Touch: When God Steps In

As I have been reading Michele Cushatt’s latest book, Relentless, a question arose this week that left my heart uncovered and bare: Where have you seen the touch of God, this incarnate God coming to earth, through the touch of others in your life through the years?

A poem was stirred as I remembered …

Sweet gift of warmers
Poetry spoken “To Feel the Touch”

To Feel The Touch

the touch on my wrist felt soft like wool
floating over the swollen painful places
the cry in my heart felt dark like a wall
closing over love's last traces

the memory came then as a phantom
swimming before my eyes' vision
there was one who had shared this
crushing pain crashing in collision

why had God joined my years' path
living alongside another's pain
when my future known only to Him
sinking would fall like rain

It was HIS touch after all
preparing my way of seeing
that God never shuts out but
calling, His Love is the freeing.
--bg

And I was suddenly back in my memories …

I was a young mother with two little ones, and another on the way, standing with the vacuum in my hand, preparing to clean the room of the dear woman my family was staying with. She had been forced to stay in bed that day, and while she expressed gratitude for my help, she told me about the symptoms of her disease. The pain and inflammation of Rheumatoid Arthritis had severely crippled her hands. Although there were days that her medication gave her energy and strength, there were days that nothing would help.

And I stood on the outside looking in.

The years rolled by, and I was back in the Midwest with my children, now teenagers, and I stood next to another woman. I had been called to intercede for her, to carry her heart to Jesus. I watched her massage her hands, and listen to her brief words that mentioned her disease of Rheumatoid Arthritis, but she spoke very little of how the symptoms affected her.

And I stood on the outside looking in.

One touch freely open to share the pain, and one touch shut away to hide the pain. Neither woman remained in my life for long. God sent our paths in different directions.

And yet, their touches remained as something so vivid that when the memories were stirred I knew the touches were gifts from God out of my past but planned for my future. Somehow God was asking me to look more closely at His gift of drawing us in, of touching our hearts, of touching our souls.

The years rolled on yet again, and my children were grown. I had recognized the gift being given to me by my Vietnamese daughter-in-law when she asked me to travel with her to Vietnam. Alone, just the two of us, I knew that only God would get us through the airports and customs, as she spoke little English, and I spoke no Vietnamese. But God gave us His miracles.

Not only did we arrive there safely, but I was awed by the family’s hospitality and love. They were awed by my health, as almost all Americans were usually ill during their first visits to the countryside there.

On the last night of my stay there, my daughter-in-law’s father told about a dream that he had had years before. In his dream, an older woman approached him and told him not to worry about his daughter. She was going to go with her far away, and she would make sure that she was well taken care of. … He told me he thought I was the woman in the dream.

And my heart cried out because I too had had a dream years before. I was whisked away to an Asian country, and stood in the middle of a group of dear ones sitting on the ground. As they looked up at me, a single light bulb shined overhead, and I was so thankful to be sharing the love of Jesus. That very scene had played out earlier during the trip, as I prayed for one of the family members.

But as I write this story, that dear father is facing his last days on earth. My heart has been forever changed and touched by the love of Jesus that I have carried for him and his family, as they all have become joined with my family now. Many of them have since moved to the U.S. and live with and close to my son and daughter-in-law.

How could these stories be inter-connected?

It is the touch of God that makes all the difference in our lives.

The heavens declare the glory of God;

    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Day after day they pour forth speech;

    night after night they reveal knowledge.

They have no speech, they use no words;

    no sound is heard from them.

Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,

    their words to the ends of the world.

Psalm 19:1-4 NIV

While we, in our flesh, seek to isolate, to label, to hide our pain, God calls us out. His touch always joins us together, calls us to His love, and uncovers the places that need HIS healing.

He never hides. He never isolates. He never shuts away.

And my heart broke open with the mercy of His touch.

Just this week, as I am now in a place of failing health and chronic illness, my nerve block injections have pierced through the skin and muscles of the back of my head. But His compassions have been piercing through the shell of my heart.

Even as the medication has pulsed through the sinews of my scalp, the precious living water from the heart of Jesus has pulsed through to the heartbeat of my soul.

It is the touch of God that makes all the difference in my life.

