“Stayin’ in a Holiday Inn full of Surgeons,
Guess they meet here once a year…
They exchange Physicians stories’
And get drunk on two-fer beer.
Now they’re off to catch a stripper
With their eyes glued to her G…
Well, I don’t think that I would ever let ’em
Cut on me….”
-Jimmy Buffett “Miss You So Badly”
Well, now, yesterday was an experience that I do not ever wish to repeat so long as I live, thank you! Went for a routine late-pregnancy Midwife check-up, with my Male Midwife (different, I know) and ended up imprisoned until 12:30 a.m. in a hospital bed and tethered to an Electronic Fetal Monitor, over myriad senseless fears of the medical community: placental abruption, stroke, seizure, pre-eclampsia, etc. Nasty stuff. Praise Jesus, I do NOT have any of these conditions and He has protected me from them and indeed, cast out the fear of them, so long as my mind is stayed upon Him.
Before you abandon reading my blog post, it’s not about being pregnant, or seeing a Midwife, or vaginas, or the birth process. It is about fear versus faith in Jesus Christ. It is about being a wife submitted to ONE man, and ONE man alone: her husband, above all others (except of course, Jesus Christ). It is about hearing the voice of our Lord and obeying, and realizing that often, as a married woman, the voice of the Lord will come in the form of the voice of an imperfect man – our husband! It is about drowning out all of the other voices that may be speaking (even if they are the voices of friends) – because we, as wives, are not accountable by God to all the other voices – and because His perfect Love is the only way to truly cast out all fear.
Our husbands (hopefully) know us better than any other person on the face of this earth. They live with us at our best and most graceful, and they live with us at our worst and most sinful. For most of you reading this, your spouse or the spouse you seek is a believer in the God of the Bible and the saving Grace of Jesus Christ alone.
Many of us who write here in the so-called ‘sphere, or who simply read and comment, are really putting serious spiritual effort into hearing and obeying God’s commands to us in Ephesians chapter 5. It has become an area of pinpoint focus for me in recent years, as God has worked to soften my heart, but even more beautifully, to HEAL my broken heart from such a terribly wounded past.
When I was an infant, I was adopted. My birth mother placed me in closed adoption days after birth, and three weeks later, I was placed permanently with my adoptive parents. Let me just say that sometimes, adoption does not equal a “better” life for the child: sometimes, there is much heartache. Sometimes, the adoptive parents didn’t want to have a child to GIVE love, but to GET love. Sometimes, there is abuse. This was the case with me: I did grow up in a great deal of dysfunction: so much so that I think I am only now realizing, as Col. T and I build a Christ-centered family versus a self-centered one.
In any event, seeing this Male Midwife has really been a challenge because of past abuse, both physical and sexual. You see, I had purposefully chosen only female providers for over twenty years! However, when we moved, I had no choice but to see this man if I wanted a Midwife (and I do at my age: Docs tend to treat me like an anomaly having another child at 43). My husband was raised by a bunch of Chiropractors, so he’s not big on the Western Medicine model of care either and prefers a more “granola” approach, like me, for lack of a better term.
At my first visit with Mr. Midwife (who is a good practitioner, by the way – just NOT for me specifically), I had an emotional melt-down and a huge spike in blood pressure. Now, I do not have high blood pressure, even during pregnancy. Because I used to work in medicine, I do have a manual b/p cuff at home and periodically take it just to make sure it’s fine. It is always fine. So, instead of having Mr. Midwife freaking out over what he sees on his machines, I just figured it would be easier to tell him the truth: I am a survivor of childhood abuse, and he’s the first man who’s been “down there” medically for me in over twenty years. He was very understanding. Until yesterday.
Yesterday, I went in for a routine check – I’m about 37 weeks pregnant, so we’re down to the wire. Full term, but we would prefer to just leave the baby in there until he/she wants to come out on his own. Yesterday, prior to driving for an hour to get to Mr. M’s office, we had a flat, not much money to buy the new tire required, a small argument in the kitchen over some trivial matter, not enough lunch because of a rush, my husband off work because of my appointment (we have only one car), an overheated car while I’m an hour away from home…you get the idea. It was a day of total spiritual attack, in my opinion. The devil was after us, and after us hard, and this was BEFORE I ever saw Mr. M in his office!
Upon sitting down with the nurse in his office, my b/p was literally off the charts. Stratosphere high. However, I know my body: this HAS happened before to me in stressful situations, and I knew that nothing was truly WRONG with my body or our baby. Mr. M was hysterical: he said we had to have a “discussion” about my b/p, and I suppose his definition of discussion varies greatly from mine, because we didn’t “discuss” anything: he just demanded that I be admitted to the hospital, and starting raving about extreme and frightening possibilities.
