To the girl that I saw in the Target bathroom.

Dear stranger,

I don’t know your name, or your age. I don’t know anything about your family, or where you come from or where you go to school, or even if you go to school. I don’t know if you have a boyfriend, or whether or not you drink, or if you’re in a sorority. I don’t know your thoughts, your passions, your fears, or your life.

I do not know you.

But there are some things that I do know.

I know it was a Friday, because I didn’t have to be at work until 10am.

I know that I needed to go to Target.

I don’t know what I needed there. I can’t remember. But I do remember you.

I know that you’re pregnant (I hope that you still are). I know this because you were in front of me at the checkout. You only had one item. It was the test. Probably the scariest test you will ever have to take. You walked straight to the bathroom, which was where I needed to go too. I sat in the stall next to you. You were on the phone. I heard you talking, maybe to a best friend, or your boyfriend, or your mom. Then I heard silence.

I knew that silence.

I heard you say, “This one is saying the same thing, it’s positive too.” And I knew you’d probably taken six tests already, praying that one of them was negative.

You didn’t look much older than I am now. Maybe you’re younger. I don’t know.

I knew the dead-pan tone in your voice. It was the same tone that I had when I told my best friend in high school, “I think I’m pregnant.”

I will be honest. I stood there in the bathroom for a good two minutes, hoping that maybe you would come out and I could say something to you. Maybe tell you that your life is not over, and give you contacts for people who would help you. I wanted to tell you it would all be okay, and to tell you that I know where you are right now. It really doesn’t seem like a great place to be, and I know that. It’s scary, and it seems so awful, and I know that too. And maybe I could just hug you if that’s what you needed.

But you didn’t come out, and I realized that maybe all of that would be a little creepy and a little overwhelming coming from a total stranger. I know…

But there are some things that I would also like you to know.

I want you to know that I got to my car and I cried. I bawled. I couldn’t stop the tears. I kept wiping them away so I wouldn’t go into work with red, puffy eyes. I cried because I know the feeling of sitting in a bathroom stall, holding that stick and watching the plus-sign appear. I know the paralyzing fear and the doubt and the anxiety. I know the feeling of suddenly not knowing where your life is going now, not knowing your options, and not knowing where to turn or who can help you.

I want you to know that I cried because I knew that you had (have?) two options. I cried because those two options are life and death. And I know that 4,000 mothers per day do not choose life.

I want you to know that while I cried in my car before going to work, I also prayed. I prayed that you would keep your baby. I prayed that fear would not drive you to something you didn’t really want. I prayed that you had supportive and encouraging friends in your life who would build you up and stand by you when you needed those kinds of friends the most (I had a couple of those, and they were life savers). I prayed that you would find comfort and peace, and even joy.

I prayed that you would hear your baby’s heartbeat. Did you know that a baby’s heart is beating at 180 beats per minute when the baby is just 10 weeks old? Did you know that your baby may have already had fingers?

But mostly, I prayed that no matter what you chose, that God would use this event the way he used mine for me. I prayed that he would use any decision that you made to bring you closer to him. Because he can do that. He can literally use anything. He promises that he will work all things for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). I prayed that he would use anything and everything going on in your life at that moment to push you into him in a way that you’d never experienced before, and that you would feel his love, and feel that he wants you and loves you and cherishes you, and cherishes the baby that he placed in your care. I prayed that you would be pushed into him so hard, that there would be no way for you not to know these things.

And I still pray for you. I want you to know that I care, and that I love you, even if I don’t know you. I want you to know that, in a way, I do know you because I have been where you are. And I love and care about you. Every time I think about you, I also pray for you. Because that’s what I wished people were doing for me when I was in your shoes, but too often I was met with ridicule and derision where there should have been love. And I want you to be met with love. But I know that too many people will look at the ring finger on your left hand, and they will judge you for the lack of a ring. And so I want to be one of the people who meets you with love, even if I never actually meet you. Because Jesus would meet you with love, and that’s the lead I’m following.

Sincerely,

A Stranger

Alena Rivas is a college student from Tucson, Arizona. She has been married since August, 2013. She and her husband don’t have kids yet, but they hope to once she graduates! Alena writes about life, love, loss, and God. She works to incorporate her own experiences in such a way as to inspire others and encourage people to think about things in new ways. If you like her writing and want to keep up with it better or just want to have access to her awesome witticisms that may not always end up in blog posts, you can find her on Facebook (facebook.com/authoralenarivas), Twitter (@MrsAlenaeous), and Google+ (Alena Rivas).

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