I’m going to squeeze in and walk alongside the former prostitute, a woman cured of seven demons and now in her right mind, and another woman healed of a sickness whom the doctors gave no hope.

Jesus radically changed their lives.

I wonder, “do I belong among them?” Not because I am better than these women, but because I cannot attest to a dramatic life change, not on the outside anyway.

I was brought up in a Christian home, attended church regularly, belonged to the youth group, and studied my Bible.

Oh, I’ve had times in my life when I’ve messed up big time and things I’m ashamed of, but I have not needed some kind of rehabilitation, been on the wrong side of the law, or experienced extreme poverty. I come from a well-to-do family, but I know what it’s like to be spiritually poor. And, my English accent gives me a sophistication I really haven’t got. I’m just the same as anyone else underneath; in desperate need of saving.

Jesus touched the lives of women from all social stratas. Take Joanna for instance. Her husband had a prominent job in Herod’s household. She knew what it was like to live with a good position, an excellent salary, and all the perks of the job. Joanna, Susanna and many others like them are among the group of women with wealth who followed Jesus.

“Don’t fear about fitting in, Rachel,” I tell myself. “You have a place alongside these wonderful ladies.”

I am a thirteenth disciple if you like, just like these other women.

I may have a position at the back, while twelve men press closer to Jesus listening to what he says. But, even if it feels like I’m unnoticed,  Jesus knows I’m there. I feel it in my heart. He has called me: “I want YOU to follow me, Rachel. “I specifically want YOU.”

Why do I want to join him and be a disciple—to learn and go where Jesus leads?

This revolutionary man, who many of the religious people tut-tutted about, has impacted my life in extraordinary ways.

Jesus spent a long time pursuing me.

He asked me more than once, when I was a teenager standing in a large tent mission along with hundreds of other teenagers, to follow him. When the call came to go down to the front, or to raise my hand, my heart would pound loudly. I thought my friends would hear it.

But I turned down his invitation.

I thought God would force me to stop being me.

I thought God would require a change in behavior, for me to have a plain life.

I thought God would hold me back from having fun.

I thought there would be no adventure.

Jesus would want me to follow rules, and I don’t like rules. I failed to see Jesus lived in a radical way compared to his contemporaries.

So I turned my back on him.

Eventually I even walked in the other direction, away from him.

Then one day I found myself on my knees in a heap on the floor, crying desperately. Lonely, empty, more than miserable—screaming inside—thinking I couldn’t go on anymore, I cried out to Jesus.

Immediately, he was there. Greeting the prodigal home. I felt his presence. His peace flooded over me. He took me by the hand and helped me to my feet.

I had been distracted by the glitter in life, but with it gone I returned to Jesus. He had been patiently waiting for me all along.

In one way, when Jesus touches our lives our healing is instant. In other ways, it takes a long time of listening and learning to become a devoted follower.

So, here I am now, with the other women just like me, living loved and wondering where Jesus is asking me to follow him for this next adventure.

Where are you in the crowd?  Are you pressed in, listening to Jesus like a thirteenth disciple?  Where is he asking you to follow?

You’re Invited ….

… to join me and my #BeBoldGirls as we follow Jesus on this adventure together.

I’m linking up with Susan Mead at #DancewithJesus, Dawn Klinge at #GraceandTruth, Suzie Eller at #liveFree, Holley Gerth at #CoffeeForYourHeart and Jennifer Moye at #JesusandCoffee

  • What a great study it will be! Having been following along with Suzie’s “Come With Me” I have experienced a change. A change in the way I see things. A deeper desire to pursue Jesus even more deeply than before!
    Your story of Jesus pursuing you is precious. The hope you share is so bright! I’d love to have you join my Moments of Hope link-up on Mondays. Your words would shine so brightly there.

    Blessings and smiles,

    • How beautiful, Lori, that because of Suzie’s “Come With Me” you have a deeper desire to pursue Jesus. I’d love to link-up with your Moments of Hope.

