The yelling was loud and piercing. The kitchen’s cabinets seemed to shake with the waves that his voice created. His booming tone slammed against her ear drums as the insults were hurled one after the other.
“You always complain!”, “Why can’t you do anything right?”, “Can we not have chicken, for the umpteenth time this week?!”
With each verbal slash, her heart deflated just a little bit more. Each morning seemed to awaken the same fears inside of her. She couldn’t shake them. The thoughts wouldn’t fade away. Will it ever end? Would she ever measure up? It felt like a war that she would never win.
The process never seemed to end. If the house wasn’t clean, she knew when he came home the matter would be blown up to the extent that any outsider peeking in would wonder if World War III had started. The end result would leave her identity lying in shrapnels on the floor.
She was tired of picking up the scattered pieces. The glue haphazardly holding them together were quick fixes to ward off the next blow. It hadn’t always been this way. She rubbed her eyes trying to relieve the threat of hot tears ready to stream down her face.
Back when they were teenagers Tom would hold her hand and rub her back. He used to compliment her hair cuts and the new dresses that she would wear.
She remembered the day Tom asked her to marry him. It was perfect. Well, the weather wasn’t so great, but she obviously wasn’t paying attention to the rain pouring down like buckets around her.
One of her favorite hobbies consisted of perusing old bookstores and finding old novels by Jane Austen, Mark Twain, or Tolstoy. Their writing was beautiful. It was intricate and poised. She loved the way their stories seemed to come to life. With each word the main characters would leap from their “prison like pages” that held them captive. The story would unfold and she was utterly captivated.
Tom knew that she was a die-hard book collector. Taking that as his obvious cue, he proposed at the old bookstore where she purchased her first novel- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. The ring was placed right in the middle of the book. He said so many sweet things, but she only heard the last four words, “Will you marry me?” Of course she said yes. How could she refuse? He was the love of her life!
Snapping back to the present, she shook her head slowly, side to side like a pendulum. Years had gone by since the sparks seemed to fly. The late-night coffee dates spent dreaming about the future and where they would go together were distant memories.
Her hands plunged into the soapy dishwater. She scrubbed dishes caked with the leftovers from dinner. The methodical circular motion caused her mind to wander. She relished the silence. The sound of the water’s waves swishing against the sink offered her a break from words laced with anger and disdain.
The radio behind her played soft worship music. A beautiful melody reached her ears. Her fingers reached the volume’s dial to turn it up.
“They say it only takes a little faith
To move a mountain
A little faith is all I have right now
But God, when You choose
To leave mountains unmovable
Give me the strength to be able to sing
It is well with my soul”
Rose listened to the lyrics as they hung in the already weighted air. Each word pulled on the tattered strings of her heart. Even if God didn’t take her out of this situation, He was her only hope.
When she and Tom had been married almost five years, one of her friends invited her to go to church with her. At that time, she and Tom were going through the first stages of yelling and hot displeasure. The invitation seemed to be a lifeline. It allowed her to be away from him, giving her an opportunity for just an hour to not be a disappointment, to not incur another tongue lashing.
Walking up to the building’s front doors and entering into the sunny foyer, the new environment gave her room to breathe. It was incredible. She saw her friend off in the distance waving to her. She moved through the crowds of people en route to her friend.
After meeting up, Rose went to find her seat in the large hall. She sat and listened to what she assumed were the church’s announcements about upcoming events, summer camps, and so on. The speaker asked all of the people to stand as a whole host of instruments sounds filled the room. Singing engulfed the chasm of space. Rose didn’t know the words to any of the songs, yet somehow it was so joyful to just watch as people sang and smiled.
Soon after the singing was done, a man came to the front and asked them to pull out their Bibles and turn to Romans. He spoke of sin and how it infects the soul of each person. He said that not one person, not even one was “righteous”. He spoke of a man named Jesus, who was perfect and blameless. He said that Jesus loved each person in this world so much that Jesus came to earth to save them all, but had to go through a horrific death to do so. But that was not all. He said that Jesus rose again and conquered death so that we could be free from sin; so that we could have NEW life.
Rose sat in the pew dumbfounded. How can it be that Jesus would die for her if she was this awful sinner? How could he forgive when she had obviously chosen over and over again to sin? The man standing at the front put Romans 5:8 on the screen.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
God loves her, this world that much that when she didn’t know Jesus he still died for her? It was then that Rose knew she needed to learn more about this so-called Savior.