Tony Rossi, Director of Communications
September 25, 2022
To Be Made Well
Christopher Award-winning author Amy Julia Becker has endured several painful,
debilitating physical ailments over the course of her life. The first was a rare condition called
a paralyzed stomach when she was a teenager. Years later, when she was a wife and mother
of three, she endured severe back pain during a particularly stressful time.
Though Amy Julia pursued physical healing in these cases, she learned that the
problems wouldn’t ease unless she addressed the mental, emotional, and spiritual components
of her suffering as well. And as someone who wrote books and gave talks about her Christian faith, Amy Julia came to view Jesus’s healings in the gospels in a new holistic light. She shares her insights in the book “To Be Made Well: An Invitation to Wholeness, Healing, and Hope,” and we discussed it recently on “Christopher Closeup.”
Amy Julia began exploring the Biblical story of the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years being healed after touching the hem of Jesus’s garment. In revisiting this passage from Mark 5:25-34, she said, “[I] started to recognize that there was not simply a bodily healing that was going on, but this wider and deeper healing: restoration to God, restoration to self, and restoration to community…This was a woman who was on the margins of society…For Jesus not only to have the power go out from Him that cures her, but then to call her forward and listen to her is really to honor her. It is to say: you have a voice, you have a story, and it’s worth hearing…and to tell everybody, ‘Let me tell you who she is. She’s a daughter.'”
This story, noted Amy Julia, occurs in the middle of Jesus going to heal Jairus’s 12-year-old daughter. Jairus is a man with status and power in society, yet Jesus treats him and the bleeding woman as equals in need of help, indicating that in God’s kingdom, we are all beloved. That belovedness is another lesson Amy Julia has had to learn because she was always a person focused on achievement. Giving birth to her daughter Penny, who has Down syndrome, opened her eyes to a more holistic way of looking at people and the world.
“Especially in modern Western culture,” she observed, “we have such a sense of needing to prove ourselves through what we do. For many people living with disabilities, that’s essentially impossible…So if we’re able to say there’s a belovedness and a value to you intrinsically, there’s so much beauty and hope for all of us in that…I grew up in a homogenous community in terms of race, education and affluence…Then Penny came into my life, and I was invited and welcomed into a world of people who had different intellectual abilities than I did—and also to a world of physical disability. I found that was a beautiful and enriching experience…My own biases against people with disabilities was to think that was a poor life, a sad life…Penny has opened my eyes, but also my heart, to a broader understanding of my own humanity and that of everyone around me as well.”
In seeing all the pain in the world, Amy Julia prays that those who read “To Be Made Well” are able to move toward a greater sense of peace that brings “personal healing and knowing our belovedness, but also being sent out to bring that healing into our divisions and disputes and social hurts, to be agents of healing in the world.”