Tuesday morning, my good friend Mariah and I made plans to go downtown for a girl's day out. After walking through a beautiful park and taking silly pictures of each other, we settled down for a quick lunch of fast-food Chinese. After enjoying fairly good food and stellar conversation, we decided to go for a hike and headed back towards the nearby parking garage where I'd left my car earlier.
Having parked somewhere around the fourth level, we began walking up the rounds of the concrete building. As we neared the top of the third floor, I catch a glimpse of movement out of the corner of my eye. Glancing to the right, I saw two men coming around a corner right next to us. Black wifebeaters, tattoos, spiked hair... and silence. They fell into step about 3 feet behind my friend and I, not saying a word to each other. I abruptly ended the giddy conversation we'd been carrying, and the floor echoed only our footsteps. My heart began to pound, and as I clung tightly to my keys and purse, I felt blood rush to my face. We quickened our steps, and my mind raced frantically, bouncing around and stopping at: "Do we need to start running?"
We began to walk a little faster, my mind frantically attempted to remember the self-defense tips a friend had mentioned during coffee the week before. I could almost feel the movement... waiting to feel the tug of a hand on my purse, or around my neck. As I grew ever more anxious, the two men abruptly changed direction and climbed into a nearby SUV. Heart still racing, Mariah and I rounded the next turn as quickly as possible, eager to get out of their view. Once I paused for a moment to look around, my stomach dropped and I realized that in our tunnel vision to get away, we had walked right past my car. We nervously headed back down and around the corner, and I dreadfully noticed that my car sat only two spaces down from the mens' SUV.
The men hadn't yet started their car, and as we hurried past them I tried my best not to glance over. We climbed into the front seats, and I hastily locked the doors and started my engine. It was not until we were locked into our car that the men started their own and left the building.
Finally able to breathe, I waited just a moment then pulled out of my space. As we drove down the levels, we both attempted to calm our nerves, and Mariah recognized that we had been protected. In truly the scariest moment of my life, we walked out with only a story.
An hour later, we were safely in my home and preparing to for a hike. I ran upstairs to change into my sneakers and Mariah scrolled through her text message inbox while waiting for me. When I came back downstairs, she was so excited to share a blessing with me: You see, Mariah is subscribed to receive daily Bible verses texted to her cell phone. While we had been talking over lunch, she'd merely glanced at the Verse of the Day, thinking nothing of it. However, after our experience in the garage, the words took on a whole new life:
"He alone protects and saves me, He is my defender, and I shall never be defeated."