“She has chosen that good part”

I’ve been putting writing off this blog post for a few weeks while I gathered my thoughts. I knew what I wanted to do, but sometimes I have to wait for the right day and mood to write it. Today is that day. The days when I feel weighed down with worries and burdens of those around me are the perfect times to write stories [that I secretly hope people actually read]. You can skip to the bottom bolded section if you want the short version of what’s about to happen in our neck of the woods….I won’t hold a grudge. 😉

“[Rebecca, Rebecca], you are worried and troubled about many things.”

Isn’t it so much more personal when you put your own name in there? (Just in case you aren’t familiar, it’s the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42.)

He’s been calling my name for a while now. To be a little more precise, since around the time we were preparing to live on the Mississippi Gulf Coast for 6 months (summer of 2015). I knew it would be unlikely that I’d be able to attend births as a doula or birth photographer while I was there because of childcare situation/not knowing anyone. So I thought maybe I’d get the chance to work on some behind-the-scenes stuff for Hope for a Village. What really ended up happening is that my 30-year-old husband had to live in a dorm with a bunch of 18-to-20-year-olds because someone in the National Guard office here wouldn’t “let” him live in an apartment 15 minutes away from the base with his wife and two kids. And I drove them every evening when he was done with (You want to talk about stress? LOL! It was literally off the charts.) Needless to say, nothing much got done for the Hope for a Village website or anything else I wanted to do. (Like, oh I don’t know, maybe finish blogging an actual part 3, 4, and 5 from my last Haiti trip?!)

“But one thing is needed…”

This fall I quietly changed any portrait photography commissions I received to be a fundraiser for HFAV. I never shared it on Facebook, but told some people in person about it. I was afraid people would think I was crazy. It’s not your typical business model. I thought it would help fulfill that feeling of “what God wants me to do with this part of my life.” But something still wasn’t sitting right. I thought it would be an easy way to help fund a few small HFAV projects. And it has, and I’m SO grateful for that. But something still felt “off.”

Matt, meanwhile, kept asking me what I wanted to do in my life. I kept thinking, “Are you seriously asking me this? Haven’t we hashed this out a dozen times? I am 32, God has blessed my doula business to be so much busier than I ever imagined, I still get to have fun on the side with my art, I’m actively working on my IBCLC goal, and you’re asking what I want to do with my life?!

I think he might have heard what I wasn’t saying. Sometimes I’d sigh and say, “I wish I didn’t have to work so much. I really want to do ~blahblahblah~ for Hope for a Village.” He told me multiple times I didn’t have to work so much anymore if I didn’t really want to. We were at a place now financially where I could actually do that (but I was having trouble accepting that since this was a new thing to us. Since he kept saying things like this and he has a knack for seeing things I can’t, I took some time to think about it. What did I really want to do with my life? What was most important to me at this phase in my life?

Eventually I had two lists in my head of personal and professional goals. What I wanted:

  • Finish my IBCLC certification
  • to use the business skills I’ve gained the past 9 years to help improve Hope for a Village behind the scenes
  • to use my training and experience as a lactation consultant and doula to help change families’ health & lives (…ultimately, in Haiti)
  • to live somewhere with better academic choices/opportunities for my boys
  • to spend more time outdoors (I was missing it – and my garden – because of too much work.)
  • to live simply, not surrounded by electronics and busy things that were slowly creeping their way into my home
  • to not be so busy that I can’t make art for the pure enjoyment of making it (not just when someone wants to pay me for it)
  • to spend more time with my family and friends
  • to spend more time in the presence of God

…and what I didn’t want:

  • to be stuck inside at a computer all day (which I do a lot of for business purposes)
  • to lose track of what is most important in life because I’m always working
  • to lose the time and effort (and a $900 scholarship) I had already put into completing my 90-hour lactation course that would count towards the IBCLC exam
  • to choose a place to live based on job opportunities but lacking in outdoor recreation and large-scale gardening opportunities (we want to grow fruit trees and berries and have bees)
  • to get caught up in the busyness of a big city that I forget I wanted all of the things on List 1

I had to swallow some pride to accept that the first two things were what I truly wanted to do right now as far as career goals went. And that I needed to lay down some others that were keeping me too busy for the other things on that first list. Especially the last one….because just One thing is needed…..and being so busy with other things made it easy to put off THAT thing. (Yet that is the thing that keeps me sane during my workdays!)

