Monday, March 7, 2011

A Girl Named Lucy

It was one of those days when I had a lot of errands to do. Mail a package, exchange a gift, make a deposit. My husband and kids went with me so we could hang out a little. Oh... and so they could rent a video game. Ok. They went for the game... not for family time. But it was still a nice time.

The bank and Blockbuster were in the same shopping center, right next door to each other, and the last stop before heading home. I thought I'd run in the bank and let my husband take the kids in to start looking for a game they both like. You know how long that can take!

The bank wasn't busy at all and I usually go to the ATM right inside the lobby anyway, so I was out in just a few minutes. As I came outside, heading to the video store, there was a young woman leaning over the garbage can... heaving heavily.

I'm ashamed to say that my first thought was that she had been drinking or something and that maybe if I didn't make eye contact... "Can you help me?" she said. Well, so much for no eye contact. I was now forced to do something. I had two choices: Be a coward and say I have no money... or "Are you ok?" I heard myself say before I could make a decision. I asked again "Are you ok? Do you need help?"

She asked if I could give her money for the bus. She was crying heavily and told me she had just been in a fight with her boyfriend and had no way to get home. I gave her what I had, which wasn't enough for the bus. I told her I'd go ask my husband for money inside and I'd be right back. Well... you know I expected her to be gone. Take off with what I had given her. That's probably all she wanted anyway. Right?

To my surprise, she was waiting for me when I came back outside. There she was sitting on the pavement, back against the wall, crying in despair. I gave her the money and she thanked me. I asked if she could get home alright and she said that she could. Then she broke down and told me she didn't know what to do... and then she said "I have two kids! What am I gonna do?"

After a while, her crying had slowed enough that she could tell me a little more, and she seemed to want to talk. So I listened as she told me that she and her boyfriend had a fight and that he took her kids with him. My older son was now with me and he asked if her boyfriend had hurt her. I'm still angry as I remember her pulling her hair aside to reveal a pretty large lump on her face.

I offered her my phone to call the police but she said she had a phone. She was just afraid to call them as she believed they would arrest both parents in a domestic case and she was worried her kids would be taken from her. And that's when it all gets confusing. What do you do then?

I'm thinking this so-called 'man' should not get away with this and I should call the police. Yet the "mother" in me says to leave it alone. If it were me, I wouldn't want my kids getting into the system. How could I call and risk her losing her kids? But what about her kids? Were they safe? What do you do at that point?

I asked if I could pray for her. She said yes and we prayed. I asked her if she had a home church and she said she hadn't been since her mom died 2 years ago. Broke my heart even more. Here this young woman is with 2 children and a moron for a boyfriend (pardon my language)... and she has no mom to go to for guidance or help. Top that off with the fact that she's afraid to tell her dad because he'll get angry. The only one she has to help her... and she feels that she can't go to him.

I listened to her, hugged her, encouraged her. I told her that parents get angry because they love their kids and don't want to see them hurt. And it makes them even more angry to see someone hurt them deliberately. I encouraged her to ask her father for help... especially if she believed her or her children were in danger. She can't handle this alone. She shouldn't have to. But it's her decision.

After a while her boyfriend called her and told her to come and pick up her kids. How? He left her stranded in the parking lot. Regardless... it seemed to ease her just a bit.

I called someone I knew who was involved in social work and gave them Lucy's name and phone number. I figured that she needed to know what her options were in this situation. Many times I believe women tolerate abuse because they don't know what to do about it. And then I gave her my number. If she really needed help... how could I just leave it at that?

I drove away praying. Praying for Lucy and her children. Praying for wisdom. And that was the end. I never heard from Lucy again.

You know... It's hard to help when you have to be cautious because you don't know the whole situation. Was she telling me the truth? Were there drugs involved? Did she really have kids? I like to take people at their word. But you have to be prepared for reality.

One thing this experience did for me was to make me aware. I need to know where to point people for help. I can't just say "It will be ok." I need to do better than that. If I can't help them... then I need to know who can. I may end up in a similar situation in the future... if so, I want to be prepared to better help. Cautiously, of course.

With that said... here is a great organization for anyone who is suffering abuse.

Visit their website at or call
1.800.799.SAFE (1.800.799.7233)

Would you say a prayer for Lucy today?

Thanks for reading and God bless!
Mary Ann :)


Kathleen said...

Oh my ... such a sad saga. There are just so, so many of them anymore. Domestic violence is epidemic.

The powerful part of this story was when you asked if you could pray with her. Too often I think we miss those opportunities; to stop, right there & then, and call upon the Lord.

I would love to be a proverbial mouse in God's war-room to see just how He will work His purposes into that young lady's life.

Bless you,

Mary Ann said...

It was powerful for me as well when praying for her. Not my comfort zone, but God is working with me in that area. I don't have a lot of boldness... yet He is using me in spite of my weakness.

I too would love to see what God will do. I know He is faithful when we pray on behalf of others. So I will continue to pray. He is so good!

Thanks for coming back to visit Kathleen! I hope you have a blessed day! :)


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