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2014 Christmas thoughts…with love

I remember.  I remember you Jesus.

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I don’t just look at a Christmas tree and see the twinkle of decorations.  While I love the glitter of holidays and sharing joy with family and friends, I never forget you.  How can I not fathom that you left your crown behind and stepped out of heaven and into skin to lay in a manger made of wood and straw.  You weren’t a new gift to the world.  You were the prophesied hope of the world.  You came to show us the way to love beyond skin and fleshly things.  You opened the door to your spiritual world so that one day we could lay aside our skin and join you.  But for now we celebrate Christmas…in hopes of that tomorrow.  It is unreal that we use a tree to decorate when your last crown and breath on this earth was on a tree.  But life has its peculiarities.  So for me, and for all that love you, I pray that when we look at our Christmas tree – that the top has a spiritual crown that resonates within our hearts.  A powerful reminder of the true gift and the true promise of love and a sincere Merry Christmas.

Patti Corbello Archer

December 14, 2014

My Christmas card to all of you.  Blessings…

 

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Deep Inside by Patti Corbello Archer

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Daydream. Imagine. Encourage. Hope. FAITH.

Years ago I learned what touched the core of me. You know – the place that only you have access to on the inside of you; that place where truth and reality take what is and creates what could be, in me, and if you let it, in you.

I was in my mid 30’s before I found that place.

I was in my 40’s before I opened it up…even to Jesus.

That was when He showed me how to create something inspiring out of tears. Or create maybe even from that place that is beyond tears. It reminds me of an archeologist. They know the facts and dig for what is hidden. One piece at a time. It reminds me of an explorer. They don’t want to just read about life but desire to seek beyond the horizon for what is yet unseen by their eyes.

Sitting in the swing outside this morning, my thoughts recall asking Jesus years ago how he could ever use the broken places in me to be of any value at all in the big scheme of things. Then he gave me the most wonderful answer of all. He said, “I will use the broken places in your life to create a stained glass masterpiece…and I will be the light that shines through.” I never thought that anything broken could be beautiful till then.

Therefore, I have learned to love digging for what is hidden, and seeking for what is unseen among the discarded things in my soul. Like an artist, once found, they become tools for creating messages that are meant to touch you and me.

To daydream is to dance in the wonder of hope.

To imagine is to let encouragement teach escape with love.

To have faith is to know that Jesus journeys with me…and you.

I imagine sometimes Him holding me close while I listen to his heartbeat. No requests, no petitions, just listening to the music of his heart as he breathes. Some people may not think of that.

To me, Faith is knowing that He loves me…loving Him.

Patti Corbello Archer
March 2, 2014

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What’s on your key ring? by Patti Corbello Archer

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Keeping tract of victim memories keeps you locked up with them. The only real freedom a victim has… after they heal, is to forgive and throw away the key. If you keep each hurt, so-to-say each key on your key ring, it is because you intend to open that door of remembrance again. Get rid of it in Jesus’ name. Only the devil calls you there.

Patti Corbello Archer
2/9/14

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Hold Me by Patti Corbello Archer

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How many of you saw the movie, “The Help”? I think my 2 favorite parts of the movie were first of all when the nanny maid would pull the little girl with the long blond hair to her and say, “You are special, you are kind, you are smart…” and secondly of course, where the uppity prejudiced woman got her comeuppance. I know as Christians we are supposed to love our enemies, but I haven’t gotten a 100% on that yet lol. I think if you have ever been the underdog or victim you understand what I mean. But the part that has truly stayed in my heart is the part where someone cared enough to speak to the child’s character and spirit with gentleness and love – equipping her for a world that is kind, well, not near often enough.

I love laying my granddaughter across my lap. She looks into my face and I tell HER how wonderful, beautiful, smart, gentle, kind, precious, intelligent, creative, and on and on she is. As long as I speak she watches me, listens and absorbs every single word I use to describe her. She loves it. Then I tell her that I love every part of her from her hair to her toes, her hair, her eyes, her nose, etc. – that every part of her is worth loving – and that Jesus loves her too. And then we end it with a declaration that we love each other with our whole heart! This is a precious part of the valuable legacy that I will leave her.

I can’t help but think of that in this season of reflection. I don’t so much think of the New Year as resolutions but reflections. What worked, what didn’t, new things to accomplish, things to mark off my list, increasing my relationship with Jesus, being healthier, being more kind, smart, intelligent, gentle…etc.

That reminds me. Has anyone ever read Etiquette for Dummies? Oh my gosh, please do! I bought it years ago and pulled it out again. So many times we think getting snippy with someone, tuning someone out, road rage, or telling it like it is – is just part of being human. It is actually bad manners! Eek! I kid you not. It is amazing that we don’t think of ourselves as having bad manners. I am on Chapter 5 and ouch.

But back to the story, for my New Year thoughts I pulled out 5 books, my Bible, my Journal between me and God, a Rules of Engagement warrior prayer pamphlet, a cookbook What Would Jesus Eat, and the paperback Etiquette for Dummies.

All of these things seem to be about me, me, me but in actuality they make me better for you, you, you so that we can all see Him, Him, Him.

He continually reveals to me with every epiphany that it is always all about Him and I just get to be a part of it.

There is nothing like being held in His arms as He speaks to me, like the nanny maid did to that little girl, “You WILL have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control…”.

Patti Corbello Archer
1/4/14

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Read my mind…please!

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Most people are scared to death that God knows everything about them, inside and out. I remember when I felt that way myself. In the many years before my heart belonged to Him I rarely even thought of Him except in a judgmental category that carried a strong element of fear. I never thought that He wanted anything to do with me really since I had suffered so much early in life. It was almost like we were ignoring each other as life went by. It doesn’t mean that I was right in the way that I thought, but honestly, I figured if He wanted to connect with me that He would let me know.

Can you tell that my first thought of rejection came from my hurtful impression of God?

Then one tearful day in Dodge City, Ks when I was in my 30’s, I picked up the bible and began a journey to a different impression of Him. As time went by and I continued to read, I learned all sorts of private and intimate feelings of His. His heart was everywhere in those words. His heart reached out to me and I fell in love with Him just like that. I found subtle changes in my behavior and personality that were amazing to me and those around me in the months and years that passed. I hungered for holy and our relationship continued to grow. I started despising secrets and wanted truth to be who I was.

I stayed focused on how awesome He was. I had no problem viewing how fabulous He was. That was easy. But then one night while I was doing a Beth Moore bible study I was instructed to contemplate a spiritual expression of God’s love of me with the beautiful love story portrayed in Song of Songs.

I was not able to do it. I would read those love passages and totally freak out at the improper concept of a spiritual love affair with God. I was scared that I would be struck by lightening by just thinking He would think that I was all that. I finally got down on my knees and cried out to Him to help me – that I didn’t know how to love Him like that.

In days…and I mean days…His Holy Spirit began to manifest in my life the most glorious encounters. He romanced me. He revealed just how personal His love is and exactly what type of relationship that He wants… with each of us.

We may be limited by being humans on earth, but I promise you that Jesus is ready and unlimited for each encounter that we need with Him. For the first time in my life I realized how excited I was that He could read my mind. I was thrilled! I could just think to Him and He knew it. I had always had trouble opening up to others before because of serious trust factors in giving someone access to hurt me. So let me tell you, Him setting up home in my mind was the best gift of love ever.

I wasn’t concerned about Him having access to my secrets, fears or addictions. I was glad that He WAS seeing them with me. He brought to life the Word of God…”Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

To me, an introvert, that was the desire of my heart. I know that He thinks that I am all that to Him. He knows that I think that He is all that to me. He is the lover of my soul and the knower of all my thoughts…and I love Him for it.

To this end I write.

May you love and know Him too.

Blessings always,

Patti Corbello Archer
9/21/13

Don’t Take The Bait by Patti Corbello Archer

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You are living your life. Most of us don’t live looking for the devil’s bite lurking behind every bush. But the truth is – he can hide in plain sight. After that thought, let me ask you, what bait can the devil use to lure you? Have you ever even thought of that?

So many saved people go to church each week, read the Word of God and work as his faithful servants without being aware of areas in their lives where the devil stalks them. He is NOT concerned about your strengths. He wants the areas that YOU have struggled, where you may be a young warrior so-to-speak or simply are not strong enough yet to take multiple direct confrontations. You can’t ever release your guard on those areas in your life. The baits may change that he uses or even the method of delivery but it will always be his focus to step through a gap around or in you… in just a moment of weakness…despair, depression or even unknown spiritual territories.

Areas where you have been delivered and healed are special areas. They are testimony areas, areas of revelation and wisdom, and many times areas of anointing. I believe that God himself literally steps into these areas in our lives to work it for his glory, hence, the anointing. The danger to us is that we take for granted his covering and get into situations that we are unable to withstand, i.e., after years maybe… alcoholics going into a bar after a divorce for just one, overeaters allowing rejection to kick off binges, drug addicts making excuses to use a little something after a rough week at work, a man turning to porno after his wife had a headache one too many times, and a woman spending way more that she should just to feel better.

Spiritual warriors have the responsibility to keep their weapons at hand and ready – beginning in the mind first. A spear does you no good if you can’t find it beyond your hobbies. A shield does you no good if it is being used as a snow board for your kids. A helmet does you no good if it is in your pile of to-do’s one day. The sword of the spirit does you no good if you don’t turn off the television.

Like many of you I have learned the power of God. However, distraction is effective with tears, or fear, or pain, or loss of a job, or a diagnosis, or a wound…for everyone. Faking it till you make it only gets you so far. Walking out of church after a feel good message doesn’t help if you can’t fight the good fight on your own. The pastor doesn’t go home with us. And even he is just a man that God uses.

Jesus gave us what we need to live this life. And he keeps our tears through the parts that are hard. Like all warriors, if you stumble, fall or get wounded – get up, brush your knees off, get medical treatment, heal and get back on the battle field. And if your battlefield becomes a sickbed or something else challenging, God has flexible battle plans! The battle between good and evil will never stop. The battlefields may change because of age, location, or people…but destiny continues.

Jesus will always use us for his glory. That is what we were born for. He knows our seasons past and our seasons to come, but most importantly, he knows the season we are in.

I come to this awareness after spitting out a lure myself. God is good.

I believe our call each day is just to love and surrender to him…for his purpose in us and in others. That alone changes us and the world around us.

That makes the light of his face shine upon us.

Blessings always,
Patti Corbello Archer
Sept 7, 2013

Moonlight Magic by Patti Corbello Archer

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Dusk tonight was so tranquil I thought as I drove south. There was not a lot of traffic to disturb my view. The sun was no longer visible but left a fantail of purple, pink and blue in its wake above the countryside. It was such a brief glimpse of God’s palette of color. Then I saw it, one single star hanging in the sky. It had been so long since I had taken the time to pause and watch the night arrive. My mind began to recall a saying from childhood, “Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight – I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight.” I couldn’t help but smile. I was about to get my wish.

I had a love song playing on the radio and began to hum along. I tilted down the review mirror to check my makeup before the light totally faded to black. After a quick pinch to my cheek I went back to driving. I had an appointment tonight – an appointment that was long overdue. Living this thing we call life is busy. It is also filled with lots of interruptions that all too easily keep us from the truly valuable things that we should set aside for more heart time.

Well, tonight was my date night and I was determined not to be late. He picked the place. I picked the time. I was so excited to get ready for him. It is too easy in a relationship to forget the spark and take advantage of the love. My heart was beating in tempo to the music and I have to admit I was a bit nervous even though I was confident of his love.

We had an intense talk today so I know the passionate message that will be in his eyes when he sees me. I know what he believes and what he wants. He knows everything about me – truly. There are no secrets between us.

In fact, tonight I am wearing one of his favorite colors – shimmering indigo blue. My dress has one-shoulder and is made of the softest linen I could find. Seven layers of ruffles flutter all the way down the skirt till finally it wisps about the top of my bare feet. My sandals are on the floorboard in the backseat, but if I know him, and I do, then I won’t need those shoes.

I left my hair soft, not filled with lots of spray and gels and my makeup is…just for him. My lips are red, my cheeks are pink, my eyes are lined and my perfume is one that he always inhales. Isn’t that the beauty of love? Doing the personal things that say, “I love you” without the words?

Life has taught me many things. Many of those things I love. And the ones I didn’t left their scars. But I have to say that nights like these, make those scars matter less and less. Every time we meet, he teaches me how to love deeper. He dares me to take wild steps with my eyes closed. He is the one that talks love in more ways than I can even imagine. I respond to him. I fly with him. He is the one that makes me feel beautiful. He is the one that makes me feel loved. No other man has ever made me believe it.

I heard my phone sound a text message. I picked it up and saw, “I am watching for you.” My heart jumped. I saw the beach ahead and pulled off the road onto the sand and parked. I picked up my phone and text’d back, “I am here.”

I got out of my Jeep and stood in the sand, feeling the magic. I shut the door and saw him waiting for me by the water. The ocean waves were making the richest musical sound. The wind twirled my skirt. I began to walk towards him. The only light was the moonlight. No one else was on the beach. I saw his long shirt and pants being pulled by the wind. I saw his bare feet just inches from the water. His cologne reached me and I closed my eyes, loving his scent. I watched his breath inhale deeply as my perfume reached him. He ran his hand through his hair and smiled. He reached me first and spun me around. We laughed together.

Holding hands we walked along the beach loving the time together. We talked about what was on his mind. We talked about what was on mine. We sat in the sand. We walked in the waters edge. We laughed. We shared. After awhile, he stopped and faced me. His right hand took mine and slowly he twirled me around. I melted at the look of love burning in his eyes. He saw my response and said, “May I have this dance?” I stepped forward and leaned my cheek on his chest. I said, “Yes, Jesus, yes.” And he led me to his dance floor.

*****

Each person’s relationship with the Lord is different. I constantly need his presence to remind me to let him lead. Many things cause us to hold tight to our perception and direction in life. But I keep reminding myself that only when my eyes are closed and he is leading will I go on the right journeys.

Jesus is the best dancer, ever.

Patti Corbello Archer
July 20, 2013

Let’s go Ziplining! by Patti Corbello Archer

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Checklist:
Helmet – check
Harness – check
Double harness – check
Gloves – check
10,000 lb cable – check
Trust in Jesus – check
Sense of humor – check

At almost 55 years old it amazes me that I would be willing to Zipline. Now it doesn’t mean that I would zipline over something that scares me, like say, a cave of bats, a million bees, a volcano, a forest fire, or Indiana Jones’ cave of snakes; but I would love to zipline over something amazing and gorgeous.

My life has been a series of ziplining anyway. While it may not have been on an actual cable, it has been adventure and risk nonetheless. I look at some people I know and their lives seem to have been such a steady, even keel pattern; i.e., same spouse, same friends, same haircut, same house, same job, same church, and same routines. It doesn’t mean life doesn’t throw them a curve with money, health, or age, but in general, yesterday’s face will be recognizable in tomorrow’s face for many of them.

I can’t say that for me in a kazillion ways. While my joy and grateful heart in “steady” is in the face of my son, his growing family, my family, and my God, there has been a whole lot of change, adventure, hardship and kaleidoscope seasons for me as a woman.

I think that I have been every physical size known to females – except a few. And some of them I forbid to release under the fluorescent light of a dressing room lol. I have had various colored hair and actually auburn is my favorite – but age seems to prefer silver. I have woken up to 2 different faces as husbands and the thought of a 3rd gives me a real eccentric sense of humor.

I have been Church of God, Catholic, Baptist, and Non-denominational with a strong seasoning of Pentecostal. I am really glad that I have now received just Jesus’ definition of faith.

My favorite food is everything from drive thru, to leftovers, to sandwiches, to fried, and to healthy food. I will eat it all – hungry or not. I reject that spirit of appetite!

Working through the years has been a conglomeration of developed skills. I have handled money, prescriptions, hospital patients, insurance clients, angry vehicle customers, the sick, the grieving and the hurt in ministry, as well as emergency calls as a deputy in dispatch and the inventory and policy police in my current position. Through it all I have handled the phone, the phone and the phone lol.

I don’t like to gamble with money but I guess that doesn’t mean I don’t mind gambling with my health since I have standing appointments in all fast food drive-thru’s. I have more dates with my doctor now but I am about to change that! I don’t trust men easily. I guess with rape, divorce 1, divorce 2, pastoral abuse, and social media make believe relationships, that is certainly understandable. I guess when I get out of the shower and stand looking in the bathroom mirror I should just continue to be grateful that I still retain treasure troves full of love, faith, a sense of humor and an ability to begin new seasons.

I miss wearing good looking tight jeans, high heels, never tiring energy and having a man hold me in his arms and dance… but I love my time to write, my journeys with Jesus in inspirational creativity, holidays and watching my granddaughter grab the world with everything she has got.

I might not have experienced everything wonderful but I have experienced life. And it isn’t over…it is just a new season…
…….

Jesus helps me buckle into the zipline harness and puts my helmet on me. I pull my gloves up and laugh. I ask Him if He is sure the cable is strong enough to hold me. He yanks my hair sticking out from under my helmet and says, “Come on, I’ll beat you to the other side!” A Rocky Mountain valley and 3 lakes litter the ground below us as we took off.

Wheeeeee!

Patti Corbello Archer
June 1, 2013

Oh. My. Gosh! by Patti Corbello Archer

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In the spirit I entered through the temple doorway and saw Jesus leaned against a massive column at the edge of heaven’s balcony. I walked across the floor towards him. He lifted his right arm as I neared him and he pulled me against him. We both looked out across the world. We stood quietly for a moment and then He leaned down and kissed the top of my head. He said, “Happy Mother’s Day.” Tears choked me up and I was unable to speak for a moment. He just squeezed me. Then he pointed out across the world and said, “Watch with me.”

We leaned out and you could see the world displayed like a life canopy. People, their hearts, and their relationships were readily shared for Jesus to see. He began to reach for them. I could hardly speak at the love radiating around us as he arose into their lives to touch them.

I saw him send the wind to embrace each person of all ages as they knelt to put flowers at their mother’s grave – from the toddlers to the elderly with canes or walkers – Jesus was there with them as they remembered those gone. Jesus collected all their tears.

I heard him whisper to the hearts of the young mothers as they chased, washed, clothed, fed, missed sleep, gave medicine, worked multiple jobs and rocked their young loves. As he whispered to each mommy a little red heart danced from his heart to theirs.

I felt him reach to strengthen and empower the mothers of teenagers – as he shifted their burdens, worries, and tears upon his shoulders. He smiled at the relief on their face and their joy at the quick hug of a teenager on the run.

All of a sudden I saw him send rainbows of angels with jewels to the mothers of those with sick children. Whether the child was a baby or grown, in a wheelchair, in the hospital, in hospice, back at home or in a coma – the jewels were sent as a preliminary gift for their crown.

I think I was in awe the whole time. Not one mother was missed. Not one. Not even the ones whose children were missing. Jesus kissed the face of each child for each of those mothers. He knows where their children are and he will never leave them.

He didn’t forget the special mothers either. You know, the women who can’t give birth or adopt. I watched Jesus water the seeds that he trusted those moms with in the lives of children around them. Those mother’s hearts are blessed by God.

Oh what a beautiful morning. I cried for each mother. I smiled for each kiss he gave them. I thanked him for my mother and my family. How glorious is Jesus…

I lifted up my head to look at him as he reached the last mother on Earth. I opened my mouth to talk to him and he covered my mouth with his hand. He said with a twinkle in his eye, “Would you like to meet my mother?” At my shock he laughed and Mary walked in and smiled at us.

Oh. My. Gosh!

Not one single mother is lost from his love. Not one. Not ever.

May 12, 2013
Patti Corbello Archer

Dreams & Visions by Patti Corbello Archer

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Everyone has had dreams. Treasure-filled dreams as well as nightmares full of random life or fearful thoughts. Some dreams are like a creative vacation while some you wake up from just steps ahead of terror. How many times have you been so thankful that it was not real?

However, not everyone has had visions. And you certainly know it if you have had one! They are anything but random. To me it is like God leaning His forehead against mine and thinking a message into me. It swirls down into my soul to that “ponder” area where He always reveals something between Him and me. He has woken me up at night – knowing that I saw what He did.

I am always in awe of the visions. I love mysteries and suspense so acknowledging a Holy Ghost encounter is amazing. I never forget them. They are a reminder that life is not only external. I like knowing that Jesus, as the Potter, Cornerstone or Carpenter…is always adding another point to my life. I am not just a survivalist.

Kind of like Daniel. You remember Daniel, don’t you? Enslaved in the land of the enemy but favored in the courts of the foreign king. God used dreams and visions to change an empire. These days people hunger for worldly excitement but overlook the most adventurous journeys available in the spirit world.

You think super heros are just for video games? God equips men with superhuman strength. Ask Sampson who blind with bare hands collapsed an arena. Ask David who fought a giant and won. Ask a woman who buried a child and then sings in church on Sunday. Ask a soldier that rides in a wheelchair now instead of a army tank.

You fascinated with video games of the dark world and death? Jesus is the boss of that. Ask those that were in Jerusalem as the dead walked out of graves when Jesus died. Ask Lazarus when he walked out of the grave to an audience. Ask the boy who was loosed from demons after they threw him in the fire. Ask the men who carried the Ark of the Covenant and saw one die after being told not to touch it and did it anyway.

You addicted to hidden sexual satisfaction? You think the one who created you doesn’t know what you want and need? Ask the woman at the well who quit bothering to marry the men any more. Ask the preacher who was delivered from pornography. Ask the man who walked away from affairs and went home to his wife. Ask the teenager who laid it down at the alter and promised to keep himself pure as a new creature in Christ.

Jesus is for now. He can break through any barrier and move into your heart. He can loose His power in your life. And He will make your life purpose reality with His dreams and His visions. The danger in this world is that so many look externally for what can only be satisfied internally. Drugs, alcohol, sex, violence, overeating, escapism, gambling, shopping, media overload only make you forget for awhile.

Wake up my friend! Wake up! Jesus is not make believe or fiction. Determine to live your life with Him from the inside out. Don’t let your life always be like waking up from a simple dream….unreal and forgotten. Your life is to be spiritually empowered…a vision of encounters with the One who is waiting for you.

Wake up!

Patti Corbello Archer
May 5, 2013

Being real…really? by Patti Corbello Archer

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I think back through the years and my knees get weak. I can’t imagine what my life would be if my definition of Christianity was anything other than giving Jesus total access to my body, soul and spirit. Some of you might think that seems like such a “churchy” thing to say. But in reality, if you don’t lay your literal body with all its drives, your soul with all its feelings and thoughts, and your spirit with all its needs before his throne…each of those parts will begin to win life’s battles and kidnap your life.

The night I surrendered to him, my world changed. Maybe not in the blink of an eye so-to-speak, but as life bombarded me I felt his presence inside of me…and he gave me a boldness and power to dare to make choices based on who I was born to be instead of who life tried to make me.

The treasure I found when I surrendered is that truly there was no cost but a gift. I don’t think people realize that he gives back to us what we give to him. The surrender to him is the door where he finally can surrender us… his body, soul and spirit. That is where we intertwine with him. That is how we are holy. That is how we are equipped to do greater things than he did. That is how we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.

I love the fact that he reads my mind and it amazes me when others think they can keep secrets from him. Peace is in being free from hiding. Who wants to be stalked by fear all their days? Freedom is in entering his powerful classroom and finding out how to use him to be delivered from us.

No person, rich or poor, no teacher, no pastor, no leader, or no government makes it to the pinnacle of NOT needing him. We are all made of flesh and will need our flesh delivered till the day his white horse comes.

So once you come to the cross, let your personal view of yourself change. The day I realized just how much he desired me was the day I felt his value for me for the first time. Then I dove into access to him, his thoughts in his Word, his feelings, his wounds, his passions, his power, his holiness, and his impatience for waiting for us and for the day of Jerusalem to come. I saw his gift for what it was…intimacy…honesty…and love.

With Jesus, we first hugged and met at the base of the cross, but the journey since then has been reality. I don’t have to put on my church face to be with him or be anything other than who he already knows I am.

He applauds my journey. He doctors my wounds. He teaches me new lessons. He swings with me when I am lonely. He protects me when I am afraid. He opens the windows of heaven to keep my wallet from running empty. He always pursues me and will never leave me nor forsake me. And he always keeps me wanting more.

There is no limit to who he can be with me…or you.

Total access.
Real love.
Jesus.
Really.

April 7, 2013
Patti Corbello Archer

“En Garde” by Patti Corbello Archer

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Ally slammed the door as hard as she dared and walked outside. She wished she could get the satisfaction of the glass breaking but then again she was glad she didn’t have to clean up the mess. Temper was not a good thing. As she glanced around her she saw that daylight was fading fast but she had to go unwind – she was about to explode. A worn path led the way to the back of the barn where her favorite swing waited for her.

With a sigh she sat down in the area indented from many years of swinging and seeking God. She leaned her head back on the top edge and an almost imperceptible movement of her left knee set the swing in motion. The gentle rhythm and the breeze ignited the promise of peace deep inside of her. She needed to be rescued from the conflict and stress of the last 3 days.

Sold out by someone faking a God-purpose, betrayed by a trusted friend, and then finally the last straw, today, she was rejected by someone who swore they would always love her. 3 days of hell she thought to herself…3 days. Suddenly, the pain reminded her of another in this Easter season…. “Jesus,” she whispered as tears welled up in her eyes.

Behind her a tall man leaned against the edge of the barn door and watched her. He was barefoot with jeans and a loose shirt. He looked down on the shelf just inside the doorway and saw her bible. A very dusty Bible. He flipped it open with his hand and a silver sword appeared in his hand. Not saying a Word He slowly walked up behind her. He smelled her…loved her…and missed her. Suddenly feeling a flash of anger inside Himself He grabbed the chain and stopped the swing.

Ally gasped and swung her gaze behind her. Tear tracks on her cheeks testified to her distress. “Jesus,” she said. “You came!” As blue eyes gazed into blue eyes He told her abruptly, “Get up.” Surprised, she stood up and walked around the back of the swing toward Him. As she neared Him her tears fell again. “I need you,” she said. He leaned forward and rubbed His cheek against hers…transferring her tears to His face. He closed His eyes a moment and stepped back. She watched Him; sensing His intensity.

She started to say something but He put His hand over her mouth. “No,” He said, “it is my turn.” He turned and walked back to the shelf where her Bible was. He reached toward it and another sword appeared in His other hand. Only then did she notice the first sword. She swallowed hard.

He turned to face her. They stood there for a moment in silence. Then Jesus said, “Have you forgotten how to use it, Ally?” And before she had time to respond, He tossed the 2nd sword through the air toward her. As it flew she found herself getting in position to receive it – and caught it. She watched Him salute her and He said, “En Garde.” She saluted Him back and said, “Forgive me, Mighty One.”

His shout caught her off guard as He brought the attack to her, reminding her, teaching her new tricks and showing her how to go from offense to defense in the battles of the world with His Word. The swords were powerful as they clashed and vibrated down their arms. He was so much taller but the weapon that He had given her was just as powerful as the one He held.

She watched the sweat run down His face, His hair getting wet. He watched the sweat and struggle awaken the faith on the inside of her. Her eyes no longer welled with tears but glistened with purpose and remembrance of how to fight the good fight. He rushed her and brought her up against the barn wall, His sword at her throat. She gasped and looked up at Him, knowing that He was always her Champion. He grinned at her, turned His sword around and handed it to her by the hilt.

“Come on,” he said. Now let’s swing. And by the way, “of course I forgive you.”

Happy Easter…with a Reminder for the season
Patti Corbello Archer
March 23, 2013

Love Letters

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I can remember what it was like not to feel loved, or safe. 

Brushing a tear from my cheek, I closed the book that I’d been reading.  I threw back the heirloom quilt that covered me and climbed off the wicker sofa on my front porch.  I walked in my woolen socks to the south side railing that looked over the pond and set the book down. My arms propped me up like an easel on the cedar rail.  Deep in thought I watched the sun drop lower and lower in the late afternoon sky.   The gold, pink, and orange light filtered through the willow trees like silent fireworks going off on the other side of the pond.  With a sigh, I grinned.

This is my favorite time of day…when I know that he anticipates me waiting for him.  Once you know someone, it is so easy to please them.  Ah, the breeze picked up – I hear it in the trees.  Gently his fragrance surrounded me.  I closed my eyes and let my heart hear him… 

I hear his footsteps as he came up behind me and kissed the top of my head.  “Hmmm,” he said.  “You always smell so good.”  He wrapped his arms around me and we both stood and watched the ripples on the water as the moon came up.  I leaned my head back against his shoulder and chuckled, “It is you that smells good!”  He laughed and squeezed me.

He brushed a finger across the cheek that was still wet.  “Have you been reading again,” he asked?  I grabbed his hand and held it to my face.  “You know I can’t help it,” I told him.  “I will never get tired of reading your love letters.”

I felt him swallow, overcome with emotion.  “You have no idea” he said “what that does to me.”  A tear dropped down my face again and rolled across the back of his hand.  “You have no idea” I said “what you do to me.”  He scooped up my tear and enclosed it in his palm.  He turned me to face him.   I looked up and wondered what I had ever done to deserve him.

I saw the flame in his eyes as he heard my heart’s silent question.  I watched his hair blow in the breeze.  I saw the shiver that raced through him as he said to me, “You have a value that only I could pay.  You are a treasure that I gave everything for.  You deserve me because I said so.”  He picked up the book that I had been reading, smiled and said, “And you know it!  These words prove it.”  He put the book in my hands, leaned forward and whispered in my ear, “Thank you for believing my love letters.” 

