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Love is a Verb: Touch

I could go on about how touch people love massages, getting their hair washed/brushed, sitting next to you, manicures, hugs, hand holding…and the like. BUT that is not what is on my heart today.

Today there’s a woman on my heart, for whom one touch changed EVERYTHING.

This woman had a bleeding disorder.

And in the culture in which she lived…this disorder prevented her from leaving her home. EVER.

Complete isolation.

This disorder also prevented anyone from touching her because she was considered unclean.

Zero touch at all…for 12 years!

12 years equals 3 presidential terms!

12 years equals elementary, jr high, and high school!

To me a quality time and touch person. That would be torture or the very least 12 years of love starvation!

During this 12 long years, she spent everything she had on doctors. They took her money, and left her in worse health than when she started.

So she suffered…in complete isolation for 12 years, and was now without any options.

Just so we are clear here…this poor woman was “unclean” so no one could visit unless they were family who lived with her. But no family is mentioned.

No phone or internet to chat with folks online. No tv. She may have had some books…but considering her poverty…probably not. So she’s most likely bored on top of sick, poor, and lonely.

Then one day….through her window… she began to hear stories of a man from Galilee. A man that was going around laying hands on the sick, and they were being healed.

Lame people were walking.

Blind people were receiving sight, and the deaf were hearing.

And hope crept in…

“…maybe…” She thought.

“I mean…I can’t ask Him to touch me..because I am unclean. But if I can just touch the hem of His garment…”

Faith rose in her.

Despite her weakness, she got up. She got dressed. She left her house. She pressed into the crowd until she could get no closer to Him.

Determined…she dropped to her knees…and crawled through the crowd.

I should also mention that touching a man that is not your husband, father, or son could lead to you getting stoned. And I don’t mean high, buzzed, or whatever kids call it these days…I mean rocks thrown at you until you die.

And still…she pushed on through the crowd until she touched the hem of His garment.

Suddenly…after 12 years…she was healed. No more bleeding. Amazing right?!

Well yes, but she was still considered unclean for 7 more days. And she touched a man who was clearly not a relative.

So she needed to sneak out of there SUPER FAST! But to her dismay she hears, “Who touched Me?”

Shit.

Well…she’s in Roman occupied Israel so she probably said something in Aramaic, Hebrew, or Latin…but come on! If this were you, and after what you have suffered in the past 12 years and you were almost out of there…you’d at least think…

“Damn. So close.”

But back to the brave woman…

She musters her courage and approaches Him…trembling. Then falls on her knees…

“It was me.”

Now I picture a whole crowd of townsfolk, who know who she is, falling over themselves to get away from her. I hear women gossiping, and men yelling their disappoval.

But not my Jesus. He is moved with compassion as she tells Him her story.

He responds by calling her “Daughter.”

It is the only place in the entirety of Scripture Jesus calls anyone daughter.

Personally I picture Jesus taking her by the hands, helping her to stand. Lifting her chin to look in her eyes, before saying…

Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” Luke 8:48 NKJV

Point to ponder while you wander… Touch is a powerful thing. Like words, touch, can lift spirits, encourage, comfort, and even heal. We can all use more of this kind of touch in our lives.

But remember…Love respects people’s personal space and doesn’t touch people without their consent.

When in doubt…give a high five. 🖐❤

Ps…

Luke 8:43-48

Mark 5:25-34

Matthew 9:20-22

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Of Massages and Love Languages

I often carry bags full of books and notebooks.  I tend to sit with one foot tucked under the other leg or sit completely slouched over while reading.  My posture is not ideal.  My hips like to come out of alignment.  Soooo….getting massaged or chiropractically adjusted regularly keeps me out of pain.  

I say this because I had my first massage with a new masseur yesterday.  Whenever I am forced to find a new person for hair or massages or eyebrow waxing…I tend to pray the whole voyage there because a bad massage, haircut, or brow wax makes me a very sad Jill.  I am happy to report WOW!  This guy!  Dear God in Heaven…AH-MAY-ZING!

All that to say that while I was getting all my kinks and sore spots rubbed out I started thinking about the power of touch.  Depending upon the type and intention of the touch it can inspire/encourage or destroy someone.  

Random thoughts through my massage…

Yes.  This is my happy place.

Why do people hit each other?  Deal with your inner crap. Don’t inflict it on others.

I still remember being stunned when an ex-boyfriend backhanded me for calling him out on his bad behavior.

