Touch the hem of His robe

Today in church we read Matthew 14. The message honed in on the story of Peter getting out of the boat to walk on water. I was caught up in what happened just after that when Jesus got to the other side.

34 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him 36 and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.

When my brother was sick I was praying all. the. time. Little bits of bible verses would come to mind and I would pray them for my brother. This passage reminded me of a similar story of the woman who had been bleeding for years. It’s found in Matthew 9, Luke 8 and Mark 5 where we get the longest account.

The story tells that crowds of people were pushing around Jesus and this woman thought to herself, if I can just touch his robe, I’ll get well. She got herself through the crowd and touched Jesus’ clothes. Instantly she felt the blood dry up (message version) and knew she had been healed completely. Jesus knew something had happened to and asked who touched him. The disciples were like, um… we’re in a crowd. Literally, everyone is touching you.

31 His disciples said, “What are you talking about? With this crowd pushing and jostling you, you’re asking, ‘Who touched me?’ Dozens have touched you!”

Jesus is persistent and says he felt power go out of him. The woman knows she has to fess up so she tells her whole story while she kneels at his feet.

And this is the best part. When Jesus responds he tells her “Daughter, you took a risk of faith, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed! Be healed of your plague.” (Matthew 5:34)

Often when I would pray for my brother to be healed I would reference this story in my prayers. I would tell/ask God, hey— just let him touch the hem of your robe and be healed. Just a tiny piece of your power. Could you direct it to his body and heal him?

Going back to the verses we read today from Matthew 14.

34 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him 36 and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.

Reading it brought to mind all those prayers I had prayed. Prayers left unanswered for who knows why. Or maybe they were answered and my brother lived much longer than was originally intended. I have no idea, but I like that possibility.

Okay, back to these verses ^^

I love that all the surrounding areas were like, “Hey- Jesus is in town, bring all the sick to be healed!” And I imagined what it would be like if Jesus’ time on earth coincided with my little life right now. Jesus being in town, or just getting to the other side of a lake would be big news. I would have bought two airline tickets so fast to get my brother to wherever Jesus was. Just to push him through the crowds to touch the edge of His clothes so he could be healed.

When my brother died two years ago I yelled/prayed to God to remind Him that I was asking for my brother to be healed here, not in heaven!

So what do I do with these thoughts now? Knowing Justin could be sitting with Jesus this moment? Heck, maybe he has touched the hem of His robe!

Image courtesy of: Hem of his garment, "Faith that Touches" sermon at

The truth is- I don’t know what to do with these thoughts. And to be honest they don’t come with as much frequency as they used to. So when they do, I just write them down to make note of them. To remember.

The only thing I can think to say is what my dad said just the other day. “It’s weird that he’s not here.”

Six short words. But it sums up all my feelings too.



I asked God for a baby

I tried to calm my nerves as I sat in the hard plastic chair at the OB/GYN office. The doctor returned with my chart and started talking. From the moment she said the word infertility, I wanted her to take it back. It was the word I was dreading to hear and she had just said it, all matter of fact. The doctor kept talking, but I couldn’t hear her anymore. My brain had tuned her out. I was crushed. I felt alone. I was in a new club that I never wanted to join.

I found myself crying in all sorts of places in the days that followed. It’s weird how a small shift in awareness can cause us to see everything just a little bit differently. I cried as I walked past the infant clothes in Target, while watching a commercial with a mom bathing her newborn, and when my period arrived abruptly to mark another month that we were not pregnant.

I asked God for a baby. Others asked God to give us a baby too.

But no baby came.

My husband and I had been trying to get pregnant for 18 months when we received the infertility diagnosis. We had been attending a new church for about the same length of time. We were leading a small group for young married couples without kids, just like us. That community became our safe space. We learned how to be real and vulnerable with these friends. It was the first place we would share our story of infertility.  

I looked at this time of waiting as a season that would eventually end, so I thought I would find something to do in the meantime. One night at a party, a friend asked me to volunteer with the teens at our church. I told him I already helped with the babies in the nursery. My friend joked, “Sometimes the teens act like babies.” We laughed and I shrugged it off. Teenagers intimidated me in high school, and my irrational fear hadn’t gone away in my twenties.

A couple months later, another friend asked me to seriously consider joining the youth team. I told her I didn’t know why she was asking me. She said there were kids that were shy and quiet like me and she terrified them because she’s loud and outgoing. She told me I had the unique opportunity to connect with those kids. That stuck. I considered it and soon I was a youth leader, and my husband joined the team, too.

We worked with the teens together, but separately. He did the loud, wild and crazy Wednesday nights leading small groups with the guys. I helped lead the slower Sunday mornings where we asked real questions and allowed each other to struggle for answers. We were making connections with the same students in different ways, and I loved it.

Somewhere along the line, one of the guys made a joke about my husband being old (to a teen anything near 30 is ancient) and the student began to jokingly call him “Dad.” My husband didn’t miss a beat and he called the teen “Son.” Somehow it stuck and this went on for more than two years.

I’ve been on mission trips and weekend retreats with these students. I’ve watched them grow in height, confidence, and maturity. We’ve had girls nights where we’ve baked, played spoons for hours, and laughed until our cheeks hurt. I’ve been able to cheer on teens at their band concerts, musicals, one-act plays, dance performances, and cheer-leading competitions. We’ve paddled around in canoes talking about life, sang Disney songs at the top of our lungs, and hugged and cried in public restrooms when necessary.

My life didn’t turn out the way I imagined. We still don’t have kids of our own running around. But there are over 100 teens that I was given the privilege to get to know, and they all have a special place in my heart. They wiggled their way right in. I think I was ready. I was open. And I had some extra love to give.  

One Mother’s Day I woke up to a text from the teen who called my husband “Dad.” It simply said, “Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.” And my heart burst wide open.

No one had ever called me that before.

I asked God for a baby, and He gave me teenagers.


**This post was originally written for and entered in a writer’s contest here. Voting is over now, but your votes bumped me up to the number 18 spot out of 115 submissions- thank you!