When I looked up at him I said, “Jesus…I do…oh, I do.”  In a moment he was back in my heart but as I looked down at the Holy Bible I smiled.  He will always be back again.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day…every day.

Patti Corbello Archer

February 10, 2013

Reflections…with Love

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Like you, I can’t help but embrace this season as a time of reflection of where I have been this year, but more importantly, where I will be going.  This has been a kaleidoscope type of year.  It has been a mixture of tears, laughter, victory, challenges, illness, healing and basically redefining much of what my life consisted of for a long time.  Wow.  I have…

So many blessings. 

So many opportunities. 

So much family.

So much love. 

And so much Jesus.

I am so excited.  Can you tell?  I don’t have to redo yesterday and tomorrow is still being created uniquely for me.  It is like watching 2012 fly away like sand in the breeze but yet, instead of seeing what is gone I see the treasure than remains.  That’s it!  It has been a treasure hunt of a year!

Just like the precious stones in the foundation that Jesus promises in the new Jerusalem to come, are the jewels in the days ahead – for me – and you.  Let’s whisper to Jesus.  Ask Him what He has for us.  Plan for new always – but be sure to keep care of our current valuables.  Remember His word….be faithful over a few things and He will make you ruler over much.   Matthew 15:21

Glory Hallelujah!  Increase!!  That reminds me.  I want to increase my knowledge.  You know, read books about things I don’t know for one thing.  I just checked out a knitting book at the library.  Yep.  I am going to learn how to knit so that I can create beautiful gifts and keep my hands occupied.  Let’s face it.  If I am holding a knitting needle I can’t hold snacks!  Smile.  I feel called to fast.  Not because of the flesh but just because of what God has put on my heart as spiritual intercession for others.  See, there are many ways to love on others and that makes me very happy.

Take me on a love journey this year, Jesus.  Wow me.  Wow all of us. 

In Jesus’ name,

Patti Corbello Archer

December 31, 2012

The Church Carpenter

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With one finger he tilted her chin up and watched as her lips parted with the hint of a gasp.  His crooked smile flashed then faded as his lips got closer and closer to hers.  He paused and let their breath kiss… before their lips ever did.  The tension between them grew.  He felt her going soft in his arms so he put his other arm around her and pulled her tight into him.  After a quick look into her surrendered green eyes he crushed her to him.  They kissed.  Finally. 

The lights came on and the credits began to roll on the screen.   The audience began to shuffle, gather their popcorn and coke cartons and move on to another part of their day.  Amanda still sat there stunned at the beauty of the love she had seen on that screen.  She finally began to breathe again and bring herself back to the present.  Not that she wanted to – she would rather stay in that embrace with that look in his eyes.  Now THAT was her kind of Christmas story!

Her cousins sat on the right side and finally noticed her preoccupation.  They began to pick at her as they gathered their purses and made more mall shopping plans.  “Come ON Amanda!  We have to go!”  And then they all talked at once as they joined the line to leave the cinema.   They all laughed and dramatized the last love scene in the movie but Amanda knew that they had husbands to go home to.  Maybe not perfect husbands, but someone that loved them, missed them, held them, and kissed them.    Shaking off the thought, Amanda began the goodbye process with her 4 cousins with lots of fanfare. Southern style goodbyes came with hugs, kisses, hair touching, hand holding, encouragement and love.  No proper southern goodbye would last less than 10 minutes!  It was great.

She walked to her car and smiled.  Her cousins could always be counted on to make her laugh…or cry, they were the best.   Her phone buzzed once she got in her car.  She worked at a small country church close to home and there was a Christmas play tonight.  She still had many things to finalize before the cast even arrived.  “Oh no!” she said as She glanced at her watch.   She knew the new carpenter the church had just hired would be there to finish the manger scene at 3 p.m. and it was 2:30 p.m. now.  In fact, that was him that had just text’d her.

 By the time she returned all her phone calls she was back at the church.   She unlocked all the entrances and walked back through the church.  She paused in the church sanctuary itself, loving the stained glass picture stories in the windows, the baptismal pool behind the platform, the wooden pews and the tall rafters that covered the ceiling.  Church was always a place that Amanda loved.  Even alone in the building she loved knowing she was never alone.  Jesus was always with her…and she knew it.  Spiritually He had opened her to so much of Himself and she literally took Him at His Word. 

She had learned that many people saw Jesus in the way that they needed Him, i.e., Healer, Savior, Provider, Comforter, Warrior, Father, King and many more.  But for Amanda…Jesus, the Lover of Her Soul was the one she spent a lot of private time with.   Since He lived on the inside of her, let’s face it, how easy was it for Him to rise up and make Himself known to her in any situation?   Like today, well, today, she needed more hands than she had to get everything done!  She laughed as she walked onto the platform doing a mental check off list of things that still needed to be put in place.  The Star of Bethlehem needed to be hung, the Kings set up with crowns and gifts, and the manger brought in with baby Jesus… 

She turned at the sound of footsteps and saw the new carpenter coming up the church aisle toward her.  “Hi Amanda,” Lee said in his deep voice. 

“Oh, hello Lee!  I am so glad to see you.  How could we do this without you?”

He laughed and stepped up on the platform with her.  “There is no place I would rather be, I promise you.  Why don’t you turn on some music and we can get this done in no time.  I love the music you play here.”

 Amanda walked to the sound booth and put in a Jewish Christmas CD that she loved.  She kept the sound low but where they could sing along if they wanted to.  Her phone rang.  She answered and for the next few minutes talked to the pastor.

Lee smiled as He watched her.  She made His heart sing, she just didn’t know it.  He loved the sound of her voice and her joy.  She was contagious!  He started working while she was on the phone and He got most of it set up in no time at all.  He turned and faced the manger scene and picked up the crowns for the finishing touch to the 3 Wise Men.   He placed the crowns on them and positioned them in the front of the manger.   He could not help but chuckle to Himself. 

He remembered the night that the 3 Wise Men came to Him many, many years ago.

Amanda hung up the phone and came up to the platform.  “Lee,” she said, “Is baby Jesus up there?”  Hiding a grin, Lee said, “Hmmm I don’t see him, hold on and let me look in this box.”   “Oh, I remember now!” she said, “They had to sew the blanket on him so it would not fall off when Mary picked him up tonight.  Let me go get him.” 

Lee…Jesus in fact…could not help but grin as she hurried down the aisle to her office.  

In just a moment she headed back to the platform.  “Here he is!”  She stepped over to the manger and said, “Would you mind holding him for a second?” and handed him to Lee.  She knelt by the manger and ruffled the hay…making it smooth for him.  “Lee?” she asked.  He didn’t say anything but knelt down beside her with baby Jesus in his arms.  “Yes?” he asked quietly.

“You know, sometimes Jesus is so close to me.  I can literally feel him.  Do you know what I mean?  She looked at Lee intently, searching his eyes for truth.

“Oh Amanda, I certainly do.  I know with everything deep inside of me that he loves nothing better than to spend personal time closer to us than we can ever imagine.”

She closed her eyes.  “I believe that too,” she said.   “Jesus is a unique experience not just once, but every day.  Some days He reminds me of standing on the seashore with the deep in front of me and the breeze surrounding me.  Other days, it is like the smell of fresh cut grass where I walk as His footsteps lead mine.  Or maybe, it is the sweetness of a fragrance that makes me wonder what He smells like.”

Amanda knelt there with her eyes closed as Jesus literally knelt next to her…his eyes drinking in the sight of her beauty, smelling her totally unique fragrance offering and loving her from heaven to earth.  Placing his holy hand on the small manger next to her he felt his heart explode into the Star of Bethlehem all over again.  

“How can anyone wonder if a love affair with me is worth it?” he thought.

He swallowed hard, and said, “Amanda, I think the greatest gift we can give him is the one that he gave us…”   She opened her eyes and smiled at him.  “Lee…you are so right,” as she laid baby Jesus in the manger. 

“Thanks Lee…Merry Christmas….you are the greatest Carpenter ever.”

Merry Christmas

Patti Corbello Archer

December 23, 2012

Tracks for a Miracle

 Jeremy jumped from the slow moving freight train and landed with both feet flat on the ground just on the outskirts of San Antonio, Texas.  As he stood up and straightened his clothes the trains whistle seemed to echo goodbye in the cold night air.  He watched the railcars head off into the darkness and kind of gave’em a little salute as if to say, “Thanks for the ride!”  He pulled his tattered army jacket together and saw that he had lost the last two buttons that held it together.  He groaned against the wind.  He knew he still had a good long walk ahead of him.  He yanked his knit cap down over his ears.  It used to be a plaid cap but was now just an ugly one.  But, truth to tell, he could care less what it looked like – he had learned long ago not to focus on those things that didn’t help with survival.  When you lose so many valuable things, where do looks matter in the scheme of things?  He did have to say that he missed his long reddish brown hair that had kept his neck warm these past winters.  A buddy offered to cut his hair for him just before he left the last homeless shelter.  At the time it seemed important to make that small concession toward conventionality… considering his journey.

Shivering again, Jeremy flipped the collar of his coat up and glanced toward town.  His eyelids hid very, very tired green eyes.  It had taken him four days to cross two states as he searched for rides in empty railcars on trains bound for Texas. There were a lot of people like him on the tracks these days.  Some chatted along the way but most didn’t have much to say because they were lost somewhere between their past and their present…homeless because of a myriad of reasons.  Hobos.  He still found it hard to think of himself as a hobo.  At 33 years old? 

Lost in thought he headed to the south side of town.  Hunched against the cold wind he walked down the alleys instead of the main roads so no one would even notice him.  He was used to preconceived notions about the homeless and tried to make himself invisible.  Shaken by a dog that snarled at him through a rod iron fence, he took a deep breath and switched to the other side of the alley.  Tonight was Christmas Eve and what a journey into irony it was.  He had spent 11 years trying to forget who he was and what had happened and yet was drawn back here, tonight.  He reached the third block into the neighborhood and stopped.  The road sign was covered with ice and he couldn’t read it – but it didn’t matter.  He knew the name of the street as well as his own.  Well, it was his actually.   Gallagher Lane. The last time that he was on this street it had been Christmas Eve. That was the night that he ran away.  That was the night that he had killed Jessie, his twin brother.  Jeremy got lost in the pain as he remembered.

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It had been a holiday accident.   They had been 22 years old and had moved back home from Texas A&M.  They had just graduated and had plans to open a business together by summer.  Jeremy was an Architect and Jessie was a Civil Engineer.  Their dad was a successful attorney and planned to give them their start in business.  They came from a large Irish family that had immigrated in the late 1800’s.  Everyone always got together on Christmas Eve – well, for as long as he could remember.  And the twins as they were called – had been responsible for the fireworks display since they were teenagers. Using their creativity that year they worked unceasingly on an elaborate lighted musical Christmas carousel in honor of their four younger sisters.

 It was meant to be the best of the best.  But it was the worst of the worst.  Jessie must not have noticed the ice that melted right under the electrical extension cord that he plugged in.  Jeremy was the one that found his brother lying on the ground not breathing after all the fireworks had ended. He didn’t remember screaming but he must have.  All he remembered was the look on his mom and dad’s faces as they shoved him out of the way to get to Jessie.  Jeremy had sent Jess to plug it in. Something inside Jeremy snapped and he ran…

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And here he was.  He had been on the run all these years.  No phone calls.  No letters.  No FaceBook or Twitter.  He had never tried to reach them.  He worked construction jobs that didn’t require identification or at homeless shelters across the country so that he could eat.  Of course, he knew that he couldn’t outrun the pain – he just knew that he had to try.   It always followed him and met up with him when he would see brothers together or the unmistakable sound of a carousel.  He never forgot and he never got away from it.  The guilt and sorrow literally ate at him every single day chiseling him into the very strong, reflective and quiet man that he was today.

 

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But a couple of months ago he had stayed and worked at a new homeless shelter in Colorado.  A preacher there showed interest in him.  After a few weeks the preacher began to call on him to help design and build additions to the shelter because of the winter cold on the way.  They became friends.  Then the preacher was in the right place at the right time and Jeremy told him his story.  That’s when the preacher introduced Jeremy to Jesus.  It seemed like he cried for days. Eleven years was a long time to hide from the truth.  Eleven years was a long time to lose yourself because you caused the loss of your brother.  After the tears, hope seemed to rise in the days ahead.

Two weeks passed and early one dawn he went into the kitchen for coffee duty and the preacher was waiting for him.  He said, “Jeremy, do you realize that Christmas is just five days away?”   Jeremy said, “Yes, Preacher – sure.  Why?  Do you need me to do something before then?”  The preacher said, “Actually, Jeremy, I do need you to do something …but not for me.”    

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“I need you to take a trip.  There is a family that has been waiting a very long time for something and Jesus has impressed upon my heart that He wants you to go and bring it to them.  Will you do that for me?”

Jeremy said, “Sure, preacher, I don’t mind at all. Traveling is all I do.  Where am I going?”

“Home,” the preacher said.  “Jeremy, Jesus said it is time for you to go home.  He has something He needs you to deliver this.”  He opened his hand to reveal the pocket watch.

“Go home?  Go home?”  It echoed in Jeremy’s mind.  It even seemed hard to say the word.  Choked up, he couldn’t say anything but look at the preacher in shock.  After a few minutes of silence Jeremy turned and began making the coffee.  All the men would be up soon.  Jeremy heard the preacher pull out a chair and sit down.    He fixed them both a cup of coffee and he sat down too.   The preacher had laid the pocket watch in the middle of the table.  It was quiet in the room. 

Before long the men began coming in for their coffee so they could get their chores done.  No one stayed at the shelter without giving back.  That was the rule.    One of older guys said, “Hey, an old pocket watch! Whose is it?”  After a brief pause, Jeremy picked it up and said, “It’s a gift that I am delivering to someone.  I leave in the morning.”   All the guys started telling him not to leave. The preacher smiled.

It was a simple goodbye when he brought Jeremy to the train tracks the next morning.  The preacher wanted to pay his way home on a bus but Jeremy insisted on going back the same humble way he ran away from home.  He needed time to think… and pray.  He pulled his train hopping clothes out and turned to face his past.

 

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It seemed a long walk down Gallagher Lane but Jeremy knew that  the man he was now was much stronger than the boy he was when he ran away.  Time and Jesus had made this journey possible.  He didn’t know what he would face when that door opened, but he knew that he didn’t face it alone.  He cupped his hand around the pocket watch in his pocket and stopped.  He turned and faced the home that he ran from 11 years ago and started up the walkway.  He wondered if they would receive the man he was now in place of the young man that had left.

 The house was all lit up for Christmas and it hadn’t changed that much.  There were a lot of vehicles in the driveway that he knew had to belong to all the voices he heard laughing on the inside.  His heart pounded as hard as the watch ticked against his palm.  It was time.  He knocked on the door.

Several people hollered “Come in!” and “Merry Christmas!” simultaneously but he froze and couldn’t open the door.  He swallowed hard and the door knob turned and began to open.  A little red headed  girl with green eyes  about five years old opened the door and said with her hand on her hip, “Come on in…who are you?  I am Holly and I am the hostess tonight.”  

Jeremy wanted to laugh and cry at the same time.  She looked just like him and his brother Jessie when they were little!  Oh my, he thought!  No telling how many times his four sisters had made him an uncle!  This must be his nieces and nephews running all over.  Jeremy said, “Is your grandmother….” and the door opened and his mother stood there. She looked older and wiser…and for a moment, speechless.  She started to say something then she stopped…tried to talk and then just screamed and grabbed him.

It took about five minutes for the commotion to reach everyone in the house.  Jeremy and his mom just cried and held each other as the crowd gathered.  No one else even knew who he was.   Finally, his mother stepped back to look at him and said, “Jeremy…I never stopped looking for you.”  At her words, the sisters finally realized who he was and they started crying and hugging too.  Then all the kids got scared and began to cry.  He heard his dad’s voice before he saw him.   His dad rounded the corner of the den and froze in his tracks.  He saw the smile he knew in the face he didn’t and grabbed me. 

You never know what going home will be like.  You never know if your fears will be your future.  But I learned with Jesus that night that going home with Jesus is a miracle like no other.   As my Mom and Dad hung onto me my Dad suddenly bellowed, “Jessie!  Get in here!”   I thought my Dad had gone crazy but suddenly I could hear something creaking and looked up to see a Jessie I didn’t know round the corner.  He was fussing about always being left for last when he rounded the corner in a wheelchair.  Gone was the young boy man….and a fine looking man was in his place.  Time stood absolutely still as Jessie and I looked at each other.  Did I tell you that we were identical twins?  Everyone just watched us as I stumbled toward him as he worked to stand up to reach me.   There wasn’t a dry eye left anywhere.

Finally, Jessie sank back down into the wheelchair and I sank on my knees before him.  We were both trying to explain.  And then we laughed.  What a glorious feeling it was to laugh with my brother and my family again.   I don’t know how this glorious gift of tonight was mine.  Then I remembered Jesus and the pocket watch.   I said, “Wait Jessie!” and he looked up as I held out the pocket watch to him.  He held it in his hand and I said, “I am here because Jesus sent me to bring it to you.  He said that it was time for me to go home.  This gift is yours.”   Jessie smiled the biggest smile that I had ever seen and said, “He always told me that He would bring you home.”

And everyone began to talk at once. 

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 A few months later, spring blossomed in the Colorado mountain side.  It was a beautiful Saturday morning and a preacher was outside the homeless shelter drinking coffee on the front porch.  He enjoyed the peaceful morning.  Then he noticed a shiny black Chevy duly towing a construction trailer round the corner of the cliff road and pull down the driveway.  It turned and parked across the front yard.  Preacher stood up to greet them and saw a Texas license plate.   About that time the truck doors opened and two red headed men got out and turned to face him.    It was Jeremy!  Two Jeremy’s!  The preacher jumped straight off the porch and shouted, “Hallelujah Jesus!”

And everyone began to talk at once.

 Merry Christmas from Patti Corbello Archer

May the glory of Jesus light your holidays.

 2012

God Command: Turn it off!

 Yes, Mighty One, I know that you mean, “Enough of that world!”  Please forgive us, Jesus.  It is so difficult or distracting to communicate with you with noise streaming from every area.  Big screen TVs, internet radios, IPads, IPods, IPhones – and thousands of other media forms have become to us entertainment, escapism, imitation family and friends, addiction and a way to multitask and put more in one hour than we used to be able to accomplish in a day, or two.  With phone calls, text, e-mail, skype, on-line chats, website connections and special delivery we can have so many connections going at once that we struggle to remember who we are connected to! 

What is scary is that many people no longer value face-to-face relationships or the time they cost us in a time pressed world.  Our days are filled with noisy volume and over scheduled deadlines. There is much good in technology, that is undisputable, but life must have quiet too.  Life must value communication outside of media.  True focus and not multitask focus.  Everyday should have a place of value where we just turn the noise off!

Why?  You taught us the reason for that Lord when you stepped out of heaven’s busyness and took time to walk in the garden for a real relationship with Adam and Eve.   You did that to love them face-to-face – a real interactive relationship where one is seeing the other, hearing the other, talking to the other, smelling the other, and touching the other. 

Jesus, you made “love” a beautiful thing to me when you revealed to me that I can still have a real relationship with you like Adam and Eve had all those years ago.  We all can.  As I step close to you and you step close to me I have learned that without all the noise, I can see you in my heart, listen as you share your spirit with me, open myself to you as my spirit talks back to you, feel your breath in the breeze and smell you in the fragrance of… a gardenia, frankincense and myrrh, fresh bread baking, a sweet perfume, a rich cologne…   

Many are afraid of the silence with no noise to protect them.  But you taught me Lord – in the silence it is not really quiet. You are there. Give them wisdom Mighty One to turn off the world so they can find you.  I know it worked for me!

November 11, 2012

Patti Corbello Archer

Wanna Bet?

 

I am not a gambling person myself.  I have learned these days that things in my life have been too hard to come by and I don’t lay my treasures on the line for the taking.  However, even so, I WILL bet you that my Dictionary has different definitions than yours does.  You think I am kidding?  All you have to do is communicate or have a conflict with someone and “assume” that they think like you do.  Now that makes us all laugh.  But do you really get it?

When I had my epiphany moment about “my definitions” is when I realized that our experiences most times fill in the blanks in each of our personal Dictionaries.  And only when our belief is altered is our definition altered.  It is as simple as that. 

We do what we do as long as we believe what we believe.  So that means there are millions of different definitions to the same words.  Amazing that we agree at all isn’t it?  Once I realized that all of us run around with personal dictionaries that do NOT contain accurate definitions even though they are OUR definitions – I was stunned.  So then I saw that it was OUR responsibility to make sure that the applied definitions in our lives became the real truth that God laid out in the one true dictionary. 

Do you know His dictionary?  The Bible.  He knows that our every inclination is to stay believing what we already have been told, experienced and believe.  That is why we should pray, “We have the mind of Christ and do hold to the thoughts, feelings and purposes in His heart.” 1 Corinthians 2:16

One night in meditation, I literally pictured myself sitting by Jesus as He opened MY dictionary in front of Him and began to erase wrong definitions in my belief system.  For a few days, I cried and was totally vulnerable to all my thoughts and reactions.  That is, until I realized He never closes our dictionary.  He simply continues to erase and change our dictionary to change our truth to His truth more and more…day by day…when He decides we are ready.

I hear people slam themselves when they fail.  And I am a perfectionist…I assure you!  So who told us perfection was attainable in this life?   It is NOT.  We never have to measure up to Jesus.  We never have to hang on as the scale tips to the loser side of an experience.  We never have to stand before Him with our actions attempting to make us more valuable to Him. 

Like you, I may struggle with self confidence in some areas.  But my friend, in total faith in this area – I KNOW that you and I will always make Jesus’ heart leap in love and anticipation.  That is absolute!  I have learned how to get up and brush off my knees and keep going after a stumble in life as the years pass…as I am changed again.  I press on because I see Jesus holding the finish line and waiting for me….and You!

Don’t let your present or past life keep you stuck to definitions that aren’t even true.  Open your dictionary and let Jesus work a creative miracle in you. In all honesty, it never ends…and I can’t help but laugh as my dictionary keeps Him busy.  I can still see Him shake His head, saying “Patti Renee,” as He erases another one…

Patti Corbello Archer

Dictionaries and Definitions

October 14, 2012

I Love Nighttime

 

It is that moment when I turn off the light, climb in the bed, burrow under the covers and wiggle around till I find just the right spot.  My pillows are puffed and adjusted for comfort.  My eyes are closed, and I know that I am ready for sleep.  The blowing of the fan lulls me to stillness.  The house is quiet.  And then, and only then, is when I like to smile and whisper very softly, “Thank You, Mighty One.”      

Like most of you, I have been through many peace stealing experiences in my life.  So this simple treasure each night is something that means everything to me.  I know that He leans close to me, smiles back, and listens as my breathing deepens lower and lower till finally, I sleep.  And I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that His cheek brushes mine as He says, “I will never leave you…sweet dreams.”

For many years,  nights and memories didn’t bring peace.  Those nights are over.  Now I sleep close to the One who never goes to sleep…and I trust Him to watch over me.  All night.

Patti Corbello Archer

9/15/12

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

The mystery of the mirror has baffled me all my life.  How about you?  I remember looking into it when I was a kid just to make sure I was clean and ready to go play.  As I grew into a teenager I spent more time in front of the mirror to make sure I looked…well, my best …because that would affect how I felt.  Do you get me?   For me, the mirror was a reflection of what I wanted you and me – to see in me.   I was never really one to look at myself all day long.  I would just, LOL, create in the morning…and pray it lasted all day!

Through the years, my body has been heavy, average and thin.  I noticed that I was always treated differently when I was smaller.  I hated knowing that about people.  But, in all honestly,  I always felt and treated myself differently when I was smaller.   I think I hate that about myself too. 

My favorite times to look in the mirror are when I can get into the Cinderella mode.  For real.  I love before and afters.  To go from carefree ponytails and no makeup to eyeliner, jewels and the best that I can be.  I feel comfortable in ponytails and no makeup but it is not near as cute at 54, LOL.  I think Prince Charming hides when I look like that, (giggle).  But, really, I love the way that I feel when I am dressed up.

But as the years go by I hide more from the mirror I think.  Or, it matters to me less.  I see more gray peeking out and wrinkles moving in.  LOL, at least I can see IF I have my contacts in or use my magnifying mirror!! 

Or maybe I just enjoy comfort these days.  Yes, that too.  Some people think of a sweating activity vacation.  I think of floating on a raft in a pool.  Some people think of zipping around and filling all their hours with MUCH acitivity.  I think of swinging in the breeze or sitting by the water. 

I guess through the years (with Jesus) my values have changed just like what I see in the mirror has changed.  And it is all good.  I can always be Cinderella as long as there is a mirror, lipstick and jewels.    And who knows, Prince Charming might prefer ponytails and no makeup, LOL.

Patti Corbello Archer

8/12/12

D. E. S. T. I. N. E. D.

 

Destiny for you and for me will never be the same.  God has individual plans for each of us.  We may pass in the night on a mission.  We might even work for a season together.  We may even stay connected from the beginning to the end of life.  But only God hands out the boarding passes and the maps for the Kingdom journey we call Destiny.

We tend to think or expect everyone to be the same.  That won’t happen.  The life we live and experience are the ingredients into who we are BECOMING.  Get it?  Each day we grow more and more into who He wants us to be. 

Because He has a plan for all of us…our Destiny.  You are His hands this second.  I am His feet.  Someone else is His hug, or His love, or His forgiveness.  And the next second it all changes.  The location changes.  The purpose changes.  The people change.  See?  We are the kaleidoscope that He uses.

Touch the world.  Be like Him.  Use the ingredients of your life to touch the lives around you.  Just like He did.

That is who you were born to be.

Patti Corbello Archer

7/22/12

Testimony….Dig Deep

 

I was at a funeral on April 18, 2012.  Mine.  I was outside kneeling under the live oak tree branches digging a hole into the ground because I had a plan to die.  Let me explain.  You see, several years ago my best friend went to Israel and all I asked her to bring me back from the Holy Land was a handful of the land.  Dirt.  Does that surprise you?  To ME that dirt was priceless. You recall the land that God gave the Israelites…that family that we are adopted into? You know the land where Jesus walked?  Or, the dusty land that was wiped from His feet when Mary cried over His feet?  Or maybe, you will think of His blood dripping on the land at the foot of the cross as He cried out to the Father.  Yes, that dirt, that land…and the reason for another funeral over 2,000 years ago.

Well, on April 18 that land from Israel sat in a small glass container on the side of my bible on the ground.  Through the years I had carried that container from one apartment to another, then to a home that I bought.  I then carried it from the sale of my home to another apartment so I would be closer to my son and his family.  And then I carried it from my apartment to here under the live oak tree branches where I live now.  My son would see my container of dirt every once in a while and say, “Mom, what in the world are you doing with that dirt? “ And we would laugh. 

You see, I didn’t know during all those years what I would do with it.  But I knew that one day I would know.  Like on April 18.  Then I knew.  It was time for a burial.  Just like Jesus, I had to die to what I knew and saw to become what was ahead of me.  There was a price for my future. Now, did it have to be a literal ceremony?  Maybe not, but to me it did.  To me I had to make my spiritual journey touch my flesh one in an unforgettable way.

I needed reminders because my life has had journeys where I not just laughed, cheered and grew – but also where I bled, cried and died deep inside – with scars that left limitations emotionally.  But one day at the foot of the cross I learned that He wanted to exchange all that for a new life.  I then literally watched myself bloom from a fleshly view of living this thing called life to be able to dance the spiritual dance with my Jesus…in my heart, as well as my body.  But even still life revealed new wounds that left scars, provision wars as well as health skirmishes and struggles to find the new definition of me.  You see, I never doubted who He was.  The doubt after the dust settled was who I saw in the mirror.

To that end, God drew me back to a place where one life ends and another begins…with Him anew.  So, I dug that hole and on my physical knees laid my wounded and scared spiritual heart and soul inside.  Then I poured that dirt that He bled on 2,000 years ago…and buried me, again.  Tears dropped onto the dirt but I remembered that His Word said He keeps all my tears anyway.  My funeral ended and I collected my shovel and brushed the dirt off my bible. 

From that moment on I began to look forward to His completed plan for me…not just the one that I had experienced so far.  I say all that to say this, “Have hope my brothers and sisters in Christ, because the new will come.”  Day by day, I have watched the new life and blooms arise from what I buried that day.  Who said that we have to have only one life on this earth.  God’s word says that with Him we can have as many as we are willing to die for.  Once we get to that point, He’s got us covered…literally.

That is called a creative miracle, and our destinies are a perfect place to reveal it.  Otherwise, how do we get there?

Blessings always,

Patti Corbello Archer

July 1, 2012

Tell someone!!! Tell the world!!!

I love this!  It  is printout of the countries around the world that have had someone connect to my blog in the last 90 days.  It isn’t the number of people…just touching one soul is worth it.  But this shows that it is the power of God to spread His gospel around the world.  Amen and Amen!!!

Thank you, Jesus….tell my heart what to say!!

Patti Corbello Archer

6/2/12

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A Covering…a Safe Place

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Do you remember climbing trees when you were a kid?  Oh, surely you do!  I can remember climbing many trees…none of them were safe in our neighborhood from our adventurous scrambling up their branches. 

