No Easy Answers {Prayers Welcome}

I hear the yelling from my bedroom, but it barely registers.  I can’t seem to find my jean jacket.  

Rushing down the stairs, I grab my bag and forget breakfast.  Hannah is waiting.  Out the back door and I stop, thankful I chose the back, not the front.  There’s a man, woman, and small girl standing on the corner opposite my house.  I’ve never witnessed such anger. Heard such yelling.

I fear he has a weapon.  I jump in the car and motion for Hannah from the door – hurry!  I don’t know if he has a weapon.  

I back out, and he’s now in a white car.  The woman and the girl are walking the other direction.

And I feel the nudge.

I roll down the window and ask, Ma’am, do you need a ride?

Yes, can you take me to work?  

Sure.

I drive about 20 yards when two police cars, lights flashing, come barreling down my street.  I quickly decide not to stop.  To take this woman to work and not turn around. I plan to call the police later until another officer sees her with me and pulls me over.

I listen as the officer asks her questions.

What’s your name? Where do you live? Why are you in this area?  Where do you work? Whose car is that? Is he your husband? What’s going on?  Did he hit you? Does this happen often?  Would you like to press charges?  And then to the little girl…  what’s your name? When’s your birthday?  {She was so brave.}

I listen to the mom’s responses.  She’s lying.  Sigh.

This has never happened before.  He never acts like this. He never laid a hand on me.  I just want to go to work.  We were both at fault, arguing this morning because both kids are sick, my check didn’t come, and we have no money.  

I interrupt….I think he hit her, officer.  I am pretty sure of what I saw.  

The officer glances my way, resigned, and asks again – Do you want to press charges?

No, I just want to go to work.  

Call us if you need us.

I am brokenhearted and furious all at once.

Press charges, dang it!  And I KNOW it’s happening at home.  Leave him.  Get help.  

I say none of this aloud.  I can almost guarantee she’s heard it before…the officer knows too.  I have to try so I say to her…ma’am if he’s hitting you, please tell someone.  It’s not ok.

Oh, he’s not, she says.  We are just having a hard morning.  

Silence.  {She has made up her mind. I am not sure what to say.}

I just don’t want to lose my daughter.  I just need to get to work.  

She wipes tears, trying so hard to keep her composure and do what she feels is the next right thing.

And there it is.

Survival.  She’s just trying to survive – to make it in this life that’s not been kind to her.

I turn to this hurting soul sitting in my backseat, and I know…the decision to leave or stay is so difficult for her – for anyone. It’s not black and white. She weighs the options…yes, he hits me, but he also provides. And maybe she loves him.  I really have no idea. Yet, I can see her struggle. She wants to press charges.  She wants “better” for herself and her kids.

I pull up to her work and ask again if I can take the little girl to school. Her school is near mine. She says her backpack is in the car with her boyfriend, so her daughter will stay with her today.

{And don’t get me started about this…about the potential teacher reaction if the little girl shows up without her homework and supplies. About the unexcused absence about to be applied to the little girl’s school record.  About the effect this will have on the gal’s grades through no fault of her own.  We label her as “left behind” educationally, but perhaps it’s not her ability to learn or intelligence level, but life that’s showing up on school records as “behind.” As a teacher, I never know what kids come carrying into my classroom through no fault of his/her own.}

She thanks me, and I offer all I have…I’ll be praying for you. To my own ears, it sounds a bit lame.  I know there’s power in prayer. I know it.  But, I also wish I had more – more to give, more time to talk to her….just more.

Hannah and I talk on the way to school…What else could we have done?  Should we have helped?  Hannah feels the cop was rude.  I explain that he’s probably seen the same situation time and time again.   A fact my mom {who has worked in the prosecuting attorney’s office since her 20s} confirms when her text…domestic victims won’t follow through 90% of the time…everyday someone comes to our window wanting to drop something.  Double sigh.

