I’m a day late, and I apologize. Can I blame it on moving? (And if so, how long can I use that excuse?)

Today’s “Reach Out to Live Out” post comes from a sweet young lady I met at the 2011 CWG writers’ conference. And what a timely post! (You’ll see what I mean once you read it.)

Head Down

By Nichole Parks

                  Our community college will accept anybody. I’ve seen the druggies, heard the potty-mouths, and looked away from the risqué. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s keep your head down. Considering we’re approaching finals, I’d say the strategy has worked.

Cleaner and cigarette smoke, clinging to classmates, embalms the dim room. I tuck my arms tighter to my sides and shuffle to my seat—second row back and three seats in. My neighbor is already there.

“Hi, Nichole.”

“Rhonda.” I give her a polite smile as heave-ho my algebra book from my bag. From the get-go my plan had been get in and get out. Nobody would get hurt that way. Rhonda had other plans. While we waited for the rest of the class, she informed me of how this is the third time she’s taken the class, how she’s raising her grandson, how she’s been house hunting since she’s been foreclosed, and details on her up-coming surgery.

I told her I’d pray for her, but inside I was praying for me. Pick somebody else to witness to her, Lord.

Since midterm, I’ve felt a tug to invite her to church. And though Rhonda has no problem opening her mouth, mine remains pinched shut. Today, when I arrived, it opened. “Are you going to need help moving?”

She blinked, probably shocked that I had a voice. “Uh—yeah, my surgery is smack-dab when I need to be moving.”

“I talked to my youth minister and our youth group would like to help you move. If you can get me the date and address, we’ll be there.”

A slow smile spread on Rhonda’s face. “Yeah, yeah, that would be great.”

So, as of today, my strategy is expired because I can’t keep my head down any longer. Or somebody will get hurt. Our community college may accept anybody, but heaven won’t.


Nichole Parks is a Squire and Apprentice graduate of the Jerry B. Jenkins’ Christian Writers Guild. She completed the 2010 NaNoWriMo challenge. In her spare time, Nichole reviews books for Multnomah Waterbrook and Baker Books Publishing, hones her manuscript, and sings along with the country radio station. Visit her online.

Thanks to all our donors for helping motivate us all to reach out in tangible ways as we share the love of Christ to a hurting world:

Margaret Daley, author of Saving Hope: Men of the Texas Rangers and Second Chance Family;  Elaine Marie Cooper who is giving away two books–The Road to Deer Run and The Promise of Deer Run;  Zeke Lam from Submission Ministries who is giving away a copy of subMISSION: Heeding His Voice Only; and for the book give-away–Deborah Raney with Remember to Forget.