Before I begin there are few things you should know about me:
1. I’m in my 20’s and I’ve been charting using the Creighton Model of Natural Family Planning (NFP) for nearly two years.
2. I’m not married.
3. I’m a perfectionist.
That being said, I love charting. There is something amazing about the natural rhythm that God has placed within my body. My practitioner has been known to marvel at my charts because my cycle is quite regular. Well, at least it is usually regular.
I’ve been charting long enough to know that the number one killer of my regular cycles is stress. Some cycles I’m amazed at how much I think I’m stressed, and yet my body does exactly what God intends it to do. In a normal cycle a woman goes through a fertile time when her mucus changes as her body prepares for and actually goes through ovulation. However, when a woman gets stressed, her body knows it, and changes accordingly. Her mucus may change, but she won’t actually ovulate until her stress level has calmed, at which point she will experience another change in mucus. When I first experienced this phenomenon I was awed at the wonder of my own body, awed by the fact that it knew, physically speaking, the best time to conceive a child would be when my stress levels were reduced.
I’m a perfectionist because I enjoy the fact that my cycles almost always follow the normal pattern. It makes me a bit proud of my own body and the wonder that God created in my fertility. This month, however, was different. I experienced the normal change in mucus, and I experienced the normal dry days that follow the change in mucus. Then my mucus changed again (normally dry days after the mucus change are followed by menstruation). As I looked over my charts from the last few years, I realized that when my cycle does this it is due to stress. The funny thing is, I didn’t realize I had been stressed.
As I lamented that my cycle for this month didn’t follow its usual pattern, I took to prayer. I asked God to show me the cause of my stress. Clearly, my body and my chart knew something that my head and my heart did not. In prayer I discovered that I had actually been avoiding God. Sure, I went through my usual prayers, but I had been avoiding really giving Him my heart. As I have been known to do, I was trying to take control over my own life, including certain aspects of my job, and a few projects I’ve been working outside of the office. When I finally relinquished control to His loving hands, my cycle returned to its normal pace.
God has created a wonder in women, of this I am certain. There is a beauty in the physical aspect of charting, in getting to know my body – and the God who created it – better. But there is also a beauty in the spiritual aspect of charting, and in realizing that God has written His love for us in every aspect of our lives. Thank God that, at least this cycle, my chart knows me better than I do. Had I not been charting I probably would have gone a lot longer before realizing that I was holding out on God. But more than that, thank God that He knows me better than I do. He has used my perfectionist ways to call me back to Himself.