To preface: this post has more bite than usual because it’s a topic I’m very passionate about: exclusivity. Today is a special edition of Devotional Diva! This hiatus isn’t turning out to be much of a hiatus, is it? And we normally don’t even have …
I believe my physical assault at work led to my downward spiral into depression and anxiety. But it also taught me about my own courage.
I was already depressed. I had already suffered trauma. I was still physically sick. But I was trudging on. I tried to keep up with my job at Chuck E. Cheese.
Chuck E. Cheese has a system in place that aims to ensure children’s safety called “Kid Check.” Families that enter together (adults included) all get a stamp with a number on their hand. That number is checked upon exit to make sure that kids leave with the right adults. Babies get a sticker with the number on it that can be placed on their carrier.
When I was training, it was one of the first things I learned. The video stressed that all kids must have their number match an adult they are leaving with, and if there is any sort of problem, to get a manager.
One low-key night, it was my turn at Kid Check. A very large man approached the exit with a tiny baby in a stroller. I got out my little black light flashlight to check their numbers.
I saw the sticker and number on the baby’s carrier and then I asked to see the man’s hand. He didn’t have a number.
I explained to the man how the Kid Check system worked, and I told him I could get my manager and straighten it out. But he got really agitated.
And then everything seemed to happen really fast.
He pushed the stroller through the ropes that guarded the exit and it rolled five feet and hit the door.
He’s trying to steal this baby, I thought.
That is the very thing Kid Check is designed to prevent – especially for young babies who can’t speak up.
And I could NOT let that happen.
Instinctively, I blocked his way through the exit.
This man was probably about six feet tall and 300 pounds. At that time, I was about 5’2” and 130 pounds.
He hit me in the face and tried to push me down as I remained steadfast in my effort to keep him from leaving with the baby. I screamed for the cash register clerk to get a manager.
After what felt like ages, he turned and headed back into the restaurant, leaving the baby at the door.
My manager, an even smaller woman than I, came to the front and I tried to explain what had just happened. The man quickly reappeared and began yelling at us.
My manager couldn’t reason with him either, but she sent me to the back.
Tears flowing down my face, I headed to the kitchen. I remember how my drink nearly spilled because my hands were shaking so much.
My friend and coworker saw this, having no knowledge of the commotion. She grabbed the drink from my hands and guided me toward the back door to get some air.
Through my hyperventilation and gagging outside of the kitchen, I tried to tell her what had happened. She was shocked; although we were trained to protect kids against abduction, nothing like that had ever happened at our store.
I remember ending up in the break room. My manager came back and told me that the mother of the baby had come forward and the baby was okay. Apparently, the man was related to the baby somehow but didn’t enter at the same time. Whatever the case, the family left. She asked me if he had hurt me and if I wanted to call the police.
He had hurt me – a small bruise was beginning to form on my cheek. But I just wanted to go home.
No police report was ever filed, but Chuck E Cheese gave me worker’s comp to get help with the extreme anxiety I developed after that night.
I was getting along fine, and then that happened. It was like everything going on in my life culminated the night of my physical assault at work and I became a complete wreck. What happened that night is still hard to talk about, and I’m anxious as I write this.
But everything happens for a reason.
It’s taken years of healing to deal with everything, but I’m really okay now. And when I feel small and weak, I remember that night. I remember how strong I became to protect that baby. Even if it that man had permission to take the child, he sure didn’t act like it.
The therapist I saw after the event told me I should have just let him go and not put myself in harm’s way. Maybe that’s true, but I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.
I know I did what was right. And I know what courage lives inside of me.
[Guest Post by Ashley Beaudin – I always appreciate meeting new people, especially ones that care about the whole person including the heart. Check out her new eBook 33 Questions to Ask YOUR Heart below.]
There is a fire singing in your bones. Let’s find it.
We live in a culture where we are connected all the time; we are hyper-connected. You can feel like you’re connected with someone without ever having a face-to-face conversation. And when you’re bored or tired or unhappy with your life, hey you can just scroll through someone else’s and get your mind off of yours.
Am I right?
Come on, let’s be honest.
And at the same time, this ultra connectedness offers us such treasure in the exchange of information and ideas and being able to have meaningful and life impacting conversation with anyone anywhere. I know that some of the conversations that have moved me to my core have been through that connectedness.
But for me, I started to get to this point, where I realized that in all this connectedness to everyone and everything else, I was struggling to know how to connect with my own heart, with real people in real life and with God.
And see, I believe there is such a radical importance in knowing how to connect with our own hearts and in knowing how to work through what is going on inside. It can be so easy to just not and to not ask questions, not to process. But listen up, when we don’t, when we just let stuff build up on the inside, it becomes crazy easy to get overwhelmed and afraid. It is like this:
Imagine your heart like a container. And every day you face stuff (good and messy) and it settles in your heart. When you don’t process that stuff, it keeps building up. The heart keeps getting full and more full. And so when something comes along that is hard or just big, we go into a, “Woah! Can’t handle this!”
But someone who is healthy has freed up their heart to receive and work through everything as it comes. And that is a beautiful and freeing thing.