“…and [she] has chosen that good part…”

Y’all this is the best line! (That’s why I used it as the blog title.) 😉 The good part is Him! He is the honored guest in Mary and Martha’s home. He is the one for whom Martha was trying so hard to prepare a wonderful meal. I don’t blame Martha too much…I think she truly had a heart to serve those she loved (as well as strangers in her home!). But it’s so easy to get distracted from the most important things when you’re always looking after other people. It doesn’t mean she loved Jesus any less. She just needed a reminder.

Mary realized something Martha hadn’t yet. She recognized the need to stop serving and took the opportunity to feed her soul. She gave up the busyness of her life to be with Him. She sat down to rest and listen, learn, and rejoice with HimJesus was her choice.

I love doula work, but I feel like right now I need to slow down on that so I can refocus on Him. Slowing down will also enable me to accomplish those first two goals (and some of those lifestyle changes). I believe God has big plans for ministering to the Cotes-de-fer area, both physically and spiritually. When I’m caught up in the busyness of running a business, it’s hard to do that. And it’s hard for me to sit at the feet of Jesus and really listen and learn. And He’s been calling my name…

The funny part is…when I do work on things for HFAV, I feel closer to God. It makes me think about His ways, His words, His truth. It makes me feel so much smaller and makes Him feel so much bigger and real than any type of ministry I’ve done here. I know Christianity is not supposed to be all about our own feelings, but the fact is that we are made in His image, and emotions are going to be a part of our walk with God. And it’s partly unexplainable for me….but some of you know what I mean. You just know that’s what you’re supposed to do. It’s a peace that passes all [human] understanding.

So this is what this all looks in a practical sense:

  • I’ll be scaling back on how many births I do. (Actually I’ve already started this.) Right now I am aiming for lower-stress situations for me….that probably sounds really selfish to people who aren’t birth workers but that’s what I need to do right now to accomplish these other things. So I’ll still greatly appreciate your referrals, but I may not take on every family that asks. I’ll just refer them on to other good doulas that I know and trust.
  • I’ll be looking for a mentorship or place(s) to get my 500-1,000 hours. I need about 10 consistent hours at a clinic every week over the next 2-3 years to complete either pathway.
  • I’ll be dedicating certain hours as a routine each week to working on Hope for a Village. This means finding childcare for my over-the-top, energetic, can’t-turn-my-back-on-him preschooler. Momma needs a break every now and then. 😉
  • I’ll take on commissioned portraits of mommas and babies if they happen to come my way, and for the time being they will continue to be as a fundraiser for HFAV. Eventually those might also be a personal funding source for my trips there, but for now this will help with some HFAV projects. I don’t plan on putting in very much effort to this right now so I can focus on HFAV and doing my hours each week. Eventually I’d love to find a way to sell art online, but that’s a later goal…
  • I’ll be doing less posting on my business Facebook pages (but possibly blog more birth stories, art, and personal photos). In general, less time on Facebook (I hope). I get a lot of business through FB and I feel like I’m constantly on there replying to messages and creating posts. It makes me feel extra-busy and I need a break from it.
  • I’ll be trying to see more people face-to-face over coffee or park playdates with our kids, or on the Marco Polo app. (It’s a video chat app on both Android and iPhone that makes it a lot easier to see someone’s face when you talk than some other popular apps out there. I LOVE seeing the beautiful faces of friends whom I don’t get to see very often because of time or distance! I’ve already had so many good, real conversations with friends on there this spring. It’s so much better than seeing their posts on Facebook as a way to keep up! Please let me know if you download it and want to add me. (I think we each have to plug each other’s phone numbers in our phones to get each other to show up.)
  • We will eventually be selling our house and finding a place with more land. This is correlated to the timing of some additional training my husband has to do for the National Guard. In the next few years we will have to spend time in Texas and St. Louis before finding our land. No, we don’t have dates yet. It’s the military. We continue to wait…So right now I’m purging the house of a lot of things we don’t need!

Ultimately I would like to use my experience as a lactation consultant, doula, and business owner in Haiti to help improve maternal-infant outcomes there, just like I do here. But God calls people to work in different locations for different reasons….Human borders are nothing to the way God works. Thankfully my many imperfections and inabilities don’t matter; He can work around those (ever read about Moses and how bad of a public speaker he thought he was?) These are all just little steps along the way to that vision. When I’m done with these I’ll move on to more intensive language-learning of Creole and French. But one thing at a time. 😉



I am so happy for you Rebecca. Thank you for sharing your heart. This blog is written from a place of peace. I can totally feel that. It’s amazing how God is revealing Himself to you and through you. Its amazing how life with God works. It’s amazing how God sometimes uses the simplest of situations to stear us towards the directions He wants us to go and how He helps us to realize that the things that used to matter suddenly have less meaning and still able to have a sense of peace about it all. God is just amazing!

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