In Menopause and the Latter Day Bride, Australian Sharon Longworth offers a series of essays that highlight her mental and spiritual growth from a young girl dreaming of marriage to a wife and mother past childbearing years searching for a deeper understanding of her relationship with God. Despite the title, this book is not really about the physical aspects of menopause. Instead, the author allegorizes its symptoms (e.g., anxiety, depression, confusion), to help readers understand some of the obstacles that occur in the path to God and how to overcome them.
At the heart of Longworth’s book is the Christian idea of spiritual marriage: Jesus as bridegroom, and the Church (followers) as bride. This relationship is the key to growing in intimacy, the author argues. Even though there are times of “spiritual menopause” (see above symptoms), through respect, development of righteousness, and the sharing of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, believers can develop a transcendent bond with God and, in turn, have a powerful, positive impact on the world.
Longworth is an astute thinker who draws from her personal experiences to make theological concepts accessible. Overall, she has an easy, conversational style, and her chapters on spiritual growth and discernment make for compelling reading. Readers will find her understanding of supernatural experience thought-provoking; the author has had a number of spiritual dreams and visions and feels that more of us have the gift of prophecy than we’ve been led to believe.
The book is in need of editing to excise overused phrases such as “I believe,” condense some ideas (the book could be trimmed drastically), correct improper word choices (e.g., “sought” instead of “sort”; using both the Australian spelling of “vegies” and the American English spelling “veggies”), and fix misplaced commas. Nonetheless, Menopause and the Latter Day Bride demonstrates great insight and a desire to help readers. Church book groups will find much to discuss here.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.