  • Love this, Rachel! Your writing is so open and beautiful.

    mYour neighbor this week from a linkup. (I done forgot now…I had your tab up for a couple days but had to go out of town to visit a friend in the hospital.)

    • Thanks Meghan. Your comment made me smile – someone else like me who keeps tabs open for days until I have time to action them. My family are always laughing at the number of tabs I have open.

  • Rachel,
    I loved reading about your life story and walk with God! I loved the part about your accent making you seem more sophisticated than you are (how honest — but British accents are truly elegant!). What an intriguing idea to consider yourself the 13th disciple and an eyewitness to Jesus — I love this thought! Thanks for these words today!

  • Rachel this is such a rich post!! I had a dream that Jesus asked me to follow him and when I asked him why there were no men with him, he said, ‘that’s okay you can be my thirteenth disciple” and I woke up and my life was changed. I became a Christian at that moment. Love this post!

  • So well said, Rachel! After reading Suzanne Eller’s new book, Come With Me, I was challenged about being the thirteenth disciple and wrote a piece regarding this as well. Your writing always blessed me and leads me to greater reflection! Thank you!

  • Thanks for this post. I have had similar thoughts as well over the years as I grew up in a Christian home and didn’t have the dramatic conversion story. But God graciously showed me that I am just as much in need of Him as anyone else. Thanks!

  • Rachel, I feel like we just shared a cup of coffee and you shared your heart and passion! Thank you! What a beautiful testimony of pressing in to Jesus. I find myself in that place now. He calls to me: “Shauna, will you just do what I’ve already told you to do?” I’m so thankful for His persistence and grace. I find myself slowly learning. Yielding. Abiding. And it is a deeply satisfying and peaceful place. When I find I’ve left it, I long to return.

  • Rachel,
    I think I alternate between pressing in and listening closely…then I wander off…do my for God business until I’m depleted, and then I’m back and pressing in again. It seems like we are always in a state of either going toward or away from Jesus. I wish I could maintain the discipline of always pressing in toward Him. After all, that’s where the sweet spot is. Loved this post 🙂

    • Either going toward or away from Jesus – sounds like the sheep we’re described as being like, don’t you think? Thank goodness we have a Good Shepherd.

  • We all really can relate to someone in the Bible. I’m sort of a Joseph the dreamer, but I’m working on be Mary, the sister who chose to sit a Jesus feet in Luke 10:42. I’m not sure I’d call myself a disciple since they were called before the crucifixion, they walked right with Him, but didn’t always ” get Him ‘, they were under the law and we’ve been saved by grace.

  • Isn’t it so wonderful to know that we serve a God who pursues us! I really enjoyed this post! Thank you for linking up with #JesusandCoffee this week. Hope you have a blessed day!

  • This is so absolutely beautiful. Thanknyou for sharing your heart. I love the beauty of God’s redeeming love and his grace in our every monent. Linked up from Jennifer as Coffee with Jesus. You were my neighbor.
    Wendy from Widow’s Manna.

  • He sees me. That is such good, solid, motivating, heart-warming truth, Rachel! Thank you for sharing these beautiful words. May God bless you richly, friend.

  • So many good thoughts here. My biggest takeaway -> faithfulness in the hidden places. The 13th disciple was still a disciple, a follower. No books of the Bible named after him, but still, a follower. This is what I want to do (and be).

  • Love this story Rachel [and I’m certain I would love your accent! :)] Seriously, its such a comfort to be reminded just how much God loves the prodigal in all of us. Waiting, watching, always, always hoping we’ll come home. What a good, good Father He is. I was blessed by your story today! (Your neighbor from #livefree!)

  • Love your transparency here Rachel, thank you! I’m right here with you living “loved and wondering where Jesus is asking me to follow him for this next adventure.”
    Thanks and looking forward to the adventure!

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