Especially me!  I remember climbing up the rough branches to see far and wide.  I remember climbing to win.  I remember climbing to discover and explore the woods and world around me.   I remember climbing to be safe from who was after me since we were always playing chase or hide-n-go-seek with someone!  I remember being scared because I was too far up the tree and then scared to go down the tree.   One day when we had company from out of town, us kids were climbing trees in our back yard.  In the really, really, fast blink of an eye I remember falling out of the top of a willow tree.  I landed flat on my back…winded.  I was unable to talk for awhile and just laid there and blinked and gasped like a fish out of water.  It was so hard to look cool in front of my cousins as I wheezed there on the ground!  I can’t help but smile since I, of course, am older and able to see the humor in it now.

I also see that in living out in the country – these massive live oak trees remind me of the adventure as a kid as well as the covering they now provide to those of us living under them.  I think of the power in the Word of God where God said in Isaiah 61…you will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.  I think of the depth of the roots in the ground…and remind myself that His Word is deep within me and no storm can change my faith. 

Just yesterday I was out riding my Dad’s 4-wheeler .  A neighbor’s horses were grazing on one side.  Another neighbor’s cows were grazing on the other side.  The crickets were chirping.  The birds were singing.  And the wind was drifting through the branches of the live oak trees over me.

I had brought my camera with me and snapped several pictures of the trees.  I guess I am just drawn to them at this moment in my life.  Things have been really hard.  It doesn’t mean that I am not blessed…you can be grateful but it still be hard.  I have had some personal changes recently because in January I resigned from my job…and was diagnosed with a serious medical condition…almost on the same day!  Talk about winds of change.  My health is almost back to normal now, thank you, Jesus and I love being in the country with my family.  But emotionally, sometimes  I find myself remembering how it was to climb a tree.   Maybe to hide again…like I did as a child?  I think so.  For real.  Not because I don’t trust the One who made the tree.  I do trust Him.  Not because I don’t feel rooted in His Word.  I know that I am.  But, being real right now…I truly need the rest.  I need to just lean back against Him and hear His whisper.  I could just sit in a swing hanging out of those massive branches and just ride the wind with Him….over and over again.

But seasons change… and spring will turn to summer, and summer will turn to fall.  Restoration is His promise…again in Isaiah 61, as well as beauty for ashes.   Smile.  I know that He will reveal His new plans for me…and new adventures!

Hiding in Him is a good thing.  Hiding from the world He loves is another.  THAT my friends, is real.  He pours in us…that we pour on others.  Holy fountains are what we are….how beautiful is that? 

In closing, I see the live oak branches hanging over my window as I write this.  What a beautiful reminder of Him…in this season.  And you my friend, I pray that you see His covering over you, in your season.

Patti Corbello Archer

April 1, 2012

Twas the Night Before Christmas…Believing for a Love Story

For above the Earth…heaven stirred as Jesus gave instructions to four massive angels.  Winged and dressed for a journey, they knelt before Him, leaning close to hear His every word.  Their excitement was apparent as their wings lifted and folded in anticipation of their journey. The joy on their faces reflected adoration to the one before them.  As Jesus finished His instructions to them and laughed, they shouted and raised muscular arms in victory.  “Go now,” He said to them.  “I command you to guard both of them in all their ways, to lift them in your hands so that they will not strike their foot against a stone! This season is my plan…my gift to them.”

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The Blizzard

The blizzard was in full force as it pressed against my Jeep.  I don’t know how many times I held my breath as I slowly maneuvered and slid my way up the steep Arkansas mountain road.  Refusing to contemplate the massive drop off on the other side of the railing I just kept an even pace and let it guide me as I trusted it to show me where the road actually was. I don’t know if it was determination…or shear stubbornness that kept me going in this weather. I just know that I had planned this trip, mapped out my path from Louisiana and believed this was my destiny adventure.  I was prayed up and knew in my spirit that I was brave enough to do this!  Of course, I hadn’t planned on the blizzard to hit just before I got to the lodge. But who can plan a winter mountain vacation if you can’t handle a little adventure? This was my dream – to take off in December and finally begin the novel that I had put off for way too long.  Most of my family would be gone for the holidays this year…so the timing was perfect!

Screaming “Jesus” at the sudden lurch of my Jeep towards the railing on my right, I clenched the wheel even tighter and fussed at myself for allowing my thoughts to distract me. Two hours ago when I reached the base of the mountain and the blizzard hit I had even turned off my Christmas music just so I could focus on what was in front of me.  Not that I could see much in front of me!

Slowing down a bit I glanced at my odometer and knew that I only had five more miles to go before the turn off that would take me to the Smokey Creek Mountain Lodge.  Grinning despite the hazardous situation I found myself in, I was thrilled to finally know that I was near the lodge.  I had researched online and found the massive three story log cabin lodge, with stone fireplaces, carved staircases, and glass walls appealing.  I loved the personal aspect of a lodge that had all the beauty of the nature around it and none of the social glitz of many winter lodges.  I had leased the two-room Rustic Suite on the second floor that had a private balcony, 3 fireplaces, fur rugs, a thick quilted bedspread on a log frame bed that I would need a step to climb into.  The bathroom had a round iron tub and fireplace next to windows overlooking the mountain valley.  Of course, my favorite piece of furniture in the brochure was the massive carved desk that sat right in front of the windows looking out over the balcony.  Knowing that I am finally at a point in my life that I can step away from everyday life and free my mind is exciting!  As a writer, I desire this time…knowing God will release words through me…words to touch the hearts of many.

As a woman, well, I also have another desire. But…for some reason my soul mate is yet to be.  I have been waiting a long time.  But I guess it has taken a long time.  Two divorces and lots of healing take time I guess.  But truly, I do trust Jesus.  I just wish His timing for me to meet my soul mate would come!  After all, I am 47 years old and would like to be…well, beautiful for him.  But, oh well, that dream will have to come true at another time.  For now, I will write!!!

I glanced down again at the odometer and saw that I was almost at the turn for the lodge.  There, there it is!!  Glancing at the roadway ahead and in my rear view mirror I didn’t see any lights peering through the blizzard.  I turned left under a huge stone archway stating “Smokey Mountain Creek Lodge” and began the trip to my new home for the next month.

It didn’t take me long to realize that there was no longer the highway railing to guide my path.  My heart began to pound as I slowed down and tried to make my way through the trees and snow.  I was grateful the blizzard was letting up but night was falling and the snow covered any roadway in front of me.  I had to guess where the road was as the land rose in tiny hills and valleys through the trees.  I turned my lights on bright and swallowed hard.  I reached for my map and tried to make out the path of the road to the lodge.  Grumbling because I picked a rustic location…I looked up just in time to see a wall of fir trees right in front of me.  Yanking the steering wheel sharply to the left the Jeep began to spin and slide in the snow until the land gave way and I dove sharply down into a blur of white.  I rammed into something hard and the last thing I remember was my luggage slamming into my seat as my head flew forward.

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Unseen to the naked eye, two angels stood at the front and back of the Jeep.  Nathaniel – the angel in front of the Jeep was actually what the Jeep ran into – to protect her from the boulders on the other side of him.  Benjamin – the angel in the back of the Jeep walked to her door and peered inside.  He saw the puffs of smoke from her breath in the cold air.  Seeing the slight lump on her forehead, he knew she was okay.  Not even bothering to open her door, he reached through it and to pull her coat tightly around her.  Taking a deep breath he inhaled and exhaled a huge blast of warm air to fill the Jeep.  Straightening back up he looked at Nathaniel and said, “She is warm and sleeping.  She is ready…”

Just a few moments later, lights could be seen coming from the lodge up on the mountain down the road towards them.  Benjamin blew all the snow off the back of the Jeep so that it could be seen clearly as the coming truck’s lights rounded the corner.  Benjamin and Nathaniel both chuckled.  Suddenly the other two missing angels flew down and landed next to them.  They were warrior angels named Gillian and Jeremiah.  Gillian said, “We got him on his way – Nate will be here shortly but he has no idea the rescue he is about to discover is really his destiny…and hers!”   Looking up towards heaven…their laughter reached the only One who could see them …and was smiling.

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The Rescue

Bundled up against the cold, 56 year old Nate turned up the heater in his 4-wheel drive all the way. Boy was it cold tonight!  Glancing around him, he was glad that the blizzard was winding down.  The lodge owners had told him there were still three guests due in tonight and tomorrow.  New to this climate himself, he said a quick prayer for everyone to arrive safe.  Having lost his wife to cancer 18 months ago, he knew what it was like to need the prayer of others.  And he knew what it was like to be lonely…but still know you’re blessed.  Only in the last few months had he begun to contemplate a future…with love, happiness and adventure with someone again…while still honoring the love he used to have.  It is hard to believe that God had another woman for him…another soul mate for this next season in his life.  Chuckling to himself, he said out loud, “There is still some living I’ve had yet to do!”

Taking an autumn and winter break from his ranch and ministry in Texas was the best idea he had planned in a long time.  Being at this lodge for the last two months had given him a new, fresh, healing perspective.  Long walks before the snow set in showed him that he was ready for new paths.  Spending time with God away from the church was a good thing.  God knows that I am more than a preacher.  I am also just a man.  Remembering himself in the mirror this morning at the salt and pepper colored beard that he had grown since he had been here…he decided that he also liked being a mountain man.

Kicking his 4-wheel drive into low gear as he began to round the biggest curve in the path – he hit bright on his lights and slowly rounded the bend.  Shaking his head at all the snow that had fallen so fast, his eyes scanned the area amazed at the change snow brings to a landscape.  Just before he came out of the curve his top lights hit an area next to a rugged patch of fir trees and he noticed partial tire marks in the snow.  Stopping his truck and facing his lights towards that area, he grabbed his fur hat and gun just in case a black bear or wolf came snooping around, and decided to see if the tracks led anywhere.

As he opened his truck door he was hit with a blast of frigid air.   Pulling his gloves up higher, he climbed down the rails on his truck and onto the snow.  Sinking about knee deep he turned on his flashlight and began the trek to the tree line.  The closer he got to the trees the more he noticed he did not see tire tracks that turned around to head out.  When he topped the last rise in the road and looked down – his breath caught.  There was a vehicle submerged in the snow – nose down – with just the back hatch and tail lights showing.  The vehicle was no longer running but the lights on.  he knew that it hadn’t happened too long ago.

After firing off three shots with his rifle to signal the lodge of trouble, he climbed down and began making a snow path to the Jeep.  He was juggling the rifle and the flashlight and breathing heavy in the frozen air.  As he reached the back of the Jeep, he heard the coyotes and knew they would soon be in serious trouble.  “Jesus,” he said, “Make a way, Lord!”

Rushing the remainder of the way to the driver’s door he was thankful to see that it wasn’t locked…but saw that ice crystals had formed around the door from the warmer air within.  Taking his pocket knife he broke the ice around the door frame and opened the door.  Pushing the luggage off the driver, he was able to see that it was a female.  Her auburn hair covered her face as she lay against the steering wheel.  Hearing the howl of the coyotes much closer…too close…he lifted her and laid her across the passenger seat.  Grabbing his gun and flashlight he climbed in the driver’s seat and shut the door.  The growling began.  He knew that the lodge would send men soon so they would just wait it out in the Jeep.

Hearing her moan, he turned to look at her and gently lifted her hair off her face.  Concerned he saw a lump across the right side of her forehead.  Blood had trickled down her face.  She was beginning to shiver from the cold air that the open door had let in.  Pushing the seat back, he leaned her across his lap and wrapped his arms around her.  Seeing a stack of blankets on the floorboard he grabbed some and tucked it around them.  He put the flashlight on the dash and sat there holding her.  “Keep her safe, Lord” Nate prayed….and waited.

Not sure how much time passed, he began to notice her breath puffs on his face.  She had quit stirring and settled with him holding her.  The growling coyotes were moving all around the Jeep but he knew they were no longer a danger to them.  The men from the lodge would scare them off.  About that time, he heard the rumbles of engines and the shouts of men and he blew the horn twice.

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All four angels laughed at the antics of the coyotes as they fled at the sound of the Jeep horn.  Then one by one the angels took up their unseen posts at the north, south, east and west areas of the rescue site.  Proud of the honor of men to save another life the angels guarded them. Enjoying this mission they even swooped down and walked unseen among the men.  Sighing at the beauty of love – they checked in on the couple inside the Jeep literally embracing each other…and their own destiny.

Jesus whispers to the couple from one of his favorite books…Song of Songs: “Gabrielle you will remember….like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my lover among the young men, I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste.  He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love.

And Nate, you will remember…my dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding places on the mountainside, show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet and your face is lovely.  Truly…let me show both of you the love I that I have destined for you.”

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The Awakening

 Gabrielle was dreaming that she was dancing. It had been so long since she had been held and she was laughing as he whirled her round and round, round and round…when suddenly, “BEEP, BEEP” screamed through her dream.  Her eyes flew open and she found herself looking into green eyes staring down at her, a strong mouth clinched tightly, and lots of fur and a beard.  Trying to get her bearings, she shook her head and felt his arm around her.  Beginning to become aware of her surroundings she began to struggle and panic.  Nate said, “Its okay ma’am…you’re okay…you were in an accident and I am just keeping you warm as we wait on the men from the lodge to get to us.”  “Oh, oh…let me up,”  she said as she struggled to sit up.  He helped her move to the passenger seat and she tried to look out the windows around her.  Nothing but white….that is all she could see.  Seeing her concern, Nate began to assure her that help was coming….but the sounds of men and the clanking of vehicles began getting louder and louder and she relaxed.

Pushing auburn bangs out of her face, she winced as her fingers brushed the lump on her forehead.  Nate said, “You must have hit your head on the steering wheel as you slammed into this ravine.  How do you feel?”  She said, “Oh gosh, I am starting to remember the accident now…and I have a slight headache but other than that I feel okay.”  He said, “You have a trickle of blood that has dried on your face but the cut is small so you shouldn’t have much of a scar to worry about.”  Putting her hand to her face she felt the dried blood trail down her cheek.

Suddenly alarm flashed across her features as she began scrambling to look into the back seat.  “Oh no, where is my laptop and all my files?  Please God, don’t let it be damaged!!!”  Nate said, “Easy there ma’am.  Let’s wait till they pull your vehicle out of this ravine before we go jumping around in here.  We aren’t sure if we are on level ground.”  Seeing the wisdom of his statement, she settled back into the passenger seat.

He said, “The lodge owner told me more guests were coming tonight and I knew the blizzard would make it treacherous traveling.  After he mentioned that, I felt an urgency to drive down to make sure the road was still passable.  It’s a good thing I did!  It would have been hard to find you if the snow had finished covering your tire tracks.”

Gabrielle reached across the seat and laid a hand on his arm. Beginning to get her personality back in place, she said, “My hero!!  But seriously sir, I am most grateful…thank you, Jesus!”  He said, “Ah, you know Him too!  But as for me – just call me, Nate…no sir here. I am just a guest at the lodge – preacher and ranch owner here on vacation from Texas.”  Laughing, she said, “I’m Gabrielle…and I would appreciate not being ma’am either!” They both were chuckling when someone banged on the driver’s door.  “Hey Nate!  We are about to pull the Jeep out – we have it hooked up with a chain to the old snow grader.  We will have y’all out in just a minute.  Is everyone okay?  The driver isn’t hurt?”

“No, Jasper, she’s okay – just a bump on the head.  I would say she is ready for hot coffee and a fireplace!”   Jasper said, “We aim to please!  Y’all hang on tight and we will have you out and back at the lodge in no time.”  Feeling a hard yank…Nate put his arm in front of her and said, “Hold on!”  After a couple of tugs the vehicle began to be pulled up and out of the ravine.  As the snow fell off the Jeep Gabrielle could see the lights of the vehicles rescuing them and men walking around.  The guys began to wave at them as they walked to check out the front of the Jeep.  The oldest guy took off his hat and scratched his head and hollered, “We better just tow it in before trying to start it up again – the battery isn’t dead because the lights are still working but we don’t want to cause any more damage.  Y’all just sit tight and we will tow you in.  Nate, I will get Tom to drive your truck back to the lodge.”  The snow grader pulled them steadily up the mountain road – and after Gabrielle checked out that her laptop was safe in the back they talked about Christmas being a fabulous time for a vacation, in spite of blizzards!

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Nathaniel and Benjamin flew above the caravan…enjoying the mountain air…thanking Jesus for this mission.  Jesus told them, “Enjoy yourselves this Christmas season….as you guard them….I know you are ready to kick up your heels a little!”  Both of the angels yelled and zoomed into the forest – racing through the trees – making snow waves – and being real snow angels!!

Back at the lodge Gillian and Jeremiah…warriors always, went through Gabrielle’s suite making sure all was safe, after all, the Master always goes before her! They relaxed for a bit after that by the fireplace and looked out over the night sky for Nate’s angels.  Sure enough, two huge angels landed out on Gabrielle’s balcony and simply walked through the glass.  They all stretched out on the leather sofa and buffalo skin chairs and waited – enjoying and talking about this mission.

Even angels love the Christmas season – celebrating and loving the One they adore…and guarding and opening doors for the ones that He adores.

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Destiny…A Love Story

He watched Gabrielle’s smile widen as she saw the lodge come into view. The massive log structure seemed to rise right out of the mountainside.  It was covered with Christmas decorations, framed with snow and lit with gas lanterns all around the building.  The welcome was more than obvious, it was warm and mesmerizing.  Gabrielle said, “Oh…this is so much more than I ever dreamed.  The trip was worth it!!”

Nate laughed and said, “Let’s get you inside out of the cold.  Watch your step, it might be icy and you could be a little dizzy from the bump on your head.”  Gathering her coat around her she grabbed her purse as Nate opened the Jeep door.  Stepping out and standing up she gasped at the icy air that was between her and the doorway…and shivered.  Walking around to stand by her, Nate said, “Jasper will unload your Jeep and move it to the barn in the back so why don’t we go on in?  I bet you are ready for a hot cup of coffee and a fireplace!”   Laughing, Gabrielle said, “You’re reading my mind!”

In no time at all, she was checked in and had her wound looked at – with nothing but a small bandage and a lump to tell the tale.  A couple of guys hauled her luggage up the 18-foot wide cedar staircase to her 2nd floor balcony suite.  And Jasper, tromping snow in, said her Jeep was just fine, “A miracle if he said so himself!”

Finally, Gabrielle curled up in an oversized leather cowhide rocker with a lap fur and several fluffy pillows – right in front of the biggest fireplace she had ever seen.  It was in the center of the lobby – open on all sides – and rose right up through the roof.  Sofas, rockers and overstuffed chairs surrounded it.  A brick seating area was at its base.  Fur or braided runs covered the floor in each seating area.  Lifelike carvings of wildlife were displayed as wall pieces, statues and over the doorway arches.  And two huge fir Christmas trees were decorated and graced each side the glass and log frame doors.  Hunter trophies of moose, deer and antelope hung as proof that men will hunt, survive and conquer the world around them.  Sighing contentedly, she snuggled down in the huge rocker – warm and safe.  Hearing his booming laugh, she turned her head to see Nate walked toward her with a giant mug of coffee.  For the next couple of hours they sat and visited in front of the fireplace about work, their families, the trip…and certainly beliefs and thoughts on their God- relationships.

It was relaxing and nice Gabrielle thought – she hadn’t had one-on-one time with a man in a long, long…well, long time.  They hadn’t really shared  “deep” so-too-speak conversation of course, but his interest was fun…making her feel younger…and wonder about the clothes she had brought to wear! His eyes… serenaded her if she had to put a name on what she felt.  They were focused and sparkled – like he knows a secret that I don’t.  His gray streaked hair was still amazingly thick with a touch of curl – and long, hanging to his shoulders.  His laugh radiated deep and made her smile in return. She had never been much on beards though, but his short cropped one seemed to fit in with his tall, thick stature – rugged jeans, black turtleneck and hiking boots.  “Jesus,” she said to herself, “Wow…what a rescue!”

Nate sat there enjoying himself.  He had only experienced a few well-meaning family or friend blind dates, but no one had ever sincerely interested him to the point of pursuing them…till now.  Garielle’s auburn hair was thick and wavy…hanging just below her shoulders.  The fly-a-way layers framed her face…beautifully.  She had gray blue eyes…that laughed with her when she laughed.  She was closer to short…and had extra curves….but in those white jeans and turquoise sweater she made him glad he was a man.   Looking at the trophies on the wall….he couldn’t help but smile at the trophies of his hunter brothers.  The pursuit was exciting!  “Jesus,” Nate chuckled to himself, “You are right…I am ready for this season!”

Seeing the lodge workers preparing the lobby for the bedtime hours, Gabrielle stood and told Nate, “I need to head to my room.  I still need to unpack and get my thoughts together to begin my novel.”  Nate stood too, and asked, “Who knew…you’re a writer?  I am too!”  And they began to walk up the staircase lost in conversation with each other.  They never noticed the owners, Mr. and Mrs. Walker, smile as they watched the couple walk up the stairs – talking animatedly to each other.   Mr. Walker whispered to his wife, “Think this is one of those God-appointments our pastor is always talking about?”  Mrs. Walker chuckled.  “Oh, yes dear, to be sure!”

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Jesus sat in the lobby enjoying the fireplace as he watched Nate and Gabrielle walk up the stairs…literally beginning their journey together.  Leaning His head back against the sofa He relaxed in the beauty of the moment.  Glancing over at Mr. and Mrs. Walker, He chuckled at the memory of when they first met on this spot on the mountainside.  Talk about playing hard-to-get, Mrs. Walker certainly did!  But once their love bloomed…their grateful joy gave them the plan to build this lodge to give back for what they themselves had been given.  Jesus reflected on all those that had worked and visited at the lodge since then…so many lives, so much faith…and so much love.

Hearing Nate and Gabrielle say goodnight to each other upstairs Jesus whispered, “Merry Christmas…”

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The Romance

The next few weeks were a whirlwind of writing, hot chocolate and talks by the fire, snowmobile rides, sleigh rides, skiing, sledding, meals , and discussions about family and Jesus.  Nate and Gabrielle spent time together and time apart.  He listened to her read her novel stories.  She listened to him share his sermon stories and teaching.  She would visit with the ladies around the fire.  He would go to the barn and help as the men worked on projects.  They fellowshipped with others and they discovered the beauty of friendship with each other.  And they, step-by-step got to know each other.

One morning he knocked on her door waking her early to go for a horse drawn sleigh ride.  Sitting wrapped in blankets they watched the sun warm the valley as they enjoyed biscuits and coffee he had brought from the kitchen.  Another day they took off for a picnic after a snowmobile ride.  She surprised him by insisting that she drive her own!  Truly, they seemed to have so much in common…and yet on the flip side there was still so much more to learn about each other!

The first kiss came after an outing of sledding – wind blown, cold, and happy.  As she passed under the mistletoe hanging in the lobby…he grabbed her laughingly…and threatened to kiss her.  She acted like she was going to run and he lowered his head to claim his prize.  Clapping broke out in the lobby!

Their first dance came a few days later during an evening of music and dinner in the main lobby.  Dressing up was fun – everyone had been dressing so casual.  Taking care with her makeup and hair, Gabrielle laughed at herself.  It felt good to be Cinderella!  And she wanted Nate to enjoy the transformation!  She dressed all in ivory…ivory jeans, light skinned lizard high heeled boots and an ivory drape sweater that exposed the upper part of her back.  She put on the finishing touch with pearl earrings – and was ready to go.

Walking to the top of the staircase her eyes found him downstairs talking to some of the men by the fireplace.  Standing there waiting, her heart pounded at how handsome he looked – dressed in black slacks and open neck black shirt.  His shoulder length salt and pepper colored hair and beard made him simply debonair. Smiling, she waited till she caught his eye.  The Walkers saw her and motioned to him to look. Nate stopped talking and looked up at her.  “All the days of my life, Lord Jesus,” Gabrielle vowed, “I will remember the look he gave me as he walked towards me.”

Nate walked purposefully up the staircase to meet Gabrielle, not saying a word.   He knew that his eyes said it all.  She smiled and said, “Are you the mountain man I was looking for?”  Nate’s green eyes flared and he said, “Never for a second, doubt it.”  Taking her hand he kissed her palm.  Seeing her face flush, he chuckled.  “Come with me, Gabrielle,” Nate said, “Come celebrate the Reason for the Season with me!”

So day after day, week after week, time passed as Nate and Gabrielle, once strangers destined to meet,  grew to be friends…and now stepped across the threshold into romance.  Ah…love…a most beautiful gift.

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Jesus said, “I love it when I do that!”  Knowing the plans that He has for both of them, he expected their quick response to each other.  Of course, him being their definer of love …was indeed mighty fuel for the fire.  After all, He thought, Song of Songs is my song – therefore my favorite gift to give!

And speaking of gifts…Christmas is tomorrow.  I remember the moment when I, the miracle maker, became the miracle in a manger… and saw Earth through the eyes of Heaven for the first time.

I am looking forward to sharing the nativity sermon at the lodge tomorrow with Nate and Gabriel.  I have a surprise for them!

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True Gifts

Anticipation had built in the lodge as Christmas drew closer.  Workers and guests alike jumped in to prepare for the special service – and the Walkers were thrilled that God led them to ask Nate to preach the Christmas message.  Tradition at the lodge was that the nativity be set up during the service on Christmas morning.  Nate was blessed and honored at the invitation to minister at such a special time.

Christmas morning dawned crystal clear…and cold.  The lodge nestled on the mountainside with fireplaces and heaters kept all who resided there warm and safe.  It was early when a door opened and shut as Nate stepped out onto the deck.  Sipping from a mug of hot coffee he smiled at the beauty and majesty all around him.  He said from the heart, “Morning, Jesus…I am here!”   Watching a cardinal land on a fir tree branch close to the deck and sing made Nate smile.  He knew Jesus had just said, “I have been waiting, Nate.”   Stepping off the deck he headed over to the barn.  He wanted some quiet time in prayer and to also make sure the nativity scene was ready for service.

Two traditional barn doors were latched with an iron hook in front.  The entry was impressive in such a huge barn.  Unlatching the doors, he stepped inside and the warmth of the space heaters greeted him.  It had worked!!  Looking across the barn floor the benches were lined up in front of a large wooden platform.  Behind the platform a life-size carved nativity set stood – ready to be carried in throughout the sermon.  The only things added to the statues were capes on the kings, a blanket on the manger, and shawl to cover Mary.

Nate sat down on the front bench, closed his eyes and squeezed his Bible.  Deep in prayer he never even noticed the angels above on the walkway around the hayloft.  Gabrielle and Nate’s guardian angels all stood at posts above the manger scene…eager for the service later this morning…eager for the glory of God to be revealed.  A few minutes later, Nate went back to the lodge to dress and get ready.

Gabrielle was dressing for Christmas service.  Blowing Jesus a good morning kiss, she gave herself a hug and threw open the closet doors.  Knowing that it may be extra cool in the barn even with the space heaters she decided to pull on her red warm up set with a hood.  Pulling on a black fur jacket and black fur snow boots she was almost ready to go.  Stopping to dab on red lip glass and grab her Bible she ran out the door!

Down in the lobby there was a flurry of activity.  Several neighbors on the mountainside came inside to grab a cup of coffee before everyone headed to the barn.  A tractor stood ready outside …you might call it their country taxi!  Within ten minutes they were all loading up and riding to the barn.  Young men stood ready at the barn doors to let the people in.  As everyone entered, there was an awed excitement as each person took to heart the reason for the season.  Bench after bench was filled until only standing room was left.  A couple of guys on the side of the seating area softly played their guitars to beautiful, age-old Christmas hymns.

Natural light came in from the windows around the top of the barn…and on the sides.  Gas lanterns were stationed around the platform area encircling where the nativity scene would stand.  One-by-one people began to pray…filling the barn with praise and worship.  Gabrielle couldn’t remember a more powerful Christmas setting.  After a few minutes the guitars began fading lower and lower till you could hear footsteps walking on the platform.

Opening her eyes Gabrielle saw Nate for the first time since Christmas Eve when he escorted her to her room.  He walked on the platform with a gentle authority that no one could mistake.  No one doubted the anointed message that was about to go forth.  Nate began to talk about a night over two thousand years ago when another stage was being set.  A heavenly production you might say.  And Nate shared the Christmas story as he brought out the pieces one-by-one….discussing the part that they played in that holy drama.  There was no shuffling in the seating area…no one whispered…there was only reverential silence as each word was spoken…as the scene played out before them.

One-by-one Nate made each statue’s role come to life.  Everyone knew something was different with what was happening.  And as Nate carried out the carved manger and knelt at Mary’s feet to lay her babe before her many faces sitting before the platform had tears running down their checks.  At last they were all in place and Nate still on his knees turned to face the people.  Tears of awe running down his own face, Nate said, “Each of these…chosen by God to fill a purpose…but only one was appointed to draw Heaven’s first breath as a human.  Jesus…”

As the sound of Jesus’ name faded into the air – music begin to reach them from somewhere far above them.  As they all looked up…for a moment in time there was no roof and all you could see and hear were massive angels with wings outstretched singing Hallelujah to the King of Kings….over and over.  And then suddenly the music was gone.  At first no one made a sound…then Nate stood and shouted the only name above all names, “Jesus!”

