“Get out of my car!!!”
A man’s angry voice cut through the summer evening as my brother and I approached his truck.
We had just walked out of the local Walmart to discover that a couple in the car parked next to us were in the midst of a heated argument.
The man’s voice was angry and loud; the woman’s voice was muted. I could hear the words “please” and “don’t do this.”
Suddenly her wallet, coupons, and keys were tossed out of the passenger window onto the pavement, followed by another harsh order to vacate the car.
I could see my brother tense up, his eyes focused like a laser on the man, ready to take action if he got physical.
Just as we finished loading our groceries into the truck, the man quickly backed out of his space and pealed out of the parking lot.
Left behind was a young woman with tears streaming down her face, long hair blowing in the breeze, eyes following the car as it turned the corner and disappeared over the hill.
She then kneeled down to retrieve her scattered belongings.
“Are you all right?” I asked quietly. Before I could bend to help, she had gathered everything up and held it all against her chest.
“Are you sure?”
She practically whispered, “Yes.”
“Can we give you a ride somewhere?”
“No.” The smallest of smiles…embarrassed, full of sadness, tentative. “Thank you. I’m fine.”
She turned to walk away, dialing her cell phone.
Shortly thereafter, she met up with others and got into the car but not without first looking back in the direction where her boyfriend had driven away.
Her face haunted me as my brother and I pulled into Burger King for a quick dinner. While he ordered the food, I sat looking out the window, praying for this young lady.
Why do women put up with men like that? Men who are cruel and willing to humiliate them in public, leaving them alone among strangers as darkness approaches?
A man like that is not worth her tears or another second of her life.
I was very blessed to be raised in a home where I was taught that I was treasured and valuable. Before Dr. Phil famously coined the phrase, my parents basically told me the same thing: “You teach people how to treat you.”
My dad, especially, was always very frank with me about what boys had on their minds and the importance of my role in relationships with them.
“You never let any boy or man disrespect you,” I can still hear him telling me. “If that happens, you move on. A guy like that will drag you down every time and you don’t need that in your life.”
He provided me with examples of warning signs and red flags that I would need to be aware of . Since he was a wise and realistic man, he would always tell me that if I was ever in a situation where I was in over my head, I could call him anytime of the day or night and he would come and get me, no matter what.
He encouraged me never to settle, that a good man was worth the wait, even if it took a long time (and given the fact that I didn’t get married until I was 27, I would say that I took his advice! 🙂 ).
One of his favorite sayings was, “It’s better to be single and happy than married and miserable.”
He told me that a secure man would not be threatened by a strong woman.
He made sure I was not naive and above all, he wanted me to love smart.
I am absolutely certain that because I had a father who cared enough to tell me the truth that I was saved from a lot of heartache.
As a result of my dad’s straight talk, I was one tough cookie. My trust was not easily given…it was earned. I didn’t put up with nonsense and wasn’t easily flattered by pretty words.
I am not saying that I could never have found myself in the place that this young lady was in tonight…we’re all human, after all. However, I will be eternally grateful that I had parents who took the time to teach me that I possessed great worth and dignity since I was created in the image of God.
My husband and I are raising our daughter the same way. Sometimes I can almost hear my dad’s voice as I find myself saying the exact same things to Julia that he said to me.
Above all, we teach her that she has a Savior who loves her with a love that is both fierce and tender, as well as pure and eternal.
Jesus has no dark side.
Her ultimate worth is found in Christ alone.
I am going to pray that the young lady I met tonight will come to know that too.