“Touching the Hem” | A New Book by Elizabeth Johnson

Author PhotoI have the pleasure today of welcoming Elizabeth Johnson to jana’s three dresses. Elizabeth and I have become friends online. We share a common interest in understanding how suffering fits into the gospel – trying in our finite minds to understand how God uses everything, even our suffering, to honor him and to bless us.

A gifted writer and teacher, Elizabeth spends her time writing and sharing her story at Dog Fur and Dandelions.

Elizabeth has written a book I want to share with you all, Touching the Hem. This is her second book. I reviewed her first book, Trust. Hope. Rejoice. {view the post here} 

This week she is promoting Touching the Hem in a variety of ways. Please visit her book page to learn how you can get your own copy and share with others.

Without further ado, here is Elizabeth in her own words.




Back problems, chronic illness, broken bones, degenerative disease… they all have one thing in common. They all change your life completely.

Illness and injury can force you in an unfamiliar direction. Physical suffering can turn your world upside down and make you question everything you ever believed in.

How do you respond to it? Prayer? Stoic acceptance? Denial? Splurging on comfort? Withdrawal?

More specifically, how does God say you should respond to it? Does His Word say anything about living with illness, or seeking healing? How should a Christian deal with these things?

God’s Word contains all we need for life and godliness. Including life-altering physical suffering.

When I was diagnosed with an incurable disease back in 2007, my world was turned upside down and my own plans for life were completely obliterated. Suddenly I was no longer the active college grad, involved in church ministry and full-time work and social life.  I could no longer work outside the home. I spent my days resting, regaining strength, and trying to find a new normal.

And I began wondering how to respond to it all.

I went searching for resources about dealing with sickness in a biblical manner. I looked for books about healing which corresponded with Scripture. And I didn’t find much. So I decided to study it out for myself.

Touching the Hem: a Biblical Response to Physical Suffering is the result of that study.

And it’s written for you! It’s for all of you who have struggled with the same questions I did. For all of you who have been startled by that life-altering injury or disease. And for you who have watched loved ones suffer in pain, day after day and year after year. For you who have been overwhelmed by physical grief.

Touching the Hem begins with an overview of who God is — because we cannot accurately interpret our circumstances, or respond to them biblically, until we know and believe that He is who He claims to be. It considers His character, the names given to Him throughout Scripture, His short ministry here on earth, and His eternal works of atonement and glorification.

It then transitions from looking upward at God, to looking outward at our circumstances: Why do we face physical suffering in this world? Where does it come from? What examples do we have of those who have suffered?

Finally, it considers our personal response, based on biblical instruction. God’s Word contains specific commands to remain steadfast in prayer and faith. It includes principles to follow in any circumstances, but especially in physical affliction. It even offers guidance about seeking faith healers, or attending healing services.

Touching the Hem brings all of that together in about 160 pages. It also includes practical suggestions for dealing with illness, and suggestions for further reading.

I pray that God will minister through Touching the Hem  to those who are suffering, providing comfort and hope in your pain. I would love to hear if it’s been an encouragement, or if you have any questions about the topic. Email me at elizabethj@touchingthehembook.com, or find me on Facebook or Twitter.


Father God, I lift up Elizabeth and her ministry at Dog Fur and Dandelions to You today. May your grace and mercy abound as she continues to be obedient to your calling on her life. Please use Touching the Hem for your glory. May we all continue to seek wisdom and understanding of the mysteries contained in your Word. We are all broken and in need your love and grace. Thank you, Lord, for people like Elizabeth who desire to reach out to others with your love. Amen.

purposed for community,




Marriage: Did you know what you were getting into?


I have been asked recently,

“Did you know what you were getting into when you married a military man?”

I had a notion. He and I discussed what life would likely look like – frequent moves, time apart, single parenting, expectations and responsibilities as an officer’s wife.

So, my answer was, “Yes, and No.”

But who can honestly say they really know what they are getting into when they get married?

Marriage is hard. Period.


I am Guest Posting today at Finding Purpose in the Pain. Please join me there to read the rest of this post. Thanks!

newly purposed,


24 Hours Only: Book Give-Away {Merry Christmas}



Jesus’ hidden years…and


by Alicia Britt Chole |

A Book in Review

Why review this book?

