced a lot. I had a six centimeter "chunk" cut out of my body and another chunk which contained several lymph nodes removed as well. I had four needles placed in a sensitive area while conscious. They also stick a wire in you so they can find the tumor during surgery. Yes, they numb the skin but that that only makes it so you're not screaming. Internally, you need to function "normally" for awhile as radioactive dye is going through your breast speeding toward which particular lymph nodes fluid from your tumor is draining into to. This is how they try to track down any cancer cells which are on the move. It is not perfect but they're getting better at this.
They gave me a chance to heal just enough so that I could have chemotherapy. Prior to chemo, you do another surgery. A port is placed under you skin which eventually feeds into your Vena Cava. This is so you don't have to have an IV stuck into the actual veins themselves for 4 plus hours every two-three weeks for the duration of chemo which can exceed four months or more. Many chemo drugs are hard on the veins and your veins can actually collapse. Now I had three incisions. One in the breast, one under the arm and one halfway between my breast and collarbone on the other side. Actually, there is a fourth one which is very tiny, right under my collarbone as well.
Next, I was pumped with "poison" every two weeks for 14 weeks. The process itself took 3-5 hours depending on which drugs I was having. After seeing my oncologist and having my bloodwork done, I walked around looking like I was a "Borg" or something with all the stuff hanging from my chest. My hair fell out and my eyes and nose burned from loss of hair in my nasal passages and thinning eyelashes. My skin cells died and didn't reproduce normally because they are fast growing cells which are destroyed by chemo. I looked and felt awful.
To try to counteract all of this, I wore the princess pin pictured in my avatar to every single treatment. It's pinned to a pink hat and reminded me that I was a princess of God even if I didn't look or feel much like one. Then, a month after chemo, I moved on to the "tanning sessions" (radiation).
During the early days of treatment, my husband was so afraid he would hurt me. One day, without thinking about it, he reached out and touched my face. My response shocked him. In the midst of my pain, I closed my eyes, stretched my face closer to him and said "You don't know how good that feels!" He learned a lesson that day. I was feeling isolated and alone. I felt cut off from the human race. I was defective. I was some sort of toxic waste dump. A lot of people are actually afraid to touch people with chemo because they think they might get poisoned and there are wild rumors flying about. Touching me caused me to feel connected once again.
This is getting way too long so I will have to continue writing on this subject later. However, I just wanted people to understand that those of us who battle with chronic illness desperately need to feel loved and cared about and one of the most powerful ways you can convey that is through something as simple as the touch of your hand. This is just not restricted to those of us with chronic illness. We all benefit from being touched by loving hands. I would like to challenge everyone who reads this to ask Jesus who He wants to touch through your hands today. If you rise up to that challenge, your life will never be the same as you bless others and in turn find yourself blessed as well!
K, if I could, I would reach right out to you right now and give you a big hug. Even through your own trials, you always seem to think about others as well.
I ask a special blessing on you from the Father in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord
Awwww... lemme give you a hug for that :). Thank you for sharing this K, you've made me rethink that there may be a deeper relational reasoning behind "laying of hands" (in addition to the spiritual). You know, it is hard for us to understand something we haven't actually experienced but what you are doing on CB is helping us relate better to the circumstances you have been through. I am also sure you are bringing much comfort and blessing to many with your words. You have a wonderful testimony and I praise the Lord for that!
Thank you for sharing this truth in words. I am a hugger by nature and I am often surprised at the different reactions I get. I do try to be tactful, especially when hugging men, and I try to gauge the response so as to not make anyone uncomfortable.
I think we all have heard of studies about orphans who were deprived of touch in their formative years and suffered many challenges as a result.
There is. Of course, not everyone is receptive to touch and you must let the Holy Spirit lead you. However, I have been praying with women I don't even know, felt prompted to ask I could touch them as I prayed and as soon as I touched them, they would suddenly fling themselves into my arms and cry their hearts out as the barriers they had erected crumbled. We often forget that Jesus came to heal the broken-heart also and though we may not always see physical healing that is not to say that God is not at work healing a wounded and sick soul.
This brings tears to my eyes and pain to my heart... I know I am standoffish, as least as far as physical touching. I don't know why. Maybe, like you said, I'm afraid to offend. But the idea that I may have deprived someone of geniune comfort, or even caused them the pain of feeling isolated breaks my heart. I am going to take up your challenge of asking God who I can touch today. Thank you.
Thanks "k" for bringing this whole topic up and I certainly meant what I said about how Jesus interacted with not only the lepers but everyone he ministered to. Isn't it interesting that He had to specifically tell Mary in John 20:17 to not touch him? In the New King James it is translated as "Do not cling to Me". Obviously there had been touching before the resurrection or it would not have come up. Those who have attempted to use this verse to promote obnoxious accusations are insane. All that is happening here is everything you mentioned in this blog.
Jesus was absolutely not afraid to touch anyone (unless the Father said not to). He was willing to touch, hug and hold a leper knowing he could get the horrible disease. His love counteracted the fear to reach out and really show someone He loved them.
I learned in my mom's final year how vital touch was. I would sit and gently stroke her arm or hair and watch her fears and apprehensions about life ending fade away. She also knew that I loved her and that meant more to her than anything else.
Thanks for bringing this up and sorry to have taken so long to respond.
I contemplated on even responding but I felt like you would smile on this.... I had preemie twin girls. They were struggling with life and not doing well. Inside of me they had so much life to them but out in the world they seemed to just lay... I said that to one of the nurses and she immediately got up and starting fixing a new incubator. One of the other nicu nurses asked her what she was doing... she said, "I never thought about it but you know they have been scrunched up together, holding hands, sharing fluids, maybe they just need to FEEL each other". When she put my girls together their heart monitors went nuts and at the exact same time and frequency. They instantly were better.... Matter of fact, they were out of the hospital with in 4 weeks from birth. Since then they are seven now, and one has a heart condition. When Calissta had her heart catherization it was the first time they were ever apart. At midnight Lissa woke up crying for her sister and before I could even grab my phone it started ringing. Alexus just needed to hear sissy. The hospital felt it in the best interest of Calissta to be released right then to go home and recover with her sister. We got home around 2am, Alexus was sitting up with her arms stretched out and whispered "I am here sissy, I'll take care of you" They fell asleep in each others arms... like they do still quite often now. I LOVE feeling loved and I LOVE being touched (BIG hugs and kisses) by my babies. God blessed us with the ability to heal wounds with just a touch. Thank you for your blog... it was beautiful.
Right on the button again k
I didn't learn about 'hugs and touching' until 1976 when God started breaking down the barriers in my life. It has been a long journey but I am truly blessed to be able to receive these jewels now. With all the health issues I have had over the past 20+ years there is nothing that stands out more as a positive aid to recovery than a hug, a kiss or the touch of a hand on mine.
Jamie Degonia (@girlforgod),
That was a beautiful story! Thank you so much for sharing it. When I was in college, I remember reading about an orphanage with a high infant mortality rate. They experimented with having women just come in to rock, hold and talk to the babies. The babies began to thrive. We really do need each other both physically and spiritually!
That was a good reminder that it is never too late to learn or change!