At church we’re currently working our way through Mark’s Gospel. A few weeks ago, the sermon was on Mark 5 where Jairus asks Jesus to heal his daughter. In the middle of this passage, a woman manages to touch Jesus’ cloak in the hope that it will heal her of a discharge of blood. Normally these verses are either skipped over or used as an example of the power of faith.
Mick took a different view on the passage. He called it as he read it…
Jesus healing a woman who was suffering from problems related to her menstrual cycle.
He didn’t skip over the fact that she is ill because of bleeding. Instead, Mick did something I never even considered I would hear in an Anglican church. He used it to raise awareness that for girls and women, illnesses and symptoms related to their menstrual cycle can be debilitating. And then he offered pray for any girls who were struggling with menstrual problems.
Since I was 12, I’ve struggled with menstrual cramps. And I’m not talking about the sort that can be dealt with by a few paracetamol or ibuprofen tablets. I would be in agony, curled up on the toilet, unsure which end my insides were going to hurl themselves from. If labour is anything like my cramps, I am going to be drugged up to the eyeballs. We tried everything. Painkillers ended up making me throw up or just didn’t work. In the end, I opted for the contraceptive pill and since then I’ve been relatively cramp free.
But now I want more. I don’t want to be afraid of my own body. I want to stop relying on pills in order to live my life.
Mick’s sermon was given during my last month on the pill. Right when my terror about coming off the pill was at peak levels. I was in floods of tears by the end.
Biblical Inspiration for Menstrual Realness
Why did this sermon make me cry so much? At the time I thought it was just because I suddenly realised how terrified I was about risking cramps again on a monthly basis. Then I thought about it.
Even though this section was only a brief part of Mick’s sermon, it really got me thinking about what women can learn from this brief interlude. I came up with three points:
- God has time for us when we are suffering from menstrual problems.
- We don’t have to pretend these problems don’t exist.
- Even if we don’t feel we can directly tell God what the problem is, we can still have faith in His ability to heal us.
For years beyond memory, menstruation has been a taboo subject. It’s one of the few subjects remaining that can make grown men squirm and everybody shift uncomfortably in their seats. But when He healed and then sought out the woman, Jesus showed that he cared. That He has time for a life-inhibiting condition that many people want to ignore.
Even more amazingly, this passage opened up the realisation that I could take this fear to God. That I could ask Him to balance out my hormones and to reduce the pain. Even on the days when I can’t face telling anyone what’s happening, I can still ask for healing.
Turning Over Your Taboos
What taboos are you struggling with? Whether they’re society’s taboos or personal ones, God has got time for them.
He wants to know us so much that He will seek us out if we try to access His power, just like He sought out the bleeding woman.
The post Biblical Inspiration: Mark 5 v25-34 first appeared on CounterCultural. CounterCouture.