Why Give Away 2 copiesfor FREE – no strings attached?

Because, we have all experienced times in our life when we have felt hidden or anonymous – knowing we have gifts and talents, but feeling they are not being recognized or used to their fullest potential.


No book has more accurately captured my spirit

or spoken words hidden in my heart.

I am confident you will find yourself

in the pages of this book as well.


My journey through this book has only just begun. I am certain this first reading will not be my last. With every paragraph, and nearly every single sentence, I found myself nodding my head in agreement, putting the book down to let the words sink in, and letting my mind, heart, and spirit marinate in the profound wisdom presented by Ms. Chole.

The pages of my copy contain highlighted sentences paragraphs, underlined words, and notes in the margins.

{My favorite way to read a book is with pencil in hand, armed for the ready for when that “ah-ha!” moment jumps off the page. Pencil on clean, unmarked text…bliss. Yes, I am a bit weird.}


The following is an excerpt taken from Part One: hidden treasure, pages 5-7.

 “Have you ever felt hidden? Have you ever moved to a new place or entered a new environment where no one knew who you were, what you could do, or what dreams ignited your soul?”


To continue reading please follow this link to, Finding Purpose in the Pain, where I am a contributing writer.

newly purposed,



Congratulations to S. Price and Kim Johnston!! You are the winners of the 2 copies of “anonymous: Jesus’ hidden years…and yours”. Thank you to all those who entered and left comments. May you have a blessed Christmas and New Year. ~ jana

SPENDING and STRESS: Chapters 6 & 7 of “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess”

I have a confession to make. “7” remains on my bedside table.  I have not finished the last two chapters. I feel some guilt about this, like I am letting you down.

I keep reminding myself that Jen Hatmaker’s mutiny against excess took place over a period of  seven months, not seven weeks.

I can’t possibly accomplish all the organizing, reducing, reprioritizing that “7” is calling me to in seven weeks. But, I am on my way.

Everyday I see areas in my life, in my family’s life that need reduction. Stuff we could do without; food that gets thrown away only partially eaten; toys forgotten that would make another child smile; clothes hung in my closet waiting for the day when “I just might need them”.

This practice against excess is a lifestyle that requires deliberate, thoughtful steps, similar to healthy eating and regular exercise. If my habits are to change, it will require me to slow down,  to be intentional and consistent. All the while, giving myself grace on those days when I seem to lose my way.

I choose to practice being a faithful steward of not only my body but of the world around me. Through this mindfulness, I believe I will learn to accomplish more and will find freedom in having less.


These past two weekends, my husband and I prioritized cleaning out the basement and garage of the excess.

We saw our extra bedroom furniture go to a single mother and her five children who had fled an unsafe situation. Our stroller, pack and play, toddler bedrail, and carseat blessed a family expecting a new arrival. My boys’ warm, fleece pjs found a new home with a neighbor boy. And, the hanging shelves less than a year old, but which didn’t make sense to move year after year, became a gift for a friend setting up a new business.

The major take-away for me from this book is that I am right to feel burdened by my stuff. The time it takes to care for the stuff in my life is time that is taken away from communing with my LORD. I want more time to pray, to journal, to listen to His Still Small Voice, to worship, to read His Word, and like Jen Hatmaker, I am realizing that having less makes more space for Christ.

I plan to have this be my last post on “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess”. There are several reasons for that.

  1. The Bloom bookclub is wrapping it up this week.

  2. I am ready to move onto other thoughts here at jana’s three dresses.

  3. This will be a journey that takes place over a lifetime, not 7 weeks. I want to step back, pause, reflect, and reorder my steps.

I will continue to reflect on what I have read and experienced through 7. I will pick the book back up at some point and finish out those last two chapters. But, I want to take myself out from under the pressure to “keep on schedule”.

I wonder if you can hear my heart. Do you also find that this lifestyle change can’t possibly be wrapped up into a neat “7-week bow”?


