After graduating high school in 1996, I began nursing school with my heart set on becoming a labor and delivery nurse. Within six months of graduation, I was doing just that. It was everything I had hoped it would be. I found great joy in being able to help mothers bring their newborns into the world safely. It is a time to celebrate life and new beginnings.
Over the years, I considered going back to school to obtain an advanced practice degree in nurse midwifery. There were many things to consider. Obtaining an advanced degree was going to be expensive. Colleges that offered a midwife program were over four hours away. In addition, if I graduated, my family would have to relocate. It was not common for Mississippi hospitals to use midwives. After considering these things, I decided it would be best to remain at the bedside as a labor and delivery nurse.
A PIERCING MESSAGE
Three years ago, I attended a conference with the focus on local and international missions. The last session I attended had a great impact on me. I can’t remember the pastor’s name, but I’ll never forget his message and the question that followed.
He delivered a message that was not profound in itself. He was speaking about things we value. Things, in this life, that we hold sacred and dear to us. He asked us to consider the areas we have been willing to surrender. After that, he asked us to consider areas we hold back. With his prompting and help from the Holy Spirit, I did just that. I remember his final call and question:
“The only thing worthy enough to lay down at the feet of King Jesus is something that is valuable. What is valuable to you?”
I bowed my head, as the pastor encouraged, and I asked God to reveal to me anything I had been holding back. During the time of prayer, I was able to recall a moment in my Christian walk when I surrendered my children to the Lord. I remember the heartache and prayer. Acknowledging that my children are not my own, but God’s, was difficult.
“God, I surrendered my children to you. What could be more precious than that? Am I holding on to my finances, my home, my comforts? What is it that I have not surrendered for the advancement of your kingdom?”
I soon realized that wasn’t his question. The question was “What do I value?”
A VALUED CAREER
He began to show me that I valued my nursing career. I placed great worth on it. It was my source of income, earthly joy, and personal satisfaction. Wrongly, I had even found my identity in it. My heart was broken. I agreed with the pastor that day. Only something that is valuable to us is worthy enough to lay at His feet! I still remember the dimly lit room and projection screen behind the pastor that was on his knees in prayer for us.
“God, I acknowledge, that one day, you will ask me to give up labor and delivery. Help me when that day comes. I will have to know it is from you. When you ask, I want to be found faithful. When you call me away from labor and delivery, I will go.”
Grief captured my heart at the thought of it.
Two years ago, talk began to stir of a nurse midwifery school opening in Memphis, Tennessee. That is just an hour away from my home. Shortly after the news spread, a physician expressed that he would like to hire midwives and that I should consider getting my degree. It was exciting news. A school right down the road and midwives coming to Mississippi! I shared the news with my husband. He soon called Veterans Affairs and found out that he could transfer his GI bill to me. This now means my education could be paid for. All the check marks were in place and all the obstacles removed.
A PRAYERFUL PLEA
Deeply desiring to do as He would have me do, I began to pray for God’s will to be done.
The excitement of becoming a midwife began to fade. I filled out the application for school but couldn’t put it in the mail. I did not have confirmation that this was what God had planned for me. The desire to become a midwife was escaping me. There was a strange sense of peace when it left.
One month later, I attended an awareness meeting at the Eight Days of Hope training center. Many who had answered the call to combat sex trafficking gathered in one room to raise awareness about the growing need in our area. The darkness seemed so dark. The task seemed so great. I was broken, as any believer should be, over the injustice and sin that has entangled so many.
I left there asking, "God, is this where you would have me serve?”
Over the months of praying, remembrance of events from my own past flooded my prayer time. I began thinking about things that had happened in my life, people He had brought onto my path, and dangerous situations in which I had placed myself. Many of these things I had forgotten or had not given attention to before. It all caused me to question a new possibility:
"Had God been preparing me for this work all along?
A JOYFUL CONFIRMATION