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Going Home

Gabrielle downshifted as she headed down the mountain.  I know life will never be the same again for any of us that were in the barn Christmas morning.  Truly, Jesus is the gift that keeps on giving.   Just when I think I know Him…He shows me something else that only He can show me.  Glancing over at the gift boxes and homemade goodies on her passenger seat, she smiled.  Reaching for the white furry box with a crystal sugar star on top, she opened it.  Keeping her eyes on the road she recalled sitting with Nate in front of the fireplace exchanging gifts Christmas night.  They decided to use only their creativity and prayer to come up with something special on their last night here on the mountain.  She gave Nate his gift first.  It was in a cowhide leather box.  He looked at her for several moments before he opened it.  As he saw the items inside, he scooped them in his hand and took them out of the box.  She explained to him, “The carved figure is to promise you that I honor your mission as part of you.  The leather is to promise you that I admire and respect your strength and wisdom.  The lace is to promise you that as a woman…my beauty is only yours.  And finally, the arrowhead is a promise that you are my hero!  He didn’t say anything…but reached out and pulled me to him…with a breathless kiss.

Then Nate handed her a white furry box.  Rubbing her face on it she smiled and opened it.  He said, “The feather is to promise you that I will always be gentle in relating to you. The match is to promise you that I will passionately love, protect and enjoy you.  The ink pen is to promise you that I will support and respect your writing. And the last one, Gabrielle, the key, is a promise from God to tell you to open your heart…for “I am the one.”   The second kiss lasted much longer…

Focusing on the road again, Gabrielle glanced in the rearview mirror.  Seeing Nate’s 4-wheel drive follow her down the mountain to Louisiana she threw back her head, laughed and said, “Thank you for the desire of my heart, Jesus.  Maybe I will write the novel next year.”

Patti Corbello Archer

December 24, 2011

Twas the Night Before Christmas…Believing for a Love Story

HARVEST ……..my October story

HARVEST

This is my favorite season of the year.  It just is!  So many things about it trigger heartwarming memories for me.  No matter where I am or what I am doing, this season reminds me of the special people that have touched my life.  A heart harvest you might say.  Remembering the love…

One of my favorite fall-time memories is as a little girl sitting outside with my Little Grandma while she would point out the ducks and geese flying overhead – and share how they reminded her of special people in her life.  To this day, when I see the geese flying south, she is who I remember.

My favorite holiday recipe memory is with my Big Grandma…and her fruit salad.  Rich with condensed milk and pink with cherries she would fill an aluminum pitcher full of fruit.  Nothing would be sweeter or colder.  Today, I am the one that makes it for the family…with love to her.

Another kind of fall memory is when I hear the high school band practicing outside.  It gives me a flashback of marching in the Natchitoches Christmas parade – bare legged, freezing but laughing in my Flag Corp hot pants one year to my cheerleading skirt the next!  Freezing or not, it was fabulous though – sitting on the side of the bridge at night watching the fireworks over the water.  It was magical then and it is still magical 36 years later.

So, no…it doesn’t take much to remind me of the harvest in my life.  Today as I walk to the mirror and see myself, I know that I do not see the image of the child that I once was playing outside all those years ago, but I know that I know that I can still feel the same smile rise up on the inside of me…enjoying life.

And I also know that some things are seasoned with age.  Just this morning I watched as my granddaughter ran out of the door and explored outside – all bundled up in her colorful sweatshirt and pants.  The circle of life is powerful…and wonderful.  And day after tomorrow, her Daddy and my son, Zeb, will celebrate his birthday.  God is amazing!!  I embrace the Harvest.

I think one of the things I remember the most in growing up is the funny stuff.  Still to this day as our family gathers round and we tell stories on each other…bloopers, scary, funny…any story is game so to speak!  No one’s pride is spared.  No one’s overlooked.  It is just the beauty of family…year, after year…good, or bad…because it is still life!!

I think looking at my family I am probably the more serious of the bunch.  Of course, that doesn’t mean I can’t be funny, it is just not my normal frame of mind.  I think no one reminds me more of that than my sister, Julie.  Years ago I moved in with her and her family for a few weeks in between husbands, oops, sorry, after my second husband!  Ha…see, I can be funny!  But anyway, I moved in with them and then in no time at all my jaws ached.  I mean seriously ached.  For a few days it puzzled me…then I realized it was all my laughing muscles getting a work out!!!  Of course we got another good laugh out of that!  (Giggle)

But it is time to stop while I make a disclaimer at this point in my story.  The names have NOT been changed to protect the innocent.  Because they weren’t innocent…just caught!  (Smile)  For my childhood chain of command, please make note that I was the oldest, the biggest, and the boss in relation to the other 3 kids.  It was simply wisdom on their part and I, of course, insisted.  They have, in the years since, made sure to tell of the terror of my reign!!

But before then…I think probably my sense of exploring came early in life and probably could be the cause of some of my parent’s gray hair…or loss of hair thereof, smile.  I was an early morning riser as a toddler…there was surely so much to explore!  I have heard of hair raising tales where I carried the sugar jar to the sofa, emptied it, and had fun playing in it.  Oh no!!   Probably just the next day I unlocked the door and let myself out of the apartment to go down to the playground.  Panic!  Another time, I woke early and felt sure our family pet was hungry, so I took her to the chicken pen…where she had breakfast…and started…uh…a commotion?  Oops!

I grew up in a large family neighborhood.  Everyone had lots of kids and we were in our own world.  High school was years away and the outdoors was the wild frontier.  During those years, girls worked inside – the boys worked outside – and that was just fine with me.  To this day I don’t care to work outside or sweat.  Once, my dad encouraged me to mow with the riding mower.  I ran over a gas can and a coat hanger.  I did not have to mow again.  Oh my, was I careless or scheming?

As for us kids, we were “stair steps” in ages (one after the other).  Again, I remind you that I was the oldest.  Queen?  (Giggle)  Well, never forget that being the oldest came with responsibility too!  I could cut up a chicken and cook a 6 course meal by the time I was 11.  Ah, this triggers a family story…

Some years back, Julie, Mom and I were discussing baby books and how fast kids grow.  Anyway, Mom mentioned that when I was born she didn’t realize that potty training was something that came later in a toddler’s life – someone gave her a potty chair as a gift so when I was 2 months old she began to tie me in it since I couldn’t sit up yet.  Julie and I almost fell out laughing…Julie told us she was scared to turn the page in my baby book…I was surely driving by the time I was age 2!!  Too funny!

Now back to the 1960’s…   The weekends were adventures always!  The 4 of us kids grew up hunting, fishing, camping and exploring.  There was always adventure!!!  In fact, our parents insisted that we could do anything – and we better have fun doing it!!  We have jumped off 40 foot cliffs to swim in the lake below.  We have slid down the mountainside on our backside because Dad thought we should experience it.  We have climbed a fire tower in the mountains, dug up arrowheads, walked in caves, rode a wagon down the hill in snow, rode mini bikes, climbed trees, fell out of trees, dug up rabbit holes looking for the rabbit, caught a real live tarantula, had BB gun wars, went target shooting, and when camping, bathed in lakes where the fish bit you trying to eat the soap.

One of my favorite holiday memories is all of us going to the woods and searching for a Christmas tree…and to make the day more fun in the cold…we would climb the strong saplings and as they fell over, ride them to the ground!  How many people know how to ride a Christmas tree?  How can a life filled with all this not have stories???

As a kid I wasn’t scared of snakes…and probably because there wasn’t one left alive anywhere around our house when the boys were growing up.  I think birds even flew around our property.  (Smile)  They were always shooting their BB guns or pellet guns…hunters to this day still…as my freezer so attests!!   But back to the point at hand…I wasn’t afraid of snakes but I was scared of bats…still!!!  Growing up we used to put rocks in socks and try to hit the bats under the street lights.  I have even had bats dive-bomb me at night trying to cross the yard while going to a neighbor’s. I think bats are evil!   Which brings me to another story…

Mom, and Julie and I as adults were at Mom and Dad’s 5th wheeler camp at Anacoco Lake one afternoon.  It was a nice afternoon and it started getting dusk.  I had noticed some bats swooping around the trees – but I didn’t say anything – just made note of it.  Finally, I was getting real uncomfortable and wanted to go in.  As it turns out, I was the last one to go inside but when I tried to turn the handle it was locked.  Julie was standing on the other side of the door…laughing out the window at me.  I could hear and see the swoops of the bats as they got closer and closer to me standing by the only light on outside.

Julie was enjoying her little “trick” on me but I was getting paranoid and began hollering at her to let me in – and pulling on the door with all my might – which began to shake the entire trailer.  Julie was still laughing!!  I feel sure I was threatening her by this time.  Mom was warning her!!  Needless to say, afterwards, she apologized for not realizing I was really terrified….she said she was scared to open the door after awhile because I was going to get her!  To this day…it is one of her favorite stories!!

Believe it or not, another occurrence at the same lake happened just a few months later.  Mom was on land at the trailer and Dad and I went out into the boat to do some night fishing right in a little cut by the landing.  Remember, I am an adult.  He hung a lantern on an old dead tree on the side of the boat and we began to fish as it got darker and darker.  I, of course, began to notice bats swooping out of the trees closer and closer to the lantern…to us in the boat…and I mentioned it to Dad.  He blew it off and said they weren’t going to hurt us.

In not time at all, I didn’t believe him – sure that the evil critter was after me – and quietly took off my life jacket, lay in the bottom of the boat and covered my head with the life jacket.  As Dad turned around to say something to me, shocked that he didn’t see me – he realized where I was.  He did let me out of the boat.  Bats are evil, I insist!

Well, I guess big sisters can be bad too…did I mention that I am not scared of lizards? When Julie was really young, we were all playing outside at the old shed.  Remember there were no video games, i-pads, i-pods, cell phones, or cable – we played outside!  My Dad’s parents even spoke French when they came to visit if they were telling stories we didn’t need to hear – and then Mom and Dad would send us outside.  No, I didn’t learn to speak French – I did learn a few cuss words though!

Anyway, that particular day I caught a lizard – a big green one that was really cranky.  I was messing with him and then Julie came up.  I have no idea why I did it…but I pressed the lizard’s open mouth on Julie’s upper arms…leaving teeth indentions looking like bite marks.  I feel sure I needed a whipping for that…but I didn’t tell on myself.  Shame…shame…

Growing up in 1960’s and 1970’s was fun.  I had my first boyfriend in the 6th grade.  He promised me a Barbie doll.  (Smile)

My first French kiss was in the 7th grade and it was NASTY.  (Smile)   Really…the whole evening was a nightmare…as a Christian today…NO WAY!    But at that time…some family friends had a house up on hill by the river and put on a huge Halloween party.  The house was old and creaky with lots of windows.  For the party they opened all the windows and the long white gossamer curtains would billow in the breeze – you could hear the river.  There was lots of food and games at first.  We even had my first game of Spin the Bottle.  (Hence my first French kiss).   I really had a crush on a different – older guy that was there but he didn’t know it.  I certainly couldn’t tell him!!!   So as we each pared off with our Spin the bottle partner and you had to take a long walk down the hill, in the dark, to the river.  I was not impressed with the kiss regardless.

Anyway, after returning to the house everyone sat in a huge circle on the floor for a séance. All the lights were out and candles were in the middle of the circle.  The curtains were blowing all around us and it was creepy and scary for real.  Someone starting calling out for someone to talk to them – my eyes were big as marbles.  After a few minutes of moaning and carrying on a man seated on the floor in the circle opened his mouth and blood ran down his face – he opened his eyes, stood up and began to walk trancelike across the room – towards me.

Now, I would like to say I didn’t freak out but that would be a lie.  I truly freaked out.  I screamed – jumped up onto the people sitting on the sofa behind me.  Perhaps I should mention that one of the people I landed on was the guy I had the crush on?  Oh, yeah.  Then, if that wasn’t enough I passed clean out and they had to call my parents to come and get me.  Truly, this was a new definition of embarrassment – and my last party like that!

There are many, many more stories growing up and through the years as an adult…no way to tell them all.  Julie and I always laugh and say we don’t want our children telling the stories they know on us!!  We know Zeb and Jeno would love telling it!!

But regardless, what a blessing to have stories with those you love.  I am grateful for their relationship in my life.  They are my Harvest….from days of old to present day…God has blessed me, my family…and YOU and yours.

Harvest

Patti Corbello Archer

October 30, 2011

HIS Upper Chambers…….Part 3 of 3

Laughing, I follow Jesus as He leads me past where the grass rug ends to where the Jerusalem pebble floor meets the edge of the pool.  Both of us step down knee deep into the water and just watch the waterfall fill and swirl in the pool as waves gently lap against us.  Peace like a river is the thought that runs through my mind.  Then all of a sudden, He splashes me, laughing at my gasp!  As we enjoy the water we decide to swim out into the middle of the pool where large boulders form a small private island covered with a soft green moss.  Jesus and I climb up and sit there, legs dangling in the pool – just talking.

Jesus said, “Do you remember the night you asked for a special baptism because I revealed to you that your victimization mindset had developed a prejudice against men?”  I reached out and put my hand in His and said, “I certainly do – I will never forget that baptism and how our relationship changed after that night.”  He said, “I watched you in the dressing room stand in front of the full length mirror in your white baptismal gown just staring at yourself.  Then I watched you let your long hair down, take off your big loop errings and take a tissue and wipe off every bit of your red lipstick. Do you have any idea how beautiful you were to me…just like that?”

I swallowed hard and leaned my head against His shoulder.  He continued, “You chose to surrender for forgiveness instead of staying bound by a mindset that would have kept you from getting closer to me.”   I said, “I trusted you, Jesus…and all I knew to do was go to you to wash it from me.”

I slid off the rock down into the water by His feet and continued, “I waited for you in the baptismal pool…I knew you would touch me in some way that night…I just didn’t know how.”   He slid off the rock and into the water with me and said, “I was in there with you…and as you went under the water that night, I was there under the water with you in that baptismal pool – cleansing you and receiving your public declaration for me  – and my heart set you free…to love me more…and others too.  This waterfall pool that we swim in here today is my baptismal pool…the one where I swim with each one of you that is baptized in my name.  When you go under the baptismal waters on earth …these are the waters you are in… with me.”

Then Jesus took me by the hand and we dove down in the deep – swimming towards the edge of the pool.  Once we reached land all we had to do was step out of the pool and we were instantly dry.  He said, “Come, let us sit awhile…” and we walked to His temple seating area.  He sat on one of the large cushions and I sat at His feet, leaning against His knees just looking at Him.  He smiled softly and said, “Go ahead, say it…” and touched me softly on my check.  I swallowed hard and said, “Help me, Jesus, be more you than me…”  He said, “I thought you would never ask.”  He reached out and put a hand on each side of my head and pulled me closer to Him as He leaned His forehead to lay it against mine and said, “You have the mind of Christ and DO HOLD to the thoughts, feelings and purposes of MY heart.”

Receiving deeply I spoke it with Him as He said it again into my mind and spirit.  “O Jesus,” I said, “I absolutely need you to speak yourself alive in me.  Now that I know you personally, even reading your Word fills me with you as I hear and envision you speaking the Word on the pages INTO me. “  I saw Him swallow hard and pause for a long moment watching me.  “Do you have any idea how I long for that, precious one?  To actually be heard and received as I continue to share myself on those pages?”

Looking off into the distance, He said, “So many times the Word is never even realized as Me…and yet I have shared so much…paid so much…yearned so much. Rejection is never easy, sweet one, no matter which side of heaven you are on.  Very few realize that my desire too is to be chosen to be loved.”

Sitting there for awhile we said nothing…just rested with each other in our relationship…and trusted in a love that spanned the heavens.  After several moments, He reached out and tore off a hunk of bread on the low table beside Him, gave one to me, and took one for Himself.  Then He reached for the goblets, took one for Him and gave me one also.  We ate silently…remembering another supper…

Putting the goblets down, He stood and said, “I want to show you something.”  He helped me up and we walked to the window seats looking out across everything…heavens and earth alike.  As He sat on the edge, He looked out and His eyes saw everything before Him.  I watched Him watch all of you and it was life changing.  I watched a tear fall from Him as a tear fell from you.  I watched Him throw back His head and laugh as He watched you laugh.  I watched Him say, “NO!” as He watched you choose a painful journey.  I watched Him grab His heart as you called His name.  Watching Him love you was beautiful…and a wonderful way to close this story.

Our lives are not filled with games of chance or specks on a microscope.  Our lives are connected to the one who STILL breathes for you.  I know…because I watched Him.

Heaven is as close as a heartbeat.  Just listen…

Thank you – I pray that you were blessed.  This is so much more than a story…my sharing is part creation…is part prophecy…but it is all inspiration because it is all Him.

God bless you,

Patti Corbello Archer

September 27, 2011

Part 3 of 3……..His Upper Chambers

HIS Upper Chambers continues….part 2 of 3

    

Breathless as the last note of my worship song fades off, I reach the top of the  marble staircase.  Silent I step out onto a holy floor somewhere above heaven’s realm.  Just 20 feet in front of me I gaze up at a wall with two carved crystal doors – each as tall as a tree.  I walk towards the doors – fascinated each time that I see all the names of my God etched deep into the crystal panels from top to bottom.  Each name is the color of a different jewel…priceless, like Him.

Framing the majestic doorway itself is a veil that hangs like a trophy on each side of the doors.  Its ancient material rich with color looks like two giant hands split it right in two – to reveal the doorway that I see now before me.  What a doorway…

“Jesus!” I call as I push open the door to run in.  I had to shield my face from His light once I entered the room.  I heard His footsteps and laugh as I try so hard to focus on Him through the light.  I saw enough of Him to launch myself into Him and He grabbed me – spinning me around and around – both of us laughing – and He hugged me and said, “I have been waiting for you!”   Still breathless, I hug Him back and said, “I am lonesome for you!”   He tilted my chin up and looked me in the face and said, “I truly love that about you.”

I don’t know how long we stood there like that – just to look into each other’s face.  It was like He couldn’t get enough of me.  He ran His hands down my face – happy to watch me watch Him – and then He smiled – and everything about Him made my knees give way and He had to catch me so that I didn’t fall.  He straightened me back up and I was finally able to have enough strength and focus to smile back at Him.  But then I think my heart exploded when He burst out laughing and held me.  Whispering in my ear, He said, “Glory knows that I love you…”

I close my eyes and know….that to love Him, He is everything that I dream, believe, pray and need.  I know so much about Him from His Word and His presence.  I know even more from spending personal time with Him.  Of all His Holy names where He has revealed Himself to me through the years – I now see them all rolled into one…at least to my eyes.   Leaning slowing away from Him, I I tenderly reach up and trace the side of His face first, then His eyes.  His eyes – alive like no other’s…truly does see beyond sight.  And I promise…my spirit testifies that there is a power embraced in them that flickers down through my soul…down to every soul.

He is just glorious.  The Abba of His creation has rich, thick hair that falls well below His shoulders.  He is wearing a floor length white tunic made of a linen cloth interwoven with crystal thread.  His feet are bare…like mine.  His skin is bronze.  He is tall and lean.  And His hands…well, for me His hands are gentle.  And although I can’t actually see the power that fills Him I can certainly feel it in the way that everything around Him comes alive when He is near…including me.

After a moment, Jesus takes my hand and turns me to face the inside of His chambers.  And I know, that I know, that it means everything to Him that I want to share His world with Him.  His Upper Chambers reflects Him and all that He is.  He is sharing Himself…because I love Him enough to ask.

As I look throughout His chambers as we walk – it is always massive and royal – the size of a castle – but without the constricting walls or ceilings of a real castle.  The ceiling, if I can call it that, is taller than the tallest tree and made of a wide gold latticework that you can see all the stars through.  No light fixture is ever needed for everything simply reflects His light.

The floor is a real grass rug – soft and silky just like new grass in the spring.  It is woven around the edges and spread across the floor to form a perfect square in the entire center of His chamber.   The floor under the rug is made of pebbles from the streets of Jerusalem.

As for three of His four walls, they aren’t traditional but instead are hip level window seats that open almost all of  His chambers like a private balcony to the heavens and earth below.  The fourth wall area…is framed with a waterfall from the river that runs underneath the staircase to heaven.

But as for the center of the room, the central chamber area is like a huge temple seating and teaching area…it is warm and inviting with candles, pillows, food trays, goblets, and fresh bread.  The whole area is framed at each corner by columns that reach to the roof.

As we walk past the temple area, suddenly Jesus pulls me forward and says, “Come on…come swim with me…

Part 3 continues tomorrow night…

Patti Corbello Archer

HIS UPPER CHAMBERS…Encounters…God’s Appointment Book

September 26, 2001

HIS Upper Chambers………Part 1 of 3

I remember when I first began to be one of the millions of hungry souls searching and seeking my identity and purpose in life…daring to hope that I was more than what I saw in my reflection in the mirror.  My memories were full of experiences that claimed ownership of me but I wondered, “Was this all there was?  Was there really a purpose that I was even born?  To Jesus, did I even make any difference at all?”

It was along this personal relationship journey with Jesus that  His Word and Presence began to rumble and activate deep inside of me…and I finally began to get it…to believe in WHO and WHAT God said that I was…to Him.  Once I embraced Jesus, He gave me the keys to His home and I gave Him the keys to mine.  My life changed and intimacy between us became real life encounters that rocked me and defined me.

To this day, I still hold tightly to my time with Him and run to His side…anytime! No one can keep me from Him!  Truly, God has taught me well to run boldly to His throne of grace…to Him.  I don’t just have to need something from Him to go to Him, sometimes it is just to sit at His feet as He shares with me what is on His heart, or watch Him as He works, or listen to Him as teaches me, or maybe I just need Him to remind me that my world is more than what I see around me.

While my spiritual journey may be unseen by the human eye, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t real.  It is so real that I can hear His heartbeat when He holds me.  I can feel my hair move as He leans down whispering in my ear as He points to show me something that He wants me to see.

Oh yes, spiritually I know where my Jesus is.  This is what I want to share with you…His Upper Chambers.  His secret place – His private place – the place where He meets me…in His world.

I don’t always know when I am going to go to His place.  Sometimes it is a heaven-sent thought that calls me and other times just a personal longing that rises up when I am lonesome for Him.  No matter why, I just know that He is always there, always waiting, and always eager to see me.  There is nothing like watching the look in His eyes as I enter His chambers…

 

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 HIS UPPER CHAMBERS

 

 Psalm 4:1-3   Oh Lord my God…You are clothed with splendor and majesty…wrapped in light.  You stretched out the heavens like a tent and laid the beams of your upper chambers on the waters…clouds are your chariot and you ride on the wings of the wind.

I have to begin my story with leaning against God…resting upon Him.  I love to rest on Him! Well, truth to tell, I have to rest on Him…for there is no rest without Him.  Thinking and knowing my Jesus this way teaches me to rise high above all things because deep down I accept that I can always reach Him!  Sometimes I open my bible and read His Word…learning about what He thinks and feels.  Sometimes I call up and speak His Word that is memorized on the inside of me.  Sometimes I just think of Him and tell Him I love Him…and smile when He gives me that spirit to spirit hug.  Sometimes, I literally just lay my bible on top of my heart and let the God of the Word begin to respond to the Word of God deep within me.  And then other times, I just run for Him…

There is no life like the spiritual one.  There is no journey like the spiritual one.  When He calls me to come to Him or when I call on Him that I am coming…no matter…I am released to go and my spirit rises and soars seeking the one who woos like no other.   I simply let my spirit lead and I begin to see beyond my room.  The things of the world begin to grown dim and fade away.  My ears begin to hear things I can’t normally hear and my heart beats in anticipation of what is coming…like tonight…come with me…and share the Jesus that I see.

Gradually my vision clears and spiritually I find myself walking toward a huge gateway in front of me.  It shimmers iridescent – almost like not one single color can even lay claim to it.  No door is needed to cover this secret gateway because rotating above it is a massive flaming sword that promises that it will never be found by eyes of flesh.  Knowledge of His private passageway (referenced in Genesis 3:24) always excites me and I begin to run through the gate!  As I run along the stone pathway that runs behind it, lyrics of worship buried in my heart begin to rise and burst forth in spontaneous song.  I am coming Jesus, I am coming… as I sing.

Before long, I see the pathway is about to change as a clear blue marble staircase as wide as a river rises up – literally climbing into the heavens. Joyfully, I begin to climb the stairs – the stone feels so cool to my bare feet.  I pause for just a second so I can hear the mighty river that actually runs beneath it.  It is so awesome!!  The sound of the water reminds me of His voice so I jump up and keep climbing, faster and faster, knowing that my singing tells Him that I am coming.  In my spirit I hear His chuckle, and He says, “Hurry, precious one, hurry!”

It seems like the stairs rise forever but I know time has no meaning.  I glance back and can see the world that I have left behind.  Each step that I go further away brings me closer to Him.  It is truly amazing that all the things that take so much of my time and energy actually seem to matter so little in His world.  As my world falls away the clearer and more vibrant His world is revealed.

He is everywhere.  He is everything.  His heartbeat draws me with a rhythm that I know well.  “I am coming, Jesus!  I am coming!” I call out to Him as I climb the last few steps to reach the top.

Part 2 continued tomorrow night…

Patti Corbello Archer

HIS UPPER CHAMBERS…Encounters in God’s Appointment Book

September 25, 2001

The Last Supper……..Story 3 of 3

min-jesus-and-apostlesCommunion has always been a place of honor and remembrance for me with Jesus.  My most precious times to share communion is when it is just He and I at home.  I repent, I surrender and I love on Him and it never fails that I hear an echo in my spirit that says, “Do this in remembrance of me…I want you to remember me, Patti.”  And I respond, “I remember you, Holy One…I do, I do, remember you.”

He always makes our communion encounters powerful.  Once as I held the goblet of juice I had a strong spiritual impression of Him standing in front of me…cupping my hands and holding the goblet for me to drink from.  Another time it was like He held my head as I drank from His cup.

I just feel with everything in me that He wants me to KNOW how much it matters to Him.  There is nothing casual about it.  How can there be?  How can I not remember Him?

And then I wonder what it would have been like to be one of His disciples that last week as they entered Jerusalem…hearing the voices of the people calling out to Jesus in the streets, “Hosanna to the Son of David!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”  I know that truly the voices of the people that Jesus came to save reached high to the balcony of the heavens that day.  But only Jesus could hear the glorious roar from which all of heaven responded.

And even some time later I can easily imagine the flurry of activity as the disciples and Jesus arrived at their destination, a large upper room, already prepared for the Passover supper.  And here my friends, is where my story begins today.  We will step in and let young John, the youngest disciple, show us what it might have been like.   I can already see him running up the staircase to catch up to Jesus…as they all walked through the prophesied door of destiny.

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Everyone was enjoying this time with Jesus at the Passover supper.  To recline around the table was to literally enjoy the freedom this night was in remembrance of.  John was always so excited to listen to all the stories of his ancestor’s deliverance from Egypt.  He himself was taught the stories as a young lad.  As a Jew, sharing these generational stories and teachings were some of his favorite traditions — never forgetting who he was nor where he came from.  But sharing them with his Lord was the joy of his life.

John always made sure to get one of the seats closest to Jesus. He knew that his relationship with Jesus was personal.  He could see the spark in Jesus’ eye and being the youngest disciple gave him a few advantages – and he certainly enjoyed that!  But sincerely, John loved Jesus more than anything or anyone that he had ever loved before.  Even tonight, to be able to watch all the disciples recline around the table and listen attentively as their Master spoke was one thing.  But for him, sometimes he just wanted to get as close as he could to Him – to touch Jesus as he leaned back against him – as his Lord breathed, spoke and shared Himself.  Relationships mean different things to different people John knew – but he just wanted to be in His presence.  And John knew that Jesus wanted him there!  Knowing you are loved is powerful!

Sometimes John even thought he saw a secret in Jesus’ eye…like He had a surprise for him one day…something special that he would give to no one else.  One of these days I need to ask him about it John thought.  I wonder what that revelation might be?  Oh, well, one day I will ask him.

John loved listening to Jesus.  His voice had a way of talking not just to your ears…but to your heart.  He talked with wisdom and authority but without all the pompousness that you would see in all the religious rulers.  He talked of His Father with such obedience and love that following Him was all you ever wanted to do.  His voice was deep and rich almost like water you could swim in.  There was never an answer He did not know and trusting Him was as easy as breathing for John…and for all the disciples…or for anyone that had ever met Him.  It was a great night and John just listened, relaxed and enjoyed the meal being surrounded by people that he loved, admired and respected.

Suddenly after a brief silence around the table – Jesus said each of our names.  All of us straightened up in our seats and looked at Him.  I watched Him reach out and pick up a piece of bread out of the dish, break it and gave a piece to each of one of us…looking deep into the eyes of every one.  He said, “Take this…eat it…it is my body.”  I took the bread and looked at Him as he watched me eat it.  Then He took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to each of us saying, “Drink from it, all of you.  This is my blood…poured out for the forgiveness of sins.”  My hand was shaking as I took the cup from Him.  Again, He watched each of us drink from the cup that He offered us.  But ringing in my ears, were his words…my blood poured out…

Then as their first communion meal was ending, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.”  I don’t think there was a sound in the room after Jesus said that.  Then like an explosion we all spoke at once – each saying, “No, never, Lord…surely not I!”  Trying to comprehend what was happening, we all looked at each other.  Then lastly, Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?”  We all turned our eyes to Jesus.  He never raised His voice but looked straight at Judas and answered, “Yes, Judas, it is you.  Do what you must do quickly.”  As Judas jumped up and ran out of the room, Jesus whispered to all of us, “I will go forth as written…but for Judas, truly it would have been better if he had not been born.”

No one said a word, no one spoke at all.  Everyone knew something unknown was beginning to happen.  Softly at first, then stronger, in Jewish tradition to end the Passover meal, the real Passover Lamb began to sing to God…His Father…and all the disciples joined in.

