A Safe Place to Fall

K. will be moving in Sunday night. It was kind of hard to tell Carman because he has to move out of his little bedroom and into what we call the den, and sleep on the futon, which isn't very comfortable.But K. is 19 and has no place to go. She thought she was all right for awhile living in the apartment in back of her grandparent's store.

But her dad works there, and she found out that he was going through her dresser drawers while she was at work. When she stepped outside late one night and saw him sitting there in his truck with the lights off she knew she had to get out. I don't know the whole story of sexual and physical abuse. I only know that K., this young woman I've just gotten to know, needs a home for the summer.And yes, honestly, it feels a bit sacrificial. Carman and I live in a small mobile home, and a third person definitely makes a noticeable dent in our space -- especially for my son.

And yet, as my pastor quoted tonight from John 1:14 in The Message: "The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood." So as a follower of Jesus I need to move into the neighborhood, not just do comfortable acts of kindness that assuage my guilt, not just hand someone a Bible and walk out of their life. I have to move in. Get my hands dirty. Walk alongside someone in need. Enter into all the messiness of life with someone who is in a very broken place.Once upon a time many years ago, another young woman came and lived with me for a short time. We lost touch through the years, but I always knew that I meant something to her.

The last time Sara called me she was a single career woman in her 30s and five months pregnant, with plans to give the baby up for adoption. She called at midnight. She called in pain and confusion and we talked a long time. I tried to call her back two or three times after that but never got her. And then about a year later I read her obituary in the paper. It didn't say how she died, but I knew she had struggled with suicidal feelings before, and so in my heart I know she killed herself. I've prayed many times like that to never stop reaching out to someone when they need me, to always do whatever I can to listen, to talk. To ask my son to move out of his bedroom, so that another young and hurting girl has a safe place to fall.

I'm doing it for Sara. I'm doing it because I want to grow in love.