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I arrived at her home having received her distressed call.  We really don’t have much in common except that we both  worked as shop girls at some point in our lives and have great stories we share about our customers.  Despite our differences we get along.

Gwen and I sat on her crisp, white slip covered sofa, , her pearl-colored cat slipping in right beside me.  The air was filled with tension, and the fragrance the sweet smell of roses.photo (14)

Her angular, modern home on Chicago’s North Shore was, as always, pristine.  Like her home, Gwen,  with her chiseled coal-black bob haircut and perfect makeup, was as equally and impeccably appointed in her dress and in her speech. The new gun-metal gray BMW she rarely drove sat quietly in the garage atop the white, oil free enameled floor.  Her car was the same combination of outward beauty that hides the power below the surface. Snow fell outside, breathtaking from her large glass windows.

Chad had gone ballistic on her in the middle of a large home building supply store earlier in the day. He had previously degraded her privately, using words and calling her names that ought not be repeated, but she had previously overlooked them, quietly giving permission to use them again.  For her, today was different as his profane put downs had an audience of store associates and contractors picking up supplies.

He always apologized and she always forgave him after the red long-stemmed roses would arrive.  And he always returned to the same behavior after a brief period of being on his best behavior.

The man she loved and lived with belittled her.

We opened to Colossians 1:9-14

I asked her to read aloud from the Bible.  This was a new thing for her, and God;s Words  seemed like a foreign language to her.

“For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven’t stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God.
May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the saints inheritance in the light.
He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

She looked at me with tears in her eyes “I’m not worthy of a real relationship with God till I let go of Chad”
“I’m just not good enough”
“I love him, I can’t give him up”
We repeated the pattern of meeting, praying and seeing what God’s Word had to say to her.
She stepped out in faith.
She learned that Jesus will take us right where we are at.

She was imprisoned in her beautiful home, believing she was in a life she could not escape, chained to a man who was not her husband, but on this day the power of God’s Word healed her.

*Minor details altered to conceal Gwen’s identity