I am not cut-off, I am not isolated, I am not hidden in my pain. No, because of Jesus, I have been called out to love, to share, and to offer the same grace that has been so freely poured over my life.

Poured from beginning to end, from the past to the future. He has been weaving His plans to transform my heart all along.

Garden Gate Vietnam

Lord, you are my God;

    I will exalt you and praise your name,

for in perfect faithfulness

    you have done wonderful things,

    things planned long ago.

Isaiah 25:1 NIV

Is there a pulsing pain in your heart today?

Have you felt isolated or cut-off from those who have stood apart from you?

I would love to pray with you today, my friend.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for breaking through the shell of this world and coming to be with us, to touch our lives. We stand in awe of the weaving and connecting that You have brought as You have allowed our lives to be touched by the lives of others. Forgive us for the times that we have pulled back from those touches, tried to hide from those touches, or even disdained those touches. It has always been YOU calling out to us from within the hearts of those You have brought to us. Help us to open our eyes and see the beauty of Your touch. Show us the ways that You always include us within Your love. Show us how to be people who step outside of our shells and draw in with the love You have given.

In Your precious name we pray,

Amen.

**And for those of you dear friends who pray for me, I so appreciate every prayer, even as I begin the new RA infusions this coming Friday, March 13. May God’s be the touch I am so aware of again.**

I am linking with: #TellHisStory #LegacyLinkUp #Grace&Truth

20 thoughts on “Touch: When God Steps In

  1. Oh Bettie, God often touches my heart through you. Thank you for sharing His touch in your life and through your pain. This part of your prayer especially describes the longing of my heart, too – “Help us to open our eyes and see the beauty of Your touch. Show us the ways that You always include us within Your love. Show us how to be people who step outside of our shells and draw in with the love You have given.” Amen! May God give you the touch of His peace that pushes out the anxiety that comes with those bad memories of previous RA infusions, and may the infusions this time give your body a break from the pain! Love, blessings, and hugs to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Trudy,
      Thank you so much for your precious prayer for this Friday! I want to copy this and take it with me, to keep in front of me. I hadn’t thought of doing that before, but I’m going to try to remember the prayers that have been shared with me, and put them in my journal. You are such a blessing to me, dear friend. I do pray that God would continue to give us HIS love to share from within these moments of our days. Love and blessings, and hugs to you! xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Bettie, this is beautiful. You’ve written a lovely testimony of how God has weaved your life up until this very moment. All the threads have His purpose and a picture we often do not see. To read yours brings me hope of His relentless love for us. I am sorry your current loss of that dear father. And pray your continual clinging to God reveals more of His touches each moment of your day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Lynn,
      I am so thankful that God brought you hope here, and a glimpse of His relentless love. He does weave so many threads and touches together in ways that we cannot even imagine. I am praying that He will unravel some of those threads and let you see His touch in your life too, dear friend. Thank you for your sweet comfort and encouragement. We are still praying for our daughter-in-law’s father, as he continues to linger here. Grace upon Grace! Blessings to you this week!

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  3. What a beautiful, heartfelt story, Bettie. What a testament to God’s love. I have thought about seeing and even smelling God’s love, but never before considered how it is there in our sense of touch. Thank you for sharing with us today!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Laurie,
      Amen, our God is such a great giver of Love! I love the way you have tied in the sense of touch along with the senses of sight and smell for God’s working in our lives! Isn’t it amazing how He lets us share such beautiful thoughts with each other? Thank you for your encouragement today! Blessings to you.

