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Receiving your call

I have had a great few weeks.  I was accepted into a program at school that will allow me to spend two weeks working with non-English speaking immigrants with little or no access to health care.  I was also asked by a colleague to accompany her to Narobi Kenya for a program she is planning.  It is shaping up to be a great summer.

And as I reflect on how much I love my life and the call God has placed on it, I am reminded of the comments I often receive from other women interested in birth.  The comment that often makes me wonder is, “I’m waiting to receive the call.”

Waiting to receive the call? I guess I don’t see “the call” as happening that way.  If your heart is drawn to midwifery, I think you have already received “the call.”  In fact, if you cannot keep from asking about birth stories or offering to help women breastfeed, you are already responding to the call. You simply need to recognize this fact.

The way I see it, if you don’t recognize that you have “the call,” you may risk making decisions that prevent you from acting on it.  For example, I have a lovely friend whose heart is drawn to service.  When disaster struck Haiti her heart was broke and she cried out to God to send her. She did not go. Why? She didn’t think she had received, “the call” because no opportunity fell into her lap.  I believe she did receive the call, but didn’t understand how to act on it.  She didn’t look into organizations already at work where she could volunteer a week or two.  She didn’t make arrangements to raise support for a trip, providing opportunities for those who wanted to be part of a tangible work to participate. She just waited, assuming that if she was to go God would put a fully-funded trip, scheduled for a convenient vacation time, into her back pocket.

This is the funny thing about “the call,”  it isn’t necessarily easy to follow. Think about Abraham, God called him to move his entire household to a part of the world he was unfamiliar with.  Ruth had to leave her family and homeland to accompany Naomi.  David’s first step was to face a giant.  I could go on and on, and so could you.  The call is amazing, and the results of accepting the call are life-changing, but you need to accept the call.  You need to act on it.

If God has given you a heart to serve childbearing women, that is “the call”.  Your job, should you choose to accept “the call”, is to find the ways you can begin to act on this call now.  It may not be easy. You may have to make some sacrifices. You probably will not start by traveling to Kenya to work with nurses and midwives. But as you begin to be faithful to the call God has placed on your life, you will be trusted with more.

My dear readers, I cannot wait to see how God is able to bless the world through your responding to “the call.”  Thank you for all you do.

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Jennifer Vanderlaan CNM MPH is the author of the BirthingNaturally.net website. She has been working with expectant families since 2000, training doulas and childbirth educators, and midwives. She has worked with midwives in Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her interest in public health grew in 2010, and she is now a PhD student in a nursing program learning to become a producer of knowledge.

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