By Holly Jo
Day 1 of 3
Shameful. Embarrassment. Guilty. Unworthy. Degrading. Horrible. These words have been hurled at those of us who experience menstrual cycles. We’ve been taught to hide it, fear it, and hate it. We’ve been taught to be ashamed of this wondrous act that our bodies go through, all for the comfort of those around us. We’ve been told not to speak about it, to live in silence with the pain. Does this sound familiar?
Your body is a fantastic work of art. Our creator made you in the most wonderful image, complete with the organs that can cause pain, bleed, and make our lives a living hell for a specific time each month. There are those of us who experience reproductive problems and ailments that go unnoticed as we internalize the emotions. You have worth; take back your life and experience this world. The shame does not own you.
Shame. It’s so closely associated with our periods. Why? Many throughout history have equated a menstrual cycle with dirtiness. They feel this normal bodily function is meant to stay hidden where we experience it—behind closed doors. However, shame is fed and nurtured in secret. The only way to dismantle the shame is to acknowledge the pain, bring it into the light, and remember your creator’s intricate work in your existence.
Psalm 139:13-15 says:
“For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works that I know very well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.” (NRSV)
This passage reminds us of our worth. The psalmist writes words that detail God’s understanding of humanity. God understands you. God understands your pain. And most importantly, if God knows you in this detail, you are worthy!
Take a look at the physical and emotional properties that make you you. Society has told us to be shameful of these; however, we understand God’s handiwork to be present in the goodness of our lives. Let us acknowledge our periods, remind ourselves of this wondrous act, and kick the shame to the curb.
God of Life,
You made me, in Thine image, full of value in your eyes. When the shadows of shame and embarrassment creep into my mind, remind me that I can close that door. Remind me that I can bag up the guilt and throw it out! And lastly, remind me of your undying love that I might experience this wonderful creation with affirmation. Amen.