I always have more questions than answers these days. Sometimes those questions are met with resolve and other times they are rooted in mystery. I ask questions from the fog that loiters in my brain like, “Now where did I put my keys?” Or questions that I ask from the frustrations in the waiting like, “Will we ever see ‘normal’ again?” Or THE question that I may be known to grumble under my breath at least once a month: “WHAT WAS EVE THINKING?”
Maybe the questions just come with the territory of these transitional phases of womanhood. Who knows the day or the hour when cycles will cease and cramping will ease and a girl sweats not in her sleep? And who knows when the hips will stop widening and the anxiety will stop heightening and the concentration will stop declining? And who knows when moods will stop swinging and the hair will stop thinning and the heat will stop flashing? Who knows?
The doctors can only give you an ambiguous range.
Your Momma’s history can’t give you a definitive age.
No calendar can you give a specific date.
And, ladies, can I just tell you? I want to know! Because if what I am currently experiencing is giving me a glimpse of things to come, well then, all I can say is pray for my sweet husband.
I mean, there are days when I look at women who are older than me and much wiser than me and think, if she can get through it, then I can get through it. Then there are days when I pray that the Lord would just take this cup of menstruation from me now. Like, right now – because the heat here is REAL!
But it’s not just the bodily changes or the mind’s cloudiness that can make a girl wonder if she’s reached that season of life. Nor is it just the emotional outbursts that seem to be best soothed with some good soul-sistering over a piece of cheesecake.
It’s also the fact that you look in the mirror some days and don’t see the girl you always knew and wading between your youthful days and your older years yet to come – God willing – calls you to an urgency to live out your real purpose.
Perhaps the curiosity of what’s next opens you up to try new things and the wisdom from what was safeguards you from danger. Maybe you realize the days are indeed long but the years are so short and you’re preparing your heart to release that precious heritage God has given you into the expanse of a world gone wayward. Or maybe it’s that your 40s bring so much change and the answers to your questions just don’t seem to be coming.
Instead, you’re just recommended M&M’s. No, not the candy – although chocolate might be just as good as cheesecake here. M&M’s because with the Menopause years come the Mammograms. And you know the old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?” Well, in all fairness, Benjamin Franklin could not have known the weight of that mammogram machine compressing on your breast. Because if he did, that would have to read “pounds of prevention”, not just ounces… pounds! Those who know, know, right, ladies?
Then there’s the annual exam at the gynecologist where I ask questions – mainly, “When will it ever end?” Again, she can only guide with general answers because every woman’s body is different and the answer to unlock that mystery lies solely with my Creator. But I can tell you that my good doctor graciously answered me with this: “Yeah, at your age you should think of taking a daily supplement of calcium and vitamin D.” I nodded sheepishly all the while hearing those three words in my head, “…at your age.”
And I think that’s just it. Here in the middle of a decade where they tell you life begins and I’m still wondering with all these changes what kind of life they really mean. Furthermore, how do I transition well into this next chapter of womanhood after my hormones have settled? What really is next?
I told you, more questions than answers.
But Sarah had questions too. And I’m encouraged by her story. When the Lord appeared to Abraham in Genesis 18, He revealed to him and Sarah in verse 10 that they would have a child in their old age. And this was Sarah’s response in verses 11-12:
“Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?” (ESV)
See that – Sarah asks the Lord a question out of her unbelief. After all, “the way of the woman had ceased” to be with her. But what God was about to do defied human logic. What He was about to do in this latter season of her life was even greater than the former.
And that, sisters, is what gives me encouragement in these transitional years. While it may not be bearing a child at an old age like Sarah, and most of us, I’m sure, would be okay with that, Sarah’s story tells me this – just when we think our best days are behind us, God will make our latter even greater.
What measures have you had to implement to best cope with menopause while in your host country? What’s the greater you believe will God to do in this season of transition?