Blessed Redeemer: Healing the Brokenhearted and Setting Captives Free by Jerusha Agen
As I vacuumed the floor at the domestic abuse shelter, my gaze fell on the stains blotching the carpeting that was some blend of blue, gray, and moss green. I turned off the loud vacuum to pick up pieces of something I didn’t want to identify next to the scratched dresser and faded wall. Thank the Lord I didn’t have to live in a place like that.
I looked up to see the owner of the female voice. A teen girl I had seen a few times at the shelter stood in the doorway, her red hair straggling over her shoulders as her gaze surveyed the room from behind her glasses.
“This room is really nice.” Her tone held a sincere breathlessness that matched her widened eyes. “I wish I could stay in a room as nice as this.”
I was speechless for a while. Or at least I felt speechless inside. I think I said something polite on autopilot, something that didn’t betray the shock, guilt, and sadness that swirled simultaneously in my mind.
The girl walked away after a little chat that I don’t remember. I only remember being left to face myself and the realities I was just encountering as a volunteer at the local domestic abuse shelter for women and their children.
I come from a privileged background. I’ve lived in a comfortable home all my life and stayed in nice, sometimes even luxury hotels when traveling. My life experience didn’t include abuse, poverty, or homelessness. I knew those things existed, of course, and wanted to use my time to assist the people who were caught in those circumstances.
One of the surprising things I learned as a volunteer, however, was that those people, the “victims,” often didn’t want the aid they really needed. I quickly learned from the regular staff at the shelter that I shouldn’t expect gratefulness or friendliness from the shelter residents. In fact, I discovered we shouldn’t even expect kind or decent behavior. Thefts were rampant at the shelter, as was rude behavior and fighting among residents.
I would have thought that people in such dire need as these women would at least be thankful to the people who were providing them shelter and necessities. Some of them were grateful, of course, but there were many who seemed to take the help for granted, almost as something expected. But their poor attitude didn’t negate their need.
I heard story after story and read report after report on real-life, horrible abuse. I saw women, battered and beaten-down, trying to survive until the next day—women trying to give their kids some kind of life or just keep them out of harm’s way for another twenty-four hours.
I saw myself, the protected life I had and the responsibility I therefore possessed to not let that special blessing go to waste. I noticed my tendency to judge some of the women as less than myself because they didn’t even try to stand up for themselves or their children, didn’t seem to care about becoming better, and couldn’t even be nice … or clean.
Like police sergeant Gabe Kelly in my novel, This Redeemer, I had to remember that I had all the flaws of these women and more. Who was I to judge myself as better and stronger when I don’t take a stand in the face of potential embarrassment or persecution, when I often don’t care about becoming more like Jesus, when I’m often unkind to others, and when my sin cloaks me like filthy rags?
Yes, I was and am just like those women. And, like them, I need help. I can make small improvements if I try to become a better person on my own and people’s efforts to meet the physical needs of domestic abuse victims can make a difference. But without something more, I would still be caught in the cycle of my sin just as these women and children will never fully escape the cycle of abuse and darkness.
As I talked to women residents at the shelter, my heart ached for them when I saw what the shelter, wonderful as it was, couldn’t do for them. Security cameras and a roof over their heads couldn’t bring life, peace, and joy to their imprisoned souls.
Charlotte Davis, the main character of This Redeemer, is a woman very like those I met at the shelter. Like these women, Charlotte needs a Redeemer to set her free from the prison of fear, pain, and death that ensnares her soul. The fact is that all of us need that Redeemer just as much as the people in more obviously dire situations.
Only when we have been redeemed will the darkness of our circumstances and our own dark souls not imprison us. Only then, will we be free. As the Apostle Paul writes, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).
Do you know the Redeemer? If you do, then live as one who has been set free. If you don’t know Him, ask Him to free you from your prison of sin and darkness. He promises that He will. “I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you” (Isaiah 44:22).
Jerusha Agen is a lifelong lover of story–a passion that has led her to a B.A. in English and a highly varied career. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Jerusha is the author of the Sisters Redeemed series, which includes the titles This Dance, This Shadow and This Redeemer. Jerusha co-authored the e-books A Ruby Christmas and A Dozen Apologies from Write Integrity Press.
Jerusha is also a screenwriter, and several of her original scripts have been produced as films. In addition, Jerusha is a film critic, with reviews featured at the website, www.ReedeemerReviews.com.
Jerusha relishes snowy Midwest winters spent with her large furry dogs and two small furry cats.
More About This Redeemer:
Not all prisons have bars.
Charlotte Davis should know—she’s lived in one for years. She can handle getting slapped around by her boyfriend, Tommy, and even being forced to do things she would never choose, but when Tommy turns on her 10-year-old daughter, Charlotte must try to escape. With nowhere else to turn, Charlotte runs to the stranger her dying mother believed would help her.
Looking only for shelter or cash, Charlotte finds a family she longs to call her own and a gentle man she could learn to love. But if Tommy catches up with Charlotte, these strangers could learn the truth about her. Will they send her back to Tommy? Or can a Father’s love set her free?
About This Dance:
No love, no pain. No God, no games.
A tragedy three years ago destroyed Nye’s rise to the top of the dancing world as an upcoming tango star, and in the process destroyed her reason for living, too. She survived the pain and built a new life resembling nothing like the one she left behind, determined never to hurt again.
Nye’s emotional walls hold up perfectly until she meets a handsome lawyer and an elderly landowner. They seem harmless, but one awakens feelings she doesn’t want and the other makes her face the God she can’t forgive. Will these two men help Nye dance again?
About This Shadow:
She’s famous for her upbeat outlook.
Then the world goes black.
Oriana Sanders is always happy. And why shouldn’t she be? She enjoys a close relationship with God and a purpose-filled career teaching troubled kids. She even has the potential for romance in her sister’s friend, Nicanor, whose dark good looks and brooding manner make him an intriguing project for Oriana.
Oriana’s attempts to reach Nicanor with the joy of the Lord are brought to a halt when a confrontation with her student’s drug-dealing brother ends in tragedy. Facing darkness she has never known, can Oriana learn to forgive the unforgivable and find her way through the shadows to the light?