Thursday, January 8, 2009

All this to say...

Bottom line: Jesus did not heal for healing sake, but to point out He is God, He is the Messiah.

Don't just just love the bottom line? For those of you in a hurry, you can stop reading now. You got it. And for those of you with weak stomachs who do not want to hear the gory details, here is your warning to stop reading now. Come back when you are premenopausal and looking for what is normal, what to do, and how in the world did my great grandmothers do this??

Here is what I wrote yesterday to hold in my hand at the doctor's office because I was feeling faint. And I figured that if I had to lie down on the floor for some reason, the note would speak for me. Melodramatic? No, just way too practical. I did not want to get hauled off to the hospital for just fainting. A doctor's office is not the best place to be sick, in my opinion.

I keep hoping my periods are winding down, and ending. But while I skipped April, I paid for it with a super heavy period the end of May. I skipped September, but super heavy October. Super heavy in November, and from December 17 until today---still spotting, blood clots, gushing, having to sit on towels on chairs, having to clean the toilet seat of blood each day, staining sheets, mattress pad. Feeling weak. Trying to remember to take my vitamins.

Has any woman every died of a too heavy period??

High blood pressure problem the end of September when I stepped on a roofing nail, and went to the doc-in-a box for a tetanus shot. They said to “watch” it.

Chills during heavy flows. Couldn’t get warm.

Feeling faint. Cramps.

Thinking is cloudy.

(end of note)

Feel for my longsuffering (microsoft really needs to enter Bible words into its dictionary---longsuffering is underlined like I misspelled it or something) longsuffering husband---his wife is like some science fiction creature birthing blood clots the size of worms. I think he goes to work each day thanking the Lord he is not a woman. And wondering what he is coming home to---remember that demon possessed little girl in that movie who could swivel her head clean round in a circle?? I did not see the movie. Too scary, but I have been caught unawares by that scene.

All this to say---the story in the Bible of the woman who touches Jesus' garment to be healed of her bleeding...this story sure comes to mind these days. I voiced it aloud this morning, and Bob, who is much wiser on spiritual matters, digging out the original meaning of the words, the customs, and the theology--how it all fits together, reminded me that Jesus did not heal for just healing sake. Jesus answered John's disciples, when they asked John's question, "Are you the One, or should we look for another?" with go back and tell John--look at what I do---the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear. And while walking along on His way to raise a little girl from the dead, a desperate woman thought to herself, "if I can just touch His garment..." which sounds so Catholic. As Bible-believing, literal, evangelical Christians, we are not "into" doing stuff like touching a robe or using prayer cloths because we see those as temporary gifts, like tongues, that God used until the Canon was complete. We have everything we need in God's Written Word. Scripture. God does all the work. We trust in Him. There is no "work" in the trusting. There is no "work" in the believing. That is the Way God designed it. His Son deserves all the glory. If we can DO something for salvation, or if we can DO something for living faith, then that is adding to His Work. Jesus did it all. As Christians, living day to day, we lean on Him to work through us. There is no reward except for things done through Him. We are His. Trusting, believing, depending on Christ is likened to eating---there is no merit in eating.

So, for this poor woman, who had been bleeding for 12 years, the Bible says, who had consulted doctors and lost her fortune in the process, who in her culture of the time would have been considered "unclean" and limited in where she could go and what she could do...for this woman to call attention to Jesus was not her intent. She quietly thought to herself, and yet the Bible reveals those private thoughts. Why?? Why not heal her quietly, and let her go in peace? She would have been so relieved, so excited. She might have told her closest friends and neighbors. Why embarrass her further? Was Jesus being cruel? The Bible records her story in THREE of the gospel accounts. This is a big deal. For a event to be recorded once is a big deal, and twice is for the lawyers in our midst, a validation, but to be recorded three times---this is front page news stuff. Why not just shout it from the rooftops???

In the Luke account, read Luke 8. Read Matthew 9. Read Mark 5.

I'll wait. Read it for yourself.

In each case, Jesus corrects her thinking---your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.

We are not given her name. But, I'd like to think she was one of the women who supported Jesus's ministry. And I don't think she was told why this was so public. But, maybe it was to give us women, in each generation, women who bleed and have problems know that Jesus cares. He knows. And He knows that if He were to walk down the street we women would be grabbing Him and begging to be healed of this curse. He would be mobbed. He would have to hold us back and remind us that it is our trust in His Work that saves us for eternity, and He would remind us that He is sufficient for our daily walk.

But, don't you want to ask Jesus---what is that monthly bleeding all about?? What's up with the monthly cycle. From age 13 to 52 the sign of the childbearing messy, how inconvenient, and especially for poor women without access to daily showers and fancy washing machines?? What is it a picture of? Ridiculed by the commedians, sneered at by the if we had a choice, as if we decided to do this once a month. So many suffer in silence. So many are denied help because of lack of insurance or because their culture denies their existence and dresses them in shrouds.