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Somehow I know that at that point in the heavens, Jehovah God swallowed hard at the hours that He knew were ahead for His Son…and knowing that crucifying and turning His back on Jesus would be the hardest thing that He would ever do.  But He would do it, for even as He was God, it all had to happen.  After all, Jesus was in on the plan.

And in the same upper room where they just shared the last supper…in that same upper room God had another appointment in the near future.  The Holy Spirit was coming…

God always has a plan.  Remember Him…

Creative Story series – 3 of 3

Patti Corbello Archer

August 15, 2011

Mary Magdalene…real love finally Story 2 of 3

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Personally, in scripture I relate most of all to Mary Magdalene…mostly because when so many around Jesus wanted the miracles He could do for them, her heart and eyes were solely on Him because of who He was. When He walked into her life…and healed her, delivered her, and loved her, her life was forever changed.  She surrendered and worked alongside the apostles and the leader women and provided, served, loved and enjoyed her Rabboni.  Yes, you heard me, her Teacher. In study just tonight I learned that rarely is that term used with “Rabbi” – but she used it that way.  She changed the meaning from Rabbi to Rabboni…from Teacher – to “My” Teacher.  That to me is a total soul sell-out.

I think she also changed Jesus’ life with her love.  Don’t all relationships change our lives?  After all, He came to save her – all of us – so that He could HAVE relationships with us.  Why would He be distant as He walked on the Earth?  He wouldn’t be.  He enjoyed each moment of those 33 years with those who breathed the breath of life…that He gave them.  I believe that with all of my heart.  Every relationship will always be personal with Him. Every relationship will always be unique with Him.

Mary Magdalene was not afraid to be personal with Him.  He knew everything about her and loved her anyway.  Because of love…she stayed there for Him during the days of His ministry and she was there at the end…as He struggled to breathe on the cross…as those closest to Him lay weeping at His feet – as they laid His lifeless body into His mother’s arms.  Believing that He was gone forever, they all grieved…hearts shattered…spirits devastated and drenched in tears of sorrow that they believed would never end.  But God had a plan.

So this, my friends, is where tonight’s story begins…seemingly at an ending…

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Mary Magdalene woke up that Easter Sunday morning long before dawn.  Her eyes were swollen, her cheeks paved with the dried path of many, many tears.  She lay there in the dark, hurting.  It felt like her heart was screaming in pain.  She hurt for the pain He endured.  How could they have done those things to Him?  What happened to make the world fall apart so suddenly?  She whispered brokenly, “Jehovah, help me.  Help us all…”

Suddenly filled with an urgency to get to the tomb, she rolled over and stood up.  Weak for a moment she just closed her eyes.  Trying to shut out the horror of yesterday and the truth of today her lips quivered and she swallowed hard.  With cracked words she cried softly, “Jehovah…they hurt Jesus so much…they killed Him…and my mind is filled with His last hours.”

Trying to get hold of herself she wiped her face on her sleeve and stooped over to tie her sandals.  Then she straightened and walked over to the table by the window and with her hand shaking she picked up the anointing spices.  She reached up and draped her wrap around her head and walked out the door into the pre-dawn morning.  She felt the need to get to the tomb early.  She didn’t want Jesus left alone.  She knew His mother would be there soon also.  “Oh, Mary,” she whispered, “I hurt for you too.”   She went the rest of her journey in silence…heavy in heart…one foot in front of the other.

It was still dark when Mary Magdalene made her way through the garden path and rounded the final hill to reach the tomb that Joseph and Nicodemus had laid Jesus in.  She was shocked to see that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance of the tomb.  Seeing that the tomb was empty she ran for Simon Peter and John.

Startling both of them so early in the morning, “Mary cried out, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we don’t know where they have put him!”  They all ran back to the tomb.  Entering the tomb they found the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that was wrapped around Jesus’ head.  It was folded up all by itself.  They didn’t understand what happened but they knew it was true…He was gone.

The disciples left and went back to their homes. But Mary couldn’t leave…crying with even deeper sorrow she just stood outside the tomb.  Bending over she looked again in the tomb and saw two angels seated where Jesus’ body had been.  They asked her why she was crying and she explained that someone had taken her Lord away.  She turned around…so lost…and saw a man standing before her…asking why she was crying.  Not recognizing Jesus she asked if He knew where Jesus was….and if he took Him to please tell her where He was so that she could go and get Him.  Not knowing what else to do she just hung her head as tears dripped from her face.

At that, Jesus simply called her name, “Mary.”

She looked back at Him and cried out, “Rabboni!”  She threw herself at His feet hardly even hearing Him caution her not to hold on to Him…for He had not yet returned to His Father.  All she could say was, “You’re alive…you’re alive…you’re alive…”  He instructed her to let the disciples know…and she ran like the wind…

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Now how awesome is that?

I wonder when Mary met Jesus that first time if her grieving face in the future flashed before His eyes…I wonder if He already knew how many tears she would shed for love of Him.  I know with all my heart that not one of her tears was wasted.  In fact, I know that He still has them all.

He has yours and mine too.  That’s how valuable we are to Him.   We are the point of it all.  And that’s love.

Creative fiction – story 2

Patti Corbello Archer

August 13, 2011

The Leper’s Miracle (Story 1 of 3)

leproseyHave you ever heard the phrase, “Jesus will meet you at the place of your need?”  Simplified it means that you don’t have to let your need or situation keep you from Him – rather let it draw you to Him.  You don’t have to whitewash or remodel your life before you hit your knees, surrender, and reach for Him.  He is NOT afraid, or surprised, or intimidated by anything in your heart, your mind, your body or your soul. In church I had heard that Jesus would meet me at the place of my need.  Thank God we learn that Word in church!  But what was life transforming with that word…was watching The Word really meet me at the place of my need…as He stepped into my life in my home and in my heart.  When I really got it…really realized that He is the living Word…alive always and not just words on a page… I studied the Word and learned so much about Him personally…and began to receive, imagine, and creatively see Him in my life.

So with that purpose in mind, today’s story is creative fiction based on scripture.  However the revelation with which I write this story is straight from the throne of God. I write from a heart that knows the touch of my Healer.  I pray that you do too.  If you don’t know Him…I pray this introduction to Him leads you to seek Him…and find Him.

For many reasons we seek Jesus.  I sought Him to know love and acceptance.  Maybe with others, trauma or physical needs certainly remind us we need a savior. Basically the whole human race has known sickness or illness. Some have even known what it was like to be an outcast or shunned.  I dare say many of us have known shame or condemnation.  I know too that disfigurement can isolate many.  But I feel sure that all of us, at some point in our lives, have known rejection or fear…and the results thereof.

Just over 2000 years ago…written in Luke 17:11-19, there is a story of a group of lepers who brave public ridicule; shame and punishment just to try to get within earshot of Jesus – close enough to call out for His help.  Their story has always intrigued me as being kind of scary and mysterious.

Do you think this couldn’t possibly relate to today?  Do you read past that scripture like it was an ancient disease unrelated to our lives? Do you know that Louisiana used to have the only Leper Colony in the United States…one of only a few in the world?  The Hansen’s Disease Museum is now in its place.  Do you know that Louisiana still has the highest incidents of leprosy in the United States?  While treatment is now readily available to prevent the disease from being what it once was, it still has a slightly scary connotation.  Can you imagine what it would have been like well over 2000 years ago without medicine?  Can you imagine the mistreatment to those stricken with the disease because of fear?

When I read Luke 17:11-19 now, I see men that would sacrifice life if need be to do anything for a miracle from Jesus.  So come back with me many, many years ago…and see what I see…

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It was dark in the tunnel as Josiah shuffled up through the darkness heading for the entrance to the cave.  Being the youngest in a group of ten men, out of respect he let the older men walk ahead of him on the narrow stone steps. “Respect” he grimaced in thought to himself.  There was no respect in this life.  He was a leper now.  So were the other nine men – as well as hundreds of other people left down in the catacombs throughout this leper colony.  He used to be a real man – a Samaritan warrior – strong and agile – and he had worked hard to build a small stone house for his wife – his Tamara – heavy with child the last time he saw her.  He wondered what the baby was and if they were okay…does she even think of him anymore?  After all, 18 months is a long time.  That was how long it had been since a soldier raiding party saw the rash on his hands.  It didn’t take long for the authorities and community to banish him from all that he had ever known and loved.

He never knew how much he had taken for granted before.  He missed his beautiful wife, the sunlight, working with his father and brothers, fishing for supper, enjoying a meal that his mother and wife had cooked, and especially touching the belly that held his son or daughter. There was none of that in his life now.  “Sunlight” and exposure were now his enemy.  He was banned down in this dark world of lepers.

He had made good friends this last 18 months – even there.  There were people that he cared about in the colony.  After all, this was his new family.  But watching them suffer was so hard.  Feeling his own pain as his skin and tissue began to ache, burn, and fall off. As a leper, touch became a memory and unexposed sin was unheard of.  There was always a need for more rags for diseased or rotting fingers, hands, feet, face, legs or body.  Especially today!

All lepers knew the rules and tried never to appear in public exposed and certainly knew not to get close to anyone.  They had to announce out loud publicly to all around them “We are unclean, unclean!” to warn the community that danger of contamination was near.  It was always so humiliating – in the midst of their physical pain.  But today was special and they were going to ignore the humiliation and pain!  Word filtered down into the colony that a man – a prophet and healer – was coming this way on his way to Galilee.  So a few of the brave leper men decided to risk it all and get as close as they could to this healer.  His name was Jesus and they heard that he could heal anything.  This was their only chance!

The ten of them finally reached the cave entrance to the colony.  It was early morning and the sunlight, though beautiful to behold, hurt their eyes from the disease as well as from the darkness. They shielded their faces but excitedly talked all at the same time – getting their plan together on how they were going to accomplish finding Jesus.

Josiah said, “Let’s go wait in the shade of the fig tree grove a short distance from the village.  We will be able to see them coming from the valley that way!”  The other nine men agreed and huddled together they hurried to get in place before too many people were out on the road.  They heard that a large crowd always followed Jesus so they wanted to be able to be in place ahead of the crowd – or no one would let them near him.  And there was always the danger of getting stoned if the public got too riled up and afraid of them.

The lepers were barely in place under the fig trees when the sound of voices came from down the road.  A dust cloud rose that announced it was a large number of people.  The ten men hid, waited and snacked on a few ripe figs…a treat to be sure!  With their hearts pounding Josiah and the other nine men all looked at each other…trying to be invisible to all…except the one whose gaze they sought!

The voices in the distance became louder and the dust cloud wider as everyone rounded the hill and began the steep journey towards the village.  No one was paying any attention to the lepers hiding in the fig trees.  The ten men looked over the men in the crowd…whispering to each other, “Which one is he?”

Then all of a sudden they knew which one he was.  It had to be him!  He wasn’t in front of the crowd of people…there were about 6 or 7 men in front of him and it looked like several men behind and on the side of him.  You could tell they were staying close to him.  He was wearing white linen and a tan robe.  He had long brown hair.  And what a wonderful laugh!  He laughed at the antics of children that ran around him to catch his attention.  He lifted one child and hugged him.  He reached out and touched the face of an old woman on the side of him.  He stopped and turned around and listened to the story of a group of teenage boys behind him. We were amazed to see that the eyes of everyone were on him.  Including ours!  He just seemed to draw you to him.

Well, it is now or never they decided and painfully climbed atop a large boulder. Then loudly the ten lepers called out, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”  A minute seemed like an hour as silence fell in the crowd.  Jesus turned around towards them. The lepers stood with eyes on Him.  He stood with eyes on them.  The lepers held their breath!  Jesus saw through not only their rags and disease but through to their hearts and He never hesitated. He simply said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.”

With a dust cloud of their own they got off the boulder — hobbled painfully the first few steps, then each step they grew stronger and stronger as they began to run, and run, and run.  They headed towards the priests…free…Jesus said so!  As they ran, the rags covering them began to unravel and fall to the ground.  Looking down at their hands…their healed hands…they ran even faster with tears of joy rolling down smooth skin.

Jesus watched them go then turned back to his disciples and grinned.  The disciples were still watching the lepers run off down the road.

About noon as Jesus walked through the village, He heard someone whisper to Him.  He turned around and saw a young man dressed in leper’s clothes – but with healthy skin standing there.  Josiah began to praise God in a loud voice and threw himself at Jesus’ feet…and thanked Him.

Jesus watched Josiah reach out slowly to touch His feet…after 18 months without having touch in his life.  Then Jesus reached out His hand and touched Josiah.  Josiah looked up and Jesus asked him, “Were not all ten cleansed?  Where are the other nine?  Was no one else found to return and give praise to God?  Rise and go…your faith has made your well.”  Josiah rose, hugging Jesus, and with tears in his eyes began running home…really home!

Jesus laughed joyfully and said to himself, “Run Josiah, run, you have a baby daughter to meet.”

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While this may be my vision of what might have happened that day, the point of it all is that Jesus still has real encounters with us…just ask Him.

Creative Fiction  3-story series

Patti Corbello Archer

August 12, 2011

Worship Dance – (Story 6 of 6)

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Tonight is about Jesus embracing me (and you) through worship…our praise and worship.  This is a time of surrender that is sung with lyrics, prayed through our spirits, played with instruments and danced with our body. Do you have any idea just how personal worship is to Him?  I can tell you with all of me that He watches it closely, He walks among us, He inhales our offering, He touches our hearts and He knows when the worship breaks through the issues of life to final focus only on Him.  It is like I can almost feel His intake of breath at the shear love that fills His senses and spirit when our worship begins to flood Him as we truly worship with only thoughts of Him.

I have heard it taught that worship is a reflection of His value to me (and you).  I remember when my worship broke through my “What if someone sees my passion and what will they say?”  Jesus is the Lover of My Soul and He is magnificent, personal, jealous, passionate, protecting and intimate.

I remember growing up with so many secrets in my mind…burdened and bound and no one could even see all that inside of me.  I can remember wishing that someone could just read my mind and then I wouldn’t have to say anything.  Most people I have talked to don’t have that desire at all.  But I do.  Jesus knew that and faithfully met me at the place of my need.  You see, He reads my mind.  And I absolutely love it.  I hide nothing from Him and give Him access to all my thoughts.  He enjoys doing so!

No, my friend, I am not perfect!  Nor am I ashamed!  He lets me know if I need my heart or thoughts changed.  After all, they belong to Him.  His whispers are glorious and empowering.  And oh yes, I have learned how to whisper back.  In fact, for me, most of my prayers to Him are softly or gracefully spoken, with my lips, my heart, my mind, or my body.  Why would I scream in his ear?

If you haven’t witnessed my worship, I love to dance for and with the Lover of My Soul.  You see my hands move because to me…I touch Him.  That is what I do.  I dance to reach Him. Glory! He took my heart that struggled to find peace, beauty, passion and safety to love… after all life’s wounds and scars and ignited a fire and desire in me to touch Him…glory hallelujah!

Tonight I hope you receive from my story that Jesus is a personal God.  He will meet and enjoy you at the place where both of you communicate spirit to spirit.  He wants all that is on the inside of you.  He created you…and loves every inch of you!

That is what He did for me and I am not prideful.  I am grateful.  I am loved and pursued by Jesus.  Therefore, I eagerly lift my arms for His dance.   Nobody can dance like He can!

Through the years since my spirit has grown, He and I communicate in various ways.  Sometimes He woos me through scripture, other times He whispers in the quiet places, He also loves it when I share communion with Him, and then there are times when He lays His right hand on mine and I write…and write…and write stories, messages, or prayers.  He whispers in my mind and I can see Him…like the prisms in a kaleidoscope…with no limit.

Because of the times He and I communicate by writing I have kept a journal of all the words that He has given me personally.  In closing tonight, I share one of His letters to me with you.  Everyone’s journey with Him is unique – never forget that!

 _____________________________

 Patti,

 I love it that you hunger for My whisper…that My nearness and desires are what you want.  Yes, you heard Me right earlier – you already know that I will speak through you  – so just enjoy the journey as I reveal Myself to you.

 Tell me what I look like to you, smell like, feel like … how I make you feel…  Tell me Precious One what it is like to linger in the mind of your Creator.  What it feels like to have heaven touch, embrace and claim you… 

 Greater things than these I told you that you would do…and you will.  Oh yes, you will.  No limits so just let go and let Me.  I want to work My will through you…feel my glory rise as your body, soul and spirit surrender just because you love me.  Your obedience is a special aroma to me…that sweet scent of love that makes Me turn my head and watch you.

 So many times I linger with you just because you enjoy Me and don’t want anything but Me – that I am the desire of your heart.  So many times I brush against you as you think about Me.

 I love to receive from you Patti …and I will not delay.  Watch for me…I am always there.

 Jesus, Lover of Your Soul

 _______________________________

 My friends bless you and thank you for spending your time with me.  I pray that somewhere in my stories you saw something special about a relationship with Jesus that inspired you.  I hope with all my heart that you did.  My testimonies and teaching come with His seal of approval…and invitation to you.  I have been called to expose my relationship with Him to all of you for that very purpose.

He is beautiful.  He is powerful.  And He is exactly who you need.

Goodnight…with love.

Worship Dance

Patti Corbello Archer

June 10, 2011

Story 6 – final story of Up Close & Personal

Weapons and Strategy – Story 5 of 6

Get out the camo!!!  Do you have a spiritual weapon’s locker?  I can certainly remember a time when I would have said, “What in the world do you mean?”  But today I know that I have one – a big one!  Come on…I will show you some of what is in my locker…my arsenal…and why.  I have collected powerful spiritual weapons throughout my years as a Christian…the trophies of victories past, the memories and wisdom learned in skirmishes that I lost, the maps and charts of strategies to protect my territories, as well as treasure maps of what I am believing for. If you don’t have a weapon’s locker ready and waiting for you, I bet you will think about it after my story.  Let the war talk begin…

The greatest warrior of all is Jesus and I love that He is coming back for me (and you) one day on His white horse.  One day the skies will roll back and He will be there in all His glory with a name written on His robe and on His thigh…King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  He will be vibrant with power and visual to all the inhabitants of the earth.  In fact, His Word says, “…before Him every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess.”  Glory!  I want to see His Kingdom come!!!  But until that day, our King has left us with His authority NOW to put on His armor and fight the good fight.

My personal memorized prayer from Ephesians 6 is stated as,“…stand strong in the Lord and in the power of His might, put on the belt of truth firmly buckled around your waist, put on the breastplate of righteousness.  Let your feet be fitted with the readiness of the gospel of peace.  Take up the shield of faith with which to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit which is the Word of God and pray in the spirit and on all occasions and for all the saints.”

Now with all that said how many of you realize that as Christians we are to be spiritual warriors – ready to grab weapons and go for the win?  I know it seems like a farfetched subject but war isn’t something you can do without preparation.  Don’t all soldiers and law enforcement train for battle strategies?  Don’t they keep their weapons loaded as well as know how to use their artillery in ALL situations?  Don’t they have strategies and plans for various types of war?  Don’t they know which areas around them need to be targeted and then, delay not if lives are at stake, including theirs!  A warrior must have armor and weapons.  But a warrior MUST know first and foremost how to use them!  I learned that personally.

Once I was filled with the Holy Ghost and realized the value of covering, many, many times I anointed myself and prayed on the armor of God with Ephesians 6, to verbally remind myself who I was as well as to proclaim to the spirit world that I was armed and ready.  THAT was certainly a learning process.  I can recall a particularly painful experience one day at work where I was reprimanded for a boss’ error.  I was angry that I was taken advantage of and had no authority to expose the false accusation.  I remember going home and calling out to God, asking Him what that was all about.  I stomped around in my apartment upset and offended about the experience and giving voice to my argument because I had been wearing the armor of God.  I will never forget the response God gave me immediately in my spirit.  To this day, it is as real as it was then.

I heard in my spirit, “Just because you put on the armor doesn’t mean you know how to use it.  You are holding the shield of faith…but standing there with it hanging down at your side is not effective defense. Unless you lift it up to shield the enemy’s arrows, the arrow will hit its mark in you because you aren’t prepared.  For most attacks the enemy will aim for your weak areas…so KEEP your shield in place to protect your areas.  A warrior never leaves a weak area exposed and unprotected.”

I have to tell you, His response took my breath away.  It truly never occurred to me that I had to do anything with the armor other than put it on and know what it was.  I had a lot to learn.  The Word of God is an application in our lives.  So again God confirmed that it is critical for me to “know my territory”.

With territory defined as:  What I must guard and protect in:

  • my body, my soul and my spirit
  • everything this is valuable (and any weaknesses) in my life
  • everything that is valuable (and any weaknesses) in the lives of my loved ones (and all future generations)
  • my purpose, calling, destiny
  • and certainly God’s Kingdom here on the earth.

My “Territory” is my responsibility to wear and USE the Armor of God with access to my Weapon’s Locker as needed!

So once He planted all that deep in my soul I began to put my arsenal of weapons together based on my Christian journey so far.  In fact, from the wisdom and revelation that I learned from God about all of this I wrote a “Weapons & Strategy” bible study lesson – and taught it to the singles ministry.  The life chart that I created for use in the bible study – is a prayerful personal compilation for each person to fill in detail as they determine which life areas they believe need specific scripture covering applied to them – and then find the scriptures that reveals the Word of God on the matter. This creates for you a strategic spiritual battle plan.

The chart also provides areas for all victories.  Winning a battle over the enemy increases your authority, anointing, wisdom and discernment I have learned.  Don’t put your victories (trophies so-to-speak) on the shelf and forget about them.  USE what you have learned and adapt it as needed in other areas…or be prepared to use the SAME battle plan in case that issue arises again.  The enemy will try you again to see if you are still strong in any victory area I assure you.

Also in the chart is a listing of the names of Jesus where you indicate which aspect of His Glory He has revealed Himself as Lord to you as, i.e., Healer, Provider, Lover of Your soul, Creator, Redeemer…stake your claim on who He is to you!!!  NOTHING is more powerful!

Truly, a Christian’s life strategy is then in place with the Holy Spirit, spiritual chart, personal weapon’s locker.  They are then prepared for guarding their territory.  It doesn’t mean one will never get hit with the enemy’s arrow, nor does it mean one will win all the battles they face, but it does mean that one is being faithful over a few things so that God will make them ruler over much.  It will mean that they can do all things through Christ who gives them strength.  It will mean that wisdom comes to those who ask.

Finally I learned never to take the armor off…and no longer have to remind myself I am dressed in Him each day.  I have also learned that wisdom, obedience and discernment fit powerfully in my weapon’s locker – and make for more wins in battle.  He reveals Himself and His power in all of them.  My Warrior King has taught me so much…and still does!

To close out my sharing today, I would like to include a short story that I wrote based on Revelation 4:1 And there before me was a door standing open in heaven and the voice I had first heard speaking to me…said, “Come…”.

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 …as I stepped in, I opened my eyes and saw that I stood near a massive stone structure – with majestic columns and huge entryways.  I reached out and touched the face of the rock near me…curious and amazed.  Continuing on, I stepped through a towering door into a shimmering prism of light.  It appeared to stream from somewhere down a mighty hall.  The floor and the foundation seemed to be a solid rock that had a life of its own.  

 Before I knew it, I neared the room that contained the source of light and warmth began to radiate from deep within me outward…responding, answering, to a call I could only feel but not hear.  He was close!  Sweet Jesus, He must be close.  I began to tremble.  I reached out to grab the doorway nearest me and stepped fully into the beam of light.  For just a second I saw Glory turn and glance at me…then smile.  I fainted at His feet.

 Later, from somewhere deep in my mind, I heard a voice that I had heard before say, “Patti, do you truly love me more than these?”  My heart, then my lips, smiled as I said, “Yes Lord, you know I love you.”  I heard a soft chuckle; felt His fingers brush my face and I opened my eyes.  He said, “Blessings Precious One.  Welcome to my stable.”  I gasped and He laughed.

 As I watched Him enjoy the surprise on my face, He turned and whistled and the most glorious white stallion pranced right up to Jesus – tossing his head as he neared Him.  You could see that Glory had trained this animal.  The devotion in the stallion was pure.  His mission was sure.  He reared up on hind legs and the picture of loyalty and power was absolutely breathtaking.  Suddenly, from all around me came the sounds of millions of horses.  All up and down the hallway, doorway after doorway was filled with white horses calling out to Jesus – white manes flowing.  Jesus called out to them and then He stood.

 The King of Kings and Lord of Lords stood tall and purposeful before His stallion.  Peace in person is indescribable.  Jesus’ hair shimmered like starlight, His eyes flashed with  gold flames, and with power coming off of Him in waves,  He just stood for a moment and spoke not a word.  Looking down at His nail scarred hands He let me see that His heart was fixed on love and victory…and a wedding feast in the near future that He is most hungry for. 

 He walked to the side of the stallion and ran a hand down its muscular shoulder then purposefully He grabbed hold of the mane and swung Himself up and over onto its back.  My heart raced wildly at what was before my eyes.  The picture of Glory in that saddle made my heart near explode.  “Yes” my spirit, said, “Yes…make that ride Holy One…make that ride.”  But then, watching me, He whispered to my heart, “Mercy said no…for it is not my will that any should perish…so, a bit more time Precious One…a bit more time before I make that ride”.

 Jesus straightened and took a deep breath.  Spinning the stallion around I saw Him look long and hard at a blood-red royalty robe hanging just before Him in a huge crystal case dipped in gold and covered in jewels.  I saw Him inhale deeply and say, “Soon…”  Turning back towards me a long, slow smile spread across His face.  His eyes began to dance and all of a sudden He reached out a scarred hand and said, “How about a ride?  Come…come with me…”

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Never forget that no matter what your day holds, you are His warrior and He is your King.

Until tomorrow….

Weapons & Strategy

Patti Corbello Archer

June 9, 2011

Story 5 – Up Close & Personal

On the Heels of Rejection – Story 4 of 6

lonely-sad-rejected-businessman

Do you know yourself?  Really?  Beyond all the generalities, genealogies and socializing…just how well do you know yourself?  Answers to THAT question my brothers and sisters in Christ is where I had to dive deep in me to know why I do what I do and find out why I feel what I feel in regard to many things – but mainly relationship scenarios in my life.  Let me go ahead and tell you right now…understanding these things is truly an “Exodus” journey!

Of all the areas that I could have shared on tonight, one of them has caused me more wounds than I care to remember.  But tonight, well tonight we shine the spotlight on REJECTION.  Surely you know what I mean.  Haven’t all of us at some point had a pain that washes over us on the heels of rejection?  I don’t know about you but rejection doesn’t make me want to cry on the outside.  It makes me want to cry on the inside.  Almost like I can close my eyes and see my heart weeping.  It is as if someone intentionally struck my heart and I absolutely hate the way that it makes me feel about others… but also about myself.

So go ahead and ask me.  What difference does self discovery make in lieu of all that? What monumental difference would knowing myself better make one way or the other?  Well, I am glad that you asked, smile. Tonight, I will explain it in two-fold simplicity for the sake of this story.  Give me a little teaching time to get the groundwork laid before I go into rejection in just a minute.

First, for me I can assure you that my life patterns will guide every step that I make until “I” make a change to go in a different direction.  And that holds true for any and all areas in my life (and yours) that hold the reins so-to-speak in guiding our lives – none are excluded, i.e., health, finances, anger, forgiveness, rearing children, addictions, fears, sexual behaviors, body perceptions, emotional wounds, attitude issues, God-surrender, etc.  Patterns are our learned or preferred automatic responses to life issues or thoughts.  Scary isn’t it that we can be led on “auto” huh?  Haven’t you ever driven down the road a piece and don’t even remember the journey?  Well, the same “auto” happens in thoughts and behaviors.

Secondly, for me, once I learned that many of these “auto” areas were causing scenarios in my life with painful responses, I began to realize that I needed God to help me WANT to change the wrong auto responses in my life.

Oh my gosh…I know all of us would rather someone else change and resolve our situation.  Right?  That is NOT going to happen for the most part.  Haven’t we all heard that the only person that we can change is ourselves?  Don’t you hate that?  I wanted to point my finger and show someone else was responsible…but I found out that it would have to be me.

This, my friend is where I will share about rejection tonight and my journey from the pit of suffering with it.  I remember many times throwing myself across my bed in tears, praying, crying out to God to do a “faster” work.  I would be mad at Him.  I would need Him.  It was quite a journey.  I always felt like it wasn’t my fault the way that I was…but yet, I found myself suffering the consequences nonetheless.  I wanted God to change me.  I wanted to be set free from rejection perceptions.  I pray this story will demonstrate that it CAN be done.  Everyone’s healing journey is different with God…here is mine…

Because of my childhood sexual abuse followed by two divorces I had developed extreme sensitivities and perceptions that triggered rejection easily.  I would be devastated when people’s behavior didn’t reveal the love and respect they spoke with their mouths.  Considering them lacking in character and integrity it also made me feel ashamed and angry…with me being angrier at myself because their behavior “told me” that they didn’t find me worthy of love or respect.  Inside my heart I was afraid that it wasn’t their fault but mine if I wasn’t lovable.  Inside my heart I felt that my physical looks were the qualifier to my value.  I am pretty sure that my “auto” cycle kept me trying to prove that I WAS worthy because I craved their love and respect…needing “approval” in a dependence fashion.  This approval need of mine was in many settings… socializing, in dating, in work, in ministry, or with family…it was an auto rejection cycle ready and waiting to torture me with thoughts and feelings of lack of self worth…and I had had enough!!!  I was totally sick of thinking about myself and getting hurt!  So, about 8 years ago I laid it on the altar…trusting Jesus.

