For awhile, I twisted my hair in knots over the topic of my novel. Violent, dirty, messy and conflicted – I never imagined anyone wanting to spend time with the nightmare my main character experiences. It wasn’t very long ago human trafficking failed to capture people’s attention. Outside of one novel telling the story of a girl in India, I knew no other books that told a story of someone going through the horrors of being sold.
But then I read articles that tell me right now, in America, it’s easier to sell a girl than crack, cocaine or meth. They tell me our foster care system is broken and share stories of girls who speak of what it means to be attached to a check.
And I’m undone.
I think of my main character – caught in her own hell, wondering who would even believe her and knowing there are those who see but turn away. And then I think of our neighborhoods – our cities. I think of the girls who are leaving for school in the morning and the parents who believe it to be a safe space.
I think of the pimps training others to scope out the prospects in their classrooms and begin the grooming process.
I think of the fear, the disgust, the labels and the lies. The massage parlors, the abandoned sheds, the restaurants, the suburban home.
And then I think of the Church.
I’ll be honest with you. I experience a lot of tension when it comes to the Church doing her part. But, as much frustration builds because of things ignored, there’s a countered Hope that builds deep in my chest when I see us join together.
This is where I let my novel build.
It wasn’t enough for me to write out the abuse and neglect and pain–I needed something concrete to hold on to, something to remember in the midst of the hard scenes because the more I wrote, the more I realized my own tendency to run and hide from the conflicted nature of someone’s pain.
So I wrote about a couple who lives their faith. They dig deep with the pain, leaning in and getting dirty alongside the least of these in their classrooms and neighborhoods. They don’t turn away, and despite the hesitation of one who knows nothing but rejection and betrayal, eventually the Love pulsing through them reaches her.
Eventually, she knows Rescue.
I don’t know all of the answers. But can you imagine what change we’d see if instead of posturing ourselves in a way where we were ready at any moment to take defense against each other and differing beliefs, we postured ourselves against the darkness threatening to steal thousands of girls (and boys) within the walls of our own country?
This isn’t some distant problem. The chains crashing against our comfort aren’t a quiet melody. But, we were reconciled to be reconcilers, and how beautiful would it be to share the Hope of what we have with those who fear Hope is just a mirage.
Rescue is coming. Our King waits, expectant, at the edge of His throne.
The question is, how will the Church wait?
Will you join me? I’m done with sitting on my hands looking to the sky. I’m done turning my eyes away.
Maybe, just maybe, His Love will reach through me to those who need it most.