I apologize for the lag in blogging last week. I was working hard to replenish my iron levels, mostly by resting and day dreaming about red meat and green vegetables. A chronic lack of food variety normally makes me tired, sleepy, and generally useless as far as getting any real projects finished, or even worked on. But last week was particularly difficult. I had several things on my calendar, and I followed through with them, plus I went to small group. But the rest of the time, I was home, vacillating between wandering around like a lost gnome because my brain wasn’t working, and trying to complete household tasks and a table project at normal speed (for me), which is about half speed for most everyone else. Unfortunately, I only managed to complete them at half my normal speed, which I guess if you did the math, would be 0 mph.
Blood is the issue. I think my anemia is getting the best of me. Sorry for the TMI, but my menstrual cycle sends me in a south bound spiral. Once day three of the curs-ed flow arrives, I am toast. And not the good kind of toast with lots of nutrients and grainy texture. I’m plain ol’ white Wonder Bread, which unfortunately does not turn me into Wonder Woman.
Day three hits, and I got nothin’.
No energy. No brain power. No freedom from musculoskeletal pain and migraines. No muscle power. No ability to breathe well, since iron’s job is to enable blood to carry oxygen to my organs.
So I end up pouring some dye-free children’s Motrin down my swaller pipe, which sends me into sweet sleep, but also inflicts digestive pain and disturbances and brain fog for the next three days. I really can’t win, and I don’t even try. But sometimes, I still crave a good victory.
Well. Victory will come to full fruition when I shed this rotten cocoon known as my mortal body and am forever encased in my glorified, perfectly functioning body. Until then, it seems I am rather stuck suffering with puniness.
Blood is often a taboo subject in churches these days. God is talked about freely. But if you tap into the truths about our sin and the sacrifice of Christ’s blood, it gets offensive. It’s as if the name “God” can mean so many different things. Like one guy can talk of his god and another can talk of his god, and both still get along, because who’s really to say who God is? But Jesus is different. It’s hard to make Jesus into whatever we want Him to be, because the historical accounts of that Man are so … confrontational. I mean, He claimed to be God’s Son. To have resurrected Lazarus and others from the dead. To be God, but also man. To have had real, red, human blood, which He poured forth on the cross for wretched sinners. To be the king of Kings. To have come into this world via a virgin’s womb, blood pulsing through veins traversing throughout His body. To have come humbly, in the presence of donkeys and cows and goats in a stable with an earthly, adoptive father who was willing to risk everything to stay with His mom, Mary, and raise Him as his own.
Isn’t Jesus peculiar? I hear He looked rather … homely? He had no beauty that we should desire Him (Is. 53:3), so I am supposing He didn’t resemble Fabio or Tom Selleck or Hugh Jackman or even the pictures of Him we see hanging in living rooms and halls, which make him out to be someone everyone might agree is handsome. I guess in the artistic sense, we can make Him into whatever we want. But come rapture day, there will be an element of surprise to those who’ve foolishly made Him out to be the imaginative god they desired. He won’t be particularly good looking. But He will be God’s Son, just as He always has been. He may be homely, but His scars and piercings will make it impossible to deny who He is, that He is the one who bled and died and rose again for repentant sinners.
One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the woman with the issue of blood (Luke 8). Perhaps I sympathize with her since I can’t even seem to suffer a three day flow of blood without feeling like the queen of wimps. I can’t imagine what a 12 year flow of blood would have been like. It could’ve been that she was able to eat iron-rich foods. Even so, there was likely more output of blood than was healthy, even for a healthy woman. And so, I can imagine her weakness, her frailty, her desperation. I understand, at least a little, why she fought her way through that weakness, and through a large crowd when she wasn’t even supposed to be in public, given “her condition.” I understand, at least a smidgen, her overwhelming craving for healing and her quest to get it from the right Person. I understand, a lot actually, her faith in Jesus. He was her Great Physician, as He is mine. I understand her faithlessness in doctors. As much as we’d love them to, they don’t have all the answers. Certainly not the cure.
Many despise that truth. Not because they don’t desire healing, but because true healing comes at a cost. First, it cost Jesus His life, His blood, and not many cherish the idea of a handout, as it doesn’t allow near enough self-righteousness into the picture of personal salvation. Second, it costs us everything. If we ask Christ to cleanse us with His blood, we are then required to pick up every cross we have been assigned and follow Him to a life of personal deaths.
The Christian life is hard. And yes, I am keenly aware I said that as I chillax in my comfy, cool house, whilst going on and on about a flow of my blood that isn’t even the result of hatred. I don’t have any thorns in my head and side. Or nails in my hands. Truth is … whatever I go through, He can say He’s gone through more. That’s not to poo poo my pain. It’s just to say that there’s a wellspring of strength of which I can avail myself. Jesus never asks more of us than He has already accomplished. But He never asks us to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps either. He just offers Himself, along with supernatural strength to die to self.
I love Jesus for coming, for dying, and for conquering sickness, death, and hell. I know we live in a day where nearly everyone is offended at almost everything, and I’ve likely managed to offend a good atheist with all the bloody hell talk, as that seems to be what I do best here at Patheos. But I figure if I’m wrong, and I get to the end of my life and find there was no blood spilled on a cross at Calvary, then I’ve lost nothing. However, if an atheist gets to the end of life and finds that Jesus did indeed spill His blood on a cross at Calvary, then that atheist has lost everything. Life and light. Love and grace. Mercy. And an eternity in the presence of God. So it would seem to me that having faith in Christ is the way to go, even if it entails a little belittling, or even persecution.
The word quota bell has rung, so I must leave with those (likely irksome) thoughts. God bless all menstruating women. I genuinely hope your moodiness, cramping, fatigue, bloating, water gain, anemia if you have it, or whatever ails you causes you to run to Jesus. Try Midol, but also try mentally touching His hem. That’s what I do. It doesn’t instantly heal, but it gets my focus back on the Healer.
Until next time … toodle-oo.