I spent time with the Lord and He began to heal me and reveal many “auto” patterns that triggered rejection easily.  Once awareness of those triggers was awakened in me He began to give me discernment and strategy to plan ahead so that I could avoid those situations or mindsets and develop healthier relationship patterns.  Now did anyone say change was easy?  NO!  But to get out of the rejection pit I had to begin to change me!

So many times victims mentally/emotionally develop survival mindsets in order to endure abusive situations – and in me it turned into a protective self focus to monitor people around me like a safety radar constantly trying to keep my “love gauge”  within the worthy of love range.  In adult years it absolutely interfered with other relationships.  Therefore, I learned that as a survivor I must transform my thoughts to the Word…and let go of all the monitoring and measuring …and just learn to be free and trust God to lead me with wise decisions and God-relationships!

I think Jesus says it best in Isa 61, “… He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.  To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God to comfort those who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion and bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes…”

There is a life beyond rejection, victimization, survival, divorce and wrong mindsets – and I am grateful!  I know you are too!  In closing tonight I would like to share an excerpt from another story I wrote some years ago during my healing journey.  I pray that you will enjoy the Jesus that He showed me.  The excerpt begins with a young woman seeking Jesus in the crowds as He ministers among his people…watch what He does with rejection in action.

 I can’t see Jesus but I know he is here.  At last I see the crowds surround a large home.  No one pays any attention to me so I go around and slip in the back door. 

 Inside the home I see the men reclining around the table – with the women and servants busy getting the meal together for them.  Suddenly, I see Jesus and he is magnificent.  Everyone is looking at him and listening to what he is saying.  I can tell that He is gentle and loving.  I walk up behind him feeling overwhelmed with humility.  His very essence calls to me to continue.  I close my eyes, listening to his voice as tears pour down my face.  I walk around in front of him and kneel at his feet…unable to even say a word.  My teardrops fall onto his feet…like rain.

 After a moment, I slowly reach out a fingertip and trace the path of my tears across his feet.  I never look up but I can feel his stillness.  I can feel his heartbeat as I touch him.  I can tell that He is waiting on me.  Needing to serve him, I remove the jar of perfume that I have hidden in my clothes and begin to pour it over his feet.  I hear his sigh.  His breath encourages me and I lean low and begin to wash his feet with my tears and perfume.  I kiss his feet and I love him.  Lost in the joy of serving him, I pick up the ends of my hair and use them to dry his feet. 

 Above the woman, Jesus lifts his gaze and looks into the hearts and minds of the men sitting around him judging harshly this woman serving and loving him.  His heart goes out to her.  His heart goes out to them.  Then he begins to teach them all of truth and love and of debts that no one can pay. 

 As he spoke, the woman listened and was amazed.  He was her champion.  He protected her.   Jesus, seeing her surrender, gave her His heart – and the Prince of Peace welcomed her home.

On the Heels of Rejection

Patti Corbello Archer

June 7, 2011

Page  4  – Up Close & Personal

Heavenly Classroom Story 3 of 6

I love teaching bible study!  Truly I do!  Many precious people in the classes that I have taught and facilitated during the years have enjoyed the journey with me.  I believe in hands-on visual aids, stories that emphasize the lesson, pictures or videos that drive the point deep and teaching with a passion for the subject…which brings me back to the subject at hand, Jesus.

I can assure you that my journey to becoming a bible study teacher has been in a one-on-one tutor session with the Lord.  He has worked me over good in preparing me to teach His children!  There have been many, many hours of study to memorize scripture.  This has been a God-send in my life personally, but watching it come alive in the faces around me in a bible study class is beautiful.  Having someone read something to you is one thing.  Having someone release it from the heart is another.

Years ago Jesus began to lead me off alone to memorize His Word.  I would go sit on my swing, or go lay at the beach, or curl up in the bed, or walk around the house repeating word after word, or walk around the sanctuary.  Without bragging…in all honesty the words would come so easy to me at those times.  The Words would leap off the page right into my heart.  I could feel His joy as He taught me to speak His words back to Him.  It would be like we were having a scripture conversation…so beautiful, so powerful, and so revealing.  I would begin to feel what His words said and not just know what His words meant.  It was like there was a secret down in His words that He was sharing with me.  I felt the value of what we were sharing…and communicating.

I guess through the years and His teaching me…my Rabboni, my Jesus, and my Master created a God-confidence in me about Him.  The confidence is not simply for knowledge sake but for relationship sake.  He likes what He has me teach others.  And I like Him…not just love and adore Him…but I like Him.  And I honestly know that He will reprimand me if I don’t teach what He wants taught.  You got that right.

In one of the Beth Moore bible studies that I was teaching, the lesson required all the ladies during their personal weekday homework time to get down on the floor on their face in humble heart and focus on Him before beginning their homework.  This particular week, I was behind because of church work responsibilities and still had much homework to accomplish before the group lesson in a couple of days.  I remember getting my Bible and workbook out and putting them on the kitchen table.  I opened the books when I suddenly remembered that I still “had to” get on my face before Him.  I got up – ever obedient – and knelt on the floor.  As I began to lay down on my face before Him, I clearly heard Him say in my spirit, “Don’t you even lay before me just because you have to.”  My heart cringed as I felt His indignation and His hurt.  I got up off the floor truly humbled and spent some time in meditation and worship remembering  just who I was about to lay before.  I shared it in the lesson just a couple of nights later.

There have been so, so, so many times where He has enveloped me in a classroom…teaching me to hear Him, understand Him, and not be afraid to love on Him as I recline against Him while He teaches.  If there is anything I have learned from His classroom, it is that He doesn’t want us to be afraid to love on Him.

Hebrews 4:16 says, “…let us come boldly to the throne of grace…”   When you love someone and you greet them, don’t you throw yourself in their arms, hug them, smile, greet and love on them?   Don’t you want someone to throw themselves in your arms, thrilled to see you, touching you, loving you?   There is nothing like enjoying the relationship that you have established with Him also!!!   He wants you to truly throw yourself at Him.  If you are His…His love is never closed to you.  Never.

A lot of people struggle with condemnation for not being perfect in a world that they can never be perfect in.  What a cycle of lies that keeps them from Him.  It isn’t about OUR perfection, it is about His!  Jesus never turned His back on anyone, ever.  Remember, Jesus is the one who had to become sin on the cross in our place.  He is the only one that will ever know the pain of God-rejection.

I am not perfect but nor do I have to be.  What I have to be is “His.”  He takes care of teaching us the rest, one day, one lesson, one mistake and one victory at a time.  I do not believe in rules that imprison the soul.  Instead I believe in rules that call the soul to its Creator where He teaches them.

Like the prodigal son’s father…He is always waiting, always loving, and always forgiving.  Run boldly to His throne of grace at all times.  Please.  He just wants you in His arms.  He will teach you more of His protective boundary in the days to come.

I want to share a brief story with you.  Years ago I was trying to explain to someone how I felt about opening up to trust anyone near my heart after years and years of emotional wounds.  I didn’t feel like they were getting the mental picture of what I was trying to say so, I asked them, “Have you ever seen a scrawny, diseased, starved, or beaten dog wandering hopelessly on the side of the road?  “Yes,” They said.  “Have you ever tried to call or get near them to help them but they shy away, growl, or even crumble into a cowering ball of fear?”  They said, “Of course, it is pitiful.”  I said, “THAT is my description. That was me spiritually.”  And I can assure you that picture shocked them.

Now I ask you tonight my friends, “What usually happens if you take one of those wounded creatures in, adopt them, take care of them, love them, teach them, and transform their environment?

They are forever serving their Master in His house.

My point exactly.

Heavenly Classroom

Patti Corbello Archer

June 5, 2011

Page 3 – Up Close & Personal

Kaleidoscope of Glory Story 2 of 6

imagesCA84ODVTTruly our relationship with Jesus is UNIQUE and should be treated as an honored and holy opportunity to connect with Him.  And while many of us may share relationship similarities with our Lord God that we can all relate to, I deeply believe that some aspects of each person’s experience with Him comes through open doors of just-for-you intimate encounters.

In my heart I know that each of us is born with a multi-fold God-purpose. The Word of God tells us that He knows the plans that He has for us…so most of us hunger and seek the destined ministry or service assignments that He calls us to accomplish in our lifetime.  But like all love relationships there should certainly be another level…a private dominion that keeps His flame defining and intertwining with us over, and over, and over.

Have you ever heard the saying, “They threw the mold away after they made him…or her?”  I believe God creates an environment with each of us…privately…that no one else duplicates…our own personal “Mold” so-to-speak.  And we know that He loves variety – just look at the world and the people in it!  But as for me…I know that when He planted that defining concept in my heart it took a while for me to quit trying to be like everyone else and just let my uniqueness be what it was…to be free to be the me that He created me to be…body, soul, and spirit.

Years ago when I first began to work on His value concept for me, I wrote a story that reveals my doubt.  Because of all the painful places and poor decisions that I had lived through my “value” definition was shaky at best.  Here…let me share an excerpt from that story…

I open my eyes and the light is dim.  There is broken glass everywhere around me.  I try to pick up the pieces but I can’t.  I close my eyes and feel the despair.  I hang my head and moan … How can my Lord ever use a broken vessel?  I go sit huddled in the corner and I look at the pieces of my life all around me.  So much is ugly – the monsters that really were in the dark when I was a child, the panic when I couldn’t escape the touch, the fear that never left, the belief that I didn’t matter enough to be saved, the desperate decisions that ruled me later while I looked for a savior on the earth, the lies that I believed, the prison walls that I built and the weapons of my destruction which were placed strategically in my own hands.  Where is the beauty Lord?  People don’t want to hear this… they look at me and I am ashamed.  I don’t want them to see what is broken…I never wanted anyone to know that it hurt…I want them to see that I survived – the strength and endurance that it took.  I shivered there on the floor and grieved because the Lord could never use me to show anything as wonderful as Him.

Eventually, I lie down amidst the broken glass and found release in sleep.  What I didn’t know as I was in that room was that I wasn’t alone with brokenness all around me.  As I slept the sleep of the burdened and weary, a light projected into the room and Jesus walked across the glass and stood looking down at me.   He said over me, “Daughter, your brokenness is where I will be revealed.  One of the most beautiful things in the world is stained glass and it is made up of many broken pieces that the light shines through – you will be My glass and I will be your light – through you I will make beauty of everything painful that has touched you.  So… sleep daughter, sleep.  And when you awake, your journey to freedom will begin.  Don’t despair that you are alone for I will meet you there and I have personally orchestrated your freedom trail.”     (excerpt end)

And He did set my feet upon that freedom trail my friends – and what an adventure it was! One moment He was my Savior, then the next my Friend, an hour later He was my Healer…and on the way home my Provider.  There was never a need He ignored.  There was never a knock on His door unanswered.

I remember working at the law firm back then and on my break sometimes I would feel led to go to the file room just to speak in tongues and spend time with Him.  It was like a private internet line right to Him anytime I wanted to look His way…or call on His name.  He was never too busy and was always ready to reveal to me just how much it pleased Him when I missed Him.

I think I was just so grateful to learn that He did think I was all that to Him.  Jesus…the Mighty One…The One and Only…thought I was the bomb, lol.  Well, in His terms, “The apple of His eye.”  Glory hallelujah!  I grew up thinking that He didn’t want anything to do with me…that He thought I was worthless and disgusting – so once I cast down those lies and received His truth in my spirit…I just moved in and camped out at His feet.

Scripture from Song of Songs 5:1 in the Amplified version shares God’s thoughts to me the best, “Drink, yes, drink abundantly of love, o precious one, for now I know you are mine, irrevocably mine.”  When I RECEIVED this revelation, I could have cared less what the devil said.  As far as I was concerned the enemy could just eat dirt and die…for lack of a better way to say it.  NO ONE could take me from my God!!

I rarely think of the evil one.  Too many people waste too much time, energy, prayer and thought time on him.  To me, he is nothing and not worth my time.  I have the ear of the King of Kings, what is better than that?  For real.

So, as I sit here tonight at the feet of Jesus sharing with you, I want you to know that He is with you…sees you…loves you…and waits for you.  Never think that you know all that there is to know about Him.  Every day is a holy kaleidoscope.  I can just imagine His grin as He leans low to you and says, “Call on me precious one…just call.”

In fact, put Him on your Holy Ghost speed dial.   You’re on His.

Until tomorrow…

Kaleidoscope of Glory

Patti Corbello Archer

Page 2  –  Up Close & Personal

How Close Is He? Story 1 of 6

imagesCAVVCC2QAs I sit at my desk tonight I smile at the silence…sweet, sweet, silence.  No television blares with conversations and commercials that seek to invade my thoughts.  No radio sings tunes that long to coax or distract me to listen to the story that they want to tell.  No phone rings to alert me to messages, or texts, or calls. Nope. There is just silence…sweet, sweet, silence.

Now to a lot of people silence might be a scary or even a lonely place to be.  And in all honesty it can be those things.  I have been there…felt that.  Have you?  I found that to be the case when we have no peace in Christ.  Or, if we have hidden something in our heart that keeps us bound in secrets – where there can be condemnation, fear or shame.  But listen to me – silence was not created to be silent!  Truly!  In the beginning when God created the world His Spirit was gently hovering over the face of the deep.  It was a holy place where thoughts had the power to come alive.  It was a place where the thoughts of God spoke life into the silence and the world heard and was.  And the truth is that He still speaks!

I remember well when I received this epiphany…this revelation to hear Him in my spirit through worship, through meditation, through writing, through study and though listening.  Do you hear what I am saying?  The silence ISN’T silent!  And this, my friends is where I will begin Up Close & Personal tonight.  I will share with you what it has been like to embrace a relationship with the Holy One of Israel in ways that I never knew I could.

I am so excited!!!  He has been so many things to me…so many.  I know that many of you may have heard of the various names of God that get referenced in teaching, preaching or prayer.  Personally, I began to make a list of them as He revealed Himself to me one step at a time.  Or, should I say, one name at a time. It has truly been an intimate conversation between He and I.

In 2001, I began to learn how to access the Spirit of God…His Holy Spirit.  Now before then I knew the Word of God, I was baptized, I knew church, I knew rules for Godly-living, I knew service, I knew bible study, I knew fellowship with the body of Christ, I understood the call to prayer…and I knew Jesus as the “King and boss” of all the world.  I saw miracles in my life, I saw discernment rise up, I felt God’s creative call on my life and I truly yielded to the call to serve and know more and more about Him.  I ached for a pure and a holy spirit within me.  However, I knew that I still had a long, long way to go…especially when I left my second husband and got another divorce 10 years ago.

Looking back, I have learned that I have stuff.  You have stuff.  We all have stuff.  We will have stuff.  It isn’t about our stuff.  The power is in learning that it is simply and powerfully…about Him.  It isn’t like we can hide anything from Him anyway.  Like He doesn’t know?

As my hunger to know Him became greater than my fear of retribution for my failures, I began to seek Him in new ways…to KNOW Him.  Even if I stumbled as I learned, I got back up, trusted Him more and continued to open myself to Him entirely. My body, soul and spirit were His as I studied and learned to add vows, fasting, and sanctification for increased focus on Him.  As I surrendered my life to Him spiritually He revealed and opened Himself spiritually to me.

I began to learn that He enjoys that I come to Him just like I am because I lay it all on the altar.  Have you ever done that?  I mean, really?  I remember many nights pushing everything off my large coffee table and laying across it as a sacrifice – giving Him everything about me as I cried out to Him.  I didn’t keep anything from Him.  I asked Him to fix it.  I learned that the secret was to give it to Him…not keep it from Him!  Whatever IT might be.

The years of Word study and memorization that was on the inside of me began to rise up as the Spirit of God in me began to grow.  We are body, soul, and spirit.  All three need food to thrive and grow for their purpose.  Rabboni taught me that.  Rabboni is the Hebrew name for Master or Teacher.  Jesus is my Rabboni and teaches me.  Really He does!

Jesus is who He says He is…totally.  He is ALIVE and not just a story.  His heart beats.  His mind thinks.  His ears hear.  His lips smile.  His hands touch.  And He desires a spiritual relationship with me…and with you.

This first night of my sharing is so that you KNOW that.  My stories will mean nothing to you if you don’t grasp that.  Even when I read the word of God, I am looking for specifics and inflections of the way He thinks and feels.  I want His heart to beat close to mine.  I don’t just want a relationship with Him from afar that is only to gain from the works of His hands with blessings and miracles.  I want Him….Up Close & Personal….just as close as He will come.

I want my heart to hurt when He is rejected.  I want to feel His love when He receives our touch.  I want Him to share with me blessings or heartaches from His glorious life and being.  I want to have eyes to see and ears to hear Him.  If He whispers my name or has to raise His voice if I am stubborn….I want all of Him.

I see Him clearly in my spiritual eyes.  I feel Him deeply in my spiritual body.  He is ALIVE for me and in me.  I so want Him to be ALIVE for and in you.

If my stories will encourage or inspire you to BELIEVE that there is more of Him aching for you…then your relationship with Him is about to change.  None of us have seen anything yet.  Of that I am certain.

And the story continues…

Introduction to Up Close & Personal

Patti Corbello Archer

June 3, 2011

Page 1

Ride that roller coaster…

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Does everyone love experiencing even the smallest carnival? You know, the Tilt-a-Whirl – the Ferris Wheel and the Roller Coaster?  How about the Zipper, the Gravity Twirl or even the Swings?  What about the House of Horror or the House of Mirrors?  And I know you can never forget the classic, the Carousel!  And then, once all that riding makes you hungry…you spend a fortune on cotton candy, candy apples, corn dogs, burgers, and shrimp on a stick.  After that don’t you usually stroll by the games of chance…intrigued…but dodging the scary carnival workers calling out to you?

When I was a kid going to the carnival was a magical experience – with all sorts of feelings thrown in.  Maybe even getting sick after a twirling ride lol?  Well, I think for fun I will just compare living Life After Divorce in some ways like a carnival. In our daily lives as singles, don’t we have ups and downs, spinning and flying, the exciting and the scary, the gentle and the rough, times of both risk and comfort, as well as the cost of forking out the money all by ourselves to pay for it all?  Sure we do!

I think at this point I guess I just want to encourage you to throw out your arms and experience YOUR life after divorce – just like riding a roller coaster…with all your emotions and feelings harnessed to not interfere with your determination to go the distance. Some rides will be good and some will be…not so good.  But it is YOUR life my single brothers and sisters and I promise you, God has special plans for you through the whole journey.  Don’t miss the good because of your past.  Don’t miss the good because of the high costs you’ve paid.  Don’t miss the good because you are lonely.  Don’t miss the good by being blinded by what you lost.  Don’t miss the good because you are too busy working hard to be who you USED TO BE.  Get on a new ride and take the good in each day NOW.  Please my friend, GO FOR IT!!!

Glory Hallelujah!  It excites me!  I could just do a cheerleader jump for joy!  Well…sorry, IF I could still do a cheerleader jump I would lol.  But for real, I am excited!  Believing in powerful Christ centered MISSION, PURPOSE and DESTINY for each of us; I know we can find our encouragement. Do you want to know if I have received all my dreams?  Nope, I haven’t.  Have I embraced all my heart’s desires? Nope.  Have I experienced all that I planned by this age in my life?  Nope…again.  Well, you know what I say?  I say, “So what!”  I am 52 years old and I am NOT through living, experiencing, embracing or believing.  I am NOT wasting my days waiting for the rest to come!  I will NOT go to the carnival and just stand there watching life pass me by!

Oops, well, there are a couple of things I guess I will miss out on as the years keep ticking by.  Okay…can I get personal?  LOL…remember in my first story that I shared about wanting to drive and cruise cross country on a Harley…free and exploring with my long hair, red lipstick and big loop earrings?  I know that probably surprised MANY of you.  Remember the Knight Warrior that I believe to come and sweep me off my feet and gallop off with me on his horse?  Woo hoo, what a man! Well, there is one other itty bitty little detail that my Christian friends, after their shock, used to get such a kick out of….I want my man to have long hair and an earring!  Stop laughing!  For real I did!  Man, oh man, that was just flat out romantic to me lol.  I am a Christian gypsy at heart – I know it – I have to be!  But hey, I am a good sport!  Maybe he can break out the wig during a candle light supper!  Sorry…just picking!  I probably have enough hair for both of us!

The other thing was…I love to dress up too.  I love to wear all sorts of sparkly clothes, jewels and high heeled boots!  For real, I remember telling my Aunt that I sure was hoping MY MAN didn’t wait to come till I was on a walker…I want to be romanced in my boots!  You know, whatever makes you feel spunky lol.  Tennis shoes just don’t make me feel romantic…but if my Soul Mate doesn’t hurry, it may be Dr. Scholls!  Just kiddin…sort of!

Soooooo wow, now that I have shared all my secrets, can I just jump right on in the next issue at hand?  Do you want to know what my thoughts are right now?  RELATIONSHIPS. Yep, that’s it.  As a single I figured that was a pretty important issue to study, learn and plan for.  I have learned a lot on the back side of my two marriages and with dating – namely, that a committed relationship must have one real indicator of love that speaks truth to ME.

People say the word LOVE really easy and I have been through some really painful relationships.  With Godly-wisdom I pray that I have finally located the key factor to me for my future marriage relationship.  Do they want what’s best for me?  That is the simple question and filter with prayer that will determine that love commitment for me.

People say a lot of things that sound good.  Important people in your life say a lot of things that seem good.   But what MUST BE in my healthy relationship is that their life will reveal that they want what’s best for me.  That’s their job, to want what’s best for me MORE than what’s best for them.  I don’t want imitation love that focuses only to meet their needs.  And with all my heart, I want my life to mirror exactly the same for them….that I want what’s best for them.  Therefore, neither heart is focused on itself.  I will be watching for those truths because a God-covenant must be stepped into with truth and without deception.  And that’s that.

As for me today as a single living Life After Divorce….

I am happy…truly.  I have peace in my heart and in my home.  That is priceless to me.  Jesus is not distant to me nor a fairy tale.  He is my King of Kings and I am surrendered to Him.  Therein is my peace and I will guard it always.

Just recently I began a new career on a law enforcement team as an officer supporting and equipping officers to serve and protect each of you.  That is worthy and honorable.  I praise God for using the gifts that He has given me to cover the government that He has put in place.

My time off is impressive and I am grateful to continue to love and be used to bless my family and friends.  Loving them is the desire of my heart.  I want to do what is best for them also!

As for writing, my God-gift of writing and telling stories….inspirational stories…to touch, inspire and encourage you will continue to go forth.  My terrific work schedule will provide the time off.  Jesus will provide the stories and the way!  I pray to publish a teaching devotional within a year.  And more after that…

And hmmmmm….romance…well, there isn’t so much happening in that area right now.  But no matter, for the first time in my life, I know that I am truly “complete” and ready to be God’s best for someone.  If they tarry, well, they might not find me in high heel boots lol.

So there it is. My divorce story is shared.  The truth is that Life After Divorce has all the opportunities in the world to be as good as you are open for it to be.  Open my friends, we must open wide!  Ride that roller coaster with hands held high, brave and adventurous – for we truly haven’t seen anything yet!

Thank you for sharing this story with me.

My next personal blog will be in June…be blessed!

Life After Divorce – Final Page

Patti Corbello Archer

Single struggles…

Awesome! I think it surprised many people when they found out that I even knew how to shoot a 38 special – much less have one at my house. Many people had only seen me as church staff or a prayer counselor at church functions, lol, so it shocked them when I completed the Sheriff’s Department women’s self defense class and shooting range lesson a few years ago and I was one of the ladies interviewed by KPLC for the nightly news.  It was great!  As far as my shooting score, I had 5 shots…almost all in the same hole.  I loved it!  The class was held on a Saturday so the news ran that night.  At church the next morning, I had a lot of surprised church family!

Most of the congregation in general didn’t really know the country girl side of me.  I grew up with family that hunted and fished and I was certainly taught how to clean fish and shoot.  My parents used to take us camping and on adventures.  So while I do love to dress up, I just as much love to roam around barefoot with no makeup, exploring nature or chillin.  But now, let’s get back to my timeframe…

I turned 50 in 2008 and began to feel it.  I was slimmer then because over the next couple of years I not only worked long hours for ministry, I tended to my new home, and all my own yard work – which WAS substantial! I wasn’t really concerned about dating anyone. I was still putting the recent “online long distance” dating relationship behind me.  It had been way too much work making something out of nothing just because I was lonely.

Financially, I was pretty strapped once I stepped into life as a new homeowner.  I made a great income, but it was my first time to buy a house on my own…and a 3 bedroom 86 years old cottage home was a lot of work and expense.  Utilities were high and I sweated a lot working in my yard.  And that’s NO lie.  Thank you, Jesus that I did a good job of remodeling, maintaining the house and ALL the yard work.  I wanted it to look good and stay in shape.  I faithfully believed in His Word, “…be faithful over a few things and He will make you ruler over much.”

In fact, that very thing came into play much sooner than I imagined.  In November 2009, my work load at church maxed out and I began to see the pressure would never get any better in my position.  So, 4 months later, thank you, Jesus, I sold my home so that I was free financially to make new decisions for my future.  It was God-favor that I was able to sell it with a profit after less than 3 years of owning it.  Amen to that!  After I sold it I moved to an apartment in my old home town to be closer to my son and his family…as they had a new baby girl that would be born in June 2010. Needless to say, June 11, is a day in all our hearts and there is no need to PROMISE you that I was and still am proud to call myself “Maw Maw”!

So just last year my granddaughter was born and I turned 52 years old.  I was aggressively pursuing new life – and was ready for even more changes in my life.  I now had less work to tend to at home since I was happily no longer a homeowner.  That meant everything!  I was able to relax more at home, and enjoy time with family and friends and had more flexibility in my finances.  Then I began delegating more work at the church to others and started looking for another career.  At the same time I was also interested in opening myself up to some male friend companionship and conversation.

Again, I knew of nowhere to meet Christian singles outside of church.  And yet I didn’t know of any single guys in church in the personal relationship category.  My focus at church had to be work.  I didn’t have time for fellowship when I was working.  There was no longer a singles ministry at church since I stepped down from leading and really, I had no idea where to go as a single Christian interested in socializing, fellowship and/or dating.

Even when I was a singles leader, I contemplated why the majority of Christian singles weren’t interested in connecting at church with singles age 35 and up.  I know that churches are FILLED perhaps with even as much as 50% of singles.

Finally, I began to believe that in a decade of technology, perhaps personal face-to-face connections and socializing have been usurped by online dating sights, email, texting, social networks like FaceBook or even web in general – UNLESS some Christians in loneliness, sadly, try the bar scene as I did years ago.

I am not saying technology as a connection avenue is a sin for Christians – truly I am not. Technology is certainly a blessing for Christians as well as for the secular world – if used with integrity and character.  I am just saying that I think that maybe more mature singles are now able to meet their socializing and connection needs in this superficial and perhaps temporary manner.  If so, then they may feel there may be less and less need to step out in the traditional manner of congregating in a group of singles; if you can shop online so-to-speak, why go to the store?  Honestly, I think that may be the case.  It is scary what the long range result of that will be if it is true.

Maybe I will address that question another time.  But tonight, well, I guess I will share that again I turned to the Christian online dating site for Christian male conversation and connection.  My boundary and intent was firmly acknowledged to myself and with God.  My focus was as Friends ONLY for an extended time…communication with only local Christian men that I talk to via phone and emails for 2 weeks FIRST…then meeting them….then possibly companionship after that.  I limited my evenings of online connection to an hour.  No more would it take over my life.  I had no intention of repeating my past disaster.

Within a short time I was connecting with two local Christian men.  Their communication and profiles seemed sincere.  After a couple of weeks we met in public places and visited.  One guy was a nice Christian man and we went out a few times. I was not interested in romance anytime soon and he was.  I realized that the “Friendship” plan…wasn’t a good one.  It was stressful for me and I felt like I was taking advantage of a nice guy.  I didn’t believe that friendships were supposed to be stressful…so this WASN’T working with the friendship strategy.  I know if I would have really been drawn to learn more about him…I would have continued the relationship.  I just didn’t feel led to do so.  As for the other guy, nope, absolutely no connection there. After that, it just took more energy than I wanted to give it and I deleted and closed out my online dating account.  However, I was happy to learn that through the years of continual growth that I was much wiser and stronger.  Go God!  Nothing was wrong, I just didn’t want to be on a merry-go-round of repetitive processes.

But y’all…for real….I had more fun with the online exploring and connecting part!  Which lol, leads me to share a brief “Ad” I wrote as a class assignment at McNeese just a couple of months ago. I hope you will get a kick out of it…

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Love Ad

 Love…going once, going twice, sold for the budget rate of $19.95 per month, or for the special rate of $49.95 for 3 months, or even at the bargain rate of $89.95 for the whole year.  Love, available at the price I can afford!  So…I clicked YES on the amazingly tempting love offer. Yes, I did.  Me, an intelligent, mature, single, Christian adult said yes to the gimmick.  I of course knew that it wasn’t real and the percentage of real relationships that survive the budget time period is probably .0005 percent.  But like Cinderella, I might be that percent!  Prince Charming could be smiling sweetly at my picture and clicking yes on his Dell laptop in an airport in a city 3,000 miles away.   So, I eagerly filled out all my personal preferences…got my personal catalog ad so-to-speak ready to go, wasted hours on creating my “image”.  I downloaded pictures that hid every non perfect aspect of my person and if none could be found, I took an eyeball level shot of my face on my phone and froze it into an eternal pose…a pose that I would never have posed in real life!  Did I say that I was intelligent? Then I spent the next month or so wasting valuable real relationship and personal time on repeating the same personal introduction over and over to each different connection request.  I even went so far as to go on several dates – public, perfectly respectful ones – or should I say, “Perfectly respectful empty ones.”  Friendship and Romance were no where to be found.  I even preferred the online imagined guys to the actual date guys when I actually met them.  What’s up with that???  So, as my budget Love relationship time period came to a close, I cheerfully erased all my profile, pictures and communications and ceased the real relationship I had spent so much time with….my laptop.

