Jessica Diggs
birth. life. spirit.
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graceful growth

sharing my journey as a doula, student midwife, sista-friend, educator, business woman, and believer. 

Posts in Faith
A Please and A Thank You

Around this time of the year, wanderlust has set in and the mundane of the year is at it's all time high. Thankfully, I have my documented European adventures to keep me going for a bit. I am so pumped to be traveling to Cuba is a few months but more importantly to be traveling alone. I am great with people but I LOVE solitude especially while traveling! 

The challenge of a language barrier, the awkwardness of being by myself, and the chance to see how well I do. Also, I DO NOT have to consider anyone else's agenda or food preferences. So as I wait so impatiently for my upcoming trip, I am reminiscing hard on my first solo trip abroad.


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Enjoy my first day in Paris - a nervous, American trying real hard not to be American. 

"My first full day in Paris was awesome. I woke up a bit worried. Aside from being known as the city of love, Paris is equally notorious for rude French people and pickpockets. So when I got ready to leave this morning I felt a little nervous...and slightly fearful. Then I paused. I have travelled across the world on an all expense paid trip. I am covered by my Savior. And I'm cute! (This didn't cross my mind until after I prayed to God to help me.) But, for real, He did not give me a spirit of fear (at all) but of power, love and a sound mind. So I pumped myself up (like a serious, inner peep talk) and marched right out the door. Interestingly enough, my prayer consisted of something about keeping me safe and letting me come home with all my belongings. Also, to place nice, patient Parisians along my path.

As I approached the train station for my first interaction, I silently repeated the French word for ticket over and over. Only to get to the window and say "Anglais?". Haha! I tried. But the guy was so nice and tried so hard to help me. We struggled together to get me a day pass. He ended the convo with "Whew! That was embarrassing!" He now has a slight idea how I feel. I went about my day not having to say much in French in the tourist attractions until it was time for lunch. I really wanted a small brasserie type of place to eat and I knew the language challenge was coming up. I was seated easily with a few hand gestures. Then it was time to order. The waitress said a bunch of stuff and I said "Anglais?" She said no and the fun began. She was patient and I said as many "merci" as possibles. I pointed to what I wanted but needed to order a coffee. I'm usually in a coffee shop when I've ordered coffee but here I made the mistake and just said "un café". Most Americans like myself wouldn't expect an "un café" to come in a baby tea cup but it does around the rest of the world. Fortunately for me, Michael (a random Parisian man sitting across from me) stopped the waitress before she went to get my tiny espresso shot. He corrected my order because he knew I really wanted an "Americano" (the big coffee). We talked for a while, exchanging life stories. He gave me some pointers and told me I was doing great by just being kind and patient. He wished me well and told me "the world needs more people like you". 😍 He went on with his life and left me with the non-English speaking waitress.

As I finished my meal, I rehearsed asking for the bathroom and check. I did that correctly. Toilet is essentially toilet in French! She walked me to the bathroom and gave me a coin. I was confused but pretended I knew what to do with it. She didn't bother explaining it because I wouldn't understand anyways. When I went into the bathroom, I saw that you had to pay to go into the stalls. Merci beaucoup nice waitress! I said Thank You to everyone in the restaurant as I paid and was on my way to wonder around the streets of Paris. My "luck" didn't stop there either but this post is already too long. :) Let's just say, I shared lots of laughs with the owner of a boulangerie (bakery) as I bought my bread for dinner. She showed me she can count to 11 in English and I showed her I can order 3 croissants and a bagette in French. We both threw out all of our best words in the opposite language.

Oh, and I didn't get pickpocketed! The night is young though.

Au revoir,

Jessica"

Posted from my old blog - started when I spent 3 months traveling around Europe and the first few years of my LA life. 

when she hurts, He hears

I have the privilege of sharing the deep, intimate words of my dear sister in Christ. So thankful that the Holy Spirit moved in her to not only shared her heart with our good, good Father but to share her revelation or "downloads" with others. So many women can attest to feeling similar. The vulnerability in her words exemplify a tiny glimpse into the intimacy she has with the Lord.  - Jessica


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Last night, I confessed to God that sometimes it's hard for me to believe that he cares and loves women as much as men. As an adult woman my eyes have been opened up to the reality that women and children are inferior to men worldwide, a perspective that has rocked me as I was a highly anticipated gift to my mother simply because I was a girl. I'm grieved by the injustice and exploitation of women.

