Stepping into the end of the third year in Kansas it was a great summer. I was getting much stronger emotionally – much less angry – and adjusting my mind and life with proper boundaries and relationships. Nothing was firmly rooted until I had reviewed it! I found it totally intolerable to leave anything in or around me related to those “learned” mindsets. If it wasn’t “really” normal and healthy for me…it (whatever “it” was) was gone. Poof! I think everyone was a little nervous. I could still be pretty aggressive in that phase of recovery. But for the most part, life calmed down.
One afternoon, sitting in a counselor’s office, the counselor asked me what I thought of all the changes around me that I had put into motion. I recall looking at her and saying, “You know, I was wondering, if I continue to cut everyone out of my life that hurts me or causes me pain, won’t I finally end up by myself?” She laughed and said, “You got it! That is the whole point. You are healed and you don’t need me any more. You can choose to work things out or not. But you can choose. People will never be perfect.”
So, I closed the door on that chapter of my life. I walked away with new awareness and tools for a more emotionally healthy living. I ended the karate and self defense classes. We still partied a little…but that would be over for me shortly. We were all three going to church now. I began to get out the Bible that I had received as a little girl for my catechism from my aunt. I began to read what it said when I had an issue that I was concerned about. I almost left my husband up in Kansas towards the end of our time there. I came very close. He was pretty threatened by all the changes in me. I was different and I was more self sufficient. I felt sorry for him but I wasn’t going back to who I was. I just waited and didn’t leave. I read the Bible from time to time – not really understanding it – but somehow knowing that there were answers in there somewhere. I just knew I needed to look.
Within a short time my husband told me he wanted to accept a job offer from back home. Yeah, yeah! We were returning after being gone five years. Now back home, my family was thrilled. I still was not communicating with “him” – I wasn’t ready and I just wasn’t going to do it. My sister Julie had had a little girl, Jade, that I was so excited to meet for the first time!! I knew Julie and all of us were still trying to live life with Gavin gone. I also knew they were all trying to be what I needed them to be. They were wonderful. You have no idea…
We moved home Labor Day weekend – Jade’s 1st birthday! We moved into the old two story family homestead that my grandfather grew up in. I needed to go back and start all over – and I wanted my son to go to a country school, be able to camp, have pets, hunt, ride 3 wheelers…all that. Home Sweet Home!
In no time at all we began going to Trinity Baptist where Julie and my parents were going. I began to read the Bible all the time. Now, I don’t think that I have mentioned that I smoked. Oh, my gosh, I puffed away each chance I got. And if I didn’t get a chance, I made one! I had smoked off and on since I was a kid when I would hide and do it. But anyway, I would puff and read the Word. It was like I craved them both. I also don’t think I ever mentioned how much I cursed. Uhhhh, even my husband would say, “Patti, that’s enough – that is bad for a man, much less a woman.” I never smoked pot again after leaving Kansas. No going backwards…
After a few months being home, I got baptized at Trinity. It was great enjoying church with family. Everything was so awesome. Then one day out of the blue in a store, I heard someone cuss – and realized that I didn’t cuss anymore! I was so excited! It was a miracle. No matter what happened…those words just didn’t come up out of my lips anymore. Other Christians struggled with that but not me. Thank you, Jesus! I guess that my mouth was so bad that He had to take it! How embarrassing…
Having been raised up Catholic and used to someone else talking to God for me, I loved the new way to learn about God. I read, and read, and read. In fact, it probably won’t be a great surprise but the Word is where Jesus revealed Himself to me. I read it cover to cover a couple of times. We began going to a country Baptist church out by our house and I began leading the youth. I wrote a Christmas play and we put it on. I loved to memorize scripture and listen to music. I loved having a church family and learning what God said and taught.
Then in the middle of this, God finally moved on my heart to forgive the one who’s name I wouldn’t say. I couldn’t imagine feeling forgiveness. I knew God would have to do it for me. But God is a Waymaker and He eased forgiveness into my heart. I just had to be willing. Restoration began one step at a time…nothing forced…just safely and with God. And like all things growing, when it gets what it needs, it begins to bloom. God’s love is powerful and I received a huge miracle.
But then…how many times have you just gotten a victory, revelation or healing when the enemy will aim for the kill? Oh, yes. So many of us know his strategy! And he tried to do it with us too….but God made sure that all anger was removed from me and that forgiveness was firmly in place before an unexpected situation entered the picture. I honestly hit my knees in gratefulness that the enemy could not use the authority handed to me to make a decision based on anything but a Godly purpose . Our family had more changes that came about and outside intervention…but God used this situation as the finishing touch and not the destruction that the enemy had aimed for. The abuse was forever ended but God got the glory!
Life went on…our families grew in love…and God shined His face upon us. Before I knew it Zeb was graduating from high school and we were moving into Lake Charles from the country. I was working at a law firm as a legal secretary and doing well. We were going to 1st Baptist Church downtown and continuing to grow. My husband and I were doing well. He was a truck driver. Needless to say, he was on the road a lot.
I wish we would have known what was on the road that September night as he left work to head home. But we didn’t … and life changed again.
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Patti Corbello Archer