I'd love to ask the elder women in our church about their experiences, but I don't want to embarrass them. And so many have had their own trials with the bladder tie up surgery, hysterectomies, and cancer. My own grandmother suffered, and not only did they do a hysterectomy, but they put her on mood altering drugs, which was the common treatment in the fifties and sixties.

So, dear lady of Mark 5, Luke 8, and Matthew 9---maybe Jesus has taken you aside in heaven and told you why He needed to embarrass you so comfort women for thousands of years to come.

And when things happen in our lives that just do not make sense, may we remember that Jesus does know what He is doing. He controls history. And He is going to set everything right. There will be no more tears in heaven. No more bleeding. No more pain. No more cramps. No more "sanitary" napkins. No more tampons. No more jokes about being "on the rag".

Maybe its a good thing I never had a daughter. I admire women who can put a positive spin on this unique-to-women cycle of life. It seems way too complicated for evolution, in my opinion. This was NO accident. This cycle has Intelligent Design written all over it. And ever since Eve, this is how God brings new life into the world. And I am so thankful for each of my sons. They were SO worth it.

I started at my Grandpa Howe's funeral. Poppy, we called him. Nannie and Poppy. My Mother had prepared me. She was very open, and warned me about what was coming. But, the event is tied in my mind to Poppy's funeral. I was 13, and he had fallen off the second story of the house he built painting or adjusting a shutter. He slipped off the roof in an "accident" and fell head first to the cement step by the front door crushing the back of his scull. I was headed to Bible summer camp when the accident happened. I took the call and pedaled down the street to find my mom at a neighbor's house and they shipped me on to camp because they did not know the seriousness at the time. My other Grandpa James came and collected me at that camp a few days later, as Poppy had died in the hospital. His heart was strong, but they pulled the plug because of the severe brain injury. My Grandpa James, the farmer, collected me while babysitting my siblings. He was an amazing man, too, who would live to be almost 100 years old. I can picture the truck, the old farm work truck, and my two brothers and sister inside riding along in the cab as we drove the hour or two back to Farmer City, Illinois. Come to think of it, summer was the busiest time for a farmer, but he set it all aside, and entertained four of his grandchildren while Poppy died. Poppy and Grandpa James served together on the school board, and knew each other all their lives. They were not friends. Poppy was a smoker and a drinker. Grandpa James was what we call a tea-totaller. But, they were respectful of each other. I never heard them disparge the other. Poppy and Nannie danced. Grandpa James brought Grandma James flowers. They were just very different, but amazing men. Manly men. Each had sisters and were very respectful of women. I was so blessed to have two wonderful grandpas. And I always knew they loved me, and expected me to grow up and be respectful of others.

I'll never forget Nannie, even in her grief, trying to get me to use tampons. Tampons were a relatively new invention, and I had not a clue. Just the uncomfortable elastic belt and pads with strips that tied into that belt was cumbersome enough for a novice, like me, but Nannie thought tampons were the greatest invention. I tried, but good grief. I was just too green. And later, in high school, a lot of girls died from toxic shock when they did not use tampons properly.

Hey, when you are 52, it is a walk down memory lane with some of these devices---do girls today think those pads that stick to your underwear (I hate the word, underware) have always been around??

You have not lived until a tab came loose from one of those metal hooks on the elastic bands---whoooops.


JAMIE'S CREW said...

Amen sister! I remember the elastic and the pads and...GROSS. I was fortunate to have a teenage neighbor girl who introduced me to tampons. Bless her. Curse the monthly pain in the butt. I hope that you get this taken care of soon!

joyce said...

Thanks Jamie. Today's visit did not go so well, but I made another appointment with another gynocologist. The one that delivered my last two babies, and had done a procedure on me five years or so ago. When our insurance changed years ago, I had to find someone else, but now with the health savings account...

JAMIE'S CREW said...

Interesting. I just read your other post too. You, of course, are not a senior citizen - but I had a friend from church recently ask me for a gynecologist recommendation for her mother-in-law who IS a senior citizen. I happily gave her my recommendation.

I asked her several weeks later how it went. She told me that my gynecologist doesn't accept medicare patients. Nor did several of the other practices that she called. I just never would have guess that could be an issue for our senior citizens.

Anyway - I recently heard from a neighbor about a place that supposedly is excellent with women's health issues. They are called The Fem Center and are located in Colleyville. (817) 251-6533. My neighbor sees a Gayla Campbell, I think that is the name, at The Fem Center.

Good luck to you!