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…
Patti Corbello Archer
Life After Divorce – Hindsight is 20/20