I have pleaded with The Lord for justice, grace and kindness toward the women's stories that have circulated the internet this year: an image of a barefoot Syrian refugee mother holding TWO children while 4 men are walking along beside her fully clothed and with shoes on, a young college aged woman raped while unconscious and left by a dumpster only to have a flawed justice system poorly execute a consequence for the man who did it because he was a potential asset to the US Olympic swim team, the 9 month old baby girl in Ohio brutality beaten and raped to her death by her mother's boyfriend, the recording of Donald Trump and his coworkers indulging in the sexual objectification and derogatory "locker room" banter at the expense of women. 

Then there are the women I know and love: so many husbands addicted to sexual sin in some capacity, crushing the confidence and spirit of their wives, so many husbands deciding family life isn't actually for them and walking out and black friends and mothers afraid for their children's lives and tactfully thinking through how to raise them to not get killed (can you imagine this burden on a mother's heart?) Too many women with eating disorders, body image complexes, enduring wearing uncomfortable clothing because that's how the majority of our clothes are made (skinny jeans, high heels, bikinis, there's a reason why yoga pants have been a strong favorite for over 10 years.) Mothers expected and pressured by society to cook healthy, organic meals, keep a job, clean the house, rear the children, workout, be adventurist and eager in bed, and hold a social life for her family (none of these things are bad things when they stand alone.)

Then there's the bullying and disparity in our maternal health system. The abuse and manipulation, the deception and fear tactics. Just last night I was with a client who was getting induced at Kaiser and the Nurse Midwife withheld a safer less intrusive form of induction and the moment I asked about the safer option she offered it as if she had forgotten about it. No, she didn't forget. She just didn't want this induction to take forever, so she was willing to forego the safety of this momababy because she won't live with the consequences (This is a small example.) 

Deeeeeep sigh.

My heart is heavy, its weary, it's hopeless. Then I think "I'll speak to my husband, he's a man, he can be a voice for us." Sadly he can only sympathize and not empathize.

"God are you like this too? or, do you empathize with me, with us? Because, it doesn't feel like you do." 

He answered me in two ways today:

Midwife Carol opened her lecture with a powerful testimony. She prayed to God on her way to the birth of a repeat client, "God, please send me a midwife as experienced or more experienced than me." She arrives and suspects that this is a big baby. During delivery it becomes evident that baby is struggling to get under the pubic bone. Carol cries out to God for help through several minutes and efforts to assist this momababy. She ends up needing to cut the perineum to allow more space and one floppy baby wedges his way out but responds well to resuscitation efforts. After a dystocia of that nature and an episiotomy, you can expect a bad tear. Carol and her assistant hold their breath as they go to check the damage. Her jaw drops at the sight of a fully intact perineum and vagina. "God healed her Carol!!" says her assistant. She repeats this several times as Carol wraps her mind around this miracle. "God did this for me? He did this for my client? He blessed ME in this way???!" On her way home God tells her "I am the midwife."

Joy. Tears. Hope. Promise. Relief. 

The role of a midwife is one of the most women-centered, women-serving, women-caring roles on the earth and God is showing me that HE is the midwife? Not only is He the midwife but I am not to take His place because he holds it lovingly, proudly and powerfully. More tears as I write this. 

I started reading about women in the Bible two weeks ago in a search to see God's heart for women. This morning God showed me again how much he loves women. I read Rahab's story, the story of a woman who is chosen by God to protect His people and in return He not only spares her and her family's lives but He puts her in the lineage of Jesus (WOW). The Hebrews had waited 40 years to enter the Promise Land and Rahab was anointed to be an integral part of their entering. I believe God revealed Himself to her because His word says that "she said to the men, 'I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you.'" Joshua 2:9 (she knows!) I also want to make a point that Rahab does not sound like a weak, drugged, trafficked, helpless prostitute who God chose to exemplify his strength through by lifting her up in her weakness. She had a family she cared for, a house she owned, and a fear of the Lord, her work as a prostitute was deliberate. It paid her well and allowed her to be a matriarch in her family. What is impactful to me about this is that not only was she a woman but she was a woman living in sin that she gained from and God's love is so grand that He still chose her. I appreciate that detail because it doesn't let me make excuses for what God is showing me, I can't say "oh, well it makes sense that God loves Jane Doe because she lives a really Holy life so she's an exception." 

I took a break from writing this to go to bible study today and it was there that He sealed my heart with an affirmed promise that He DEEPLY loves women. It was the moment when a group of women loudly and joyfully raised their voices in praise to The Lord that I received a download (Midwife Carol's term for hearing from God) from Him saying "this I love hearing, it is music to my ears." 

beautifully written by His loved daughter, Andrea Pongo.