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This was just to poke a little fun at me with my experience on online dating.

See you tomorrow night!

Page 5

Patti Corbello Archer

Life After Divorce – single struggles

Online dating…really

I love it!  Looking across my desk on the other side of the room are 3 pictures from days of old with Knights, Kings and Queens holding court, and princesses watching Warriors ride off into battle with all authority and honor.  For real my friends, that is what we MUST live spiritually for victory…authority!  Remember me telling you of my Knight statue that I carried home in my car?   He was a reflection to me of the spiritual authority that Jesus released to me, first because I believed Him to HAVE all authority for what happens on Heaven and Earth, and secondly because I experienced firsthand victories as He trained me with His Spirit to win wars and battles in MY life in areas the devil had previously claimed.  We took my land…my life back so-to-speak!

Isn’t that what happens when wars are won?  Winners mark their territory as the land is claimed for the victor!  The people are claimed, renamed and redefined who live under their rule.  In days of old, everyone in the land stepped under the authority of the new owner.  Now THAT’s what I’m talking about!

Don’t competition winners in our day today get trophies, medals, and awards?  Why?  Why do they get something in their hand?  It is so they will remember not just the victory…but the battle and the strategy that got them there…so they never forget HOW to win!  It is so they remember forever their claim of authority over that territory.  It is so they can teach others how to go out and win for themselves…and remove the enemy from the territories in their lives.

I remember well the battles and victories in my Christian life…my healing, my deliverance, and my freedom.  I can assure you that I have a “spiritual” weapon’s trophy locker that I can open and pull from anytime I need too.  They are powerful truths and they are always accessible when battles rise up.  But what I MUST say now is to REMEMBER to access it!  A weapon of war is only good in the hand of the warrior…not forgotten on a shelf.  And a warrior must ALWAYS know his strong points and weak areas.  I promise you…the enemy knows!  If you leave yourself vulnerable…the enemy is coming.  He just needs a second to slip in an unguarded area.

And here my friend is where I start my story tonight.

It wasn’t that I didn’t have a fabulous passionate relationship with Jesus Christ…real and vibrant and powerful.  It wasn’t that I didn’t know He adored me and wooed me at all times.  I saw His hand of favor on me.  I felt His wind of love around me.  It wasn’t that at all.  But for some reason in this season, I let a lonely desire for a MAN to love me sneak out of my past into my life.

Just a little less than four years ago I decided I would help God open the door to romance so I could find my soul mate.  And no, I didn’t ask God about it.  I just assumed He wouldn’t mind, which makes no sense whatsoever.  But the truth is that I was tired of waiting and wanted someone in my life…my new home was so empty with just me.  I wanted THE man…to call and say, “Good morning”…or us meet for coffee…or meet and cook dinner or watch a movie.  I wanted us to dance to love songs and walk along the water.  I wanted our eyes to meet and talk without saying a single word at all.  Truly I wanted a Knight that was all things in all ways…filled with the Holy Ghost, afraid of nothing and protecting me from everything.  I wanted to be God’s best for him and him to be God’s best for me.  My heart’s desire seemed harmless.

I thought it would be safe enough to go online…giving no one access to me till I chose…getting to connect and know people and learn to trust them…share….listen…dream…and then enjoy the anticipation of meeting and watching love explode.

I thought that filling out the Christian online personality profile was fun – setting up my pictures – and going through all the men’s profiles discovering who all was doing the same thing I was doing.

For the first three months I just played with connecting in online chat rooms, seeing what it was all about, and just learning what singles around the country were saying and thinking.  It seemed like lonely singles just looking for someone to reach out to…thinking someone out there might be THE ONE.  After all, that was what I was doing.

Then I began to focus on a few guys that seemed to have the most integrity and seemed interesting and we began to visit away from the chat rooms….on the phone, text, and email.  It was all pretty fun, very time consuming and addictive…my friends and family picked at me a good bit.  Two of my close confidants were not happy about it…but I was on a roll…enjoying being a woman and excited about what was around the corner.  Feeling safe that it was a Christian dating service, I felt like my bases were covered.  Finally it was time to meet one that lived a few towns away.

We met in a public place and I couldn’t have been more surprised that he was nothing like I perceived from our communications.  He was a very sweet guy, but not THE ONE nor would he ever be….it was painful to begin a relationship with someone and then just let it disappear.  When you visit for a long time before you ever meet, you share things about each other.  It IS personal and you can’t help but have expectations for the future.  And hurting someone is always personal.  I was not proud of myself.

Hoping to never experience that again, I kept visiting with my chat room buddies.  It was playful and I looked forward to it.  All I did was work and go home so this was an enjoyable evening event!

In just a couple of weeks, one of my chat room buddies wanted to come and meet me.  He lived a couple of states over and I couldn’t imagine him driving all the way over!  We kept visiting and I said sure, that would be fine to meet.  I was pretty nervous about it especially in lieu of the guy I had just recently hurt.

It isn’t like I was some wild dater…I hadn’t even kissed a man since I had left my husband five years before.  I lived a very protected life and this was something totally new to me. Living Godly wasn’t just something I said.

Well, I took a day off work and we arranged to meet when he got into town.  It was all pretty exciting.  We met in a public place and had a good time.  There was a lot of things I liked about him…and some I didn’t.  We enjoyed our time together and decided to see if a relationship would develop.

It did develop.  Too fast.  He would drive in ever few weeks and I would go stay at my sister’s house and he would stay at mine.  But it began to consume my life.  I already worked many, many hours and I was trying to juggle his trips into town on top of it.  We texted on the phone half the night and talked on the phone for hours.  My loss of sleep was tremendous.  My work load was still tremendous.  My family and friends complained about me staying occupied with him for hours each day even when he wasn’t in town.  It was a very hard relationship to make workable.

It continued for a couple of months and I was exhausted.  Isn’t it amazing how hard we work to make something out of nothing?  After a good argument it ended.  We tried to keep in touch for awhile but I had “red flags” everywhere in the relationship.  It was over.

And I got sleep again thank you God!

I learned a lot of things in seeking and dating Christian single men from online.  You just can’t know someone based on email, text, chat rooms or telephone.  Face to face in the long run is the only true communication to meet and get to know someone.  The other stuff…well it should be only to keep in touch…not the main means to learn each other.  And even then, if they don’t live local to where you see their life and their faith…they can create an identity of any kind.  That is scary.

I know God protected me during that season of …doing what I wanted to do.  Jesus take stubbornness from me Lord!  I thank Him that the two guys were gentle men and that my lessons didn’t leave me damaged…but wiser.

Speaking of wiser, my next journey was in getting a 38 special from my son and taking self defense classes at the shooting range.  Have I mentioned that I am a good shot, lol?

God keeps us…truly!  And my story continues…see you tomorrow night.

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Patti Corbello Archer

Life After Divorce –  Online Dating

The Carousel…

193021534001025126_3J9dkCa4_bIt was hard to believe that it happened to me again! Almost 14 years after my second marriage I had found myself in exactly the same position…on the other side of divorce.  It seemed almost like the whirling of a carousel, literally, as my life rotated round –n-round until it stopped and I stepped off into the same mindset place….at 43 years old instead of 26.

I can still remember the epiphany moment when I finally realized the “Repeat” I had just experienced.  It wasn’t until that epiphany that I KNEW beyond a shadow of a doubt that unresolved issues controlled my decisions and mindsets about some very deep beliefs in me…even though I was saved and a Christian now.

Now, I know that I have shared snippets of some of my thoughts and experiences on making the decision for this divorce based on triggers of fear from my childhood.  But tonight, well, my focus tonight is on the single perspective from this last ten years that I have been “single again” for the second time after the choice was made.

I think the scariest thing about the new “single again” for me was the fact that I was a Christian when it happened.  I somehow believed that I COULDN’T make the same decisions, mistakes and choices that I used to as an unbeliever.  I was so scared and truly sought God and received forgiveness for breaking my marriage covenant.  And no matter the reason – even safety – I truly believe that breaking a covenant with God is sin.  But I am not one to wallow in condemnation, thank you Jesus!  After asking forgiveness and RECEIVING IT, I grieved the death of our marriage, accepted my new life, and moved on…focused on God and family!  It is NOT like I was going to go the bar scene this time around.  As far as I was concerned, that person, like Elvis lol, had left the building.

I can assure you, men in my future were the last thing on my mind!  I had no thought, desire, plan, or purpose to date, much less marry again!  (So sorry for the prejudice!  God took care of that later!  See my previous stories.)  I loved my new single season free from oppression.  I began to focus on getting healthy physically, emotionally and spiritually.  The “ouch” truth was that I had spent a lot of years not feeling loved at all, so in all honesty I literally had to restrain myself from slapping those well meaning souls when they asked me when I was going to find a new man.  My heart would scream, “NEVER”!  My face just played it off.

As you know by my testimony, my life was a healing whirlwind during this time – and I had a great time single.  I began getting involved in the single ministry at church and we had lots of fellowship, activities and stayed occupied, serving and busy.  Especially once I began to work at the church!

It was totally important to me to keep myself …Holy…body, soul and spirit.  The married men I worked and served with at church  have no idea how they blessed my life.  I hadn’t had many relationships with Godly men….well, and those men showed me what Godly men were.  I would watch them love, serve and protect the body of Christ and I began to learn what qualities I desired one day to find in a man.  I thanked God many times for putting me in a safe place to grow and increase as a woman of god…SAFELY.

I bloomed and in me was released a deep passion for God, worship, and creativity.  I guess I was just like a greenhouse flower…protected from outside influences and growth was guaranteed!

A single guy I knew at church in time became really friendly…interested…I would get lots of comments from those that noticed, but I just wasn’t ready for my passion and zest for life to be shared in a romantic relationship.  I still kept my walls up against that.  I kind of picture it like a castle…the drawbridge was up and no one was getting past the gate.  For real!  Speaking of castle…

At this stage of my spiritual journey I began to collect pictures of castles, study about warriors and even, yes even, bought a 6-foot metal knight in armor.  Oh my gosh, I loved the representation of that!  I found him at a second hand office furniture store in Westlake – and barely got him in my car.  It was so funny to watch the vehicles pass me by on the I10 bridge and do a double take at the “Knight” filling my car!

But back to being single…I think I believed that because I worked at church 7 days a week, that one day MY knight would just walk into my office and whisk me away on his white stallion. Don’t YOU laugh!  For real, I was rarely anywhere else, so that seemed the logical plan to me!

And then one day, a visiting minister at church began to flirt…and I had a great time with it and began to realize I was getting ready to think about a relationship.  While that minister was only an eye opener, so-to-speak and not a relationship, I began to be aware of a change taking place in my heart on the issue of romance in general.

But then I began to wonder where all the single Christian men were!  I didn’t see many of them at the single’s ministry events that I was now Leader for.  If fact, there were few single Christian women that would step out and come to single’s events.  I knew that there weren’t many places for Christian singles to fellowship.  Bars were out of the question in ministry circles and it seemed as if most single and divorced people 35 and over must have found other ways to socialize or meet.

There were a few networked single’s events in the city…but even those events were minimally attended.  So I would ask myself, “Where are the Christian singles going to meet, socialize and date?”  I tried to alter and change ministry activities to attract church singles – knowing that there were many needs not being addressed in their lives.  But honestly, I didn’t have a lot of time to think about it since I worked almost every day…and when church events were going on, I was working and unable to meet and get to know other Christian singles.

And then, in the middle of all that, I bought a home and my focus was totally preoccupied for several months as I got moved out of my apartment, remodeled my new house, and got settled.  It was a great time…quite a challenge…and a tremendous amount of work.  I loved my home.  But then one day I noticed how empty it was and for the first time in many, many years, I wanted romance, a husband and a partner at home.  I had been single again this time for about five years.  I just hadn’t prepared for the waive of determination I felt towards having someone in my life romantically all of a sudden.  I don’t know it if was the “home” factor.  Or the “responsibility” factor.  Or simply because I was “lonely” right in the middle of hundreds and even thousands of people many times a week working in ministry.

And what did I do?  I did what many Christians do when they are trying to “help” God or make something happen when the wait gets too long.  I stepped up and took over.  Ever heard of online dating?

Oh yeah…I am sure you have.  I heard and learned about it… and opened a door to a nightmare.

I felt sure I had it all under control.   Boy was I wrong.

And tomorrow night I will share about that.

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Patti Corbello Archer

Life After Divorce – The Carousel

Hindsight is 20/20…

 

Hindsight IS  20/20 as I look at my past through the eyes of my knowledge now…

After my first divorce I moved back home to my parents and began life as a “single again” divorced parent.  There just wasn’t any way at all to prepare for that new life.  Like I shared earlier, I never dreamed that I would have one divorce much less two!  I just kind of drifted home and didn’t much plan for my future.  As long as my son and I were fine, I was fine.

I didn’t know that I was very naïve and that I had no idea what I wanted for my future as a woman, I just knew the type of life I DIDN’T want.  That is the easiest way for me to say it.  I certainly wasn’t in any hurry to date, or really plan anything…much less to meet someone and get married!  God knows my loneliest days were as a wife and I was happy to be free.

However, I was totally self conscious about my value and lack of beauty being overweight.  I had no concept of who I was a person.  I knew I was a mother – which I loved!  I knew I was an ex-wife, a daughter, sister, friend, etc.  But my identity as a “woman” with heart and dreams inside, I had no inkling of those inner workings whatsoever.  My identity was all about what I did as a “caretaker”.  THAT to me was real value.  Service was my real asset to me.

I had a job working as a traveling inventory auditor – and it turns out that I was very good at it.  I remember being very surprised that my employers kept increasing my responsibility load and that all my co-workers and new friends liked me.  I didn’t think much of myself beyond what I could provide for others – you know – what I earned.  It amazed me that people wanted to be around me.

My son and I lived with my parents for several months and life to me … was wonderful.  I loved my personal freedom as an adult.  I didn’t drink much at all, I never did drugs, and smoking was my visible addiction….well, and food!

My parents finally convinced me to enroll again at McNeese…and I loved it!  My son and I moved into the family dorms by the football stadium.  I truly enjoyed life and was very happy.  It took a long time for me to even consider dating.  I started going out to clubs with friends every once in a while and that began to open some doors up in me…that could have been deadly.

I was really insecure about myself and did not believe that anyone would ever want to love me because of the betrayal I had known…but I began to think about wanting to be loved.  I started going by myself to some clubs…especially when my friends weren’t free.  I had no confidence to be assertive with men, but I just walked around watching everyone or sitting at the bar….not even drinking.  I was terrified about drinking and driving!  Lord knows that I should have been concerned about more than that.

I did that off and on for about six months, wanting a relationship but not really “open” to communication with strangers – and I didn’t know any single men.  I didn’t know what to do.  Most of my school friends were married and all I saw were family and co-workers in my daily life.  I thought going to bars was my only avenue!   It was really a miracle that I stayed safe during that time frame.  I had a couple of weird encounters, but I just didn’t respond and would leave and go home.  One time I was sitting at the bar and a guy was kind of mysterious and sat down and started visiting with me.  After chatting a little while, he grabbed my fingers and tried to put them in his mouth.  I didn’t know if I wanted to laugh or slap him.  I thought he was one weirdo and I took off pretty quick…after I washed my hand!  How gross was that?  I don’t even think I asked security to walk me out.  Thank You God for mercy…

I didn’t really share my bar roamings with many people.  I was lonely but private about it.  And I surely didn’t have a relationship with God…at all.

By this time I had been “single again” two years and someone encouraged me to join a single parent’s club.  I was nervous but got a friend to go with me.  It was a smaller group setting with people that I had more in common with.  I dated a few times for awhile.  It was like I was “14” going on 29.  All I had known mostly was dating my first husband through high school.   It isn’t that I was shy…I was just naïve and insecure, waiting to be led…and that certainly got me in a trouble a few times.

It didn’t take long for me to find someone I was attracted to.  We were nothing alike and I did a lot of listening trying to find out about him.  He was much older than me and wanted to get serious fast.  In time, after my initial caution, I wanted what he seemed to represent to me to.  After all, I didn’t know what else I wanted out of life and I was just happy he wanted me.

I wish I could say that Christian values and integrity kept me in a pure state but I would be lying…and I have come too far with you for that.  You get what you look for.  That is pretty simple.

He and I came from totally different backgrounds and I just “blended” right on into his.  Remember – I didn’t have any identity clarification of my own.  I stepped into a life and relationship that I knew nothing about.

I yielded to his authority so-to-speak and even almost got myself killed because of it.  One night we had been at a club dancing.  I hadn’t had anything to drink but he was drunk.  He had driven his truck that night.  When we went outside to leave, I tried to get him to let me drive but his macho personality wouldn’t allow it.  I tried again to coax him and he would have no part of it.  My co-dependency and lack of boundary wooed me right on up into that vehicle….well, I didn’t want him to leave me did I?  About three miles from his house we got hit head-on because he turned into two oncoming vehicles.

You know, I am so grateful as I look back at all my lack of wisdom, that God sent His angels to protect me even when I didn’t acknowledge Him.  It was a miracle really.  Our injuries were minor considering I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and hit the windshield and he wrapped himself around the steering wheel.

And still I continued on my set path…needing this relationship….more than anything else.  I was in love and nothing anyone said would make one bit of difference to me.  And I made sure not to tell them of the things I KNEW already were “red flags”.  I think I even tried to hide them from myself.  I was determined to risk it all.  I craved love and nothing else mattered.

We dated a year, got in a fight, then made up and flew to Las Vegas and got married.

As I close tonight’s story, I just want you to know that I don’t share my life with you just to entertain you.  I share my life, hindsight and Christian discernment today with you in hopes that you will see any hidden lies or self deceptions in your own life …and protect yourself from making the same mistakes that I did:

  •  I had no personal identity of my own….I needed to blend into others.
  • I had no personal plan…..which made me vulnerable for the plans of others.
  • I didn’t get to the root of my issues with my first husband…..and continued with my usual relationship behavior.
  • I put myself in harms way to meet a desire to be loved…at any cost.
  • I didn’t know Christ as my Savior….and therefore the devil had an open door.

No matter if you are male or female, you are playing with life and heart destruction if you have no Jesus, no structure, no healing from past behaviors, or no revelation of the harm unwise decisions can cause.  I promise you….until patterns and behaviors are exposed…you will keep doing what you always do.  Don’t think the enemy doesn’t know how you think.  So…CHANGE it!

And this, my friends, is why my story continues.  If even one of you, just one of you, finds true life, liberty and happiness through Jesus, then my story will have been worth it.

Speaking of continue…tune in again tomorrow night.  There is more to come…

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Patti Corbello Archer

Life After Divorce – Hindsight is 20/20

Life After Divorce…The Beginning

imagesCAN2WMOKOkay, so how do you begin this type of blog?  Divorce is such a serious issue, full of questions, fear, wounds, hurt and anger.  I can remember the range of emotions that flooded me during not just one but both of my divorces.  So, remembering that, I will just start tonight off with something embarrassingly funny and then come back around to the point of it all afterwards.  Come with me…

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To set the scene, go back with me to 2004.  I had been working in ministry less than 2 years, I was about 46 years old and twice divorced.  At that time I was probably fasting for spiritual discernment, as I did so much in those days because I was clarifying my freedom from any addictive thoughts or feelings that might try to sneak back into my life.  I was also in the middle of a personal vow to God not to cut my hair…till I felt released to do so.  It was just something of mine that I set aside for Him.  It was a great time in my life and I was madly passionate about being single, healed, delivered and set free….in Christ!

Being the only full time staff working for a growing multi-cultural, non-denominational ministry, I worked many hours to keep up with all the congregation and administration needs.  One of my office duties was to compile a meeting agenda for our Sunday afternoon departmental meeting that we held once a month with all pastors, leaders and myself.

Well, it was at one of these Sunday night meetings that one of the pastors began to discuss an agenda issue about a wedding that would take place at our church.  It was a young couple that worked in an international volunteer ministry that was based locally.  We were discussing what the couple might need in terms of a gift or a blessing, or just what they might need in general since they didn’t have an employment position with pay or benefits.

The conversation and suggestions went round the table with 30 plus leaders making various comments.  I was taking meeting notes and listening to everyone else when suddenly the idea of a gift occurred to me.  I was sitting next to the pastor leading the discussion and said, “I know what they probably need”!  She looked at me since she knew I had spent some time visiting with them on the marriage booklet.  I said, “I know they probably can’t afford wedding rings.”  Surprised, pastor said, “You want us to buy them wedding rings”?  Totally, innocent, I said, “Not at all – I would be glad to give them one of mine”!

Now truly, honestly – even being the leader for the singles ministry, I had no notion of how it sounded.  It never occurred to me.  But the roar of laughter and comments that followed my suggestion was loud and thoroughly filled with humor.  I was so embarrassed!  They picked at me a good long while…quizzing me on how many wedding rings I had laying around.  I tried to explain that I only had two…but that didn’t sound any better!  The story became an enjoyable tale.  I certainly learned to laugh with them!

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Truly, looking back on that night, it was funny but I knew that many of those sitting at the table with me didn’t even have any idea of the experiences I had been through being divorced.  And that brings me back to today and to the point of this Life After Divorce blog.  This blog is ultimately about me and about you.  I want to clarify that it isn’t about the splitting up, or the dividing up, or the giving up, or the divorce process itself. It isn’t about who you were, or what you had, or what you did, or where you lived, or where you didn’t live.

It is about the other side of that when you walked into the bathroom and no other toiletries were in there but yours.  It is about the family photo albums that you packed away in a box, and the wedding ring that you don’t know what to do with, and the face of your child that looks at you reflecting the face of the one you are no longer married to.

It is about holidays that come around and you would rather burn a Christmas tree than decorate it.  It is about looking into your bank book that got sliced in half – and you wonder why you even have one now.  It is about getting into bed at night and trying to forget the flat empty space on the other side of the bed.

It is about going weeks or longer before you feel the touch of affection from another human being.  It is about sadness because you haven’t heard the words “I love you” in a long, long time.  Or maybe it’s the Valentine’s Day or birthday that passes like leaves on the breeze with memories that slice like a knife.

These are just a smidgen of the experiences my friends that go on and on when you are single again.  Isn’t that so?  We each have our own story and experiences.  But I salute you my single friend!  I applaud you my Christian sister and brother!  We are the holder and keeper of opportunities.  You hear that?  Opportunities…that my friend is the point of my story in this blog!!

I promise you that the aloneness and sorrow in the paragraphs above cease to have “controlling” power over you as you ADD Christ’s strategies to your life – and step away from your past that mocks and reminds you of who you no longer are – and I dare you to step up and believe in who you are to become.

You CAN’T change what has happened and you CAN’T get lost in the sorrow or anger in your heart.  If you do, temptation can drive you to unwise decisions as you seek to fill the aching void based on your needs, fears or desires.  How many singles wake up after a one-night stand in someone else’s bed… still lonely?  How many jump right into any desperate relationship because you are scared to be by yourself?  How many fight to hide depression?  How many drink to forget the pain?  How many shop to feel better?  How many get high on drugs to feel like they are “all that” again?  How many secretly dive into porno?  And maybe how many might think life isn’t even worth living?  STOP!  THOSE are the devil’s way of “stealing” you so that he can fill your void and take control of your life.  Send that lie back to the pits of hell!!!

I encourage you to stand up and say, “I cancel the assignment of the enemy in Jesus’ name!”  I will LIVE…the way I was created to live!  And DO it!

The Word of God tells us that as singles we are powerful and can do MORE for the Body of Christ than those that are married because we can choose…to give, share, and do extra for those around us.  Jesus was single…purposely so…and his life was perfect.  He was not lacking…neither are you.  The world, many married couples, and sometimes even ministry leaders, look upon singles as being in a “holding” stage while waiting to become “whole” again once remarriage is in place.  Let me assure you that…

You are the receiver of God’s “CREATIVE” heart miracles.

You are not stamped “BROKEN” because you are single.

You are “PURPOSED” to impact the Body of Christ with or without a wedding ring.

You are “VALUABLE” to serve and minister…no matter what your marital status is.

You are “HOLY BECAUSE HE IS HOLY” and are totally equipped to stand pure as a single.

You are “POWERFUL” for use by the works of His hands – enjoy that you have more time to give Him.

You are “LOVED and ADORED” every minute of every day because YOU are His.

You are “HEALED AND GOD’S BEST” if new love and a marriage covenant enter your life again.

A wedding ring or marriage will never identify you or I.  God does that!  The relationships we have in our lives add to our definition or identity but do NOT define us.  If that is the case, any loss can make you lose your way.

Now maybe you are not yet at the place of believing or living these truths.  So what!!!  You don’t come to Him AFTER you’re fixed.  You come to Him to BE fixed. Nothing about your life keeps you from His door of forgiveness and new opportunities!  It is always open to you. You think He doesn’t know all your secrets, desires and sorrows?  He knows everything about you…and His voice is always calling you to Him…ready at your surrender to cast your old life into His sea of forgetfulness so that you are free for your future .  I should know…my life many times, especially after my first divorce, had to be cast in there…for real.

My single life after my first divorce had lots of pitfalls…hindsight is 20/20…but that is a story for tomorrow night.

Life After Divorce…the beginning

Patti Corbello Archer

Page 1

Going back to say thank you…

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I loved sharing my Story and my Testimony with all of you.  Looking back at the powerful way God touched my “scars, wounds, and beliefs” makes my smile…a big smile today!  I have a grateful heart – and I want to be like the leper that came back to Jesus in Luke 17:15 …one of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice.  He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him…NIV.

I am not ashamed that I needed His creative touch on my life and I will throw myself at Him always.

And as I close this part of my story, from the depths of my soul I want to say thank you for my family, my absolutely wonderful son and his family: Zeb, Cora, Triston and Alayna, my honorable and blessed parents: Harold and Gerry Corbello, my special favorite brother Ricky and Ronda Corbello and daughter, my other special favorite brother Kevin and Toni Corbello and daughters and my heart and soul baby sister, Julie Giordano and children.  All of YOU amaze me…and humble me…YOU are God-gifts to me.   Oh my Jesus…how You bless me with who they are every hour of every day…such faith, love, loyalty, faithfulness, honor, character, integrity, generosity, encouragement, affection…and truly important – family humor through it all.

While this is my personal Story… it isn’t only me…I look in my spirit-filled family and know Testimonies that would truly change the world.  But that isn’t for me to say, THAT is their story…

Lisa Whatley, Julie, and Mom…what powerful women of God you are!  I will forever sing thankful blessings about you!  You ARE all the Proverbs 31 woman in so many ways…except add to it the discernment, power and integrity of the Holy Spirit.  Sincere sisters in Christ.  May I serve you always.

If I haven’t said your name…forgive me…I promise you that it is in my heart, in my experiences or probably referenced in one of my stories!

It is time for me to put the last “period” in the final sentence of this story and  turn from the past and focus on my future!  Just like you, I am happy, I am excited and I am ready to love the world!

Glory to the King of Kings!

Final story post

Patti Corbello Archer

Future 101

Heart laid bare…

imagesCACI8KLFNothing like a whirlwind to excite things!  Anyway, that is what it seemed like.  The church went from one full time staff to…well, lots!  Then I had to begin working for Christian World on Gauthier from the still Christian World on Oak Park.  Needless to say, this opened a challenge for my organizational skills. Have I mentioned that I am competitive, lol?  Perhaps not in the traditional sweat and run and workout way, but nonetheless, I am always up for a mental competition!  I LOVE strategy and mysteries…

Pastors brought me to the Gauthier campus one night to show me around…to praise God for the WOW of this next season.  I stood there looking across the sanctuary and in my heart knew that it had been such a blessing through the years to love and serve both of them.  I could remember all the trust, the training, the love, the cards, the gifts, the trip to The Potter’s House, the flight to Denver, the laughter as well as the power that we saw of God in the things around us. I wasn’t sure what the future would hold – but I can certainly say I trusted enough to follow God as I followed them. And let me tell you…the new church campus looked like a city of its own!  I took a quick glance at my hands and knew that God must really be planning to bless the works of my hands if I was going to be responsible for doing what I did on Oak Park here on this campus.  I was already putting in long but blessed work weeks – but I knew God was sure to have a plan.

After a few weeks they moved me on campus and I met the 15 or so other staff that were already there.  I had to learn quick, fast and in a hurry what I needed so I didn’t  “skip” a beat in any areas affecting the pastors for minstry.  We all did.  There was no delay…not one service was missed.  We hit the ground running!

When I first arrived on Gauthier it didn’t take me long to calculate that if I didn’t get a quick organizational plan in place my personal life was over.  For surely, with a huge congregation and large campus if everyone did their own thing in their own timeframe then the end result would be scrambling with many after hours or weekend projects. There were many, many things that I couldn’t delegate and everything had just gotten much bigger.  I was the keeper of the “knowledge” so I had to share instructions until everyone else learned it for themselves. I structured as effectively and professionally as I knew with no formal training.

