Seven Transforming Gifts of Menopause
An Unexpected Spiritual Journey
Menopause is a dramatic but largely overlooked developmental window to the second half of life. Although today's women are more aware of and actively involved in mapping their menopausal journey than generations before, many still do not see menopause as a time of important psychological and spiritual transformation.
This book goes far beyond hot flashes and gets to the very heart of the midlife journey, helping women find their unique voice and speak their truth in an era of #MeToo and #ChurchToo. Coming alongside readers as a wise spiritual guide, pastor and theologian Cheryl Bridges Johns identifies seven key developmental "tasks" of menopause and gives practical ways women can embrace each one. She encourages women to view these tasks as gifts as they experience the remarkable physical, emotional, and spiritual transformation that occurs in this stage of life.
Written in a warm and conversational tone, this book helps women chart a course for the future, leading them to a renewed sense of identity, a more focused vision for life, and a deeper spirituality. Each chapter includes guided questions for personal reflection and study questions for group discussion.
1. Puberty and the Relational Self
2. The Gift of Uncovering
3. The Gift of Anger
4. The Gift of the Authentic Self
5. The Gift of Expanded Time
6. The Gift of Spiritual Freedom
7. The Gift of Vision
8. The Gift of Courage
"I thought of a dozen women into whose hands I wanted to press this book while I was still in the middle of reading it. Cheryl has created a guidebook for the spiritual life during menopause that is accessible and honest, yes, but also filled to the brim with wonder, healing, and empowerment. I am so grateful that she has done the work for a new generation of women coming into their own power. This book is itself a gift."
Sarah Bessey, author of Miracles and Other Reasonable Things and Jesus Feminist
"Every woman should read this book, no matter what season of life she finds herself in. Seven Transforming Gifts of Menopause is full of revelation, wisdom, grace, insight, and understanding. Cheryl challenges historical assumptions about menopause, debunks common myths, explains the physiology and psychology, and invites us into a thrilling spiritual journey where we discover the 'gift-filled land of menopause.' I could not stop reading."
Christine Caine, founder of Propel Women & A21
"Seven Transforming Gifts of Menopause contains the makings of a cultural revolution among a much-neglected and underestimated demographic of women who may not see their own potential. As one might expect, Cheryl Bridges Johns guides the reader to a better understanding of what happens to the body during menopause. At the same time, she adamantly rejects the notion that menopause brings down the curtain on a woman's life. Instead, she argues (and tells her own story and the stories of other women as proof) that menopause is the 'gateway to the second half of life'--a time of rich self-discovery, deep spiritual growth, and an enlarged vision and capacity for active involvement in opportunities to make a difference for others. The final two chapters are so inspiring and invigorating you won't want to read them sitting down. So buckle up and brace yourself to join the revolution. Begin the quest to find your inner dragon and discover what God wants you to do with the rest of your life."
Carolyn Custis James, author of Half the Church: Recapturing God's Global Vision for Women and Malestrom: Manhood Swept into the Currents of a Changing World
"Cheryl Bridges Johns invites women of a certain age to be a force of wisdom, love, and justice in the world. She asserts that menopause offers just the space women need for such a transformation. Johns is a gentle guide, informative and insightful as she shares her own experience to help lead us on this journey. Her words are helpful, honest, and holistic. She reminds women that as our bodies change so do our spiritual landscapes, giving us the opportunity to transform our lives and the communities we inhabit. Menopause can be precarious and painful, but it can also be filled with the potential for generative goodness that women, and the world, need."
Kelley Nikondeha, author of Defiant: What the Women of Exodus Teach Us about Freedom
"Every season in a woman's life carries a unique blueprint. We are architectural masterpieces. Now imagine if each transformational season brought us unique gifts. This is what Cheryl Bridges Johns has done. She has carved out a pathway for us to learn to adapt, change, and embrace our new selves in a sacred space. She carefully explores our need to fit in beginning at adolescence and the many ways we succumb to societal pressures. She cautions us to come to terms with regrets and to emerge stronger than before. Every woman's journey is unique, but we will each find our own authentic voice along the way. This book is for all women who desire to dispel the myths of menopause. It is a compass for those who are premenopausal as well as those who have already weathered the journey. Men and women will learn how to mutually navigate these biological changes with wisdom. This book will be especially helpful to younger women who are going through premature or induced menopause. It brings hope and spiritual renewal for women at every level."
Gricel Medina, speaker, church planter, and pastor ordained through the Evangelical Covenant Church
"Through her various writings, Cheryl Bridges Johns escorts readers into new territories of creative thinking; Seven Transforming Gifts of Menopause is no exception. This book brings the reader to a deeper understanding of our Lord. It is not written to minimize issues of menopause; rather, it celebrates the mystery of our human nature and explores who we are at every stage of life. This book is for all people and will call forth greater love for our Creator God."
Jo Anne Lyon, ambassador and general superintendent emerita, The Wesleyan Church
"Theologically profound, psychologically rich, emotionally honest, and artfully written, Seven Transforming Gifts of Menopause crosses all borders to speak authentically about in-between spaces. As one of our finest theologians--as much a seasoned mystic and earthy spiritual practitioner as an academic--Cheryl Bridges Johns has been a crucial guide in my own life, and I know she will speak wisely and prophetically into yours."
Jonathan Martin, author of How to Survive a Shipwreck and Prototype
"[Johns] takes a theological approach to menopause in this encouraging study. . . . She weaves together findings from science about the biochemistry of menopause with observations from such thinkers as Christiane Northrup and Carol Gilligan. . . . Johns's strength is her candid and pastoral storytelling, making this powerful book stand out as a treatment of the spirituality of menopause among the many medical manuals that describe this time of life. . . . Any Christian reader confronting menopause will find much in Johns's reassuring advice."
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