Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I am living in Birthville.

How did I get here? If you would have told me last year that I would be scheduling my life around prenatal visits, postpartum visits and birth right now, I would have been up on your rooftop shouting "BLASPHEMY!"
I probably would have jumped at the opportunity to never be around childbirth. I would have told you that I really just love adoption with my whole heart and birth is not my cup of tea.

HILARIOUS FACT: My life currently revolves around prenatal visits, postpartum visits, and births.

Jesus brought me to this place. He gave me this door to walk through and this beautiful calling to be obedient in. You see, I was in the midst of almost moving to Tennessee for the 5th, or 7th or 23rd time, when God spoke to me on the Pearce's giant blue and white couch. He turned me at a crossroads that kept me in North Carolina and had me doing something quite different than I had envisioned.
It was a typical evening over at my sister's house for tea and cookies and heart-to-heart conversations {that I am SO going to miss now that that they are moving away!} anyway, she told me a story of some missionary friends at our church who were building a birth center in Papua New Guinea. Women were dying left and right due to lack of maternal health care. They had to walk 3 days to get to a hospital if they had complications (Think about that. Who wants to walk for 3 days straight when they are not having a complication in pregnancy/labor?) The only other option would be to take a taxi which most people would never be able to afford. This birth center would save mommas and babies for the glory of Jesus in their lives and in their entire village.

It was like a match struck a small light on the flint of my heart. I had been praying nearly non-stop for the Lord to show me a skill that I could use to serve others for His glory. A skill that I could use to care for orphans and whoever else He wanted me to serve.
 I began to feel that this was it. Who was going to be there for these precious women and babies? Wouldn't I want someone to care for me? If I don't go, who will? But...really? Me? The childbirth fearer? The one who stifled small gags at the mere thought of birth?  YES. This was it. God was calling me to take a quantum leap of faith and trust Him with the rest.

A deep question in my heart throughout all of this stirring and whirlpooling was "What about orphans, God? I know you've called me to spend my life for them. How does this work if I am busy helping women have babies?" The answer came almost as soon as I asked it. "Orphans are just children who's parents have died. Keep them from having to be orphans in the first place." Oh. You're right. I guess that settles it.

 From UNICEF: "Healthy children need healthy mothers. A woman dies from complications in childbirth every minute – about 529,000 each year -- the vast majority of them in developing countries. A woman in sub-Saharan Africa has a 1 in 16 chance of dying in pregnancy or childbirth, compared to a 1 in 4,000 risk in a developing country – the largest difference between poor and rich countries of any health indicator. "

 1 in 16 women in sub-Saharan Africa  will die due to complications in childbirth, leaving behind motherless children if they don't die along with her. I have African sisters. I would want someone to help them.

 I began googling "What exactly does a doula do? What does a midwife do? Which should I be? How do I do any of this? Am I crazy? " Google stopped answering me but God continued to lead me out on the water.

I kept remembering that I had all these random friends that happened to be Birth Doulas/ Midwives and they were SO gracious to answer my 354,098 questions. Before I knew it, I was signed up for Birth Doula training workshops and attending Childbirth Education courses and chatting about water births and cord prolapses and placentas in rooms full of midwives. I was reading childbirthing books constantly and getting wonderful looks from people that clearly said "How wonderful that you are studying how to assist women in childbirth. I don't question your character or your marital status." HA. Funny joke.

But the even funnier part of this big non-joke is that I LOVE CHILDBIRTH. How did this happen? WHO AM I?
You see, the deeper God brought me into this journey, the more I have been able to see His miraculous work. He is a magnificent designer and He is insanely good at creating life. The process of birth is one miracle after another. I don't know how one could be in the birth-world for longer than 5 minutes and not recognize that there is something much bigger at work than humans. We have a wise Creator.

