Portrait of a Desperate Woman

Another desperate day dawned. This was one of her “bad” days, a day she would have normally spent in bed, reserving her strength. But she had heard that a Healer was coming through her town. She gathered her resolve while she redressed her bloody wound. Maybe today he would heal her, as he had healed others. Maybe this would be the last day she would feel desperate.

Twelve long years had passed. After her husband died, she grieved. She missed him so much, but she took comfort in knowing all her needs would be met. He had been successful, and he had saved so much to take care of her. She thanked God again for his memory.

Only a few months after his passing, she woke up with a flow of blood that wouldn’t stop. Each time she covered it with a bandage, thinking it would dry up. But every time, she saw that bright red blood when she lifted the cover. She tried to make a salve from healing herbs, but it didn’t help. That’s when her desperation began.

She asked one doctor to take a look, but he couldn’t provide answers. She traveled to many surrounding towns, searching for answers from other doctors, but no one understood the reason. They prescribed expensive treatments, but nothing helped.

Each doctor visit required more money. She had sold off their animals, tools, furniture, dishes, and even treasures like her husband’s staff and the beautiful bracelet he had given her. She had very little left now. Little money, little hope, little time. The last doctor said the bleeding was getting worse, and she would die soon if it didn’t stop.

The flow of blood cut her off from community. She was ceremonially unclean, so she couldn’t visit the temple anymore. People who once respected and included her had shut her out. The flow of blood had cost far more than her money and her health. It had stolen her joy.

She struggled to get out of bed, but managed to get dressed and hide the wound under her robe. She set out on her journey with resolve. She thought, “I don’t even have to speak with him. I don’t want to interrupt him. Perhaps if I simply touch the hem of his robe, I will be healed.”

So many people were coming down from the hillsides, crowding the path. In their excitement they ignored her, bumping past in their rush. She walked with a stoop from pain and exhaustion. Everyone else towered over her. She followed the voices, listening to the Healer preach his stories. His voice gave her new hope.

Yes, she was closer now. She could see a group of his followers encircling him. If she could just reach down by their feet, they wouldn’t even see her. She’d be gone before they knew it. There it was, the hem of his robe. Her hands trembled as she reached out for it.

As soon as his robe brushed her fingertip, she was infused with strength. She felt like a child again, healthy and vigorous. She felt alive and overjoyed. Now she knew she was saved. Praise bubbled up in her heart!

Suddenly the Healer asked, “Who touched my robe?” Her joy turned to fear. She stayed low, even though she didn’t need to stoop anymore. His followers tried to tell him it was impossible to know, in the size of the crowd. But the Healer knew. Somehow she knew he was calling her to come out of hiding. A tremor of fear shook her whole body and propelled her to his feet. The crowd hushed.

She dared not look at him when she told him why she had come. She could hardly suppress her joy as she described her healing after twelve long years, but her fear still held her down.

When he said to her, “Daughter,” she lifted her face to look at him. She saw gentle eyes, full of grace and kindness and peace. She heard the love in his voice.

When was the last time she had been called Daughter? Years and years ago, by her loving father. A memory flashed in her mind. She had run to the field to bring him a drink, and her father gratefully cupped her face in his hands. He had said, “Daughter, you are a blessing.”

For twelve years she had felt like a burden, but this Healer saw her as a blessing.

Then he said, “Your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.”

His words washed an unfamiliar, wonderful peace over her soul. She felt loved, cherished, affirmed. Not only healed in body, but healed in spirit.

This Healer, the one they call Jesus, had given her new life. She would tell everyone she knew.


Have you been a desperate woman? Have you spent all you had, looking for healing? I have never had a physical ailment like this woman described in Matthew 9 and Mark 5. Yet I have spent several seasons in desperation.

As a child of divorce, I had a flow of need that couldn’t be stopped. I craved attention and affection, looking for it wherever I could find it. I spent most of my time, energy, and resources searching out love that eluded me for decades.

In my thirties I finally received healing through therapy and Bible study. I understood that the kind of love I’d been searching for so desperately could only be found in a relationship with Jesus. My human relationships could go only so far. I needed Jesus to give me the limitless attention and boundless love I craved.

Jesus has called me “Daughter” too. He has commended me for my faith, saying it was the path to healing. He ended my days of emotional suffering. He gave me peace to move forward.

If you are desperately searching for healing, be brave and put yourself at Jesus’ feet like the woman in this story. He is waiting to heal you with a simple touch. He will put your desperation to rest and give you perfect peace, if you go to him for healing.

Questions for reflection:

What area of your heart is desperate today?

If God has healed you from your desperation, who will you tell this week?


You’ll find the Women Who Jesus Loved series here every Wednesday morning through the end of July. I’ll also post book reviews on Mondays and participate in Five Minute Fridays. I look forward to seeing you here this summer!

My book The Fruitful Life is a study on the fruits of the spirit, and my book Newness of Life is about trusting in God’s perfect timing.  Both books are available now on Amazon.

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  • I love the practice of entering into the experiences of our biblical sisters in the faith. And it’s almost as if we borrow their faith by believing all that God did for them, and then trusting that He can work powerfully in our lives as well!

