If there’s one word that resonates with women no matter their age or stage of life, it’s chosen.
We want to be chosen because of our good looks, superior intellect, winsome personality, or amazing talents and abilities. But nowhere in Scripture do I see Jesus moving towards people because of how capable, beautiful, smart, or talented they are. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Jesus moves towards people who are weak, needy, powerless, and vulnerable. He chooses people not for what they have to offer Him but for what He can do in and through them.
Luke 8:1-3 illustrates this beautifully.
Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means. Luke 8:1-3
I’ve always known the twelve disciples travelled with and followed Jesus, but I never paid much attention to the women who followed Him until a few years ago. In January of 2019, I hosted my first Restore retreat, and it was this passage that shaped the narrative for what I asked God to do in the heart of the women who attended, myself included.
This group of women who traveled around with Jesus and His disciples, providing for them “out of their means,” was nothing less than phenomenal. In the first place, in ancient times, women traveling with men who were not their husbands was unheard of. Yet here was a group of women who set everything aside – propriety and rules of social engagement included – to follow Jesus.
And when you look at their lives, the words between the words, it is easy to see why. These women weren’t just any women – they were women who had all been chosen, healed, and made new by Jesus because of their great need.
While we don’t know many, if really any, details about their lives, what we do know is they all had one thing in common: each one of them had been “healed of evil spirits and infirmities” by Jesus (Luke 8:2). And one can only infer it was out of their sheer gratitude, relief, and sincere love for this man who had healed them that they were willing to risk being social misfits and travel around with a band of thirteen men (Jesus included) and support the work they saw Jesus doing.
From the limited information we are given about two of the women, we know Mary Magdalene had been healed and freed from the possession or oppression of seven demons. In Scripture, seven is a number that represents completeness or wholeness. So, in other words, before meeting Jesus, Mary Magdalene was someone completely overcome by darkness and the demonic realm. Joanna was the wife of King Herod’s household manager, and one can only assume she was wealthy and moved in aristocratic and upper class circles.
We don’t know any of the details of Susanna’s life or the “many others” who traveled with Jesus and His disciples, but what we do know is while they most likely had many differences, what they all had in common was this: every single one had been “healed of evil spirits and infirmities” by Jesus (Luke 8:2). Every single one had been chosen because of her great neediness, not her great potential. Every single one had been given healing, life, and a second chance because of her weakness, not her strength.
This encourages me deeply and helps to rewrite the narrative I so often have playing in my head. So often, I believe I have to get it all together on the outside to be the one who picked or chosen. I spend so much time, effort, emotional energy, and expense on having just the right hair, clothes, home, activities, and resume – both for me and my children – when what really qualifies me is my need.
So can I tell you something today? You – who aches to be chosen. You – who longs to have a seat at the table. You – who so badly wants to be picked. You are. But not because of everything that makes you look impressive but because of everything that shows your true need.
And here’s even the better news: when you are chosen and healed because of your great weakness and vulnerability, it’s not up to you to maintain your “chosenness.” It’s not up to you to shoulder the burden of making sure you are always enough. Because you will never be enough. And it’s precisely at this point – when you realize you will never fully outgrow your weaknesses or the need for Jesus’ strength that your place at the table becomes the most secure.
But here’s the hard part for us as women: we have to grow strangely comfortable with our weakness. We have to grow more and more familiar with our need. We have to settle into our vulnerability and more readily admit our brokenness. And instead of seeing them as things that disqualify us or repel us from Jesus’ presence, we have to retrain our hearts and minds to remember those are the very things that draw us in.
It’s only when we start thinking we have to live life on our own that we get in trouble. It’s only when we try to stand up from the table on the legs of our own two feet that we fall down.
So the most secure place you can sit today is right square in the middle of all that makes you weak.
And it is there, and only there, that Jesus heals you, just as He healed Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Susanna, and the many other women so many years ago.
And here’s the amazing thing: the fruit of those needy, sick, oppressed, depressed, anxious women from Galilee who were courageous enough to admit their need to Jesus and be healed was this: they stood bravely by the cross watching Jesus’ crucifixion take place (Luke 23:49), and they were the first eyewitnesses to the resurrection (Luke 24:10).
And who does Jesus appear first to? John tells us – it was Mary Magdalene. And it was to her, a woman who had been fully overcome by demons, whose gender wouldn’t even allow her testimony to hold up in a court of law, that He entrusts the message the whole world for generations has been waiting to hear: “[G]o to My brothers and say to them, `I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God’” (John 20:17).
Next month, the month of March, is National Women’s Awareness Month. Here is my hope: more than women becoming aware of their great power, I would love for us to become more aware of our great need, weakness, and vulnerability. And in that need, turn to Jesus. Because there, and only there, we will find great, lasting, world-changing strength. It is there we will find the power to be weak and rely on the strength of our Savior. It is there we will find the power to be vulnerable about what makes us hurt so that we can be healed. And instead of working so hard to change or cover up our weaknesses or blemishes, we can learn to really believe it is these very things that makes us strong, gives us a place at the table, and gives us the courage to invite others to sit down as well.
And here’s a big one for me – as I learn to settle into embracing my weaknesses, remembering it is my need that compels Christ to me, not my perfection, I can give my daughters permission to embrace their weaknesses as well.
The world does not need more power-hungry, image-perfecting women (and trust me, I’m preaching to myself here) – it needs women humble, transparent, and vulnerable enough to abandon perfection, admit their weaknesses, confess their faults, and through daily surrender, daily trust, daily obedience, daily listening, daily forgiving, daily serving, allow the power and sufficiency of Christ to make them strong. He needs women who are willing to lay their lives down to look like His.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
These are the kind of women who transform a family, a street, a church, a city, a neighborhood, a people group, and a world.
So this coming month, let’s be women aware of our weaknesses, willing to bring them to Jesus, be healed, and take our place at His table. It’s a place reserved for all those chosen to rely on Him.
For more information on restoring your attachment through your senses or earned secure attachment, check out Susannah’s book, Restore and download the first chapter for free!