Keep in mind, this man does not know me: he has seen me four or five times. He ultimately called my husband and told my husband, who had to hang up on him because he would not stop talking! My husband called me when things had calmed down, and I was tethered to machines in a hospital bed, far from home and family, feeling out of control. I had seen a female Midwife on call by now, who agreed that this was likely caused by a PTSD response, and not a true medical emergency with my b/p. She urged me to think about whether I wanted to stay or go home. She said she doesn’t believe in “fear based medicine.” I instantly loved her!
The FIRST thing Col. T said was something like this: “Mama, you are submitting to this person’s authority (Mister Midwife), and you do not have to do that; in fact, it is making matters worse, in my opinion. There is nothing wrong with your health or the baby: you are upset and angry because he is a male Midwife and this bothers you, and today he did a physical exam with instruments which upset you further. You are now allowing yourself to be forced into a place that makes you MORE stressed, and therefore INCREASES your b/p, rather than the goal of decreasing it by being near people who calm you and love you (home). I would urge you to stop submitting to these fear-based people who do not operate in faith, and listen to me and follow me and come HOME tonight, not after five p.m. tomorrow when Mr. Midwife demands.“
I will admit that something unexpected rose up in me emotionally and I wanted Col. T to be wrong. I wanted to say (but didn’t) that we cannot just ignore things like this; checking this out in the hospital was PRUDENT and GOOD. I wanted to say that this was perfectly acceptable and “normal”, but there was nothing I could say. There was nothing I could say because Col. T knows me better than anyone on the planet; we are ONE flesh. He knows that I suffer from anxiety around men other than himself. He knows my b/p is healthy because he sees me take it at our home every week. He knows my personality; what sets me off, my little quirks that no one else knows about. Who am I going to fully trust more: my husband, who knows me, or a veritable stranger, Mr. Midwife? You would think this would have been a no-brainer!
Further, when I began to pray, I really began to meditate on how God speaks. I am aware that it would be highly unusual for God to show up in the form of an angel in my hospital room and tell me what to do in this situation. After I spoke with the female Midwife and then Col. T, my blood pressure had returned to normal after about six hours in the hospital – something that would not have happened if I were truly suffering from cardiovascular illness. It is amazing how calming my husband’s words were to me.
As I began to meditate on how God speaks to wives, it became clear that because the husband is the head of the wife, the head usually has two ears with which to listen to God and one mouth with which to speak to his wife what he has heard. Well, you get the picture! In other words, it would be possible, but less likely, that God would want me to continue to “submit” to the insistent and bullying will of another man, especially after my physical symptoms were completely gone. This was a situation, in my heart, of submitting to my husband in all things. Regardless of what the world might think about it.
In two hours, I had a bevy of completely normal b/p readings under my belt and decided to drive home. I knew I wouldn’t arrive until almost 2 a.m., but at least I would sleep under the roof with my family and not be awakened and stressed every two hours all night. The angel in the form of the on-call Midwife offered me the opportunity to bring the 24 hour urine test home and drop it at a local lab today. Bliss.
*Oh, wait…about seven miles from home, two does ran out in front of the car, and I literally could have counted the hairs on their pelts when the ABS stopped me inches from their bodies on the highway. They looked at me and trotted across the highway, and I praised Jesus for thwarting that disaster as well.*
Ladies: I write this so that you and I both realize that we are either submitted to our own husband in all things, or we or not. Even our bodies are one flesh with our husbands bodies, and when something is awry with our body, we should trust our husband with what he is hearing from God about the state of our flesh. This doesn’t mean we cannot disagree and voice disagreement, but I think it does mean that we should seriously consider what our husband is saying to us, even when it is unpopular with others around us, and even if it seems a bit outlandish to our natural mind! God said “all things” – this leaves no room for doubt. Either we can trust our husbands as given to us by God to love us and guide us, or we cannot. If we cannot, we call God a liar. God is not a liar; this flies in the face of His Word.
*Please note, I am in NO WAY ADVOCATING that we presume to know more than a medical doctor, nor am I suggesting that we only believe in “faith healing” and ignore the benefits of modern medicine. I AM saying that there are times when we might more easily be picked off by the enemy of our souls when we are trying to submit to someone who is operating in fear instead of faith, and literally making our spiritual condition and possibly our physical condition WORSE! I am saying that each particular situation is unique to the couple and the man, following Christ, may have intel that his wife needs. So, in our case, we watchfully waited – with me AT HOME where I can relax and be surrounded by love instead of fear.*
Gentlemen: really know how much it means to your wife that you love her as Christ loved the Church. The story I have just shared is what that means to me; it means he loves me so much that he desires what is best for me. Even if he knows I might have a fit or argue with him when he tells me! Even if I am scared and physically weak, and alone and he’s only able to coach me to obey him over the phone. You see, he was literally able to be used of God to work peace into my spirit, mind and body as I lay there in the hospital. THIS is washing with the water of the Word so that his bride has no spot, or wrinkle or blemish. THIS is Perfect Love that casts out all fear.
“For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.”