    • Sarah Geringer

      Hi Michele, I have not done much fiction writing, but it’s been fun to do so in this series. It’s always good to imagine ourselves in our biblical sisters’ shoes, and imagine how they’d feel if they stepped into our shoes today. Yes, we can learn much about faith and trust by entering their stories.

  • Alice Mills

    I always feel desperate for more of Jesus. I know there is always more to be had. What I have tasted of the goodness of God spurs me on…

    • Sarah Geringer

      Hello Alice. I’m glad you shared here. I enjoyed my visit to your blog today!

  • I love what you’re doing in this series of posts, Sarah. It always brings to life those brief encounters we have with women like this woman with the flow of blood. And I really appreciate your transparency on your own life and how it relates to this woman as well. Wonderful job and thought-provoking story!

    • Sarah Geringer

      Thanks Beth! I’m glad you’re enjoying the series, and I’m counting down the weeks until we meet at She Speaks. How is your book proposal coming along, if you’re doing one? I’ll be tackling mine next week!

  • Sarah, I loved this. I felt as if I was right there in that story. I loved how you compared it to your own experiences of desperation under different circumstances. This is so encouraging and makes me (and others I’m sure) feel understood and never alone! Thank you!

    • Sarah Geringer

      Thanks for your kind words today, Leslie! I hope it encourages others like you mentioned. Can’t wait to meet you in person at She Speaks!

  • This is beautiful, Sarah. The line that touched me the most was this: “For twelve years she had felt like a burden, but this Healer saw her as a blessing.” I can identify with feeling like a burden, and love the reminder that Jesus sees me as a blessing.

    • Sarah Geringer

      Hi Jennie. I’m glad you enjoyed my post. God has helped me feel like a blessing instead of a burden, and that’s why I included the line in the story. Blessings to you!

  • Bev @ Walking Well With God

    This is absolutely beautiful! I am encouraged by your personal testimony. My adult daughter is a “child” of divorce and though she was raised in the church and with Christian values, I see her, like you, craving attention and affirmation in every corner except in God’s Word. She sees a Christian counselor, but reads the words of mere men and women instead of God’s Word. I have tried, and I pray that she will find the truth and contentment that you have found. That is my earnest prayer because I see that she is desperate and my reassurance of my love does not quench the thirst. Thank you for sharing.

    • Sarah Geringer

      Hi Bev. I’m sorry your daughter is dealing with such trials. My goal is to minister to those who feel fatherless, particularly because of divorce. I have written extensively about my pain from my parents’ divorce on this blog, mostly last summer. If you’d like me to compile a list of links for her, please let me know. Blessings to you!

      • Bev @ Walking Well With God

        That would be great. If you could send them to my email address: bevduncan103@yahoo.com. I see her searching, much like you did, in all the wrong places – looking for that love and affirmation she desperately desires. All human relationships will fail us at some point, whether it’s for an hour, a day, a season, or a lifetime, but God and His Son Jesus are the only ones that never disappoint. Is there a particular Bible study that spoke to you? I would love to see her in the Word reading of God’s love for her – word by word, chapter by chapter. Instead she reads the words of men and women that will never quite fill the void either. Thanks for your help and prayers welcomed.

        • Sarah Geringer

          Emailing you now, Bev!

  • To be called “daughter” is the honor of my lifetime. Thanks for sharing your heart here along those same lines, Sarah. This is true for me, too: “My human relationships could go only so far. I needed Jesus to give me the limitless attention and boundless love I craved.”

    • Sarah Geringer

      Hi Lisa! Thank you for stopping by. Happy summer to you!

  • Julie Loos

    Beautiful Sarah! So glad I stopped by:)
    Visiting from #Salt&Light

    • Sarah Geringer

      Thanks Julie! I love that new linkup!

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  • KristinHillTaylor

    What a powerful post, Sarah! Thanks for linking it up at my #PorchStories.

    • Sarah Geringer

      Hi Kristin! I’m glad I found your linkup. I have enjoyed it recently, and I plan to be a regular at your site. Blessings to you!

  • What a powerful post, Sarah! I too was a desperate woman when I came to Christ. I’m so thankful that God allowed me to come to that point where I could no longer deny it! Thanks for sharing.

    • Sarah Geringer

      Thanks Donna! Blessings to you!

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  • This woman has always inspired and intrigued me, but I’ve never looked at her in this way. It’s got me wondering about my own flow of need and how a single touch of Jesus can heal it. Thank you for a beautiful post.

    • Sarah Geringer

      Hello Christa, I’m glad you visited. Every time I visit your site, I learn something new. Blessings to you, and I’m looking forward to meeting you at She Speaks 2017!

  • Natalie Venegas

    This lovely description of the hurting and desperate woman is one I’m sure every woman can relate to at one time or another. We’ve all felt that way. I could almost feel her joy as Jesus uttered the word “healed”. Thank you for linking up at Salt & Light.

    • Sarah Geringer

      Hi Natalie, I’m so grateful for the new Salt & Light linkup. Thanks for visiting!

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