I feel like I was just on the mountaintop. The cool feeling of the wind blowing through my braid, struggling to keep my broken sandals on my feet, looking down on a country that God has covered in beauty and grace. That mountaintop was beautiful, so is the mountaintop of life, but I realize I can't spend my life standing on top of mountaintops, looking down on a countryside, on a world that is in need. I have to jump, leap from the mountaintop and go down into the valley.
I remember standing on that mountaintop looking down thinking about all that God had done and was doing in the time I spent in Africa, and the entire time I was up there I was thinking, Cam, there are people down there who need Jesus, what are you standing up here looking at them for, get down in the valley. It wasn't shortly after that I returned home. And in the valley I have gone and I have been and I currently am.
Life's a funny thing and grace is a funny thing. I find that God's grace is found in the most unlikely ways. I find that His grace cover's me in times I forget, in times I get lost, in the times I spend to much time trying to hang out on mountaintops. Because honestly, I wish I could spend my life on the mountaintop, it's exhilarating, thrilling, wonderful, happy feeling, the valley is a dark, cold, and scary place. Mountaintops are much easier to conquer than a valley.
There is a term I heard often when I first got involved in missions. people always mentioned the mountaintop and valley experience, but I never quite understood what they meant. How could someone be so happy and then so sad by something that made them so happy... it just made no sense. It wasn't until my first trip to Africa that I completely understood this meaning. As I struggled through a series of depression my senior year of college and not knowing how to explain it to anyone. As I struggle through the tears of pain and yet tears of joy in the middle of the night while people slept. That valley was so dark, I didn't think I would ever make it through. I didn't know how to handle it, how to ask God for the guidance, so I sulked in the valley and hope that someday I would be able to climb back up to the mountaintop.
I struggled for a long time in that valley, it wasn't until I took another life-altering trip to Haiti that I was able to find the words and prayers to call on God to pull me out and see me through this shadowy valley. I saw similar things I saw in Africa, but in with different eyes, with different thoughts, with a different heart. My team in Haiti helped me realize that it's okay to be happy and sad, to feel joy and pain, and God showed me that He places certain people in my life for reasons, He not only gave me friends, but He gave me people that were walking through a valley as well. Ones that laughed with me, cried with me, sang with me, prayed with me. God is so good and His grace seems to find me even when I'm not looking.
And now I've just returned from a mountaintop, a very tall, very beautiful scenic mountaintop. One the gave me glimpse into a story that has been written out for me. One that is calling me to continue to climb mountaintops and scale valleys, because that's who I was made to be. The struggle is there, I think it always will be. But sometimes in the struggle we find who we were made to be. Right now I'm in a valley. I wake up mornings wondering if "my kids" have food, or shoes, or made it to school, if their parents are alive. It's a burden, one that make my heart heavy and my bones ache.
But I wouldn't want it any other way. I prayed for this burden, I prayed for my heart to ache for God's people, for the orphan, the widow, the alien, the outcast, the poor. And everyday I'm faced with that aching and faced with the choice to make camp in the valley or to scale the walls, love the people and bring them to the mountaintop with me. It's not an easy task, no, but it's one that I must do. Even now as I'm selling clothes to save money. To walk through this valley, because God's already showing me He is moving and doing amazing things in my life. Giving me amazing friends and amazing opportunities and answering crazy prayers... prayers I prayed many years ago, answering them now. All in His timing.
I'm walking through this valley, I'm seeking out the people God desires me to seek out, trying to love the least of these, trying to love the unloveable. Everyday gets harder, everyday I am away from my heart, everyday I've been away from Africa. But I'm here, and God's blessing me with my family and friends right now and the chance to grow in the valley. Because even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I'm not scared because he's holding my breath.
Right now I don't know what I'm struggling for, the burden are heavy and God is teaching me how to carry the burdens He has given me and I have asked for. And I'm finding my strength in His love because I know He will see me through this valley and will be the one to pull me and the rest of us to the mountaintop of eternity.
Attempting to Scale the Walls,
HIS and yours,