I'VE BEEN GRATEFUL for many years for this powerful statement in Science and Health: "Divine Science deals its chief blow at the supposed material foundations of life and intelligence" (p. 535). It occurs in the chapter that amplifies the scientific meaning of verses in the book of Genesis, just after Eve has been told, "in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children" (Gen. 3:16). This "chief blow" delivered by the truths in divine Science has brought me a number of healings from the whole "Eve package" that predicts suffering to women through menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause.
As a teenager, when I initially experienced menstrual discomfort, to find relief I turned intuitively to what I was learning in the Christian Science Sunday School and in my study of the Bible and Science and Health. One statement from Science and Health that I prayed with was, "That body is most harmonious in which the discharge of the natural functions is least noticeable" (p. 478). This idea helped me in not pinpointing and accepting the widely held beliefs and general pronouncements concerning menstruation and other aspects of puberty—to simply not go down that path. As I progressively turned from the so-called inevitability of adverse physical effects and let a more spiritual concept of my identity take hold in thought, the discomfort I'd experienced disappeared, and my teen years became a time of natural, painless development.
In similar territory, the blessings of steering clear of material and physical theories continued when I became pregnant with my first child. A Christian Science practitioner whom I'd asked to pray with me recommended that I not read about the illnesses and discomforts that sometimes accompany childbearing. I recognized the wisdom of this, as encouraging an uncompromising trust in what God is continually revealing to us about our spiritual perfection, no matter what our circumstances.
The pregnancy was harmonious, and the birth was effortful but not dramatic. I went on to have three more comfortable pregnancies and births. With humility and gratitude I found each occasion was an opportunity to learn more about God, Mind, as the only Creator. I also treasured the clearer understanding I was gaining of the definition of man as "the compound idea of God, including all right ideas" (Science and Health, p. 475), rather than a composition of physical and material elements.
It was therefore something of a surprise to find after the last birth that I began experiencing menstrual cramps, headaches, and periodic depression. I prayed about these challenges, and the pain and emotional disturbance would diminish, but return again a month or two later. I began to look for the spiritual evidence of womanhood—for example, the enduring qualities of balance, harmony, freshness, compassion, joy, and vitality, Knowing that these were attributes of God that each one of us includes as His likeness, I recognized that they were always available to me. I consciously sought to exercise them every day.
From time to time I called a Christian Science practitioner to pray with me. At one point I expressed my discouragement that the conditions I was dealing with did not seem to be responding to prayer. I remember his gentle encouragement out of this negative notion, and from that point on, I grew more patient and persevering in recognizing that physical inharmonies were only false claims about my identity, not actualities that needed fixing. Furthermore, it became more apparent to me that because God is all, it isn't a matter of His creation becoming spiritual—it is entirely spiritual now. My true life couldn't be invaded by a series of troubling mental scenarios playing themselves out in pain and distress. I continued to pray until I saw that neither pain, emotionalism, nor hormones had any role in defining me. Soon, these impositions ceased altogether.
More recently, while meeting the circumstances of menopause, I have applied the spiritual concept of divine Mind determining our identity and experience, rather than the material body doing so. When keeping a stable body temperature became a challenge, I recalled this passage from Science and Health, "Man is not a pendulum, swinging between evil and good, joy and sorrow, sickness and health, life and death" (p. 246). I prayed with the idea that I couldn't be a pendulum swinging between hot and cold, normalcy and distress. The next sentence seemed to address the whole misstatement about womanhood: "Life and its faculties are not measured by calendars"—calendars over one month or timetables over many decades. I glimpsed that as God's expression, His child is one crisp, focused image, not subject to swings or even vibrations. It became clear to me that there is just no coming and going of God's goodness. Within a short time, I was free of these symptoms, and they did not return.
Through the teachings of Christian Science, I increasingly feel defined by Spirit as vital, harmonious, whole, and at peace. My gratitude is unbounded.
BRADDEN, AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY, AUSTRALIA
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