Desperate for Healing

Recently I read a story in the Bible about a woman whose daughter was seriously ill. As I reflected on this story, it offered no real details about the nature of the illness that this little girl was suffering. So, I did not know if it was physical, mental, spiritual, or emotional.  All I could glean from this story is that this mother was desperate for a healing for her daughter.

You see, the interesting thing about this story is that she was a Gentile woman seeking out Jesus, a Jew, for healing.  It is revealed in the story that she heard about the healing power of Jesus. A Gentile woman in the first century could risk great suffering by approaching any man in public, particularly a Jewish man, but her little daughter was deathly ill and she just wanted her to be well.

Her faith for her daughter to be healed was powerful! She continued to believe for her daughter’s healing and for an opportunity to get to Jesus to present her request. Upon arriving at the place where Jesus was, she sought him in great humility only to hear from Jesus himself that he had to get healing to his Jewish community first before he could offer it to the Gentiles. Wow, how discouraging that could have been; but this woman was so desperate for a healing that she was not affected personally by Jesus’ words, not sulking,  feeling dejected, or leaving the scene with her head hung low.

This message from Jesus did not deter this woman, but made her even more relentless in her pursuit; she was desperate for a healing for her little daughter. Her persistent faith in Jesus’ ability so impressed him that he celebrated and honored this woman’s faith. He declared her little daughter healed and sent the woman back home in peace. When this mother arrived at home, her daughter was resting peacefully. You can read the entire story in the Bible in the book of Mark, chapter seven, verses twenty-four through thirty.

I can so identify with this woman whose pain and struggle I understand. In 2013, my own daughter, at the age of twenty- three was abruptly challenged by a mental illness. As a professional having worked with many families over the years, encouraging them and compassionately walking them through their dilemmas, I found myself confronted with a faith crisis. It became a lonely and difficult journey to see my child in torment daily, trying desperately to understand the change in her life and struggling to get back to the normalcy she remembered without doctors, counselors, and medication.

Mental illness is real and it happens across cultures, regardless of economic status, to real human beings who want to be loved and treated with understanding, dignity, and respect. Even my family has had to struggle for understanding, services, support, and committed advocacy for my daughter. As a mother and a Mental Health Professional, I had to step up and be all of these things for my daughter. At times, my road has been met with challenges and we are still facing challenges.

It has been my unrelenting faith in God and my commitment not to give up on my daughter as she makes her way back to wholeness that has gotten us through.  I, too, am a mother who is desperate for a healing for my daughter, and I believe God has heard and will answer my prayers and the prayers of so many other mothers and fathers who are on this journey. My faith in God has grown even stronger, and I have not wavered in my commitment to be a voice for the mentally ill. I am even more committed to help them share their stories of pain and struggle.

I still believe Jesus is the answer. My daughter and I, along with many other daughters in the world who are suffering, wait like this woman who took her daughter’s needs to Jesus and heard him say, “Go home, your daughter is well.” I don’t mind waiting to hear those words!

To mothers everywhere who have a daughter or a son affected by mental illness, I am desperately seeking in faith for Jesus to grant their healing. Be encouraged; reach out in the community for support. There are still good people who are advocating for the mentally ill.

I am on the journey with you! ~ Peace

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