In the fall of 1991, I attended my first pregnancy help conference. It was extremely small by today’s standards, a group of affiliated centers from three states—perhaps 30 centers represented—gathered for a three-day retreat.
We had workshops, I’m sure. Maybe a keynote speaker or two. But what I remembered most was worship on the final morning before we headed back to our centers. A brilliant husband-wife team—I wish I could remember their names—led us. (He could play the sax like few I’ve heard.) They took all of us straight to a mountaintop moment, to be sure.
As we closed the worship session, our worship leader took the mic and began to speak. “Now you’re on the mountaintop,” he told us. “But tomorrow, you go back into the valley.” Oh, for a tape of the message he delivered after those few words. I don’t remember it all—but I won’t forget his encouragement. He sent us home determined, strong, and ready to face whatever was before us in our valleys ahead.
That mountaintop moment came to mind when I opened an email the other day. The email came from an OB/GYN in the valley. She asked me to pray for her. No details are needed here—it was a private message—but she teaches in a medical school where she is a lonely voice for life. Isn’t this ironic?
In a place where we are to be teaching future healers, the idea that life is to be protected in its early stages is dismissed. And she faces this every day. A valley, to be sure.
My heart broke for her. Let’s be honest; my “job” involves such things as speaking at events where we celebrate life. At these events, 98 percent of those in the audience would probably call themselves Christians. Attendees are overwhelmingly pro-life. Money is raised to support a great mission to save lives. Her job is nothing like this.
I was reminded, too, that from my home office, I connect with—you guessed it—fellow Christians almost exclusively. My travel means going to pregnancy help ministries where encouragement and hope rule the day.
Not so for my email friend. While she serves a pregnancy center as medical director—a source of strength, I’m sure—her daily routine involves loving, serving, and teaching many who see her convictions as outdated, politically incorrect, unenlightened, and bigoted.
She is in a mission field and appreciates this, I know. But it’s a bigger challenge for her to prepare for a work day than for me.
In the valley where she works, it’s not enough to have a well-thought-out defense of life. This is important, to be sure. But in the valley, one needs an extra filling of love to effectively reach those without a love which embraces the most innocent among us.
Along with love, those in the valley need a fuller measure of things like joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Sure, we all need these character traits. I know I do. But let’s be real. In my world, it’s easier for me to live these traits because I’m surrounded by those wanting the same things.
My friend didn’t ask me for a pithy comeback when she is attacked for her views. She didn’t ask me for training, for great insight (thankfully!), or anything else. She only asked me to pray.
So I prayed. I’m sure it wasn’t a perfect prayer, but it was something. In my reply, I encouraged her by saying she is not alone, though if she feels alone, it’s more than understandable. We will connect more, I’m sure.
My friend’s email reminded me that many of us in the pregnancy help community—for a variety of reasons—are in the valley. And in the valley, we need to know others are with us, urging us on as we stay in the trenches, one more day.
We all have our mountaintop moments. When we do, let’s celebrate. But when we leave the mountaintop to head back into the valley, let’s remember to stick together. Our journey through valleys may be difficult, but we don’t have to walk them alone.
Tweet This: "Our journey through valleys may be difficult, but we don’t have to walk them alone." - @KirkWalden