On the Way to Church

Sunday Hubby and I were headed out to church.

We were a ways out of town and saw something in the ditch.  Hubby slowed down..From a distance I thought it was a huge eagle eating a deer carcass or something.  As we passed we could see that it was a person.  That person didn’t look old enough to be on their own and something about the situation sent off red flags for the both of us.  Hubby thought is was a kid…I kind of thought so too but was giving the situation the benefit of the doubt and hoped that it was at least a teenager.

We decided we needed to turn around and check out the situation.  Hubby drove up and we saw it was a girl….likely in her tweens.  She had a coat and hat along with a fully stuffed back pack and a what I assumed to be phone.  We asked her if she was okay…Yes, she was.  We asked her what she was doing…she said walking to a friend’s house.  We asked her if her parents knew she was going…she said yes.  Hmmm….this was sending off more red flags.  It was raining and this was a considerable walk.   I asked who her friend was.  She told us.  We knew the family who owned the house where she said she walking to and indeed, they did live down the road-but about two miles down the road.  We offered to give her a ride.  We were strangers to her but she jumped right in without a second’s hesitation.

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That worried me.  Why would she jump into our truck?  Was she really going to a friend’s house?  It was cold and rainy.  What parents would let her out?

As we drove I asked questions..poor girl.  I asked question after question.

We pulled up to the place she want to go to.  Hmm…no one was running out to greet her.  I told her I would go to the door with her.  At this point I started to believe they didn’t know she was coming.  Luckily, I knew the family whose house she wanted to go to so I told her that I would go to the door with her and talk to the mom.  Well the mom wasn’t home.  The dad was in bed.  No one expected our traveler.

I turned to her and said, I don’t think this is going to work…how about we take your home.

Then red flags flew..should we take her home?  Was her home safe?

More questions…here’s what we found out.Home wasn’t very fun.  Mom and Dad were always fighting and it was hard on her.  She did feel safe at home and didn’t feel like anyone there would hurt her.  At that point we decided yep we’ll take her home BUT we were going to give her some tools.

We drove her past our house.  We told her that she could come to our house anytime.  I racked my brain to help her make some connections to me….I told her I was the childcare lady in town and I was the one who had the big three seater stroller-she had seen me.  I had figured out who she was through our conversation so I gave information to her that might help her think I was a safe person.  I knew people she knew.  I took care of childcare kids that she knew.  Hopefully I relayed to her that I was a safe house and safe place to go and that should she be inclined to run away again, I might be the house she traveled to.

Then we drove her to her house.  Again, I went to the door with her.  Dad came to the door.  I explained who I was and why we had his daughter.  Surprisingly, Dad wasn’t shocked.  I didn’t get much of a response from him at all.  I could only imagine myself reeling if that had been my kid.  This dad…quiet.  It made me concerned but I didn’t know what to do.  She didn’t seem sad to be home.  I thought it was okay to leave her.

We drove away hoping we did all the right things.  Now I am kicking myself that I didn’t give her a phone number or a way to contact me.

From there Hubby and I looked at the clock.  Nope.  We couldn’t make it to church.  We’d be 10 minutes late.  We decided to go to a different church that was nearby.  As we were driving my brain racked trying to figure out who I knew that it was appropriate to tell the incident to that might be able to help.  It turns out I knew someone and decided that after church, we’d stop there.  I’d tell them.  I needed someone close to the girl that could follow up and make sure everything was okay.

We stopped after church.  I relayed the incident to the family member.  I felt a little better…Hubby did too.  We didn’t have a way in to check on her, but the people we told did.  I felt much better about that.

I am still a little frazzled by it all.  I feel so bad for hurting children.  I wish I could grab them all in and love them.  I wish parents knew the damage they do to children…so much of it is innocent and happens unknowingly.  Parents don’t know those little jabs and arguments, those phone conversations that kids overhear that aren’t pleasant…all of it….it hurts.  It damages kids and let’s them think that relationships normally operate like that.

I hope that we left enough of an impression with her that she’ll come here if she needs a place to go.  I keep reliving the incident in my mind.  Why did she get into our vehicle?  We were strangers to her.  Why didn’t she see us as strangers.  She could have so easily gotten into someone else’s vehicle…someone who wanted to take advantage of her.  I am so thankful that we came across her…I’m so thankful we turned around.   I am hoping this gave mom and dad a bit of a wake call.  I don’t think they are bad parents..I don’t think she’s a bad kid.  I think they are in a hard situation.

People ask if we like it in town…I do.  I like it a lot.  Hubby likes it too.  Sometimes, when things like this happen, I feel like here is where I am suppose to be.  I feel like I’m suppose to be here to provide the safe house…if any of you need a safe house, we’re here for you too.

20 thoughts on “On the Way to Church”

  1. Cynthia Malphrus

    That little girl is so lucky that y’all happened upon her when you did!! It was meant for you and hubby to be in the right place at the right time.

  2. You and your husband have a very caring and loving heart.
    You did the right thing for that little girl. You just didn’t drive away and not do anything about the situation…she will know where to find you
    If she needs to talk or you might see her again out of the blue..
    I really believe God arranged that.

  3. Job what a wonderful, thoughtful deed you and your husband did. You are a bright and shining star, God bless you and the young girl.

  4. Patty McDonald

    God bless you and your hubby for listening to the Lord. It was way more important to be there for this young girl than make church on time……….or attend a different church. She knows where you live and she got in your car so she knows you are safe. Although, she didn’t know any of this when acceptiing the ride. Hopefully this is a wake up call for her parents.

  5. You are where you’re supposed to be! Thank you Both for having your eyes and hearts open to this girl. I hope she stays safe and her life “settles”.

  6. Thank you for being you! And thank you for telling us what happened. In doing that, you remind all of us how important it is to get involved if we sense the need. Please let us know if you hear anything further. Many of us will be praying for her safety and security.

  7. How lucky for her that it was you and your husband who found her walking, how nice of you to offer her a place to run to and how nice of you to share what you learned with someone who keep an eye on her. Life can be hard for so many children, it just hurts my soul. Thank you for acting on your instincts and being there.

  8. Betty from Canada

    You never mention your little neighbour girl anymore. Did she move? I am glad you decided to stop for that little girl on Sunday. Hope she never has to come to your place for protection.

  9. Such a small kindness can change the way people see the world. Hopefully, your concern and desire to protect her will show her that there are good people who care.

    I agree, you are where you are needed! Bless your loving, caring hearts!

  10. Bless your heart Jo! Such a sad situation! I hope everything works out! Please update us if you hear anything! Hugs and prayers!

  11. Anna Singleton

    Jo, God put you and hubby at that spot, at that time to take care of that little girl. He had a plan for her and for you. Hugs to you both for all you do!

  12. How nice to stop in the rain and help someone you don’t personally know. Maybe that dad’s world is crashing in on him and he just doesn’t know what to do. If your Hubby sees him, perhaps he could say a kind word or two. Coming from another man, a kindness might really help that dad.

  13. You and your husband have good hearts and she was lucky you happened along when you did. This was a really tough situation and often these days it’s hard to know how or when to intervene. The other thing I would have asked is where she goes to school and on Monday would have called and spoke to the school guidance counselor (if they have one) just to give them a heads up to also watch the girl’s demeanor going forward.

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