Warning: Extreme Heat!
Flashing: It’s Not Lights, It’s Just Me!
All women will eventually hit the “dry season” of their lives when we think our bodies are on fire with heat that becomes so intense; we think someone seriously is wrong.
The physical changes can also begin to wreak havoc on our spiritual health.
Where’s The Heat?
One spring evening I was sitting in my chair happily knitting and watching TV when suddenly the back of my neck began to feel like it was on fire. The heat was intense as it moved up to the back of my head traveling to the front of my face and down the front of my neck and chest.
I was dripping with sweat and red as a beet. My husband looked at me and became concerned thinking someone was wrong. All I could do was sit there with a rather dumb look on my face. I felt like someone had taken a blow torch and lit me up.
Once the piercing heat subsided, anxiety hit. What was wrong with me? The next morning I was on the phone making an appointment with my doctor.
The Universal Dread
As I explained what happened to my doctor, he said he was going to run a few blood tests. Returning a few weeks later, my blood tests confirmed what he suspected. The “menopause monster” had arrived and was planning to stay awhile.
I was 36 years old when the first wave of heat hit me. I am now well into my late 50’s, and my good old companion called “Hot Flash” is still present by my side.
The Struggle Is Real
Back in the day, a Christian woman would not speak of such a thing and would suffer quietly and be forced to accept the changes her body, mind, and spirit were undergoing.
One did not talk about this but carried on as if nothing were wrong.
I can tell you from my own experience that the physical and spiritual aspects of this change we undergo cannot be separated and one can affect the other.
Yes, the hot flashes, unwanted extra weight, and “old lady whiskers” pop up on our faces.
We begin to find ourselves “whisker whacking” in secret. With that comes insomnia, depression, heart disease, and osteoporosis.
All of this weighs heavily on the woman as a whole and interferes with the spiritual life.
What’s even worse is menopause generally occurs at the time in our lives when our children leave home, our parents begin to become frail and pass on, and we are at a point in our lives when our day to day life is altered.
I once had long beautiful hair to the middle of my back, I always had my face made up, and my clothes were color coordinated, and chosen carefully.
Are you catching where I am going with this?
Yes, the long hair came off to sport a short haircut that was cooler when the hot flashes would hit. My daughter refers to it as “the old lady haircut.”
The blouses and tops I now wear are either sleeveless or short-sleeve in order to stay cool because the hot flashes get so intense.
My makeup has even been altered from a liquid foundation to a mineral powder foundation so when I begin to sweat fiercely with a “flash,” my makeup does not run down my face.
I always carry a terry towel in my handbag to be my official sweat wiper now. I can remember once during a formal event, I was flashing so bad and sweating, I became so desperate I grabbed the edge of the tablecloth at our table to soak up the sweat.
Yeah, it’s hard to take me out into public now! (lol)
Looking into the mirror, I see what once was a vibrant young-spirited active woman now with dry, wrinkled skin.
My face seems to droop down creating what my grandson calls a “gobbler” just under my chin. My hair is graying and no longer has a shine and softness to it. It is now course and has the appearance of Edward Scissorhands getting hold of it.
In a culture that is focused on youth and vanity, the weight of my physical appearance is as heavy as ever. Feeling cast aside and old, the challenges of age is a struggle. This must sound extremely dismal, right?
The Christian Response To The Physical Change
We can moan in pity, but that is not what God wants for us.
We were created in God’s image, and the aging process (to include menopause) is part of God’s design for women. Regardless of how depleted our bodies are of estrogen, we can still serve God and do good.
Menopause can cause many women to become so focused on the outward appearance (as I did) that we lose sight of our inward beauty and the value that we have.
It’s a great time for soaking up the Word and growing closer to our Creator and through this, we will be reminded of our purpose.
God will help us to see past the aging appearance.
I am a tough woman now that embraces the hot flashes and as I break out into a dripping sweat, I simply say “I have the vapors.”
The look alone that I get from people causes me to find the humor is a normal process of life.