Last month, I cut my hair. It took me eight months to finally do this (rather small) thing I kept feeling nudged to do.

At the same time that I was feeling those go-cut-your-hair nudges, I was also feeling other nudges, ones I liked even less than the hair-cutting ones.

I was feeling nudged to get off the porch, and I didn’t want to. I like sitting here in my rocker, wrapped in a cozy quilt, surrounded by four healthy, beautiful children. I am (mostly) happy and content.

Except when the world intrudes. And it does. You have to be even more insular than I am to not be at least marginally aware of the deep pain of this world.

So today, I’m finally getting off the porch. It’s taken almost a year for me to take this step. I’m not sure why I’m so scared. Maybe it’s because I can’t see past the first step: I don’t know where this is going to lead.

It might just be one step.

Or it might be the first step on a long journey whose ending I do not know. And I don’t like not knowing.

Or perhaps I’m afraid my heart will break. I’ve been in the place of heartbreak, and it’s not fun. It’s a place of grace, to be sure, but it’s a severe grace, and I don’t want any more severe grace, thank you very much.

Hence my long waiting on these nudges, my sitting here on the porch watching the world go by. Or not watching: more like sitting here staring at my feet, or my belly button.

But God is nothing if not persistent. Over this past year, the nudges have not gone away. No, they’ve increased in frequency. It seems like everywhere I look, people are writing about it. Everywhere I listen, they’re talking about it.

What is “it”?

It is human trafficking. Specifically, it is young girls (and boys, too, though to a lesser extent) being sold into slavery as sex slaves.

I have wrestled with putting this issue out here on my blog. It is a hard issue. The stories hurt my heart. I have not wanted to face them.

If I have to get off the porch, can’t I invite people to build a well? Or support a fledgling organic farm in the developing world? Or sponsor a child in Latin America?

All of those are good—excellent—things. But God keeps directing my eyes to these young girls who are living lives of such horror I can’t even imagine it, keeps putting their stories close to my heart, keeps bringing this issue back and back and back.

You know that story Anne Lamott tells, about how God kept following her home from church like a stray cat, and she kept slamming the door in his face, until finally, he wore her down and she said, “F— it, you can come in.”

Yeah. That’s about how I feel. Fine, I want to say to God. Have it your way. I’ll get off the porch, okay?

So this is me, getting off the porch:

During Easter (which is seven weeks, not one day, long), I will write one post per week about human trafficking in order to raise awareness of this issue.

But I won’t just be raising awareness, I’ll also be raising money. For every comment I get on these posts, I will donate 50¢ each to International Justice Mission and Love 146 (that’s $1 per comment up to $100 total), two organizations that are working to stop human trafficking and end the sex trade.

In the next few weeks, I’ll write more about each organization and their work. For now, here’s the skinny on how you can help:

1. Leave a comment: every comment is worth 50¢ to IJM and Love 146.
2. Email a link to this post to a friend or two, or
3. Post the link on Facebook and/or Twitter.
4. Match my donation.

If you decide to make a matching donation, please simply indicate in your comment how much you want to donate per comment and what your upper donation limit is. Remember that I will make my donation based on the total number of comments on all posts in this series (seven between now and Pentecost).

Please don’t feel pressure to do any (let alone all) of these things, but if you feel led, I’d love to have you come alongside me in this Easter stepping-out-of-my-comfort-zone-and-off-the-porch. I won’t feel quite so uncomfortable if I have company!

Won’t you join me?

June 2012 update: Thanks to the generous matching gifts of ten beautiful women—Lisa Bridges, Brenda Burnett, Tara Taylor Chase, Glyn Devereaux, Angela Pearson, Dianne Ross, Tania Runyan, Diana Trautwein, and Sarah Webber—and to each of you who left a comment on this series, we raised $1050 for IJM and Love 146! I took one little step off the porch and you all picked me up and carried me all the way down the street! I cannot thank you enough.