What do most of us associate with menopause?
We think of hot flashes, weight gain, mood swings, hormonal shifts, trouble sleeping, graying hair, loss of bone density, decreased sex drive...and in a nutshell, the end of joyful and vibrant living. Fun. Fun. Fun.
The "change" (as your grandmother called it) doesn't come over night. We even categorize the transition into three stages: perimenopause - menopause - and post menopause.
Perimenopause begins for most women in their mid to late 40's as their bodies are transitioning toward that final menstruation period, and this stage can last two to eight years. Menopause is reached when you do not have a period for at least 12 months. The average age for women to cease menstruation is 52. Some transitional symptoms may persist even in the post menopause phase. Citation.
Okay. So this is what we are dealing with, and it doesn't sound the most appealing. It's just life, right? Yes and no.
Of course, we have to accept that we are growing older, and we must adjust to the impact aging has on our physical bodies.
Our physical bodies are, however, only a portion of who we are as women. Society paints a different picture, and if we are not careful, we can be duped into believing the lie that we are what we look like.
My favorite part of growing older is flexing a bit of muscle to live fearlessly. I aim to step into this new phase of life with gratitude and determination to demonstrate what being a Christian means. I want to project myself as who I am authentically: A real Christ-follower who admits her flaws and transgressions and foolishness, but who also knows the unconditional love of the Holy Trinity, God's grace, His guidance, and the power of His Word.
I don't just want to be smart--I long to be wise. I want to share my flame with younger women, to help them do so much better in their lives than I may have done in mine, to be a mentor and gentle guide, to love and support my adult children and their children, and to tenderly attempt to care for my parents. I feel like I've learned far too much only to sit happy as a clam on the sidelines. I'm on a relentless, divine mission to detox my brain, to trump the negativity with Truth and to learn how to consistently operate in love, not fear; in grace, not shame; in health and wholeness, not sickness and compartmentalization.
Every day that I write in this blog or shoot a video or post to Instagram, I keep reminding myself that I have nothing to lose. Is it scary? Heck yeah! But I am ignoring those self-defeating thoughts, the put-downs I hear in my head at times, and the incessant attack of the enemy of my soul. I refuse to give way to my fears or the voices in my head that say I'm not enough, that I don't have anything important to share, that this is all just a waste of time, that nobody cares.
I have fought so hard alongside God over the last three years to get my thinking straight! You would have no idea of the hours I have invested in mental realignment. I'm pushing forward with my story because I really believe there is mental health and LIFE to be found. And I want everybody to know and to find this same freedom.
I've learned tricks and tips that have really worked! Now, all I need to do is to take one teeny step toward the light directly in front of my feet to share my story, to encourage others that they can get well, too.
In so many ways, I feel like my life is just starting! And I'm 55, yet my heart is screaming, "Put me in coach. I'm ready to play. Today..... Look at God. He can be. Centerfield."
In the next several posts, we will examine how to incorporate the fact that we are in some stage of menopause into our emotional, physical, and spiritual habits that help us lead happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives.
We are in this together. Come with me and be inspired to join the "game."
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