Meeting Jesus in my Period: A Candid Conversation

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Sometimes I get mad at Jesus for not having experienced menstruation.

Sometimes I get mad at Jesus for not having experienced menstruation. This is usually around the time when I get my period.

Easy for you, I say to Jesus. You never had to deal with the feeling of being balled up in pain every month, like clockwork. You never had to run to the nearest bathroom because you could feel your insides leaking out. You never had to deal with the embarrassment of soiling your clothes. You never had to half-squat over a public toilet trying to wipe up blood with thin, non-absorbent toilet paper. You never had bone-deep exhaustion, forcing you to cancel or modify your plans every four weeks. You never had your rational mind hijacked by hormones, making you snap at the people dearest to you or reducing you to a puddle of tears for no apparent reason. You never had to live with the vulnerability and shame that society piles on a woman for the simple fact that she has a uterus and a vagina.

Jesus, what comfort can you offer me, a woman?

 Jesus looks at me with eyes full of compassion. You’re right. I never had a period. Will you let me accompany you through yours?

Well, okay … let’s start with the pain. It hurts, Jesus. It feels like my uterus is angry or weeping. Or both.

O, Love, I am familiar with pain.

Of course you know pain. You were whipped and crucified. A crown of thorns was pressed into your head. You entered into the pain of the entire world. But that wasn’t every month, for years.

Your cramps are an embodiment of your prayers.

 So, you’re saying my body is interceding for those around the world who are also suffering. And my physical pain is a way for me to hold and participate in the pain of the world. Huh.

What about the blood? Why is it that your blood is glorified while mine is shamed and hidden away? How is it that when I look down, the red I see is the same substance we sing about on Sunday mornings?

I do not think of your blood as unclean. When you bleed, you are being cleansed, even as my blood has cleansed you.

 Could it be that my very own blood could be a monthly reminder of you, Jesus? That I could be brought to Calvary even as I am on the toilet? Here then is communion happening in my everyday life: the body, broken; and the blood, flowing.

Christ is nearer to me because I am bleeding and suffering.

I see it now, too, in the menstrual cup I have been using. It is literally a cup of blood, reminding me that I am under a new covenant. Reminding me that you promise to make me new. That you are making me new.

It’s horribly messy, though. Sometimes I just want to look away in disgust.

I do not turn away from your mess. Can you dare to believe that you are loved even with your messes? Your literal ones, as well as the figurative ones?

I must confess, Jesus, I have trouble accepting that I am fully lovable; that I don’t have to clean up, hide, or be ashamed of any parts of me when I’m with you.

Let this be a practice then.

One last thing: the exhaustion. It’s like every month a whole week goes to waste. You know that’s hard for me. There is so much good I want to do and yet I get sidelined involuntarily.

Let me love you. Let this be a time to embrace a slower pace, to rest and let go of the idol of productivity.

Sigh. That’s difficult but you’re right. It’s an invitation to rest.

This is the way of the cross: that what was meant to destroy would become an instrument of redemption.Through me, your period can become an embodiment of the Easter story. It becomes a regular participation in my death and resurrection and in the fellowship of my suffering.

I think I get it now. As a woman, I have this intimate portal into the life of Christ, if I let it be such. I have access to a spiritual practice that is uniquely feminine. It doesn’t magically make it all better, but I can choose to experience it as something more.

No, Jesus, you never had a period. But I can see now that you are present in mine.

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Olive Chan
Olive is a friendly introvert and recovering perfectionist. In an ideal day, she would paint, eat chocolate croissants and take lots of naps. But she’s primarily occupied these days with her two lovely little ladies, Alena and Kayla and making sure her husband, Tim, does not have to eat McDonald’s too often. She has co-written two books with Tim and takes breaks from the little people by building websites with their small company, Coracle Marketing. She aspires to be a conduit of grace, rest and beauty in this hurried and chaotic world.
Olive Chan