I wonder where she is. I wonder what happened to her. Is she safe? Is she even alive?
This is what went through my mind when I thought about Kim on the nights I volunteered at the LOT Project.
I met Kim the first night I volunteered. She was a guest at The LOT, and on a night when I was feeling very out of place and unsure of myself, she was a welcoming soul. She may not have been in the best place of her life, but she always had a bright smile for me and something to say, and was one of the reasons I kept coming back to help out.
But, I hadn’t seen Kim in months. I wasn’t sure what had happened to her. Unfortunately, it’s usually not good news when a regular guest stops showing up. Sometimes they’re just taking a little state or federally mandated “vacation” (read “jail” here), and we see them again in a few weeks or months. Sometimes we never find out what happened, and just pray that they got to encounter Jesus in the time they spent here. I just prayed Kim was okay.
Then at church one Sunday in December, there she was! It was a proud day for our family, my youngest daughter had accepted Jesus as her personal Savior, and was going to be baptized! Our whole family had come to church to watch our little girl take her next step. I was waiting with her and listening to the instructions of how the baptism would take place, and where to change clothes afterward. I looked up, and that big smile that first welcomed me to The LOT family was beaming down at me. AND, bonus, Kim was waiting to be baptized too!
I could not wait to share the news and pictures with the staff members at The LOT! One of the staff members told me she had run into Kim a few weeks before, and filled me in on Kim’s new-found life. She’d been sober for a year, had an apartment, accepted Jesus as her Savior, and she was living her dream! Did she win the lottery? No, she was working a regular 40 hour per week job. Working a job was her dream.
You see, Kim used to survive by selling herself. She stopped coming to The LOT Project because she was trying desperately to leave that life behind, and occasionally, she would see people who had been her former customers. However, now, Jesus has transformed her. She understands that she is a treasured child of a Heavenly Father, and the best is yet to come.
That is what her absence had been about…change. The LOT Project isn’t a bad place to be, but we are in the ministry of serving broken people in the hope that they will encounter Jesus. It isn’t a museum for saints, it’s a hospital for sinners.
Kim found her healing in Jesus, her reason for changing. That is the reason she stopped coming.
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.”
I came up out of the water
Raised my hands up to the Father
Gave it all to him that day
Felt a new wind kiss my face
Walked away, Eyes wide open
Could finally see where I was going
It didn’t matter where I’d been
I’m not the same man I was then
I got off track, I made mistakes
Backslid my way into that place where souls get lost
Lines get crossed
and the pain won’t go away
I hit my knees, Now here I stand
There I was, now here I am
Here I am
-”Changed”, Rascal Flatts