Thursday, November 6, 2008


Just in case you were wondering.

I'm a private person, and don't tend to write about personal things here. And maybe that's wise. But I want to be honest here, let you know who I really am. So I'll touch on some things that you may have wondered about. As they come to me.

1. Why I quit my job. I suppose that's a fair question, given the title of my blog. I always planned to be a stay at home mom, at least for awhile, probably not forever. My plan was to finish my residency in pediatrics, take a few years off to be home and have babies, and then return to work part time. It was not a bad plan, but it's not the way things worked out, and I'm so glad. My son was born during my first year of residency, and I decided against two more years of 80 hour workweeks. I craved more time with him. I thought I might work part time down the road, and I may someday. But I'm in no hurry. I really love being here. It was a hard adjustment, but hard in a good way, like exercise is hard. Like most things that are worth doing are hard.

2. What I believe about submission. Wow, this is a biggie. Just typing that word makes me feel all nervous, like, she's not really going to talk about that, is she? Well, apparently I am.

Here's the deal. I have found a way, after years of struggle, to embrace submission without feeling degraded. I have not always understood it that way, and have bucked against the concept. Mostly as a single person; if anything marriage made this easier, not harder. I tried to write off the Biblical passages as applying to the particular time and place where they were written, but I just can't do it. It doesn't work that way. There was a structure to marriage in the Garden of Eden. There is structure to the Trinity. These things are not accidental. They are not a result of the Fall. They are intentional design, and they are good.

This is not a thesis on womanhood. Maybe I'll write more another day, maybe not. But I had to at least get it out there, on the table. The most helpful thing for me has been to look to the Trinity. Jesus and the Spirit are both described as "submitting" to the Father. Same word in Greek, if I'm not mistaken. So clearly we are not talking about a difference in dignity or worth. This is not about ability or merit. The Spirit is described as a "helper" to the believer. This is not a secretary, right? An assistant, to iron shirts and bring the coffee? Justin likes to explain it as though "help" is a euphemism, as in "air helps me to breathe." As in, without this thing, I cannot go on.

AND, my submission to my husband "as unto the Lord" does NOT mean, like I once thought, "as if he WERE the Lord." I am not pretending that. They have a name for that, and it starts with an I. This is more along the lines of whatever you eat or drink, do it as unto the Lord. As in, serve God by doing this. Glorify God in this way, by trusting His leadership, His word. Practice submission, not because he deserves it, (he being the husband), but because God deserves it.

God has lots to say to the husband in all this, let's not forget. And my husband is diligent to do his part. That's a whole 'nuther post.

3. I'm a preacher's wife. Hubby's behind the pulpit. What girl wouldn't love that? Maybe some wouldn't, I don't know. I certainly didn't expect to, back in the day. Never, EVER dreamed I'd be a preacher's wife. I don't even play piano! ha. But I am his wife. And I love that job more than anything. I'm an ordinary wife. Not on staff at the church or anything like that. I love my husband, and it's his job to care for the sheep. And he's great at it. I'm so very proud.

4. Vaccines. Man, I'm just getting it all out there tonight! Here's the short version. I think vaccines are important, and have done way more good than harm. These diseases that they protect against are real, and they're deadly. We forget that, precisely because the vaccines have done their job. There may be more risk than we know, though. There are lots of questions out there. My hunch is that some children have a genetic hypersensitivity, a disposition to react badly to vaccines. That may be one of many, many contributing factors for some very complicated neurological disorders.

Here is one confusing fact: the natural history of autism, for most children, with or without vaccines, involves a fairly normal first two years and then some regression after the second birthday. That is hard to understand, and naturally causes many people to look for "what happened" to a seemingly normal child. But some genes just work that way. I am thinking of a family who had one child with autism. They felt the MMR vaccine was responsible. They had another child, chose not to vaccinate, and that child did the exact same thing. Seemed normal until two and then bam, autism. Or Parkinson's disease. Completely genetic. Normal development, normal life, until later adulthood, and then you get sick. Nothing "happened." The gene has been there since day one, sitting, waiting.

There are things that seem to suggest involvement of heavy metals, and the immune system gone haywire. Vaccines obviously would have some connection with both of those. There are things to suggest genetics. Also environmental pollution, potentially pesticides, and who knows what other thousands of exposures a young child could experience. I'm far from an expert. I'm an ordinary "entry level" physician, and an ordinary mom. Sort of thinking out loud here, if you don't mind. This isn't "professional advice" or anything.

So who knows? I think we really don't, right now. But I still believe vaccines are important. I vaccinate my own children, and would recommend that for any patient of mine. But I understand where parents are coming from when they express concern. Everyone wants to do what is best for their own child. Just do your reading, check your sources, think for yourself. Don't do something just because "Doctor knows best," but don't avoid something just because some person on Oprah said not to, either.

Well, I guess that's enough for tonight. Thanks for hearing me out. I don't mean to stir the pot; I'm not trying to start anything. If you have questions, that's fine, please, ask away. I just needed to say some things. Oh, man, I didn't even talk about homeschooling. Maybe next time.



Amy said...

hey, I liked this. Thanks so much for sharing more about who you are and what you believe, have decided. I REALLy enjoyed what you wrote about submission. And it is easier in marriage, I think, too. Before I was married I used to REALLY, REALLy cringe at the thought. But the longer I'm married, the more I enjoy learning how to love, and what my role is. I still don't technically have Zach's last name, but I'm sure I will, whenever I have time to figure out all that stuff out. Zach has a friend who is talking about getting married to a woman he loves very much, who wants to keep her name. Zach told him not to worry, because after a few years of marriage her spirit will be broken and she'll eventually consent, (like mine did and I did, I suppose.) He was joking; I laughed.
Did Oprah say something about vaccines? That lady. Man. I tell you what. I can't even look up something on the internet without some advertisement for her Acai berry diet popping up.

5 Chicks and a Farmer said...

Loved this!

I think you are one neat gal and I'm glad you put this out there.

Looking forward to more!

Mary said...

Well said.

Anonymous said...

thanks for this post, brandi!

i love the analogy of "helping" being like air "helps" us breathe! and thanks for tackling the big questions with thoughtful, humble, biblical answers... well, except the vaccine one, i just wish there was something in the bible to help us figure that one out!

love your blog, sister, and keeping in touch this way!


mandi said...

are you saying that i shouldn't turn to jenny mcarthy for all of my medical decisions?!?

Mommy, M.D. said...

ha! i actually flipped through the jenny mccarthy book the other day, and it seemed a lot more solid than i was expecting. my expectations were exceedingly low, though. i don't have any idea if it was on oprah or not (that was more rhetorical, but you get the point), but i certainly wouldn't be surprised. this is not a fringe movement anymore.