I have no answers.  I only share with you today because I hope you’ll pray for Ashley and her daughter.  I hope the next time you see someone whose life isn’t just like yours that you’ll remember every person is an image bearer of the Creator. {I struggle with this so much.}

And as I looked into the eyes of a lady who has no money.  Who is being abused. Who feels trapped. Who is trying to love her daughter well. Who has been beat up and screamed at on the side of the road….

I am humbled and reminded that we live in a messy world.  A broken world.  A world filled with pain.  A place where there’s no easy answers or fixes.  A place where Jesus is the only answer.  The only place where joy and peace can be found.

No easy answers

I am convicted to live more thankful.

I think of the woman at the well in John 4.  An outcast.  A Samaritan.  A sinner.  But, one whose testimony brought several Samaritans to Jesus.

I pray that’s me.  I pray that’s Ashley. I pray that’s Hannah. I pray that’s Ashley’s daughter.  Women who allow the words of Jesus  – his grace and his love – to permeate our hearts and flow from our mouths, so the world will know He is alive and at work.  Loving, rescuing, forgiving.  For it’s only through Him that any of us can love, forgive, have courage, and heal.  He’s our only hope.

Dear Lord, I pray protection and safety over Ashley and her daughter. I pray for open eyes and other options. You are the God who sees…the one who saw Hagar.  I pray you see Ashley today – and that she knows you see her. Give her courage and strength. Amen

If you’re willing, could you write a prayer for Ashley and her daughter in the comments?  I plan to share them with her. Thanks.

Comments

  1. Janet Brewster says:

    Father God, I pray that you make your presence known to Ashley, that she may know the hope, peace and power that only you can provide. I pray for protection for Ashley and her daughter. I also pray for Ashley´s husband Lord, that you make yourself known to him, that he would turn to you and his anger would be covered by your peace. Lord, I thank you for Sarah, that she allowed you to use her in this situation, to comfort and support Ashley in her time of need. May your name be praised on every street corner.
    Amen

    • Thank you, Miss Janet. I am reminded that real hope, peace, and power come only from Him…I appreciate that reminder for Ashley and for us all. ( I miss you so much!)

  2. Ashley,
    I honor the strength and courage it must take day after day to take care of your daughter and hold down a job. I pray peace and blessing over your life. I pray for open doors that you may step through into a season of joy. May God give you new mercies every morning so that you can face each day with a new passion for life and hope for the future. Take it one day at a time sister and know there are people out there that are on your side.

    Blessings,
    Christy

    • Christy…I loved this reminder to Ashley that we are on her side. I know that you’ve encountered domestic violence victims as part of your ministry and job, so I know your depth of understanding surpasses mine. I thank you for this prayer and the prayers I know you’ll keep praying.

  3. Dear Jesus, I lift up Ashley and her daughter to you today as well as her husband. They are all broken and in need of your healing. I ask that you will open her eyes and her heart to see that she does not need to be treated this way. Please provide a way out for her and her daughter – a safe haven – where they can find peace and healing. Please pursue her husband for your kingdom and open his eyes to the harm he is causing his family. Give Ashley the strength to live each day in the midst of the hurt and pain. Provide for her financially and show her just how much you love her. Thank you for hearing these prayers and for the answers that will come in the Precious Name of Jesus.

    Amen

    • Kathy…I thank you for this prayer. If I’m honest, I never once prayed for Ashley’s boyfriend. You reminded me that he, too, is an image bearer and needs prayer. Thanks for that!

  4. Dear Father….please wrap your love and grace around this mom and her child…let them know many care.. many pray …and please give her your strength in her weakness to get help and make better tomorrows and stop the cycle of violence…AMEN

    • Thank you, Kelly…I appreciate your prayer for strength. I love how you let her know…many care. I believe many do!

  5. Marla Taviano says:

    Dear Jesus, thank you for loving us. Please help us to feel your love even when things are so hard, so hopeless. Will you show Ashley and her sweet girl today that you love them? Will you show them that you haven’t forgotten them and that you want a better life for them, a life of joy and meaning? Will you help Ashley be so strong and so brave, to do what’s right even though it will be so hard, so scary? Will you show her how beautiful and valuable she is? Will you provide for her needs and keep her safe and show her a glimpse of a brighter future for her and her daughter? Give her a hug for me. Amen.

