(The following piece is from a former midwife who is a regular reader. It contains some unique advice. – CJ)
By Francine Tiff
There’s no shortage of questions and concerns about health care during the Storm. As a mother of a large family, pregnant with my eighth, I’m not immune from the same thoughts despite my years as a midwife. Today I’m sharing what I sincerely believe God wants you to know in order to help your own family and those around you. I assure you that you don’t have the time to waste wondering how you’ll get precious medications in six months, or how you’ll drive to a hospital if the economy comes to halt. I genuinely pray that my unique perspective will offer you some practical advice and solid confidence in a God that loves you.
Jesus, I trust in you. It’s a mantra for nearly every soul involved with this blog. Yet, repeatedly the fears of the future, for our children’s lives, for the health of our loved ones, threaten to overcome our deep resolve to cast ourselves upon the Lord. I know that many of you have family members dependent on daily medication to survive. Some of you are expecting babies in your own families. Others anticipate needing surgical or other hospital services in the near future. And my heart aches with the recognition of the fear that can grip you.
I can’t promise you that our medical services won’t be harshly interrupted or otherwise dismantled. In fact, we know that the threshold for creating chaos in medicine is quite low. There will be privations and sacrifices will be more common than not. But these challenges will provide you with the opportunity to live God’s love and mercy all the more. While you absolutely should have a first aid kit and a several-month supply of any necessary medication, you can’t live with the deception that you are in control or can single handedly prepare for medical emergencies in the future. But you do need some practical advice. And there is a strong chance that many of you will be called upon to minister to the sick and dying.
Therefore, I am providing you with a crash course on attending emergency births (or whatever other challenge you stumble upon).
If God allows you to be present in a medical emergency, great or small, you are His instrument. You may not have one iota of training in first aid or medicine but He has willed that you are there and you can with absolute certainty provide care. Your humility and willingness to assist are much more significant than a storeroom of pills and treatments.
Suffering people deal with the temptation to fear. And you can offer the antidote. It doesn’t matter how the tragedy will end; you can assure someone that it will be OK. Because it undoubtedly will be. God is in control and we can trust Him completely. As a midwife I was lucky to do a lot more reassuring than actual assisting. But to women and their families, my encouragement and support were recognized much more than any actual skill I might have been perceived to have utilized.
Your words have power and holding a hand, rubbing an aching back or offering a prayer is as essential as any medicine that we have in a pharmacy. The unfortunate tendency is to draw back from those that are in pain or experiencing a physical trial. I say that you are summoned to charge forward and put yourself in the uncomfortable and awkward positions. Your hands are the ones that God wants to touch an excruciating body through. Your words flow with His healing message. Your trust in Jesus breaks the devil’s hold on people. You don’t need to have any medical supplies to offer healing.
Many of you will need medical care and rest assured there are some things that simply won’t change! There are plenty of good doctors and other care providers in our world. And they won’t forget their desire to help people or the vast amount of knowledge that they have accumulated in their educations and experiences. Hospitals might be closed and supplies of medications might be exhausted but the resolve of people to keep moving forward will preserve. In fact, it will undoubtedly INCREASE as we discard our vanities and more fully live in God’s will.
Relinquishing the illusion that the medical system holds the answer to modern woes and living in the humility that God has our answers will lead to advancements in health and wellness.
I once had an incredibly talented surgeon offer me outstanding praise following a C-section that he performed on a patient of mine. He was astounded that I could have properly diagnosed a baby in a breech position, despite the parents declining ultrasound during their pregnancy. He unabashedly admitted that he would never be able to tell the way a fetus was situated without the use of ultrasound equipment. However, I have no doubts that should he lose that technology, he will preserve in providing exceptional care and will quickly gain the skills needed to continue his work.
Recently another physician wanted to discuss an herb that a patient of hers was using. The patient, also a close friend of mine, was taking the herbs after she and I briefly brainstormed ideas for tackling her persistent female problems. While this doctor does not have a tendency towards natural treatments, she appreciated the healing that her patient had reported and was open to more information. We had a candid conversation and the physician began the same regiment, following her own research. Several weeks ago she texted me that she is now pregnant with her own baby! Praise God, however His healing comes!
I am confident that many sincere care providers will find themselves on similar paths as their current ways of practicing are thwarted. They will continue to move forward and other means will open before them. It won’t necessarily be fluid or painless but we won’t all stop doing what we are called to do.
I haven’t worked in a solo practice in four and half years. It’s been two years since my last work in midwifery, as an assistant in a busy birth center. But if I am called, I will absolutely be serving women and babies in that manner. Most of the fine people I have been blessed to work with will be there without hesitation. Be at peace that God has a plan and many will find the way to it, no matter the crooked paths we seem to stumble along.
I would like to offer two other bits for you to ponder. You are responsible for you own discernment and I have no desire to guide you down a path that isn’t yours to take. However, I frequently see two stumbling blocks presenting themselves to sincere people of good will.
First, you cannot outsmart God. There are people that at this moment are holding children dying of starvation, are trapped in communities controlled by Islamic terrorists, or are refugees that will lose their lives because they lack simple necessities. Please don’t ignore the very real good you can do in their lives, to devote all your money and energy to prepping for what you think might happen in your own. It is an extremely hard balance to find for many families. But it is difficult to stock a pantry full of food you might be forced to walk away from when people will absolutely die today without a meal. I do feel called to be storing food and other supplies. I don’t doubt that many of you have been, too. But we must sincerely strive to do it in a manner that shows our trust in God and our love of neighbor.
Secondly, please discard the notion that herbs, essential oils, and everything else that is natural is always healthy. You surely wouldn’t use poison ivy in your baby wipes, no matter how many people explained that it is natural. Herbs are a powerful means of healing but they aren’t without risk. You shouldn’t be casually using them without solid research or necessity. During the end of my last pregnancy I was plagued with “benign” heart palpitations and supraventricular tachycardia. While the condition wasn’t dangerous, it was significant enough to be interfering with my life. In conjunction with one of my care providers, and with reservation, I decided to use small amounts of Hawthorne to reestablish a normal heart rhythm (yes, the same herb that many here have discussed being endorsed by the Blessed Mother for a coming disease). It was obvious that the treatment was effective. I took as little as I could but without it the palpitations returned with vigor. I experienced zero side effects and was well monitored. Following the fabulous birth of my son, my palpitations dissipated naturally. A month postpartum I felt terrific but exam revealed that I had developed bradycardia or a slow heart rate. I was referred to a cardiologist and numerous tests revealed that I indeed had developed an extremely slow heart rate (documented on their tests as low as the 40s). While all the additional testing revealed that this new condition wasn’t overtly dangerous either, it did add significant stress to us and the burden of many tests and appointments. I am fairly certain that the cause was the Hawthorne supplement. Several months later my heart rate stabilized on its own.
I don’t regret taking the herb nor do I attempt to dissuade you from natural remedies. Please remember that they aren’t without side effects, some of which are quite severe and dangerous. And again, your hope is in God. God who loves you very much and wants you to experience His care for you. And He wants you to share that care with others. Please don’t forgo feeding the hungry and clothing the naked in order to stock up on expensive vitamins and supplements that you don’t absolutely need. While I’m the biggest supporter of the prudent use of natural medicine, my professional work showed me how it can become a distractor from God’s will for you. Your hope isn’t in your medicine chest or pantry.
Keep the faith and more importantly live it. Imagine the world if we both keep our posts!