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  4. Good afternoon, Bettie. Your pen is anointed from heaven as it tells of all those God has touched throughout your life and how that same God touched you in His weaving. I feel joy for you as I read your story, seeing how gently but firmly God prepared you for what was to come in your own body. I wonder if He puts us all on the outside of situations He knows we will be on the inside of … I doubt it, for He is a personal God who leads you through life with intentional goodness. And praise His powerful compassion for piercing your heart, reaffirming He is with you until the end of the age. Bettie, I am keeping you in prayer this week. That infusion, Lord, make it be successful! Love, Julie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Dear Julie, thank you for your precious prayers and encouragement over so many months and years here. Truly God is so good and so personal to let us touch each other’s lives with His own love. I want to keep my eyes open for more of that thought, now that He has begun giving me such glimpses. I do think you are right that He places us in such circumstances so that He can reveal His love to us even more fully down through the years. Even the hard places can be such instances of His healing. (Yesterday was one of those hard days for me. But even then, He was with me in my resting too.) May He continue to touch you today as you rest in His presence. And thank you for being so persistent to work with the comments here! Blessings and love to you dear friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Beautiful, beautiful post, dear Bettie. You’ve reminded me to remember touches of God from my past and present too. We’re never alone.
    May your Friday infusion find you also infused with His peace and joy. I pray your pain is minimal. I pray you experience maximum comfort from the Lord.
    Gentle hugs ~ Wendy Mac xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Wendy,
      Oh, yes, isn’t it such a wonderful truth to remember that we are never alone? I pray that God will bring you such precious memories of the presence of His touch as you linger with Him. And thank you so much for your dear prayers. I’m making a collection in my journal app, to read all of the prayers that have been offered, as I will be at the infusion on Friday. Such a precious gift from the Lord! Blessings, love and gentle hugs for you also dear friend. xo

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  6. Oh, Bettie, your poem is so beautiful and doubly so with your sweet voice reading it. It’s so good how God had you come in contact with others with RA long before you got it. He knows our every need and even in our pain we can encourage and help someone else. I feel so bad that you have had to go through so much pain in your life, but out of it you bring such beautiful encouragement. Your life is a beautiful picture of God’s love as you shine His light so brightly. Much love to you with many blessings, my dear sister/poet/friend! xoxo P.S. Thank you for inspiring me to read my poem today.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Gayl,
      I am so glad that God brought you inspiration here today. You have so often brought inspiration to me! He is so tender and so gracious to us through even the hardest of days. And you have so often been part of that graciousness to me, as you have shared Scriptures and beauty with me. I pray that we will allow Him to open our hearts of sharing even more. His ways are so much higher than ours. Blessings, love, and hugs to you dear poet/sister/friend. xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Bettie, these reflections echo long with such depth, the poems and memoirs. Wow! The incredible touches of God’s hand through the experiences of the two women you knew long ago and how God prepared you for the difficult road ahead with a lesson of open sharing, both for your ministry to others and for you to know you are not alone. Then that miraculous story of your daughter-in-law and her family! God is awesome! Having God give you both a dream that was fulfilled through each other is so sacred and precious, to be treasured deeply as His tender and visible touch moving in your midst. I am praying for eyes to see His touch more clearly in my own life. I am praying for you even now and have written your name on my calendar for Friday, March 13. May God touch your mind and spirit with Holy Spirit supernatural hope and peace. Blessings and love, Melissa

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Melissa,
      Oh, I will pray with you for God to give you such precious glimpses into His touch throughout your life also. He has led us with such grace and mercy, even through the hard times. I am so amazed that He weaves such miracles together, and sometimes we don’t recognize them until we look back. May I praise Him more also! And thank you dear friend for your sweet prayers! I mentioned this above, but God has put it on my heart to combine all of these prayers that have been spoken into my online journal/notes app, so that I can re-read them & pray along with all of you on Thursday night and Friday during the infusion. Blessings and love to you also!

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  8. Hi Bettie, I just read this amazing post. How precious was the timing. Those amazing touches… Jesus embraces us with skin on. Thank you for being vulnerable and real. I’ve come to really value that and want it to be so in my own life. May God hold you up with the love of so many people. Hugs friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Wendy,
      Yes, you have expressed that so beautifully: “Jesus embraces us with skin on.” I appreciate your sharing in vulnerability and realness also, dear friend. I’ve seen that in you from the first months that I began blogging and was drawn to your writing and art! Thank you so much for your precious prayers. Blessings and hugs to you also, dear friend! xo

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  9. Beautiful post Bettie,
    I thought about the people who touched my life who had Fibromyalgia & I stood looking in at their pain, years before I was diagnosed with it.
    God prepares us along the way & our chronic pain is preparing others to press into His strength.
    Praying for you dear friend. ♥
    Blessings,
    Jennifer

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Jennifer, Yes, isn’t our God so amazing in the way that He leads and prepares our pathway ahead of us? We so often do not see it at the time, but He continues to draw us into His heart. Thank you so much for your prayers, sweet friend. Blessings and love to you also!

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