And listen up, there is a fire in you, that is so uniquely yours placed there by God Himself. That’s your fire to walk in with passion. Know how to ask your heart the questions to draw that out, to explore it, to truly just begin owning it.
So I wrote this ebook called 33 Questions to Ask YOUR Heart. It is a digital booklet filled with thirty-three power packed questions to empower you to have honest and soul stirring conversation with your own heart.
In our hyper connected culture, there is insane value in learning how to connect with the one person we’re with all the time, ourselves.
+ Free up your heart from feeling overwhelmed by owning up to what is going on inside.
+ Discover the passion and fire that is shouting from your belly.
+ Get to know the difference between escaping and living with intention.
I am so excited for you to read this book! I honestly believe it is a game changer because this is a practice that has honestly changed my life. You can purchase it here.
Hi, my name is Ashley and I am a fiery and calling-out-the-gold-in-you life coach for women who want more out of this life and who believe in their core that their life is shamelessly valuable (more than they’ve been told). I am currently coaching women one on one and recently released a digital ebook containing the questions you’ve got to be asking your heart. So, I am curious, what would it look like if you gave yourself permission to show up and be who you really are? Connect with Ashley on her Blog or Twitter.
*****If you would like to advertise on DevotionalDiva.com for $30 for 30 days, please click here for details. There are only two spots left!
Two things happened today that have caused me to write this blog immediately.
The first is that Mayor Filner of San Diego is resigning as of 5 PM on August 30th. The second is that I ate at the restaurant Karl Strauss for the first time since I was sexually harassed in their parking lot many years ago by a former coworker.
I am infuriated that men like Mayor Bob Filner think it’s okay and appropriate behavior to sexually harass women in the work place.
As a woman who has been sexually harassed in the work place twice, I am not only offended–I am downright angry.
Some of you may have read my story about the day that I said no and my coworker didn’t stop. It upsets me that I was the one who got in trouble, and not him, when I asked for help the next day at work.
But most of you don’t know the other story.
A story that I lived in fear to tell publicly for so long.
It makes me angry that victims are treated as the perpetrator and not the other way around. I know what it feels like to think and even believe the work place rewards men and their inappropriate behavior instead of the victim.
When I reached out after the first incident, I was told I would get in trouble for speaking up again, and that is why it took me SO long to speak up the second time.
Each time I felt helpless.
Instead of going into further details–I want to focus on this one thing: God used both of these terrifying seasons in my life to spur me forward into writing. It’s always been about writing and sharing my story. And because I listened–I am now the author of 4 books.
I truly believe, if you are feeling like a victim of sexual harassment that God might have bigger plans.
Satan might feel threatened that God is on the cusp of something GREATER in your life–and that is why you’re in the middle of a situation that actually has NOTHING to do with you!
Maybe you’re afraid.
Maybe like me–you suffer with anxiety or depression, which made each situation MUCH worse.
I want to let you know that it’s okay to feel scared.
The first time, I ended up having the courage to drag my 80 pound keyboard to the second floor, and play and sing worship songs at my “non” Christian job. Songs like “He’s got the Whole World in His Hands.” In the middle of that song the power went out and all I could think about was that God’s presence was in that room. There was no denying it.
(It wasn’t until years later that I reconnected with a former coworker who thanked me for playing that day. Who never forgot my faith. Faith? Me? I thought I was the one drowning. The one not following God close enough–otherwise, why would HE LET THESE THINGS HAPPEN TO ME?).
The second time, I ended up in the Emergency Room and was put on disability for anxiety because I honestly couldn’t deal with it anymore, and didn’t know who to trust or who to talk to. I honestly thought my life, career, and writing ministry were o-v-e-r.
It was never about sexual harassment. That was all just a giant DISTRACTION. That is also why I don’t hold anything against anyone.
We’re all human.
We hurt each other.
I say that now after years of anxiety medication, therapy, and lots of prayer. AND why I have faith that God can get you out of sexual harassment–or worse.
I want you to know that sexual harassment is a BIG deal whether you’re a Christian or not.
It’s just not okay.
Even after writing a book on FORGIVENESS, this is a topic that I still struggle with because both of these men never apologized.
They never got caught.
They never said they were sorry–even when I apologized (hoping they’d apologize).
To Filner, who said today in a press conference that he has never sexually harassed any woman–I’d like to say “join the club.” You and every other male who has denied–and will continue to deny claims of sexual harassment exist everywhere. I know because I’ve met a few of them. You may not get caught this side of heaven, but you will eventually–and that is what helps me sleep at night!
I will not apologize for feeling so strongly about believing why sexual harassment at work is wrong because it happened to me.
It forever set the course of my life into new paths that have gotten me to where I am today!
I may have been naive back then, but I am certainly not naive anymore.
To the women who have not yet lost their innocence, may God continue to protect you and keep you safe! No one deserves to be sexually harassed whether at work, church, home, family, or elsewhere.
This blog represents one of many reasons why I am looking forward to addressing the subject of mental health on the blog next month.
There is always hope.
Even when you don’t believe it–or see it. God is there, and in His arms are faith, hope, and love!
[Photo: errantfool, Flickr]