My friend is free today because someone was murdered right down the street from the mission. My friend would never put it quite like that I am sure but I know she is relieved that tonight she can sleep because her “boyfriend” is now facing a 15 to life sentence in prison. He decided to beat a man to death with a lead pipe because he thought he was making a pass at my friend in front of her apartment.
*Margaret has been coming to Helping Hands Street Mission for the past 5 years now. I remember when I first saw her I was struck by her beauty behind the obvious misshaped bones in her face. I could see she had been someones punching bag more than once in her life and over several years. Her beautiful blue eyes always on alert and her blond hair covered many bruises and scars she never wanted us to see. About two years ago she came into the mission and half her body and all down one arm was black. She had tied a make shift sling from a sheet at her house to keep her arm from hanging, I could see it was out of socket. I asked her if she had been to the hospital and she said no. I knew she avoided it so to also avoid the many questions she would be asked about how it happened. She told me it was her being clumsy again and falling into the door. After a while you begin to believe your own lies. I asked her to please go to the emergency to check it out because I was worried about the bruising that had extended so far across her chest and down to her back. Her daughter told me her story wasn’t true-she didn’t need to we all knew that he did it to her again and that it was just a matter of time before he would go too far and we would find her dead.
I wasn’t the only one to tell her to leave. Our “gang” at HHSM we all told her we would support her any way we could so she could leave. Margaret felt she had no where to go. He was her boyfriend and landlord. She could stay in one of his apartments cheap and then have enough left to buy food otherwise her check would not even cover an apartment and she would be on the street. She dealt with the filth in the storefront he offered her even if it also meant that a deal could always be made for even cheaper rent if she did whatever he asked. Margaret did what she needed to do in order to survive. I remember she saw a lamp at the mission and couldn’t carry it home. (Her arm although attended to at the hospital was never going to be the same again) I offered to take it to her place but she refused to let me carry it up the two steps into the door of her place. “I don’t want you to have to see it Helen” I left the lamp in front of the door. I could see it in her eyes that she would be devastated if I saw her place so I didn’t push it. “I am going to try and find a new place soon Helen-hopefully be out in a few weeks” She would never be able to leave. I knew he wouldn’t let her.
That was a few weeks ago. Two days ago Margaret was talking to a man on the street that is now dead from blunt force trauma to his body by a lead pipe. Margaret is free to leave now. Now that her boyfriend has killed someone and is going to jail. Margaret is celebrating FREEDOM this weekend. Not with fireworks or BBQ but with a restful night’s sleep and waking up to a day where she is no longer enslaved to someone else.
Please pray for all the Margarets out there. We all know one or more. Pray that they will know their freedom was already bought for them through the death of Jesus Christ. Pray that they can know they are whole and good just the way they were made. That there is a man who loves them more than ANY man on this earth ever could. That they would fall in love with Jesus And learn what love really looks like.