 So, in the time between the last time I wrote on this blog and now, I officially became a birth doula, I'm nearly finished with my Christian Childbirth Educator Certification, I am applying to nursing school and then midwifery school after that. YAY!
I am completely in awe that I get to have a job where I constantly witness insanely beautiful miracles. I get to love, encourage and support beautifully strong mommas as they work through the process of bringing their new babies into the world. I get to be one of the first people to see and welcome a brand new person into the world and I get to pray over their lives. This blessing filled life can get exhausting but it is just SO beautiful. Sometimes I get called out of my bed and get dressed in the dark, subjecting myself to glorious surprises the next morning when I realize just what I am wearing. Sometimes the births last for days and sometimes they are one after another, but God is my strength and I count it all joy to be a part of His plan for these new families.

This is my life turning inside out. This is what happened when I surrendered my plans to Jesus and trusted Him to equip me for all that He is calling me to. I fell in love with the thing that I was deathly afraid of apart from Him. Africa, and Childbirth were two of my largest fears growing up. Now I want to mix the two together. HAHA. You can't explain Jesus out of that one. Isn't it incredible what God does to our fears when we give them to Him?

In the words of Louie Giglio this past week at the INCREDIBLE Passion Conference..." The only fear that we should have is that of living an insignificant life."

I don't want an insignificant life. I know that even if I were to do vastly incredible things in life, my name will still be eventually forgotten. I know that this life is fleeting and the only worthwhile thing to do with the time that I have been given is to live for the glory of Jesus. His glory will endure through all generations and His kingdom will never come to an end. The cry of my heart is to store up all of my treasures in heaven where thief will not come in and steal and where moth and rust will not destroy.

 My favorite head scarve is disintegrating. My guitar strings are wasting away. The tires on my car are balding. My hair dryer is close to combusting into flames. CLEARLY, material things are not good investments. Even the best of investments on earth are left behind when we close our eyes for the last time. In light of this, what will we do with our lives? What will we do in light of the coming of Christ and His Kingdom and all of those who do not know His grace?

What will we do for the men, women and babies who are dying every single minute due to lack of proper health care? What will we do about the 16,000 children that died today from LACK OF FOOD?
What will we do about the 27 million people who are living their lives as slaves?

If I was one of them, I'd sure want someone to come rescue me, speak up for me, to come feed me and care for me. Jesus makes the answer to these questions really simple. He says in Matthew 25:40 that whatever we do for those who are in need, we do for HIM and whatever we don't do for those in need, we DON'T do for Him

We have two choices. 1. Serve Jesus and care for those in need. 2. Don't serve Jesus and don't care for those in need.

I was a captive and Jesus came for me. I was an orphan and He reached out in Compassion{ A mercy that leads to action},adopting me into His family FOREVER. I was sick and He came to heal me. I was His enemy, a hater of Him and all that was His, but He loved me anyway. He left His perfect life to come and save me, His enemy. He had everything He could ever want or need, He is Almighty God for pete's sake, and YET He came for me, gave up everything and took the punishment for MY sin, bore MY shame and gave me the righteousness and holiness that He earned. Is there any other love that can even compare to this? Tell me if you have found a love that even casts a shadow on this! This kind of love is so big and so grand that my heart swells at the thought of it. How can this be true? That the Holy, Just, and Merciful God who created the world and everything in it would come to take the punishment for my crimes against HIM. If this is true, then surely I can no longer live for myself.

When I have been given so much love and so much light, I cannot sit in my comfortable life, loving only those that are easy to love and shining my light only in the broad day light when I will blend in with the rest.

Jesus came for me with a huge and tangible love. How can I do anything less?
To whom much has been given, much will be required.
Much is required of me and I pray for the grace to give all that I have for the Glory of Jesus, wherever and however that may be. Here's to bigger obedience and bigger faith in Jesus in 2012.

What fear is God calling you to trust Him with this year? 

Word from the previously fearful: give it up early, the beauty and freedom come more quickly that way.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Biltmore Bench Picture...

So sweet, yet clearly not destined to be a life long tradition. Our hips don't lie and they were screaming "NOO..." in this most recent picture. We'll have to find a meadow for next time. :)

Coming back to revive this blog soon!