Male members of the species do not be alarmed at this post! Even men can appreciate the ways in which we can see the Lord through this strange and peculiar phenomenon that occurs in a female’s body when she’s….well …getting tired.
Following along the theme of my last post 9 Ways Every Pizza Eating Believer Can See Christ, I want to share with you just how even in the experience of menopause, we can see the Lord. (I don’t have to mention that shadows and types are limited do I?)
Again, I was inspired by that wonderful sister in our group, whose name is Jena, who after I mentioned some issues I was having physiologically, asked me if I could see the Lord in it?
Great question! I got to thinking….
Hormones. Arggh. They’re annoying coming in and annoying going out. And on both accounts, the balance is out.
1. Menopause can speak to us about Christ as our balance. One of the most successful treatments in menopause is Hormone Replacement Therapy or HRT. This involves replacing the hormones that are lacking in order to bring about the right balance. That means playing with two hormones, oestrogen and progesterone.
So it is with the Lord. We constantly need to be re-balanced and He is our balance. Just like looking through a telescope at the stars we have to keep readjusting our view. If we are too attached to this earth, this planet, we lose sight of the heavenly realities that are ours. So this requires a constant renewal of the mind which only God can do for us, through Christ. So in some ways, Christ is our hormone replacement if you like because He keeps us balanced. It’s no longer us who live but it’s Christ living in us. As a result of us living by His life, we are kept in right relationship with God the Father.
2. Menopause can speak to us of the ascendency of the spirit. Oestrogen is apparently meant to just do its thing and progesterone is meant to control the oestrogen so it doesn’t go berserk. So if there’s too much of one and not enough of the other, the balance is out. This reminded me of the soul and the spirit. Let’s say the oestrogen represents the soul and the progesterone represents the spirit. In Christ, we are no longer dominated by the soul, but by the spirit. When the soul is left to its own devices, it causes havoc so the spirit keeps the soul in check.
3. Menopause can show us the dangers of imbalance. Now, if there’s too much oestrogen going on, a woman can become physically bloated, retain fluid, get headaches, suffer insomnia, experience hot flushes (or flashes if you’re American), crave sugar and sweet things, have an increased appetite, gain weight, and suffer mood swings and anxiety. (Brothers, this may explain a few things :-)). If there’s too much soul going on, a believer can become spiritually puffed up, self-righteous and all that. A believer can retain too much of the wrong stuff, let’s call it religion. A believer can lose peace and rest, becoming anxious. A believer can get fat on self, become self-centred instead of Christ-centred. A believer can crave things that are harmful, turning to the world and old habits for comfort. A believer can become a bit prickly and not a very nice person to be around.
4. Menopause can speak to us about identity. Oestrogen is more the female side of things, right? So during menopause a woman is in some ways losing her ‘female’ stuff. You know, stops being able to procreate etc. Now some ladies can get a bit thingy about this, feeling that they’re perhaps losing their feminine identity in a way. However, this reminded me that in Christ, there is no longer male and female, but all are equal. And we have a new identity in Christ. We are a new creation, the things of the old man, of Adam, of the flesh, have gone and we are created anew in Christ.
5. Menopause can speak to us about the authentic Christian life. Now HRT can be biologically identical or synthetic. There has been concern over the years that the synthetic HRT has been linked to breast cancer. Some say this view is founded on research and others say there is no definitive conclusion. Fortunately, the treatment I am on is called ‘bio-identicals’ which means it is extracted from plants and is as biologically close to natural human hormones as possible.
This speaks to me of the fake (synthetic) and the ‘almost genuine’ (bio-identical) versus the authentic. We know that Satan is all about counterfeit. He sets things up to look like Christ but it’s not Christ. And we know that along with his counterfeit comes pain, confusion, and suffering. He even tries to do a ‘fake’ work in us, convincing us that we have what it takes, that we are all sufficient in and of ourselves and we become a synthetic Christian – self-made, plastic and infectious, all the while appearing godly.
Many of us have experienced the ‘almost genuine’ type of Christianity and church life. It looks like Christ, sounds like Him, kind of feels like Him but it’s not really all Him. Sure, there’ve been aspects of Him but that’s all. This traditional institutional way of living as a Christian within the confines of hierarchy, individualism, religious practises and programs just isn’t the same as the authentic, original, organic expression of Christ.
6. Menopause is a type of death. It is the wrapping up of a type of biological life that will live no more. For some women, its symptoms never end (eek!) So it is that when we are saved we leave behind the old life and enter into a life that is in many ways full of death. We are called to take up our cross daily. We are called to join with Christ in the fellowship of His sufferings. We are promised suffering, trials and tribulation. But all of this is leading us to a final place of glory – being resurrected not only in spirit but in body too. Now, though we still are alive in the body, we are dead to sin but alive to God.
7. Menopause is a sign of the end being near. The immaturity and concerns of youth are over and older age is here. It means change. It means that we are not called to stay the same. Just as we experienced hormonal changes in our early teens, we now experience hormonal changes as we come to the latter years of our life (men experience hormonal changes too!) It speaks of a cycle, above and beyond all the other cycles. It is the bigger scheme of things. It is finishing what has been started. It is about completion.
God’s story starts in Genesis 1 & 2 with God freely inhabiting the garden with mankind, with a bride for the first Adam. God’s story closes in Revelations 21 & 22 with God freely inhabiting the city with mankind and the Bride for the Second Adam (Christ). There are many minor shadows and types of God’s eternal purpose throughout scripture and throughout our every-day lives but these are all summed up in His one grand completing act which we read about in the Book of Revelation.
I sent my draft of this post to that sister in our group, Jena, since she was the one who inspired me to write it. And I was rapt that she contributed some additional insights the Lord gave her and so I would like to share those also. By Jena seeing something more and contributing to this post, we see a shadow/type of how no one person has the full revelation of Christ, but when we share Him together we get to see something more and different of Him through one another.
8. From Jena: “They say that a woman’s life is made up of three cycles…the maiden, mother and wise woman. This could reflect our journey with Christ…first we give our lives to Him: we are born the baby Christian, the maiden, the young bride. The next season is when we have cycles; blood is spilled and every month it seems a frustration, an anger, or an issue emerges that we have the chance to take to the cross – to honour the blood that Jesus spilled, which is reflected in our bodies. After many years of that monthly journey, we become a wise woman! This phase is perhaps reflected in us becoming truly one with Christ”.
What more you can see?