“Band-aids just hold the blood in”

This is what my then 7 year old told me after a nasty bike fall in the cul-de-sac. He came in scraped on every bony part, a little bloody, but mostly just sad. He’s my sensitive one. He needs lots of sleep, hugs and kind words. His heart is very tender and can be broken in an instant. Especially an instant that involves concrete and blood. Thru his big tears, he shows me all the boo boos and immediately asks for band-aids. He requests the emoji band-aids his Gigi got him, and he always wants the poop emoji.

I get out the Tupperware that holds all the medicine. It’s really a mess in there. Purple Cough syrup and Pink Benedryl have leaked and formed a tie dye swirl on the bottom. I get a little lost in the stickiness of it all, picking up a tube of yeast infection cream and begin to squirt it on the band-aid. Luckily, I catch myself and reach for the Neosporin tube next to it. Who knows what Vagisil might do to his cut or his tender heart. As I’m sticking on all four band-aids, (he needed a few extra) he says, “Mom, band-aids just hold the blood in.” I agree, and we head down the stairs, but something about this statement sticks with me. Literally. 

My boys want band-aids for everything. They think they hold some kind of healing power. Any bump, bloody or not, and they want a band-aid. They just make them feel better. One day we were out of masking tape, and Ben asked to use a band-aid for his project. It’s as if these sticky things are magic. But today, Ben seemed to have realized they were not. “Band-aids just hold the blood in” he says. They don’t heal the wound, they just hold the blood in. 

Somewhere along the way I began to believe that band-aids were magic too. I used to be a school counselor. I loved this job but I also felt very torn. Kids would come in my office for 20 minutes, have a good cry and a good talk. Then I would give them a hug and a sucker and send them back to class. I always said I was just sticking band-aids on them because I knew 20 minutes was never enough time to really help them. 

But I wonder, how many band-aids have I put on my wounded heart? Just hoping they would heal it, stop the pain, make things ok? But they were just holding the blood in. How many sticky things have I applied thinking they were magical? Good behaviors, bad behaviors, unwise relationships, Instagram posts, chocolate brownies, compromises, lies, insults, bible studies even?  How many band-aids have I used to cope or numb the pain or distract me, thinking they might heal my brokenness, make me feel like I was enough, but they only kept the blood in. There was no healing, I just wasn’t bleeding all over everyone, so I thought it was ok. 

What’s so scary about bleeding anyway? Why is it that the sight of blood scares children and they just want a band-aid to hold the blood in? Why don’t I want anyone to see me bleed? It’s too much, too vulnerable. Blood is messy and people don’t like to get messy. 

Well, I’m tired of band-aids. I want the real stuff, the real healing. Real healing comes with a cost. It requires time, time of quiet and solitude before God, so you can really hear what he has to say about those broken places. It takes confession, confession to others for all the things you’ve used or abused to cover up those broken places. It takes humility, humility to admit that you don’t have it all together and you are willing to stop hiding those broken places. It takes some fire in your belly, fire in your belly to tell the enemy to go back to hell and leave you alone and that you aren’t going to hang out anymore in those broken places. It takes courage, courage to believe that God has healed you and you can let go and one day tell of those broken places. 

In Matthew 9:22, Mark 5:25, Luke 8:43 we see a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years. Based on the text from these different passages, we learn that she had spent all her money on lots of treatments and probably some band-aids and none had worked. Her condition is worsening. We see that she comes to Jesus from behind to touch his garment. She knew he could heal her but all she could do was reach out for his robe. We know that she is immediately healed of her condition. Christ feels power leave him and wants to know who reached for him.

“Who touched my robe?” Why does he want to know? He knows she is healed, why does he care who she is? But he does, He cares who she is. In Mark, it says that he kept looking for who touched him. He kept looking for her. He called her out. I believe he’s calling her out of her hiding. Jesus wants to know us, to have us come close and he will keep looking. She reached out but then the word tells us she shrunk back. But guess what, Jesus wants us near even if we are covered in messy things, in blood, in hiding. 

Mark 5:33 says “the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her came and fell to her knees in front of him” and Luke 8:47 states “the woman realized she couldn’t stay hidden, she began to tremble and fell to her knees in front of him.”

Why is she trembling? She has been healed! I believe she is trembling at the thought of coming out of hiding. She has been an outcast for at least 12 years. She is exhausted, lonely and covered in blood. She is dirty, smelly and poor. Broke and broken. Scripture says she bled constantly for 12 years. I am sure she is emaciated, depleted and hard to look at. But Jesus wouldn’t let her stay hidden. He saw her treasure inside, the woman she was meant to be despite the blood, despite the band-aids.

And he called her out. And in verse 34, he calls her Daughter. This rejected and despised woman…he calls her Daughter. The prince of heaven calls her Daughter. That just does something to me on the inside. It breaks me a little. That the height of heaven would intersect with the depths of earth and use that good word. Daughter insinuates that she belongs, that someone wants to identify with her, a woman that others were embarrassed to claim. “Christ has brought us into this place of highest privilege” (Romans 5:2).

I wonder if when Jesus saw her, if he saw himself. After all, we are made in his image. Did he see his bloody future-self hanging on a cross. All alone, tired, smelly. Broke and broken. There is power in our bleeding, in His bleeding. Band-aids just hold the blood in. But the blood of Christ heals all wounds. It calls us out, it defines us, it says that we belong. There’s a trade to be made. Our broken, bloody wounds for His. By his stripes we are healed. 

He’s looking for us too you know. He’s calling us out of the bloody, broken, hidden places. He knows us, he knows our pain and he knows our name. He calls us Sons and Daughters too.

No more band-aids for me. Not even the cute emoji ones. I am ready to come out of my hiding and fall at his feet. How about you?

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