I believe in God’s goodness. I believe that nothing comes to me except that it passes through God’s loving hands first. Therefore, I believe PMS is mysteriously God’s best for me for at least 7 days each month. But PMS always makes me more prone to sin. I rarely walk through those days with grace or mercy. And I can’t help but wonder, “Why on earth did you allow PMS, God? What godly purpose is served by my hormones taking over and deciding that everyone in my family should be punished?” I mean, it’s already hard enough to be like Christ. It’s already a constant battle. But then I get even more thrown off my game by estrogen levels that I can’t control and aren’t my fault. That stinks.
Here are some simple answers I’ve come up with:
1. Eve screwed us big time.
2. It’s an important part of the baby making process, and I do love my babies.
3. God wants me to rely even more heavily on Him during those 7 (fine, it’s 10) very dark days.
4. God wants to punish my husband for something (just kidding).
Well, my easy answers still don’t satisfy my longing to understand why God would inflict me with something that usually makes me more sinful. So I search. I search the scriptures. I search what other great women of God say about it. If I have a problem that doesn’t line up with what I think I know about Jesus, I better get it figured out!
All my searching yields me one tough answer. Reliance. I have been created to rely.
There are days when a follower of Christ can wade through the daily grind with the power she’s gained from the Sunday service three days ago. And I think we girls are such multi-tasking mavens that we sometimes take on the world, skip our morning devotions, and still pull off a day of work, family, dinner, dishes, laundry, and even some homemade dessert, all with a smile. But when the hormones start doing their voodoo rain dance in my head, I NEED JESUS. I need his help to not strangle people. I need his help to be patient with a fourteen year old daughter. I need his help to be gentle and kind with unsaved colleagues. If I don’t beg Him to fill me and censor me all day long, I let lose the woman I’m not proud of. Every month, there are certain days when my own strength absolutely will not cut it.
I believe there’s an interesting upside to our condition though. If you have sore, PMS boobs, then you belong to the sex with a larger percent of people who call themselves Christians.
According to ABC News:
Been to church this week? If you’re an older woman in the South, chances are you have.
Not counting weddings and funerals, 38 percent of Americans say they go to religious services at least once a week. But there are big differences across demographic groups, with self-reported attendance peaking among older people, women, Southerners and Baptists, among others.
There are other factors. Nearly half of Southerners attend services weekly, substantially more than elsewhere. Forty-four percent of women go weekly, compared to 32 percent of men. It follows that, among Southern women age 45 and up, weekly church attendance soars to 68 percent. http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=90372&page=1
Just by being a woman, statistics prove that you are more likely to hunger after the Bread of Life. That alone is enough for me to accept my lot, but here are two more very good reasons.
Reason Number One: People Who Live In Glass Houses Shouldn’t Throw Stones
Sisters, we chickas can be so quick to judge others. Have you ever seen a fellow believer behaving a certain way and thought to yourself, “What is wrong with her? Doesn’t she know that Jesus can _____? I wonder if she is really that close to God at all?” I have. I have judged my sisters in Christ. And then I’ve gone home and bit my own family’s heads off over some dirty laundry on the floor or a spill on the counter. I think one reason God lovingly gave us these hormones from hell is that He knew how easily we would succumb to judgement if we weren’t constantly reminded of our own sin and desperate need for Him.
If I didn’t get seized by the devil every so often, I might go around thinking I have it all together.
Maybe it’s just me, but I find that women are usually more sacrificial than men. In our family setting, I’d rather everyone else be happy. I’m genuinely happy doing what everyone else wants to do as long as they are all happy. In those times, I sometimes privately marvel at how selfish the rest of them are. I’m just admitting some dirt to you here. Sometimes I think too highly of myself. Sometimes I think I’m “better” than the rest of my family. (Go ahead and take a moment to judge me. Don’t you worry, I get what I deserve.)
Then I step overconfidently (and somehow always unaware) into THE WEEK BEFORE MY PERIOD. (Duhn duhn dahhhhhhhhh *scary music playing*)
Ha! Me, Christ-like? Ha ha ha! That godly chick goes on vaca and leaves me cranky, negative, selfishly slothful, quick to anger, quick to dole out punishments, impatient, and incapable of enjoying the “music of my children’s voices” (and I mean INCAPABLE).
But I still believe that God’s design for my body is only ever for my good. It is those same feminine hormones that make us gals soft to the Holy Spirit. It’s our femininity that lends itself towards submissive hearts. Because God made women to be helpmeets, submission was part of our design and make up. I can’t speak for men, but I know that my submissive heart LONGS for Jesus. I do want, with all of my heart, to look more like Him. If hormones have anything at all to do with that, I wouldn’t trade my soft heart for a reprieve from cramps. I need Jesus. If being a girl with girly, passionate needs (and the innate desire for a Prince on a white horse) has given me even just a little edge over my male counterpart in chasing after said Prince, then I’ll keep my swollen ankles.
Reason Number Two: A Thorn In Our Flesh
Just as Eve was quick to rebellion, so are we, her daughters. Each of us know, in our hearts, that we are sinful, and that given the opportunity to be the “First Woman on Earth” we each would’ve picked the forbidden fruit and bit. I believe it is because of that “original sin” that we must bear the burden of PMS.
The blessing in it is that we need that constant reminder that we would’ve picked and bit.
We are blessed that even though the Bible was written by men, one of our greatest teachers had a problem similar to ours. The apostle Paul wrote to us in 2 Corinthians 12 about how he dealt with his oppressive physical problem, and I think it is great advice for us in dealing with our impossible mood swings and bloating.
6 though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me.
7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.
8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Corinthians 12:6-10
Here’s 2 Cor. 12:6-10 in the EBUV (my unauthorized version of what Paul is saying here):
I’m close to the Lord and He has done amazing things through me. I could probably brag about all the cool stuff God has done in me and through me. It wouldn’t be wrong of me to tell you all about the awesome stuff that has happened. But, I don’t brag about it because I don’t want anyone to think too much of me. Really all the cool stuff is God, but if I tell you about it, you might think it’s because I’m great… which I’m not. Still, I get tempted to think I’m great sometimes. God, in His mercy, didn’t want me to lose this closeness with Him that has produced extraordinary blessings; so, he gave me something I hate. He repressed me in a way that makes me feel like Satan is riding on my back all the time, so that I would be humble. I begged God three times to take it away from me. But God said, “My grace is more than enough for you, My greatness is best displayed in your weakest moments.” So, I’ve decided to brag about my weaknesses instead. Because I want God’s greatness. I want the power of Christ to shine brilliantly through me. I want it so badly, that I am cool with weakness, people despising me, life being super hard (PMS), being looked down on and hurt by people, and big tragedies. I almost look forward to that crap because it is in those moments that Christ looks most amazing through me.
Dear sister, I encourage you to not just enjoy these truths for a moment, but to plant them. Sometimes we read something and enjoy it and relate to it; but if we don’t meditate on it, it blows away with the next breeze and doesn’t help us when the hormones come a raging. Pick some part of Paul’s testimony here and plant it in your heart. If you memorize God’s word, it will come as a whisper when you most need it! If you and I will focus on the fact that God has allowed each season of temptation for the purpose of refining us, then we can fight that anger and sorrow and depression with joy and the peace that passes understanding. And we will do it for our family’s sake, our own heart’s sake and for God’s glory.