“When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, ‘Woman you are set free from your ailment.’”

— Luke [13:12]


A sweet and caring woman, whom we will call Grace, asked me to help with her life goals. A major goal Grace listed was mobility. Having been involved in an accident that had left her paralyzed since her youth, she experienced movement as a critical issue.

Her handicap accessible car of fourteen years had recently had broken down and she believed she didn’t have the money to buy a new one. She felt housebound. Since the accident, in many subtle ways, she had felt disabled. Not just with her paralysis, but with her life. Not having access to car only made these feelings worse. She didn’t believe she could afford a new car. Each month she was barely able to pay her bills. 

“Together we made some cuts by looking at things differently that saved her a substantial amount of money.”

We started by looking at her income and expenses. She was actually receiving a decent income and her credit was good. Her problem lay in her expenses. She was spending too much. Together we made some cuts by looking at things differently that saved her a substantial amount of money.  With these cuts in her spending we created a budget and crafted a plan for her to buy a new car. We reframed the way she looked at her expenses and how she spent her money.

Grace worked hard and stuck to this new budget, which included money to go out once a week. Grace found a handicap-accessible car and applied for credit to buy her new car, now knowing she had the money to pay for it on a monthly basis. After a lifetime of having to overcome obstacles she was certain she would be rejected. Even though she paid her bills on time and was conscientious with her credit, her past of constant rejection made her feel that it wouldn’t work out. However, the following Tuesday she was notified that she had been approved and could now buy a new car. When I received her text excitedly telling me she had been approved, I could feel that the weight had lifted from her. She had mobility back. She could be free in the world. 

“Sometimes we are bound more by our past than by anything physical. We begin to believe there is no other way.”

Sometimes we are bound more by our past than by anything physical. We begin to believe there is no other way. We have been told all our lives about our limitations, and they have become the only existence we know. In today’s verse, Jesus tells the woman she is free from her ailment. This may have been a supernatural miracle Jesus was talking about. But perhaps it was actually the reframing of a life. Reframing in the sense that what the woman had been told or had thought about herself wasn’t true.

Perhaps for a miracle to occur we only have to look at life slightly different. Many times prayer will reveal a different way.

Reframing and someone like Jesus telling us we are free enables us to change our lives. It means giving up the past and living today as we want to live. The steps away from our past are always difficult and beset with fear. We may have regrets that bind us to what’s come before. Or perhaps stories people told us about ourselves. Or even horrific experiences. The past will bind us; the future will free us. When the past lurks in us and tells us we will fail, remembering the word “Emmanuel,” which means “God is with us,” can release us. 

God wants us to have a future and to free us from those things in our past that bind us. Emmanuel!


Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman



What ailments do we have to be freed from?

How do we think of the past?

What does “Emmanuel” mean to us?


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