I worked a couple of years after that, loving the ministry work, sincerely receiving, giving, pressing, enduring, growing, learning, and truly believing God was using it as seed for my good.  I stayed in the spiritual gym and pressed and pushed to serve.  Does anyone know that ministry doesn’t punch a time clock?  I was so grateful to God for the Word that was on the inside of me.  For real, I was able to call up a chapter of scripture from my heart and meditate on it…oh my Jesus, I know that memorizing scripture sustained me many times.  I bought a home during this season, blessed truly by family, pastors and friends.  I also continued writing, ministering as a prayer counselor, and led as a singles leader.  Then I was blessed to begin to teach/facilitate the ladies bible studies at night.  I loved teaching from the bottom of my soul…I loved seeing the lesson come alive in their eyes and then their hearts.  I loved surprising them with visual aids and testimony snippets where God had taught me.  I loved the passion in me to teach.

However, as staff, my supervisory duties began to seriously increase.  Two more ministry responsibilities were added to me as leaders stepped down from leading.  Then as time passed the weddings began to multiply and with that came meetings, contracts and rehearsals that I alone handled as wedding coordinator.  And concerts began to increase. I would take the contract…and coordinate all accounting, volunteers, staff, and artists to make it happen.  Truly my responsibilities were substantial and I sought God to bless the works of my hands…and multiply my time with wisdom.

But eventually, like everything else under heavy pressure, as the time passed by…I began to need serious relief against the pressure. I said help as many times as I could. I remember telling someone that even an Olympic swimmer will drown if he never reaches land.  And tell me, what weight lifter never puts the weights down? I started feeling like a sacrifice …a reminder from my childhood declaring that I had no value as a person.  I was hemmed in with church confidential information on one side – and details that no one else was responsible for on the other – which isolated me because of my position.  I began to resent the never ending details that everyone else mocked me for…till they were the ones that needed them.  And I dreaded concerts because it demanded tremendous thought and coordination time and I was already treading water.  They watched me fight the load. I felt led to step down as a singles leader and as the night bible study teacher – seeking to find personal time as best I could since I had no authority to lay down administration responsibilities without permission.  And sometimes, well sometimes I just sorrowed that my service in ministry seemed to have less maintenance value than most people routinely performed on their vehicles.

So, I began preparing my life for a change – feeling and surely acting very much like that angry porcupine that I shared about earlier in my story.  But I got my desk in order and waited.  The change did come.

But now today, peace is restored, and the beauty is that everything of value came with me.  Truly, especially you, if I touched your life any at all during those many years in ministry that I wasn’t… just at my desk.  I will never forget all the food baskets I was asked to put together and bring to the hospital for families just waiting long hours, or the tears and gratefulness as I visited and anointed your loved one as they passed from this life. I remember singing over a lady in ICU that couldn’t even speak.  I remember speaking Psalm 23 from my heart into another heart that would see Jesus just 2 days later.  I cried with you, held you, loved you, and served you.

I remember holding hands and hearts at the altar as we touched souls with your Healer, your Savior, your Comforter, you Redeemer, your Deliverer and well, just anything you needed Him to be.  I knelt over you in protection as you were slain in the spirit…protecting the babies that God trusted me with at His altar.

I remember the drama practices where I played Mary for Easter.  The Joy and passion that Christ put in us to play His story.  I remember the dances we danced – the twirling – the joy – the freedom on us that we prayed would be transferred to those we ministered to.

I remember the prayer service where I got healed on the spot, the worship services where we all loved on Jesus and the Word waterfalls that we all stood under so, so, so many times.

I remember the love I received and the love I gave.  I remember the love you received and the love you gave.  I remember love.  And speaking of love…

I remember when my second husband was in ICU dying with heart attack damage – sometime after our divorce – and I went to see him.  I was still humble with God’s forgiveness in having walked away from that marriage covenant.  While I was spending time with him in there I asked Him about his salvation because I knew that he was afraid.  And there in that ICU room I knelt on the floor, praying and holding his hands – and led him to the Lord.  We both cried.  He is alive to this day. The God touch is…when I got back to the church office, I noticed that it was our anniversary.

I remember just a couple of years ago when my first husband’s wife was really ill and my son was concerned about it.  All of us Christians now, I asked my son, Zeb, to see if they would like me to come anoint and pray with her.  I went over there and she was in bed resting.  I sat on the side of their bed checking on her.  Then my ex husband, her husband came home and knelt on the other side of their bed.  I anointed her while we all prayed in the Holy Ghost in their bedroom.  Now tell me that’s not God’s definition of restoration.

And finally, I remember who I used to be when I walked into the church that first Easter Sunday all those years ago….and I am amazed as I remember each and every detail that Jesus has changed in me as I write today.  I would say that compared to what the enemy had in store for me beginning when I was a little girl…I know I got my miracle!

You see, that is what a testimony is all about, what God has done.  I am who I am because of what He has done.  My mission statement is to: Touch, Inspire and Encourage the Body of Christ.  I pray that my testimony has done that for you so that you can begin your journey for your new beginning just like I did…no matter where or what you came from.

Whoa….wait, speaking of beginning, I think this takes us back to the crossroads that I began with during my first story on the Harley.  Come on…it’s time to go back…

________________________

 I step across and straddle the Harley parked right in front of the crossroad sign – popping up the kickstand all in one motion.  Holding my helmet and my sunglasses I looked one more time back down the road to the left – my past.  I wipe a tear and softly lay my hand against my heart knowing that all the valuables and treasures from my past are inside me.  If it isn’t, I don’t need it.

I look to the right – to my future.  I laugh and then reach across and turn the ignition key, feeling the Harley rumble to life under me.  I slide the helmet over my long hair, careful not to twist my big loop earrings.  I put on my sunglasses.  I turn behind me and glance down at my license plate – “FUTURE 101”.  I give it a quick straighten and turn back around, humming to myself.

I put both hands on the handlebars, hit the right blinker and slowly twist the throttle –  and roll out to begin my new journey.  Then I begin to talk to Jesus. “Jesus, what’s next up the road?  Is my destiny to find my soul mate first and then storytelling?  Or, is it storytelling first and then my soul mate?  Tell me, please!”  He laughed at my prodding and just prompted me to watch the road.   “Well,” I said.  “Don’t make me wait pleeeeaaassee, which is it?”

He leaned down and whispered in my heart, “It’s one or the other.”  I laughed and said, “You’re teasing me.”  He paused and said, “Of course I am, but Patti, do you really want to know?”  “Please, Mighty One” I said.  “You know I hate surprises and open all my presents before I am supposed to.”   He gave me a quick squeeze and said, “I know, but this one is worth it.  Just ahead around the second curve is a road sign, it will tell you what you need to know.”

Cruising around the second curve I finally got close enough to read the sign….it said:

Storytelling Book           50 miles

Soul Mate                    230 miles

I hit the throttle hard…and off I flew…ready for destiny!

End of this journey… for now!

Patti Corbello Archer

Future 101

Before and after the storm…

ElectricalStormThe clock was ticking and change was coming on the horizon…but truth to tell, change was also already happening right there and then on Oak Park Blvd!

When the congregation began to have two services I was still the only full time staff.  I loved working in ministry!  I was the first one there and many times the last one to leave.  It was important to me to have everything in place and ready to go when the first leader or server arrived.  I took covering the pastors and congregation perfectly serious.  I was flexible and had done everything from mopping after construction issues to teaching bible study. My key chain looked like a janitor ring of keys, lol. I KNEW that building even in the dark.  And the sanctuary…well, that was home away from home.

Once two services were in place, I stepped down from dancing.  I have missed it…but knew that it was wiser to provide available time for the work increase.  I had already said goodbye to serving as a greeter and participating in ladies’ bible study.  Working for ministry is not an easy job…but it is certainly a called and exciting God-experience.  Many times my work responsibilities were the priority to me and I just had to let go of some of the things previously in my church life.  I kept a firm hand on stopping work to worship and receive the Word…and to give just as many hugs as I could while running!

Speaking of experiences, how about I share some unusual experiences?  One Saturday I had went to work early to open up for a baby shower.  I noticed some bees around the security panel when I went to turn off the alarm.  Have I mentioned that I was afraid of bees?  I really just plain hate them, lol.  But anyway, Danny DeVillier showed up about that time and I said, “Come see these bees…what’s up with that?”  He kind of followed a bee trail into the nursery and then he came back and got me.  He pointed up to the ceiling in the main nursery play room.  A million bees were on the ceiling!!!   Well, a lot anyway!  I was petrified.  Danny said, “I will be right back” and turned to leave.  I grabbed his arm and said, “Don’t you leave me! We have a bunch of ladies coming soon – what do I do with this?”  He  just laughed and we got an exterminator.  The bees had entered through a tiny hole in the cinder block walls.  Just the thought of a swarm of bees that close to me gave me the chills…and honey or not…there is nothing sweet about them!

Now in my office I had a monitor on my desk that was centrally located in the building so that I could see if someone entered the lobby.  One Friday afternoon, I was working and noticed a man that I didn’t know enter the lobby so I got up to connect with him out in the open instead of back in the office nook.  We met face to face just as I reached the hall door.  He had a very odd look on his face and said that he was a devil worshiper and wanted a pastor to talk to.  Did I mention I was by myself and knew no one else would be coming in to work that afternoon?  It was a tad creepy…  Well, I just was going to have to handle it since he wasn’t in any hurry to leave and had walked there.  So, knowing the power of God was always with me, I invited him to have a seat in the lobby and tried to gather information for a message.  He had asked for a bible so I ran to get him one – I couldn’t wait till he had one in his hand!  Then he wanted to have a spiritual debate and tried to get belligerent about his point of view…saying that the devil was “all that” and that I “better be afraid of him.”  He started sharing what all the devil could do to me.

Well, I was not afraid, but I was insulted for my God and the boldness about jumped out of me!  I told him, “I am not afraid of him!  My God has the power!  The devil has already lost and I am covered by the blood of Jesus.  I personally know about the power of God and He never leaves me.  I think you should open that Bible that you are holding and find out who has the REAL power!  God can cast down ANYTHING the devil can do – as well as turn your life around AND save and protect you.  You and I never have to be afraid!”

About that time pastor walked in…for real!  Just “happened” by…go God!  I explained the situation and pastor took it from there.  I don’t know whatever happened to the guy…he seemed pretty peaceful when he left and I know seeds were planted for deliverance and love by prayer and through the Word.  But it was still pretty creepy…

Another “situation” happened when I was leading the singles and we had a movie night.  We had about….hmmm, 40 or so male and female singles with guests there and we were popping popcorn, eating candy and going to watch Paul, the Apostle.  We were so excited!!!  Now, since it was a Christian movie I just kind of skimmed through it verifying content – not really worried about anything unseemly being in it.  BAD mistake.  I found out about half way through the movie there were…scenes shocking in mixed company much less in church!!

I truly almost fainted trying to get from the seats to the media booth.  My hand was shaking so bad I almost couldn’t hit the fast forward switch.  Now, I would like to say that everyone handled it in a kind and quiet manner but in fact, that is NOT what happened.  They had a good laugh over it …for a long, long time…still, in fact!

So, as you can see, ministry also entails “life” – funny and scary! As for work, I sincerely sought to serve as if I was serving Christ – knowing that my faithful and sacrificial seed was indeed pressed down, shaken together and running over, as the Bible says.  God not only blessed me but took everything I had to give…and used my work as my training ground for needs in the days ahead.  Speaking of days ahead…

I don’t think we ever really prepare our hearts and minds for disasters.  We do prepare our bank accounts hopefully and our families certainly.  But our life?  Doesn’t it always seem like that stuff happens somewhere else?  And even after Hurricane Katrina when we volunteered at the shelters in the Civic Center, how many of us were prepared for a cloud of wind and rain soon to come out of the tropics named Rita?

A few weeks after Katrina, I remember getting a call from Julie telling me that the family was insisting that I leave with them.  They knew I rarely left church early or focused on current events or anything.  I didn’t even know a storm was coming!  Calling my son…we made urgent plans to evacuate.  We were all heading to my brother’s in St. Francisville with a total of 11 animals and 21 people.

The church had been shut down and protected as much as we could.  I brought my work  computer with me for safe keeping.  I had no idea that it would be almost two weeks before I would be back home…in my regular life, if you can call it regular life anymore.

It was the most disconcerting feeling ever.  Kind of like someone blowing on a dandelion ball and watching the seeds scatter.  The unknown was….frightening.  Once I knew that all my family members were safe and accounted for, I began using my church email and cell phone list to try to locate all the families.  It was amazing the emails and texts that came in from all over the south.  The church email database was born.

The church and so many homes had to be repaired or reconstructed.  Families from New Orleans and other damaged areas began arriving.  Some Southern Louisiana families never returned.  Then after about a year…things were busy, but we were all cruising on our new normal speed, embracing life and seeing the power of God!

And suddenly, in a flash the season changed.  You know that you know that God has created seasons for a reason but you don’t always realize what change comes on the wind with them.  The next season was more unexpected than Rita.  The church was moving to Gauthier Rd. and the definition of church as I knew it just changed!

It was exciting but WOW!  I had to remember to close my mouth.  I looked at my hands and knew that God had a plan.

Not afraid, I jumped right on in…along with everyone else…and hung on!   I was ready for the ride…

End of Page 11

Patti Corbello Archer

Future 101

Holy Ghost adventure ride…

imagesCAT77I0EWhat a journey!  After each encounter with Jesus I would grow.  I spent lots of one-on-one time with Him just because I loved Him.  I may have lived by myself but I was never alone. His Word, with meditation and His Spirit taught me that I was always in His presence.

I learned not to be afraid to surrender anything to Him. All it took was His prompting whisper for me to give up another layer of flesh.  Truly, sacrificing to Him was never really sacrifice to me.  Like many of you I had learned that whatever I laid down in obedience was simply a stepstool to get closer to Him.  I knew my relationship with Him was somewhat different than others I’d heard about…but if we are all unique, and we are, wouldn’t our experience with the Lord be unique too?

All I knew is that my God and I enjoyed each other.  For real…ENJOYED each other.  Don’t you enjoy being around those that honor you, respect you, love you, romance you, reach out to you and stay close to you?  Why would He be any different?  Why would a God that died to live with us…not desire to BE IN our personal space and close to us?  He wants to hear us whisper His name and see our face light up.  It is personal!  Like when I worship…when my hands reach out for Him…to touch Him…I believe He is in my space and that I am in His…and touching Him is what I was born to do.

I know that I (and you) can reach Him. His Word says that, “I am holy because He is holy” so I am free to meet Him in the Holy of Holies…even just to dance.  Now, painfully, I have had to learn to let Him lead.  I can’t tell you the times He has “stopped” until I surrendered, trusted and relaxed to let Him lead.  But He ALWAYS waits for me…and each day, each year, He leads more and I lead less…especially as I learn to yield and guard myself against insecurity or victim flare ups that make me stumble.

To build me up God led me to begin fasting…intense, powerful fasts for intercession, maturity, and sometimes just because He said so.  I would abstain from many foods – sometimes having just liquids, or fruits and veggies, or even just water.  I went on a media fast for many years in the beginning.  He didn’t want any outside media speaking into me besides Him.  No radio, television or movies all that time. You talk about learn to hear His voice…and I got really sensitive to things that hurt my spirit.

I made a Nazrite vow and didn’t cut my hair for 5 years.  From the time I got a chemical burn on my scalp and walked into the church for the first time – it grew from my shoulders to the small of my back.  That was such a private vow between Jesus and I.  He loved the gift of my hair (my banner for Him) and I loved Him.

Then He led me to dance in the dance ministry for several years.  My sister led Feet of Fire in the church. Oh my Jesus, the anointing on her and the dancers would be so powerful!   And the practices were intense and passionate as we honored the King of Kings. There was always so much to do and I was just assisting her.  She would ask me and I would tell her that “one day”, sure, I would dance.  I wasn’t ready to step out on the platform – I was still self conscious because I was overweight.  One day one of the dancers had to pull out for something personal and Julie put me in “just to practice”.  And it was on!  Glory…I loved dancing for Him with the ministry!  How awesome to use your body to celebrate the One who created it!

By this time in my life, I was almost 46 years old and about to go through another change….

Knowing in the spirit that it was coming…I received and accepted a secretary job offer from the church, and left the law firm. Nick Eno even told me that I  passed several “tests” that I didn’t even know I took – just to confirm it!  We all knew God brought me on board to help them. But I have to share this funny story.  When I got the job offer and met with them – I went home, prayed about it, gave my notice at work and let the pastors know. I am a fast worker, lol. I am the kind of person that once I make a decision, I jump out of the boat and never look back!  The church didn’t quite have the contract details ready to go so I had a span of time without knowing what salary and benefits I would have. Ask me if I cared!  They knew I was bold about it and got a kick out of it. I remember meeting with the insurance guy after that and pastor came through. I handed him a copy of my resume just so he would know what specific skills I had and he took it on his way out of the office.  LOL, you could hear his happy holler after he read it outside. And with that, I stepped into the life of ministry.

God really began to release into me discernment and boldness as I stepped into working as a prayer counselor almost on a daily basis now.  Oh, all altar workers know how powerful it is to be trusted to stand in the gap for God’s people on His behalf.  There is nothing like looking into the eyes of someone seeking God and knowing personally whom they seek.  It is easy to pray when you know that you know what His power can do.  I love connecting with the spirit of a man or woman and watch Jesus reveal Himself to them…and meet them at the place of their need.  He is a life changer…

Needless to say, my new journey was busy.  I was riding fast and glorious with God…absorbing, working, learning, training, covering, serving, sacrificing, memorizing scripture, writing stories, dancing, praying at the altar, leading the singles and…oh, writing and leading a single’s bible study.  A Holy Ghost adventure ride!  God just took the work of my hands and made it His.  After all, it was His.

And personally, at home of course I continued to see His face above me on the potter’s wheel…His children are always being changed, receiving revelation, being pruned and growing inside.  But I just hung on…and loved Him more with each turn of that wheel.

But I didn’t know that one day soon, a big change was coming…Hurricane Katrina was on the horizon and Rita was close behind.

End of Page 10

Patti Corbello Archer

Future 101

No excuses…

imagesCA005F3IDay-by-day my spirit continued to grow (just like yours!).  God made sure of that!  When He sat at the potter’s wheel of my life, He “knew” what it would take to get me down the paths He destined and purposed for me.  No matter how much whining I did…He would just lean low and whisper, “Trust me”.  And truly, why wouldn’t I?

I loved Jesus, family, new life, church…and joy!  I was like a kid in a candy store for real.  I went to prayer services, watched, learned and wanted to be a prayer counselor, served as a greeter, began to be involved in the starting of a new single’s group.  I received love and encouragement from everyone…and bloomed.  Speaking of blooming…  Have you ever picked up a board or something that has lain on the ground for a long time and saw what the plants looked like under it – undernourished, smothered, strung out, faded, not even reflecting the Creator’s purpose?  But you take that same plant, put it in fertile soil, tend it, give it light, the right food and the right positioning and you get a vibrant, rich, fragrant and powerful living thing.  My point exactly.

So once I was in my thriving position, I just enjoyed my new zone, always expecting more of the same feelings, thoughts and experiences in my life. It never occurred to me that He would have surprises for me – “unannounced” spiritual lessons to experience.  I can only imagine God watching me get ready for church that Sunday morning knowing that I didn’t know that He had positioned me for the “next level” of my destiny. For real, it is probably best that I didn’t know.

It was a powerful praise and worship that day…God was glorified and we were ready for the Word of God to be released.  Pastor passionately began the opening to his sermon – that he would be preaching on God’s most powerful creation – men – no, not “male and female” – just men.  Well, whippee.  I was just as about excited as taking a case of castor oil.  I still remember how put out I was.  I feel sure that my smiling face was, uh, looking like I had eaten a lemon.  But, anyway, I sat there, grim on the inside but determined to listen to the message, sure that God would insert something in it somewhere that would relate to me and it wouldn’t all be a waste.  Isn’t that how we do it?  With a preconceived notion of what “we” need…or DON’T?

Well, that message didn’t work for me at all.  I got angrier and angrier and it was all I could do to sit there.  My teeth clenched as I heard all the raving reports about the power God put in the hands of men. That WE, women, were created FOR them.  Well, ask me if I was thrilled?  I was so mad that I could have slapped somebody.

As soon as service was over, me and my furnace of indignation hauled it right out of there.  I called the church office first thing that week and made an appointment with both he and his wife – letting them know it was because I was soooo upset because of his message that Sunday.

Well, I marched my little mad self in there for my appointment and we all went in and sat down.  They kindly and gently prompted me to begin.  The first thing out of my mouth after my smile was, “Well, I just want you know that I am NOT at all impressed with man’s use of their power.”

Now they were great, for real.  They both knew where I was coming from with my past and tried to encourage me for the rightness of God’s purpose – told me that I just hadn’t known it the right way.  But I didn’t WANT them to tell me my purpose was for “man”.  My purpose was for God and I wasn’t having it any other way.  We visited a good while, prayed and then ended the meeting by all going into the prayer service that was going on.

Now, before I go into the next part of this story, I want you to know that God had already been building my relationship with them.  I knew God had brought me there to help them.  They knew it too. So, this “situation” was unexpected.

Once I was back in the prayer service, God began to work on me.  He let me know up front and personal that I had a prejudice against men…of course He knew why…but prejudice isn’t allowed.  I just was floored that me, a rape victim with 2 divorce issues, and a core belief that I was unloved by men – would be reprimanded for prejudice against men.  I thought forgiveness was enough. Then the sorrow hit me…the ugliness of it all.  I just prayed, “God help me do this.”  After prayer service I went up to pastor and asked him if I could be baptized…that I had some deliverance issues to lay down.

Pastor had taught the prayer counselors that with “some” deliverance issues, sometimes baptisms are necessary to remove it off them.  I never knew that I would know it personally.

The next night was our Wednesday night service and we prepared for my baptism.  After church the baptismal was prepared.  My family was there, friends, and new church family – all looking over the edge of the glass wall…waiting for me.

In the dressing room I was looking at myself in the mirror. I changed and put on the long white baptismal gown and stood there with my long dark hair, big loop earrings and red lipstick.  My heart was so sad to let go of the loss of never knowing purity and innocence or “firsts” as they were meant to be. Suddenly I reached up and took off the earrings and wiped off all the lipstick and just stood there in that white gown – no adornments – and just prayed that this baptism would be a miracle.  That God would do something supernatural as I came up out of the water.  It still seemed unreal for Him to expect this of me but my heart was determined to follow Him anywhere.

I opened the door and went out.  Everyone was around and excited.  The men helped me climb the steps to the baptismal pool.  I went in and sat down in the warm, clear water, the white gown dancing in the current.  Friends and family were standing inches away on the other side of the glass wall.  Pastor was standing on my other side.  He laid his hand very gently on my head and began to pray into my spirit and into heaven…I spoke the words for new life and I was lowered under the water.

As I came back up, hair streaming water all around me – I took a breath, and everyone was happy with congratulations.  I was smiling…but I was listening for something supernatural.  I knew that God spoke to Jesus and I had heard other stories of God touching people during baptisms.  But I just couldn’t hear anything.  So, slowly I stood up, with the white gown totally surrounding me and I walked toward the steps to climb out of the pool.

Now I didn’t notice anything on the first step, but the second and each step thereafter,  something began to happen to me.  I didn’t know what it was and I was trying to grasp it all.  No one knew anything was going on.  When I reached the highest step, I just stood there with water streaming down me and watching the men all run around below me preparing a way for me to safely climb down.  I just stood there trying to focus, not at all recognizing what I felt…inside….I just felt so…  .so….  so protected…. so adored……so pure…oh my Jesus…… so innocent.  Innocent…

Even now the tears run down my face.

Can you see my friends, can you see?  In washing away the prejudice against men for what was stolen from me, only then, could God spiritually give it back.

I still remember that feeling of purity and innocence in my spirit.  No one can take it away from me.  Ever.

Nor can anyone take away what He gives you.

Thank you Jesus for the power of remembrance.  You are my hero…all the days of my life.

Until tomorrow,  sweet dreams.

End of Page 9

Patti Corbello Archer

Future 101

Spiritual touch…

imagesCAQCOBPIFrom then on I was totally in love with Jesus and I knew that I knew that He was totally in love with me.  His character and integrity awed me.  He wooed me gently as I danced for Him in worship.  In that setting, so many things about me began to change.  I didn’t really know it but my family certainly could tell it.  Julie, shhh, I am telling this, lol!

Oh gosh, back in my pre-Jesus days, they share stories of my aggression with strangers that would invade or threaten my space or a loved one’s space.  I was the “keeper” of the space, and was protective, much like having a guard dog.  That does not give you a warm fuzzy feeling does it?  I can assure you, somewhere in the world there are people still bearing tongue lashing scars after encounters with me.

Then in my post-counseling days, if I didn’t have a relationship with you, I probably wouldn’t trust you.  Trust to me was something one “earned” and never received without being proved worthy.  Women really got a break with that, but character and integrity for men – was not given high regard at all – or rather, none at all. My world stayed pretty small.  It is hard to keep your boundaries covered if your world gets too big.

But, it wasn’t until I walked away from not one, but two husbands after a total of 24 years of marriage that I realized I had an issue.  Who sees a pattern with one time?  I could no longer just blame the people around me of having issues, but realized that it was me.  Now I am one of those people, that once they get their mind set on something, nothing will stop me.  Some say that I am extremely strong-willed, some say stubborn, I say, sigh…“I hate it when they are right”.  So God began to open up a door for me…

I don’t know if you have thought of it, but because of my traumatic experiences, I was carrying within me perceptions that controlled me in reactive instances.  While much of my external life had been addressed and had me in a safe healthy place, my internal life was still very much controlling the issues deep inside, i.e., when something would trigger hurt, fear, betrayal, rejection, etc., I would shut down communication and/or gentleness, put up walls and step into PROTECTION mode.  My personality would be more like a porcupine on alert…until me, myself and I determined that it was safe to come out.  Has anyone ever been around an angry porcupine?  Not for long, lol.

But anyway, you do what you do because you believe what you believe.  You continue learned habits, patterns, behaviors, sensitivities, addictions, passions, desires, prejudices, and absolutely EVERYTHING you learned through life – until you learn not to do it.

Now we never get to the place in our God-relationship that He doesn’t reveal areas He wants changed.  There is nothing you can do about that truth. The closer you get to Him it is simply the more He lets you see, not just about Him…but also about you. Though He himself never changes, we will change till He brings us home or rolls back the heavens with a shout and comes to get us.

You can fight Him, but He will win.  The beauty of our life journey is that all Christians are in phases of these changes and revelations.  We pray in them, we praise in them, we worship in them, we serve in them, we teach in them, we outreach in them, and we preach in them.  God doesn’t wait till we are through – because we are never through!  He just uses us when we get to the point He wants.

Oh, wow, I remember so many things when He began to redefine me.  That is what I called it.  When my definitions didn’t match His in the Word, they had to go.  I learned down to my soul, that just because I thought it didn’t mean it was true. My next stories will be these private places that He took me when He laid me on that potter’s wheel…and changed me.  But His hands never left me for one second and His eyes watched me each round that wheel turned.

When I realized that I believed wrong things I was stumped.  I didn’t know what to do.  It wasn’t my fault that I believed what I believed.  Bad things really happened.  Survival skills were how I made it through it all.  I couldn’t undo my experiences. Then, I realized that I had to replace the lies (my beliefs) with the truth (His Word).  I literally went through the Bible and began listing things that I was supposed to believe about problem areas for me – that I didn’t believe.  I made postcards and hung them all around my apartment, I framed them, I read them aloud daily, I memorized them and I slept with my Bible every night.

And day by day, lie by lie, the truth replaced the lies and I no longer was a victim of my wrong beliefs.  I would get so excited when I would see myself respond with my new beliefs!  I would keep pressing when I would respond with my old beliefs.  The Lord spent many nights with me…teaching and encouraging….it was glorious.

Sometimes I just praised, worshiped, and danced – across the bed, the furniture, and the floor.  I had ahold of my Jesus and I wasn’t letting go.  He was rocking my world and would always do things for me that no one else could do…

Now God knew that I remembered the real monster in the dark when I was a little girl.  So when I first moved into my apartment I left some lights on so that I wasn’t in the dark.  But after encounters with God were changing me…I turned off the lights and began to dance in the dark, literally.  Oh, Jesus…nobody gives freedom like You do.

Late one night I crawled into bed, pulled the covers up and whispered good night to Him…and I felt a kiss on my forehead.  Now I don’t care what anyone thinks…I know that He kissed me goodnight…and watches over me still.

Another time, I woke up early one morning and I was surrounded by scripture.  My Bible had finally broken apart in the bed and I was laying all over the chapter of Song of Songs.  How awesome is that for saying, “I love you”?

And then He touched my mind with beautiful stories of encounters with Him.  Oh, if only my words could reveal what my heart sees!  Perhaps tomorrow night I will post one…

But anyway, after a year, well, I wasn’t who I was going to be…but I was no longer the victim, the survivor, the oppressed, the betrayed, or the sacrificed.  I was a Princess and warrior of the King of Kings. God said so.

So let it be written, so let it be done.

For real, the journey wasn’t easy.  But, so what.  I wasn’t quitting!

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Patti Corbello Archer

Future 101