To Be Known

By Rachel Davis

A few Sundays ago, I was sitting in church when my Pastor stated that we, humankind, want to be known: we have this God-given, deep desire for someone to truly know us. We were created to live in community, he said. I nodded in agreement as my mind wandered back to a friend I met a few months ago. I was working in a safe-house for women who have been sexually exploited, and I was helping one of the young women who had been there for two days apply to a long-term program that would provide counseling and life skills for the trauma she had experienced. When I got to the part about emergency contacts and asked whom she would like to list, she asked if she could list me. I was so struck by the fact that after two days of knowing me, I was the closest person to family that she had. Of course I said yes, all while internally grieving a little. How must it feel to have not only endured such horrible trauma and pain, but to do it alone? I knew there wasn’t anything special about me, except for in that moment, she knew I saw her as a woman worthy of compassion and that her story and life mattered, and to her that was enough.

One of my favorite scriptures that I was reminded me of in that moment was Psalm 68:6, “God sets the lonely in families.” The Lord was asking me to be family to her. This young woman whose father sexually and physically abused her as a child and whose mother was trapped in an addiction to drugs was completely alone. Both parents are now deceased, and she had been in the sex industry for the last 10 years. Two days prior she had run away from her pimp to get help. She was alone and longed for family.

Her story, unfortunately, is not uncommon. It is the reality of a world that is hurt and broken. The call in that scripture in Psalms is a call I believe the Lord is not only asking of me, but of the Church as a whole. He invites us out of our comfort to be family to those who have none. Because yes, as that pastor said that Sunday, we do so deeply have a desire to be known. What a meaningful and necessary gift we can give to one another when we open ourselves up, invite each other in and become family.

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