SG...I'm not going through male menopause right now, right?
"All I know for sure is I'll always be a child in your eyes." John Jin Han, "Youth"
One side of my family (mostly my dad’s) has a lot of thick black, wavy hair. My mom’s side is a lot straighter. All my life I was pretty sure I had my mom’s hair and was more worried if I’d lose hair over time, but recently someone asked my wife if I had gotten a perm. I knew something was amiss.
My hair is wavy now and I’m not sure why.
As I’ve aged my skin begins to sag—this is expected. I’m developing dark circles under my eyes—this is expected since my dad had that too. My hair has thinned out a bit, which is also expected but sad. But what I didn’t expect is my hair to become wavy. Wavy hair was supposed to be something my sister had from my dad’s side and that would be her biological connection to him, but not mine. My biology has been my mom’s right down to the acid reflux, and I wondered what I’d get from my dad’s side. The cancer? I pray not. What was I going to get from mom’s side? Her dementia? I get worried every time I forget an acquaintance’s name.
Why would anyone’s hair begin to become wavy? Apparently changes in our hormones can be a major reason. The last few years I swear I had random hot flashes, felt an odd discomfort that I can only describe as feeling like I don’t belong in my skin, and I concluded it was all stress induced. So if it was stress, then I should be looking to God to deal with the grieving I’ve been through, the fear and doubt I’ve felt in my faith, and frustration of my church and future. There were a lot of reasons to be stressed in the last three years.
So is God going to add hormonal changes to the mix? I couldn’t be going through male menopause (andropause), right?
Menopause in women is not something to take lightly, and I’m pretty sure a lot of church leadership has little appreciation for it. This definitely includes my middle-aged self being chastised enough by my wife for my lack of empathy for the issue. It seems hard to deny there is something afoot in a woman’s biology during middle age and whether you are a Christian or not doesn’t change that. As quietly as I can in my head I have asked, “shouldn’t our relationship with God be bigger than our biology?” It’s easy to wonder that until it’s your hair that’s acting strange and your body that doesn’t feel like it did before. It’s just feels weird to change.
Change is inevitable and I incessantly ask others to embrace it more at home, work, and church. I pride myself in being a change agent. Those stodgy traditionalists who want to keep everything the same at work and church…what was their problem? But deep down inside I think I don’t like change. Can’t my skin stay bright and healthy, can’t my church be the type of place I knew before, can’t my kids be the cute little kids that listened to me, can’t my hair stay straight? None of that is staying the same, and even worse it is all changing at the same time. Tired, confused, and irritated, I’m not sure I doing a great job embracing any of the changes on the outside…or inside.
Change has to be met with faith whether we end up accepting that change or rejecting it. I just wasn’t ready for all the change to be at the same time, and it’s now at the level of my own biology. But just a few weeks ago, coming across this story challenged my heart for change:
At the end of December 2023, a Kentucky nurse, Cindy Mullins, lost her legs after she went septic from complications from a kidney stone. Thankful to be alive, she expressed this alternative was better than losing her life. She said,
Slow down. Appreciate the things around you, especially your family. It's okay to let people take care of you," she said. "If one person can see God from all this, that made it all worth it.
Cindy Mullins is a faith champion. Even after such a drastic and irreversible change she embraces the future. She is saying, yes to the truth of Isaiah 43:18-19,
Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
And I’m here complaining about wavy hair.
In light of her response, I seem petty and ungrateful like a little kid who wants to throw a fit in front of their parents after a bad hair cut. Honestly, though we know better we still throw that fit.
I’m sure Cindy’s family will be on a rollercoaster ride as they adjust. Initially, I felt strong three years ago when my dad passed, but as change set in that strength has been tested. So Cindy’s family will be tested, but based on just reading what I’ve read about them I know they will adjust. And I will adjust. God enables us to adjust to worship him no matter how our worlds change. So I respond with faith that I don’t have. Like the man in Mark 9:24, I do believe, just help me with my unbelief. Help me adjust and keeping adjusting until I become more and more like you.
What change are you dreading in your life? Unsure how you should be responding? Or you do know what God is asking, but avoiding it all together? We have all done the avoidance game. Let us know in the comments.