Join Bloom to read the posts on the last two chapters on Spending and Stress. They are worth reading!

newly purposed, 



WASTE: Chapter 5 of “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess”

I apologize. I find myself once again a week behind the book club at Bloom. Here are the links for last week on WASTE.

“7” – Chapter 5: Waste – Discussion with the author, Jen Hatmaker

Guest Post: Confessions of a Reformed Consumer

What others are saying about Waste


This was by far, the most convicting chapter for me in “7” yet.

How about you?

I thought my little family of four was very good about recycling and about being good stewards of our resources (i.e. turning off lights, not letting the water run, not wasting gas).

But, Jen Hatmaker makes some zinger points that hit me in the gut. Mind you, I was laughing my head off (again at the most inappropriate times), but still, she is right. I am completely unaware of how much waste I generate. I am also unaware of the big impact I can make with simple changes to my families routines and habits.

So, this is where the rubber meets the road.

Several thoughts:

1. Back Yard Garden – I would love to find an organization like the one she describes who built and planted a box garden for her. All she had to do was provide the land and give them half of the produce. That sounds awesome to me. Not only because I would get some yummy home-grown veggies and fruits, but also because it would build relationships within my community.

I have dreamt of having a box garden in my back yard. I even have a how-to book sitting on my shelf. I keep it because it is still a dream. I haven’t pulled it off yet. I keep finding excuses, claiming that we are not in one home long enough to make it worth my time. Or, we live in a rental. I don’t think I should tear up a yard I do not own. But, really there are ways around that. And, so what that I am only in my current location for a year. It only takes a season to grow delicious and colorful produce. I am just lazy, really.

Okay, I need to change my mindset and turn the box garden from a dream into a short-term goal. Maybe in the next house.

2. Composting – Yes, I would like to compost. Again, I am stuck with the fact that I (1) don’t know what I would do with compost {if I had that box garden, it would not be a problem} and (2) I am only in this home for ten months. Is it really worth my time and energy? {Just this morning, I spoke with a neighbor friend who said she would take my compost and use it in her flower garden. Perfect! Now I have no reason not to compost.}

3. Recycling – This is what convicted me the most this chapter. She spoke of the fact that recycling is great, but consider what it took to create all of the packaging that I am putting in the recycling bin. All of the packaging…I looked in my pantry. Yep, they are in there. All of the prepackaged items that are handy for school lunches. And, all of the ziplock baggies that get used once.

{It is worth noting here that I was raised by a mom who washed out all of the ziplock bags and used foil and hung them out on the line to dry. I know this, because it was often my job to go and fetch them all before the afternoon rains. I have always given her a hard time about it, and swore I would never do that. Maybe she has been right all this time….}

So, I have been thinking about how I can reduce the amount of packaging materials that come into my home.

I am partially committed. I try to do some things right. We mostly use cloth napkins {thank you mom}. I use plastic reusable containers in school lunches when I can. I use reusable water bottles, most of the time.

But, I have gotten lazy. The prepackaged items are easier. But, I now see all of the waste we are producing. I used to buy the boxes of cheese crackers and just bag a serving for lunch. But, the prepackaged is quicker. It is much easier to pull out a clean, fresh zip bag for the sandwich than to choose the container that fits the sandwich and fits the lunch box. Not to mention shuffling through all of the lids to find the right match.

I have a long way to go. But, I am motivated to make changes.

Thank you, Jen Hatmaker, for “7”. Thank you for making me laugh.

Finally, thank you for reminding me that we humans are commanded to be stewards of this earth – it is not a ecological vs. a theological issue. It is a God-honoring issue.

“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth…Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.'” (Genesis 1:26, 28)

In Jen Hatmaker’s words (pp.150, “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess”),

“I cannot believe how God has captured me for creation care. All of it: recycling, using less, gardening, composting, conserving, buying local, repurposing instead of replacing: I’m in…My hypocrisies are too numerous to count, but this month birthed something unmistakable: I’m done separating ecology from theology, pretending they don’t originate from the same source.

‘The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters’ (Ps. 24:1-2).

Well said, well said.

I hope we are all listening.


Do any of you have any great tips for reducing waste? I sure could use them.

newly purposed, 


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