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Tears In A Bathroom Stall

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 stalls.

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 leery 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 responded 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 everyone knew it was wrong but me," she told me in a very quiet
withdrawn voice, almost like she was wondering if it really was true. 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
responsibilities. "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 marriage 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 forgiveness, 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

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