The Lame Man

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” (John 5:8 NIV)

It was at the pools of Bethesda where 1 of 2 recorded healing miracles took place by Jesus in the book of John (*the second was at the Pool of Siloam where Jesus healed the blind man*).

The pools of Bethesda (Bethesda, also meaning “House of mercy”) is situated right next to the Church of St. Anne – a beautiful Roman Catholic church with incredible acoustics that would make you swoon. Also known as the home site of the Virgin Mary’s parents and where the Virgin Mary was born.

I have read that the pools of Bethesda were used for three purposes. 1) To collect water that met the daily needs of people living in Jerusalem. 2) To wash sacrificial animals of worshippers on their way to the temple grounds – where the people brought their animals for sacrifice through the Sheep Gate. 3) Where people with physical disabilities gathered around the pool, hoping to receive a miraculous cure when, it is believed, the angels stirred the waters. This – is where the lame man of 38 years laid on his mat, waiting for someone to help him in. This – is where he met Jesus and his story of healing was recorded. For me. For you. For us.

Pools of Bethesda

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I’ve just returned home from a 10 day trip visiting the Holy Land, Israel. The Pools of Bethesda was one of many places we visited. Standing in this same exact place where that miracle happened was extremely emotional for me. I knew I would find some appreciation there, but I wasn’t expecting to be so consumed by it. I had read the lame man’s story so many times before and had heard so many sermons based on it – it seemed like a fairy tale. To visually see where Jesus had met such a man and offered him such a gift was overwhelming. It was especially overwhelming because not long before arriving at this site, my group and I had to walk up a pretty steep hill which proved to be a challenge for me as I started to have some chest pains and difficulty breathing. I have prayed many prayers since being diagnosed with Lupus, asking God to restore my health while also believing that He has a purpose even in my illness. I watched most of my group effortlessly walk up the hill and got angry with myself, ignoring all thoughts of taking a break to rest. I kept thinking about how before my diagnosis, I used to be able to climb hills with no problems at all. I didn’t want to fall behind; I didn’t want to be “that girl” and it was infuriating. My ego was infuriating. But then I made it to this place – with a few puffs of my inhaler – and it seemed like God was working on my heart even before I got there. I stood there and looked out at the ruins and as our tour guide shared with us the significance of this place, I couldn’t hear any of it. All I know is that God had walked with me up that hill, had met me there, and was in that moment, healing a piece of my heart.

***

At some point, the group had made their way a few steps over into the Church of St. Anne but I couldn’t bring myself to move. I just wanted to stay in God’s presence and receive the healing He had for me. I realized one of the guys in our group had stayed behind and was not far from me. I don’t know if he stayed behind because he recognized what was going on internally or if he was just being a gentleman and didn’t want to leave me alone. Either way, I was happy to have a friend. After a few minutes, we made our way into the church to join the group who was now at the front singing. I can’t remember what the song was, I just know that it was beautiful. My friend was still next to me comforting me as I cried out so desperately for Jesus, listening to my friends sing praises to Him, every note perfectly captured by the acoustics. God was softening my heart. After listening to a few other tour groups sing, we left the church and right outside, stopped and decided to pray for a member of our group who had fractured her ankle the previous day while in Beit She’an – where the bodies of King Saul and his sons were hung from the city walls (1 Samuel 31:10-12). Before leaving, my sweet friend Maegan asked the group if it was ok that she pray over me. I had slowly been sharing with members of the group – my new friends – my diagnosis with Lupus and she had saw me struggle to catch my breath a few times that day. And so, with the pool of Bethesda in view, right outside of the Church of St. Anne, and surrounded by my new friends, I received their prayers of strength and healing.

***

Before this trip, I don’t think I ever realized that the scriptures never actually say the disabled man got into the water. It simply says that (as he laid there), “Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!” Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking!…” (vs. 8-9). I’d like to believe that, like the lame man, without having to step foot in the water, I received my healing. Maybe not physically (yet), but a piece of my heart was healed right there, at the pools of Bethesda.

All my love, Syd

 

R E F L E C T – 2018

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

Second week into the New Year and I have been enjoying reading and hearing of other people’s reflections of their 2018 year. Marriages, babies, new businesses, #MoreLIFE… I enjoy living vicariously through others and it’s always a nice reminder that with their happiness means happiness is in the neighborhood! Because ya’ll, happiness wasn’t always the case for me in 2018. 2018 was a growing year where naturally, the changing conditions, stretching, and development was pretty painful but mostly just uncomfortable.

Five minutes into our last session of the year, my therapist (oh yea, I’m in counseling now – we’ll get into that another day) asked me to draw a picture in my head of what my future looked like. After a few seconds of desperately trying to force a picture into my mind, I gave up… “I can’t see it.” He told me to try again and I, very adamantly proclaimed that I. COULD. NOT. SEE. IT.Read More »

Pumpkin Patch & Family Traditions

“The greatest healing therapy is family and love.”

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We took the little humans of our family – my little sister and little cousins – to the pumpkin patch last weekend but I’ll admit, I probably enjoy the pumpkin patch as much as, if not more, than they do 🙊 I love everything about the experience – the maze, the hayrides, the photo ops (obviously), and picking out the perfect pumpkins that would come home with us.

But mostly what I love so much about it is that we’ve all intentionally carved out some time to spend with each other – as a family. Especially because life can get so busy and filled with day-to-day responsibilities. Going to the pumpkin patch every year is one of our family traditions I hold super close to my heart. I spent a lot of time this year just watching my family and enjoying their company. I guess as I’m getting older, and knowing that this life living with lupus can be difficult, maintaining family traditions means so much more to me now. Not just because it’s something we DO, but because making memories with the people I love, and who love me, is the thing that pushes me through the very hard days.

On the days when I am too tired or in too much pain to do anything, I can think back to watching my mother, sister, and cousin jump from haystack to haystack trying not to fall. When we fed the goats and pet the cows or when my cousin and uncle helped me find the perfect little baby pumpkin just because I love cute things. These are the memories that brings a smile to my face on the days I feel so defeated. Family traditions and quality time has this beautiful potential to bring incredible healing.

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What are some of your favorite family traditions?

Pumpkin

 

All my love,

Syd

I can feel the transition. And it kinda hurts!

“Spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence. Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance. Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence. Winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance.” — Yoko Ono

***

Almost exactly one year ago is when I started showing symptoms of lupus, when the seasons started to transition from Summer to Fall. I was spending A LOT of time in the sun and then thrown into cold, wet weather. I remember being in Miami on a girl’s trip for my good friend’s birthday and just feeling soooo exhausted the entire trip. I had no real way of explaining it other than just feeling tired and achy.

Miami2017

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