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Midwives are Muscle Relaxants 
I had the pleasure of hosting the Christian Midwives International board retreat meeting this past week. The days leading up to their arrival were busy ones: purchasing and prepping food, planning itineraries, investigating restaurants (what a chore, huh), getting all the needed items moved into our congregation’s hospitality house, to include my own clothes for the five-day stay. I expected to be exhausted by the time they arrived.

Not so! I was eager to see these dear women I usually only see once yearly at the annual CMI conference (this year, April 22-25, in lovely Pigeon Forge, TN – see www.christianmidwives.org) and was energized by the thought of the visit.

Now, it is important to note I’ve been seeing a massage therapist almost weekly for a while. Someone hastily backed up smack into my driver’s side door in May, and I’ve had constant pain and stiffness in my neck and jaw muscles since, so much so at times I couldn’t open my mouth more than the width of my thumb. I’ve tried various herbs, tried mouthpieces, cervical neck rolls, cranio-sacral therapy, investigated possible problems with my teeth, driven five hours to see my favorite and superb osteopathic doc friend for osteopathic manipulative therapy (OMT), and even tried various forms of conventional medical therapy. The result of all this: with OMT and weekly massage, I can at least function, but nothing causes release of the muscles in my neck.

In roll the midwives. We laugh. We work. We laugh until we wheeze. We cry. We laugh until our stomach muscles ache. We affirm what is good in the other. We laugh because receiving those affirmations is hard. We address issues needing work in the other. We laugh because it’s not like those things are big secrets we’ve been able to hide. We eat much food, and we giggle ourselves to sleep each night.

The five days are up in no time, and two by two, the midwives departed last Monday. I had much catch-up to do at home and business. This past week’s days were busy. Then came Friday, my first massage in several weeks – I’ve been getting ready for midwives, remember. As Polly, my superb massage therapist at Aspirations Spa in Monroe, Louisiana, begins to work on my neck, I notice something slightly different, so I ask, “Do you feel something different?”

Polly says, “Yes, your neck is not a piece of steel beneath my fingers.” Now, things are still sore and tight, but without question to either Polly or me, I’ve relaxed a little bit, perhaps allowing healing to begin on my neck and shoulders.

I drive home thinking, “why now when these past couple of weeks have been full of busy days beginning earlier than I like and busy nights ending later than I like?” The answer I’ve decided upon: Midwives are muscle relaxants.

The very nurturing nature of their calling causes hugs and soft touches to occur when you look like you’re hurting. And, these women love life; they live each day in service to God-breathed new life. These generous-hearted women resonate with joy; being near them inspires, at least in this woman, a relaxing into being the woman I am today and a contentment that God will continue His work in me until it is finished when my last breath is taken. And, when we are able to find contentment in today, who we are now without worrying over who we are not yet, laughter overflows…and muscles relax.

A hearty thank you to Brandi Wood, Lori Luyten, Ireena Keeslar, and Rebekah Knapp: love that accepts heals.

And, to those of you who are birth interested or practicing, go to the CMI website now and sign up for the April conference. I'll see you there. We'll laugh. We'll hug. We'll eat. We'll affirm. We'll accept. Your muscles will relax.

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