Today's interview is one of great substance that comes from the gorgeous Rebekah Nwokonkor who, like many of us, wears many hats. She is a wife and mother to five beautiful children- all whilst juggling being apart of her church's praise and worship team, undertaking a Leadership Mentoring course and setting up her online business: "Konkorcreations.com," which is coming soon. In Rebekah's own words, this website will specialise in:
"clothes, 100% natural creams, deodorants and spreading the Gospel through my testimony. There will be blogs and vlogs available and, of course, whatever else God wants to do through me on it..."
Anyone interested in finding out more can email her on: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This lady is one whose testimony speaks of God's ability to heal past hurts, exude grace and forgiveness. Read on as, in her interview, she ties it in amazingly with the story of The Woman with the Issue of Blood, her favourite woman of the Bible.
Who is your favourite woman of the Bible and why? What would you say that modern women can learn from her?
My favourite woman of the Bible is The Woman with the Issue of Blood. I did ponder Esther or even Deborah but I just felt like, although these women are great inspirations, I don't feel like I've fully arrived in that place yet and I just want to keep things real! There is nothing glamorous about her story- The Woman with the Issue of Blood, that is. There is also nothing that suggests that she is of any importance and- when reading what happened around her 'moment with Jesus'- to me, it's very clear that she was written in for reasons that many just tend to skim over. If you haven't read her story before, or it's been a while since you have, you can find it in Luke 8:43-48.
I can't help but feel connected to this nameless woman, who has been suffering for years, gone to every professional she thought could help, spent every penny she had trying to buy her healing; buy her way out. I would say that I can't imagine what she felt like, but I can. I may not have had an issue with blood, but my spirit has been crushed/wounded and I was left walking around bleeding for years- not knowing where to turn to or who to go to for help. I had so desperately wanted someone to save me but I had all this blood leaking out of me from all the stab wounds that life seemed to have served me.
You see, The Woman with the Issue of Blood must have been an outcast – in those days when a woman was on her menstrual cycle, she was deemed unclean. After her cycle, there was a process she needed to do in order to be deemed 'clean' again and able to be reintegrated into the community (Leviticus 15:19-33)… But she was bleeding for 12 years!? So this, of course, means that she couldn't have children or didn't have a husband. A loner, outcast, ostracised and probably ridiculed – people will always be people. I can relate to that. It's the stuff that makes us bleed more- the insult to injury. How do you stop the bleeding so you can move forward in life?
She heard of a healer, I wonder if she heard the testimony of the guy who had the 'Legion' cast out of him? Was she one of the listeners who was in awe? She heard Jesus was coming back… I wonder what thoughts went through her mind? Whatever they were, it is clear that by any means necessary she thought 'if I could just get to Him...'. She didn't care who was in her way; she pushed herself as much as she could to 'just touch the border of His garment'. She knew in her heart that if she could just make the connection, she would be healed.
The Woman with the Issue of Blood didn't ask Jesus' permission for healing, my guess would be as good as yours why. But she must have felt so crushed by society, the rejection maybe ran so deep that perhaps she felt like Jesus wouldn't even give her the time of day and reject her too. So she set out to just touch Him instead. How did she know that if she could just touch Him she would be healed?! This apparent 'nobody' had a faith that ran deep. It was such a faith that Jesus felt it leave His spirit. Even the disciples were throwing 'reason' His way by saying that there's lots of people brushing up against Him because it's crowded. Jesus asked twice, who touched Him before our friend came out from the crowd, trembling and falling to her knees to share her ever so brief and heartfelt testimony. And what was it that Jesus said? 'Daughter, be of good cheer, your faith has made you well. Go in peace'.
Why was this particular story included in this particular passage? Jesus was on His way to deal with the ruler of the synagogue's daughter beforehand.
I think it is so beautiful. It is yet another perfect demonstration of how God really loves. No one is forgotten, no matter how insignificant we may feel. We, too, may even feel nameless; like our existence doesn't carry any weight, so much so that we don't feel significant enough to present ourselves to our Father. We just know that if we can just make it to His garment, our faith is what will make us whole. Our friend believed in her heart and she moved. There goes her work, her action to take what is hers- freedom. And her faith made her well. That's how she could be of good cheer and leave in peace. That's exactly what just one touch from God can do! One touch!!
I love this woman because of her determination, boldness and persistence. She didn’t give up. In a few verses before it says that the multitudes were waiting for Him. How much pushing and squeezing did she have to do before she reached Jesus? Can we also not forget about the times she was living in? As a woman she should not have been out at all whilst this issue was going on, let alone in a crowd following Jesus! She was so focused and determined that nothing took her off the path set before her.
I personally can't stand crowds because most people become inconsiderate and not mindful of personal space. Our friend was making her way to her healing through a crowd of people who were probably trying to get to Jesus themselves, I cannot imagine! Bleeding for 12 years, can you imagine the tears she cried? The lonesome nights she spent alone with this 'issue'? The way she must have tried to pray this situation away before her healing? She may have experienced depression and maybe suicidal thoughts too. The willpower to get up and do life with that! It also must have been a heavy flow because she said she felt it stop after she touched the garment. This really is just as powerful as any other miracle that Jesus performed, if not more so because in this case Jesus didn't do anything given that her healing came before He even said anything to her.