    • Friend…I read this aloud to my kids and Jen last night. This further affirmed that I am better because I know you. The image of Father God hugging Ashley on your behalf undid me. It made me realize that that’s my prayer for so many…to feel the arms of Jesus. LOVE YOU!

  6. My mother stayed in an abusive marriage for 40 years. She didn’t have citizenship at first. Then he told her she would be left with no money. He escalated from verbal abuse to physical abuse. I was the one that was hit the most. I was the one he blamed for everything. I was the one that has now been able to help her get out. He almost killed her one day 6 years ago. I called the police. I almost lost my baby girl because he hit my stomach so hard. My mom is out of that marriage. She got half of the money but more importantly she got all of her freedom. Praying for you, for your little girl and for him. Btw we got great counseling for free at our local domestic violence prevention shelter where they provide counseling, food, a place to stay if needed. They even gave our family Christmas presents those first few years. There are many people who truly care about you. Praying you can find them. This encounter with Sarah was no accident. I pray that you feel all these prayers we are all praying for you.

    • Cheryl…I can’t thank you enough for your honesty here and for your recommendations. I have no experience with domestic violence, but thanks to your words, I have a place to start. I’d also like to say I am sorry…sorry for this horror that your mom and you experienced. I pray you live free. Much love!

  7. Dear LORD…thank you for your ever present help in time of troubles. Thank you for that promise. I know LORD you haven’t promised easy while here on earth but you have promise that you will NEVER leave us or forsake us. My prayer for Dear Ashley is that she finds peace and strength in both of these promises. I pray your protection over her and her little girl. Thank you for placing Sarah and Hannah in her life. Amen

  8. Father God, Jehovah Rappha, the God who heals, I come before you standing in the gap for Ashley and her sweet daughter. Place your protection around them in the name of Jesus! I pray Ashley fully grasps your love for her. That you love her with an everlasting love. That you are enthralled with her beauty. That you have amazing plans for her future. Show her a way out, Father. Show her what your freedom looks like. Give her a taste of your freedom so she longs for it even more and finds a way to get it. Draw her near to you. I say that nothing formed against them will prosper in the name of Jesus! I say the violence stops here, today in the name of Jesus! I say the lies Ashley believes about herself stops here, today in the name of Jesus! Fill her with your truth. With your hope. With your peace. With your love. Oh, Father, may she know who she is in you. Who you created her to be. I pray protection over her mind and body. I say that nothing that is not from you will take her thoughts captive or fill her mind. May no words enter her ears that aren’t from you. Protect them, Father. Hold them in your righteous right hand and show them how powerful your love is. In the mighty name of Jesus I pray these things. Amen!

    • Thank so much, Sundi Jo…I appreciate these prayers so much because I honestly did not know how to pray for her. I have added to my prayer…show her a way out, fully grasps your love for her…and I also appreciate how you claimed his promises on her behalf. Thanks for sharing and teaching:)

  9. Lord, I know you know each and every hurt she’s feeling. I believe in your power. I believe in the power that has already brought me and countless other women out of abuse. I pray that Ashley’s eyes will be opened. That she will see how truly valuable she and her daughter are to You. That she will understand she is a child of the King! Lord, surround her with support and protection. I pray also for her husband. Work on his heart and help him to see the person he has become. Help him to see a better way and to believe in it and to pursue it. God, please surround him with Christian men to be a constant reminder of the love a husband should be showing his wife. I also want to remember their little girl. None of this is in her hands. God please, hold her tight and help her to know that none of this is her fault. She is precious to You. God please, supernaturally protect her little mind and heart. Cover her in your love so she grows up spiritually and emotionally healthy. Thank you, Jesus! Amen. .

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  2. […] I am greeted by a man screaming and hitting his girlfriend on the corner opposite my house.  The story is long, but in the end, I gave Ashley a ride to work and had 11 of you join me in prayer for her -thank […]

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