I was traveling with my parents a few summers ago. We were headed to
my brother's college graduation and I was pregnant with my third child. It
was hot, my other two children came along and we were getting ready to
leave one of the rest stops along Route 80.
While was I throwing some cool water in my face to get refreshed, I
realized there was a soft but sad cry coming from one of the bathroom
I wasn't sure if I should ask her if she was all right or needed help.
Being seven months pregnant and away from home, I was leary about
strangers and humbling myself to help someone.
As I was thinking, she stepped out of the bathroom stall. I turned to
ask if she was OK and she yelped. "I didn't know anyone was in here, it
was so quiet I thought I was alone," she said.
I felt foolish. "I am sorry if you are embarrassed," I said, "I was
just leaving. Unless you need someone to talk too."
As she responed with a nod, I looked at her closer. She had bruises
on her shoulder and neck, and one on the side of her face.
"I am not sure if it's my business, but you really should have those
sores looked at by a doctor." I tried to encourage her.
"I am very far from home" she said, just about bursting to tears again.
"I am a couple of states away from my home too," I said, trying to
calm her down.
"He beats me, and eveyone knew it was wrong but me," she told me in a
very quiet withdrawn voice, almost like she was wondering if it really was
I said, "Absolutely! It's wrong because you are a precious gift from
God and He hurts when your hurting, and cries when you cry."
She looked at me and said, "No one has ever described God like that to
me. I thought God would be angry that I didn't stay with my husband and
try to work it out."
I told her that I believed in a loving, compassionate and
tender-hearted, just, God who wants the very best for His children. But we
should not run away from our responsabilities. "Your husband had no right
to take his anger out on you, whether it was because of something you did,
or said, or that he had a bad day."
I told her of relationships that I had been in that were abusive and
that it was no way a life that God would want for anyone. Even though God
wants marrages to work, He wants us to be safe and free to be what He has
made us to be. Her eyes filled with tears again and she said thank you.
I walked out of the bathroom and walked down the sidewalk where my
parents and two children were playing. I thought of all the things I liked
in my parents and in my husband -- the love, laughter, the forgivness, and
restoration that comes in knowing your mate. Then I remembered my
commitment to God and that is when I started to cry. I cried for the
strength that my husband and I could raise our two boys in a way that they
respect woman as precious gifts from God, and for the hope our daughter in
knowing her faith, loving her husband with her all, will never weep in a
bathroom stall running from fear.
My heart goes out to any and everyone who has been abused in their
life, and I pray God's love and peace upon you, strength to be true to
yourself, and in knowing that God loves you. Just be honest with yourself
and to God -- He wants to help.

-- Tracy Tyson