I’m publicly sharing my journey with God over that last few months so that I can answer the ‘What?!”Why?’ or ‘How?’questions that are certain to follow my decision to pursue being a midwife (in some form) when we return home. Too many things have happened that I can’t call a coincidence. I believe God is very purposeful in His timing.
The following prayer has been the stimulus to the changes in my life over the last five years. There is nothing magical about the prayer itself, but when prayed with sincerity is a good model for me to follow and remember to surrender everything to the One I call Lord and Master. It is taken from the book ‘Experiencing God’.
Lord, You have an assignment for me that is God-sized. To accomplish it, I must have the faith to make the adjustments you require in my life. Show me how. I am willing, Jesus.
You may change my circumstances.
You may change my relationships.
You may change my thinking.
You may change my commitments and priorities.
You may change my actions.
You have my permission to change my beliefs, even those I have so proudly held for years. Change whatever is necessary for me to carry out Your assignment.
I surrender to You. I depend entirely on You. I wait for your call to action. I want to think Your thoughts, act in Your ways and focus on Your purposes. Give me the faith and courage to pay the cost in every area of my life to obey you fully.
Show me where You are at work. Help me trust that what You have shown me is true. Teach me to pray every situation through until You accomplish what You have shown me You would accomplish in the situation.
I know you in a personal love relationship. I trust You to bring each work You show me to completion. I will obey You and join You in that work. In doing so, I will encounter and experience You. Amen.
So midwifery…where did that come from? That is exactly what I started asking this voice that kept coming back to me again and again. I am not a nurse, I have never pictured myself doing any kind or form of nursing and honestly I still have a hard time picturing me being a midwife. But I couldn’t deny the prompting so I did some searching. But first, let me back track to God’s time table for you.
My cousin’s wife, Vicki, has been a midwife for 25+ years. They have lived most of this time in the Philippines and have set up their own non-profit organization www.mercyinaction.com/ Mercy In Action sets up and funds free birth centers for the poor families in the Philippines and have delivered more than 12,000 babies. Vicki is also a teacher/trainer of midwives. I have the upmost respect for their work and have kept up with what is going on with them through my parents when they would come back to the states for visits; but I have not seen them for 30 years….. Then, who shows up at our doorstep in MI shortly before coming to Cambodia?! Yes, my cousin and his wife!! Still, I never have thought of this avenue for myself.
It started about 6 months ago that I couldn’t shake the persistent thought of being a midwife. Finally I decided to visit www.mercyinaction.com/ and checked out what the schooling requirements were. When I read it, my thought was, “Yep, I don’t know where that thought came from but I am definitely not made for this. I do not have the brains for what is required of me.” It is a condensed course, packing18 months into 3 months. So with that, I dismissed it from my mind. Approximately two weeks later, Chet came into the kitchen while I was cooking dinner and tells me he thinks I should look into becoming a midwife. WHAT?!? “Where did that come from?” was my question to him because I had said nothing to him about it. He told me, “I don’t know, I can just picture you doing that”. When I told him that I had already looked into it and dismissed it because it was more than I could handle, he just told me that I didn’t give myself enough credit. Although I admit that I believe God prompted that conversation with Chet and his confirmation of my ability was encouraging, I still brushed it aside.
Then, three months ago I found myself having a conversation with Chet and giving ultimatums of what I would or would not do in the future. Immediately following, I felt the rebuke from God because I was, (by giving my ultimatum) putting God in a box and taking control of my life rather than submitting to God’s desires. So once again, I began to pray the above prayer and the first thing that came to mind (that I had not thought of for awhile) was being a midwife. A few days later when I was out with a couple of friends we entered a coffee shop and I thought I recognized a pastor from Byron Center. Yes, he looked enough like this pastor that I (because I’m not shy) asked if it was him. It wasn’t, but my friends and I got into a conversation with this group of men. One by one they told who they were and why they were here. Some were visiting, others worked for organizations here in Phnom Penh. All, except for one man, mentioned only themselves. Only one said, “My name is Gideon and my wife is midwife.” Where did that come from?! No one else mentioned their wives. So I sheepishly asked what the need for midwives are, of which he replied “It’s a Great need”. My next step was to come home, e-mail Vicki and ask her to pray for me and if she had any advice. To sum it up, she said, “If God is calling you to be a midwife, you will not be able to do anything else, unless you deny His voice.” Well that is telling it like it is – but I thank her for her bluntness and speaking the truth in love. She also asked me if I was working with….. are you ready….yes, Gideon’s wife. What a small world!
Still fearful, I questioned God about how “I” will be able to make this happen. I am still worried about the academic part because it is a condensed course and that overwhelms me – I can’t deny it. I also wonder how I’ll pay for it; we are just coming off of the mission field. But, God still speaks. As I was studying one morning before church, I was reviewing the name of Adonai. I quote from the book “Lord I want to Know You” “O Beloved, do you see that our responsibility is to bow before His throne and say, ‘My Lord’? With submission comes all we need for the task He puts before us. Whatever it is, as Adonai He supplies what His servants need in order to perform their master’s will”.
Later at church that morning, Pastor Ann had a word from the Lord. “What is in your hand? Just give it to Me. Don’t worry, I’m not looking for talent or abilities. I just need you to be available. When you surrender to me, I am the One Who supplies your needs to accomplish My will. Just give me what is in your hand.” I believe this to be the stamina and ability to accomplish the academic side as well as the finances to do it.
So it is in faith that I submit. I am telling you this because it is also a form of accountability that will move me in my next step of faith. I read recently (and it is true) that you can’t move or go on a journey with God if you are unwilling to move/change. So please pray with and for me and the family as I take this next step of obedience. – Virginia