I remember the first time I read this story, I was long gone into my twenties, and it just overwhelmed me because it made me reflect on my own life and this passage brought words, gave my suffering a name… I was bleeding.
I remember going to a church when I was younger but it was fleeting. My mother felt led to become a Jehovah's Witness when I was 8 or 9 years old and, for me personally, I didn’t feel it was for me so I broke away as soon as possible. From a young age I have endured things such as inappropriate grooming from a close family member which led to molestation at the age of 14 years old, teenage pregnancy (17yrs), homelessness whilst pregnant with my son, single parenthood then on to my second child with a different guy by the time I was 21 years old, hardship, domestic violence, promiscuity, rape, rejection… Need I say any more?
My list is quite extensive so when my life began to turn around in 2007 (I got saved by verbal confession (I didn't even have a bible at the time!)) and years later came across this story, I wept! The Woman with the Issue of Blood's testimony resonated with me. I could see myself in her years of suffering. I know what it's like to try and receive healing from places I had no business going and it all came at a price. My integrity, morals and values had all been compromised and I had nothing left to give. NOTHING! When God met me I was crawling on my knees, weak with real life happening, sick and tired of being sick and tired and in a place where I just really wanted to give up. I was shattered into what felt like a million pieces, I felt like I had no value- worthless. I knew I wasn't living right and didn't really, if I'm honest, believe that God could do anything to help me. But my only option was to give 'this Jesus dude' a try (remember I'm keeping it real) and give it my best so I could decide for myself whether He is real or not.
From that moment- the push, the struggle it took for me to rid myself of past habits that served no purpose in my life, the tears I've cried out to God for cleansing, healing, renewing of my entire being to become more like Him- my soul was crying out. Let me tell you, that process probably was as hard as it was for our friend to push through that crowd! I can bet you that some people just didn't want to move, just like some things didn't want to leave me but I had to fight my way through my challenges just to make it to the 'border of His garment' and take what is mine. Not only take it but live it.
The woman who wasn't named became Rebekah. She was me. I finally felt like this was someone I could connect with because her story was real to me. For the first time I could see how I really felt and it wasn't just in any book, it was in God's book- the Bible. I felt like in that moment God could see me, He could see the state that my heart was in and how I craved to just touch the hem of His garment. That's all it took. The words ' Your faith has made you well, Go in peace' – I cannot articulate the sense of love I felt, the burdens of life leaving me. I thought 'this is for real, I can be free?' I felt like that had been inserted just for me- just so God could demonstrate just how important I am to Him and that I am significant enough to be included in His word.
Yes, God's word does elaborately tell us beautiful things (such as how we were thought of before we were born, and the heavens rejoiced the day we were born and, of course, how we were fearfully and wonderfully made) but, if you're like me and just can't identify with that, He creatively etched in this woman who He knew that many of us could relate to. Perhaps that's why she's nameless?
This is a timeless entry because it shows that God knows and understands how we do suffer, whether it be by our own mistakes, nature (such as illnesses or diseases) or by the hands of another. But if we just have enough determination, persistence, resilience and, of course, allow our faith to take us where reason cannot go, we are daughters that can be of good cheer because it is our faith that heals us. We really have to be willing to bear down and push, though. Now, it won't be easy and may take 12 years or even longer in some cases… (It took me 15 years to fully, wholeheartedly forgive the family member I mentioned earlier, with whom I now have a strong and positive relationship) but be of good cheer! Your faith is what makes you whole. And once you are made whole, guess what that produces? An amazing testimony! We may be trembling and falling down on our knees but God wastes nothing and EVERYTHING works together for our good and His Glory!
Please finish the sentence: I am a Christian woman who is...
I am a Christian woman who is mindful, I am always thinking about my approach to things and I am growing every day. Although I am aware of this growth it's not something to shove down people's throats, use to condemn others or put myself on some kind of pedestal. I use it to extend grace and help where it is needed.
Please finish the sentence: I am a Christian woman who is not...
I am a Christian woman who is not exclusive to a particular set of people. EVERYONE matters! I have a huge heart for the poor, orphans, outcasts, hated and the hurting. I don't do cliques and no one is exempt.
Any final words of encouragement?
If I am to leave any words of encouragement, it would be to let you know that it really will be okay. I, of course, don't know where you are in your walk (or in your life for that matter) but as our dear friend with the issue of blood did- push for your breakthrough- nothing but your faith will heal you. If you have any unbelief, ask God to help you with that. There's nothing more liberating than being honest with our loving Heavenly Father. There will be things or circumstances trying to hold you back but NEVER give up hope and stop believing. Your faith only needs to be as small as a mustard seed for it to take you places that reason will never be able to enter.
It doesn't matter what anyone says about you or sees in you, if you have the conviction in your heart then rest assured it will add to your testimony and move you out of some of the most unlikely situations or circumstances.
I really do believe that there is an untold amount of greatness within us all, with nations waiting for us to share, but first we must learn to show up, forgive, extend grace and mercy to ourselves so in turn we can have compassion for all who come into contact with us.
Related: The 2 Fundamental Principles to Walking in God's Grace (located in the Resource Library)
I would ask, if you haven't done so already: What is your situation trying to teach you? Or what has your past taught you? Don't be afraid to grow from where you are at.
Have you ever seen the image of the rose that has grown through the concrete?
Don't despise your small beginnings.
Anything is possible to him who believes.
Be blessed and go in peace.