Each of us in life-affirming work gets the question at some point, “What got you started in this work?”
The answer I hear most often goes something like, “I didn’t intend to get involved in this ministry, but this happened. Then this, and this. Before I knew it, I was all in!”
These stories take me back to so many characters in Biblical times. Think about it. Moses didn’t get up one morning and decide to lead the children of Israel. David didn’t say, “Dang, I’d make a much better king than stupid Saul.”
In the New Testament, on the day which would change his life forever, Peter went to work on his fishing boat, like he did almost every other day. Saul of Tarsus was on a decidedly different track when he encountered Jesus and reversed his life’s work.
A takeaway from these stories? It may be that some of our best “recruits” are those content with other callings—but perhaps may need a nudge which helps them think differently.
My story? I was sitting toward the back of a church, listening to my pastor share one of a series of six messages on social issues Christians should consider before voting in the 1980 election. Yes, that was a long time ago. I am, to many of you, a fossil. I get it.
His message? The sanctity of life. My pastor admitted that when Roe was handed down in 1973, he barely noticed. Seven years later, he certainly cared. By the end of that 45 minutes or whatever it was, I was convinced something needed to be done and I was all in.
I got involved in politics, in public policy, writing letters to the editor—anything I could do. And I prayed that God would one day place me on the “front line” defending life. That prayer stuck with me for ten years, until a little pregnancy center in our town was looking for a new executive director.
Here, in pregnancy help ministry, I realized we are the front line. Because there’s nothing like sitting across from a fearful couple trying to decide whether to carry their baby to term. Important things are decided in Washington, in state capitol buildings across this country and in courtrooms.
But the front line? It’s where these unbelievably challenging decisions are made.
That’s my story. My first day in a pregnancy help organization was March 1, 1991. My next? Tomorrow, when I step into another of our 2,700-plus pregnancy help locations across this country.
What about you? As you read this, think about what got you started. What were the events leading to your first day? Do you look back and laugh at what once appeared to be coincidences, yet realize now they were providences?
Do you remember when your heart skipped a beat and you said, “This is the place I need to be?”
What was your motivation? Your passion?
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In this work, it is so easy to burn out. We’re confronted by crises every day, helping others work through issues far beyond our control. It takes a toll. Wears us down. Then, fatigue sets in and it’s easy to wonder, “Why do I bother?”
Today, I’m at a conference for North Carolina’s pregnancy help centers. Just before coming back to the hotel room to wrap up this column, I looked across the gathering of 60 or 70 faces, and wondered, “Who is excited? Who can’t wait to get up in the morning to take on a new challenge?” And, “Who is ready to call it quits?”
I don’t know these answers. But I do know that for all of us, it’s a good idea, every few months, to do some remembering. Get out of the office. Buy yourself a coffee or go sit on a park bench. Sit back, take a deep breath, and remember.
Let’s remember why—and how—we got into this work. Let’s remember the calling we sensed, even if we didn’t realize it at the time. Let’s remember that then, we knew there would be challenges, we knew there would be a cost. But we chose this path anyway.
When we make it a habit to “remember well,” we regain our spark, our passion. Then, we’re more prepared for the next challenge, the next hill to climb.
Tweet This: When we make it a habit to “remember well,” we regain our spark, our passion for #prolife ministry. @KirkWalden
And when that next challenge arises, we are more likely to smile, if even just a little. Why? Because we have a good memory. And with a good memory, we are ready to take on the future.