I remember being stunned again when another ex who saw what happened jumped in to protect me.

Everyone’s lives would be better if they had regular massages.

Kids need a certain number of hugs per day for survival and 12 hugs a day to grow.  I told my nephew this.  His response involved an eye roll and a compromise….”Can’t you just hug me once and count to 12?”

Ow.  Wow.  Didn’t realize there was a muscle there that required stretching. Dang!

I wish I were taller so I could still give my niece, Hally Jo, spinny hugs.  The last time I tried, her feet touched the ground and we biffed it spectacularly in front of people.  Not awesome.  We were both in dresses.  She told me a few weeks ago she missed my spinny hugs. My heart melted.  Love that girl.

I know my hair will be greasy and all over the place…but yes…please use pressure points on my head and neck.  Ahhh. Bliss

I miss being able to hug my nieces and nephews.  I miss my people.  I miss sitting next to my sister on her couch.  We both are touch and quality time people so we can just sit next to each other and talk or watch Hallmark movies for days and be at the utmost of contentment.

If I were independently wealthy I’d hire this guy to be my own personal masseur.  #dailymassages #goals

Ahhh…my fave part of a massage is when they massage between my elbows and wrists and hands.  

Hands. When is the last time someone held my hand? Ack. Too long.  

Touch and quality time.  Love languagues.  I think those were my top two.

Stop random thoughts here.  Carry on blog post in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…

Have you read about the 5 love languages?  It’s written by a Ph D wielding therapist named Gary Chapman.  The premise is that people give and receive love differently depending upon what they value most.  I bought the book ages ago and read it.  It wasn’t a perfect theory, but it did give me a heart check on how I love other people.

Since it had been a while, I retook the test.  Quality time is my biggest one.  Followed by touch.  Exactly what I remembered, just in backwards order.  You can take it here.

I love alone time.  I need more of it than most people I know.  When I am with people I prefer to be one on one or in small groups so that we can really talk or bond or what have you.  I alternate between being alone and being with my people one at at time.  When I can do this, it fills me up quick.  It’s how I best show that I love someone, by giving them my time and undivided attention.  But with my recent move, I cannot always do that. 

My second love language is touch.  I sat and thought a lot about this one during my massage and into today.  If I don’t know you, or don’t trust you and you touch me…it makes every part of my insides scream and crawl.  I do not like to be touched by people I don’t trust.  Not even a little bit.  On the reverse side, sitting with a kiddo in my lap reading a story, holding someone’s hand, sitting next to someone I love, hugs, and the like also fills my love tank.  Insert “My name is Olaf and I like warm hugs.” quote here.

I believe love is a verb not an emotion.

For the record I can also speak the other 3 languages…words of affirmation, acts of service, and receiving gifts.  I love to encourage, helping others, and give gifts I think people will really like.  I’m not always awesome at receiving encouragement, people doing things for me, and receiving gifts.  

Words… I love written words.  So I appreciate when people say thank you or that they appreciate me, or send a card telling me that.  And who doesn’t enjoy being told they are loved?

Gifts… I appreciate when someone buys me a random gift that shows they know me well and were thinking about me.  I’m not super big on forced gift giving on anniversaries, holidays, or even my birthday.  I’d much rather just be with the people doing something together.  That’s the best kind of gift to me.  

Acts of service…when I lived with other people I appreciated them picking up after themselves or helping me with yard work and cleaning.  Now I appreciate people who call me when they’re going to the store to see if I’d like to go.  I wait for those moments to buy heavy things.  Carrying multiple 12 packs of LaCroix home a half mile from the nearest store is serious exercise.  😉

Not sure if you’re interested in learning about love languages, but it helped me to pay attention and try to love people the way that they need to be loved.  I’m a big believer in love being a verb not an emotion.  So in that vein.  The next few Terrific Tuesdays will be about love languages.  

Would love to hear any input about what makes you feel loved or ways that you show other people you love them.  Comment away friends.  Comment away.

Point to ponder while you wander… Spinny hugs.  A spinny hug is akin to a secret handshake that started between Hally Jo and I when she was anti-hugs…somewhere around age 5.  I bend down and we give each other something akin to a bear hug. Then I stand tall at 5’2″ and pick her up.  Now the fun part…we spin as fast as I am able to rotate.  Giggles generally ensue here.  Hally Jo insisted that her cousin, Abbe, also about 5, be included in the spinny hug club.