Today's guest post is from my friend, Emily, who shared her favorite verse on FB recently. Exodus 3:5. When God tells Moses to remove his shoes because he is standing on holy ground. As a midwife, Emily revealed she always takes her shoes off when she enters a woman's home. Because... Holy Ground. I knew after reading this I wanted her to share with us how she can trace God in her own journey.
Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” Matthew 9:37-38 (HCSB)
Introductions aren’t my thing.
If you meet me, I most likely will have heard your birth storie (or your daughter’s birth stories) and offered you a piece of advice before we ever get to the name part. I can’t tell you the number of women I have counseled on how to help an upset stomach or how to track their fertility without ever exchanging names.
But I will begin by telling you mine. My name is Emily, which means industrious or hard working. I wouldn’t call myself hard working but that's my name.
I have to admit I am clever when it comes to problem solving and I do sometimes think of myself as a female MacGyver. I can operate under serious pressure and although my voice pitch raises an octave and adrenaline may course through my body, I will figure out a way to solve the problem in the heat of the moment.
Perhaps that’s why being called by God to be a midwife seems so fitting. Sometimes you have to be a MacGyver to help those babies be born.
Traci asked me if I would write about becoming a midwife for her blog. So, like the good student I am, I started off writing about the mechanics of becoming a midwife. After reading my early draft to my husband B, it became clear what I want to convey is not in the basics. Of course B gave me his usual feedback and with a grin he tells me to me to simply write I am a midwife, I deliver babies…the end.
But honestly, he and I have been in the birthing trenches for a number of years and we both could say “If it were only that neat and tidy.” Really, if it was that easy I could have saved myself years of grappling with God over it.
Allow me to take you on a journey beyond the basics instead.
I knew the moment I gave birth at home to my first son that I wanted to be a midwife. My birth was exhilarating and marvelous. I wanted to help other women experience the same kind of wonderful I had.
It wasn’t easy and I wasn’t this stoic birthing woman, but I made it. If I could take a red pen and circle the moment of “midwife conception” it would be just as I felt my baby’s shoulders slip from my body.
Talking to my son (now almost 13) about our birth, he made a keen observation,
“That is a good moment God gave to you.”
It was; it still is. That moment is a moment God has used over and over to carve and sculpt me into the daughter of The King, woman, wife, mother, friend and midwife I am today.
It really was a good moment.
Let me clarify. Just because God made His plan evident didn’t mean it would be easy. It meant prayer-and-waiting-and-work-and prayer-and a lot more prayer-and a lot more work. I waited for seven years before I actually began an apprenticeship with a midwife.
God had to grow B and me. He helped us build a strong foundation in our marriage, giving me godly women friends to seek counsel and support from, maturing me (that’s relative) before I was remotely ready to begin.
So when God finally opened the doors to midwifery, I did not bolt through them. In fact I was hesitant because I had a vague clue as to the amount of work and responsibility it would require from me.
The summer I began assisting my precepting midwife, B told everyone I was going to be a midwife. What a husband championing for me like that! I didn’t even think I wanted to be a midwife and here he was declaring I would be.
In retrospect, I acknowledge God began first working in B’s heart concerning the plan for me. I say this because it is not just myself affected by this career, but also my husband, my children, and my dear friends that give-and-give-and-give some more.
Midwifery doesn’t stop with me, which is why God knew I needed a capable, loving and long-suffering man. He knew I needed strong, independent boys who have wonderful brains and tender hearts. He knew I needed friends filled with compassion and abundant grace.
And even then, being surrounded and lifted up by the people that loved me, this was the hardest leap of faith and trust in My Lord I have ever made.
Yes Lord, here I am. Mold me, shape me and move me to be more like You.
I have discovered so many wonderful and glorious things about the character of God during this refining process. I simply don’t know where to begin.
I have seen His strength rise up in women when they are so tired they feel like they can’t go on.
I have felt the hand of God direct my choices and decisions throughout the care and birth of His sweet creation.
I am a witness to the most extraordinary miracles that most people will never see from an observer point of view.
I have seen life come back with just one breath.
I have walked with families as they grieved the loss of their babies, cried with women reminding them that God has a hope and a future, a purpose and a plan for them.
I have called out to The Lord in desperation, in fear, in joy and He has always answered me. The joy of serving… oh the sheer joy I have experienced - has been incredible!
I have heard from God in that still small voice during moments of turmoil. I can honestly declare I understand more today just how much He loves us and desires to give us His best always.
I will say that the struggle to continue on in the Lord’s work is constantly there. I can imagine every person with a very specific calling on his or her life has felt this way. Why do I continue when midwifing gets hard? Why press on towards the prize when I field phone calls at midnight about a headache that a mom has suffered from for the past six hours?
Or when people wrinkle up their noses at me when I tell them I am a midwife, and no I don’t work at the hospital... I deliver at home. When someone questions the safety of what I do, I wish I could show them all the wonderous things I have seen our Maker accomplish.
When there has been the opportunity to share with others (especially Christians) who doubt birth at home under the watchful eye and care of a midwife, I like to share the following: I simply address that God has called and equipped me to and for this ministry. B and I are continuously re-visiting the direction our family needs to go in and midwifery has remained a steady course.
Believe me when we moved states I secretly hoped it would be illegal so I could get out of it.
"Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.” Genesis 28:15 (NKJV)
Okay, I am going to bust myself with a true story. We had just moved back to the great Mitten state. I was so lonely and discouraged. I remember saying out loud to God one day that I was quitting midwifery.
Literally a day or two later I received a phone call from out of the blue by my very first midwifery client back in my former state. I hadn’t heard from her since she discontinued care at five days postpartum with me two years earlier. What she said at the end of our conversation made a HUGE impact on me.
She said, “Are you still practicing midwifery out there? I really hope so, because you are an incredible midwife and you were just what our family needed. You have a gift.”
Well, that is what I call a God 2x4 hitting me across the face. Yes Lord, Here I am again, use me change me, let me Glorify you.
He continues to bring families into my life. I have put thousands of hours into training and studying so don’t be lulled into thinking I just became a midwife overnight. I never once rolled out of bed and said “I want to be the responsible party for two lives today.” I would have never worked so hard to attain knowledge and refine my skills if it was my choice.
But because I love God and desire to trust, honor, and obey Him, I have studied my brains out. The saying that often comes to mind is approved workers are not afraid. Because I have studied to show myself approved, He uses me.
I am just a woman who has the opportunity to serve my Maker in the way He has set out for me.