The Lamb

Live nativity dramas fill the Christmas season. I love them. I love the warmth, the holy joy and the reminder of who this is all about. And I know that I am not the only one who feels that way. I close my eyes now and say a quick prayer. Jesus fills my heart and my mind. At this very moment I can imagine Him actually enter with a crowd at an outdoor nativity play. Come, imagine with me…

He did it with no fanfare at all. Truth be told, the big fanfare to come…ah, that special coming will reveal itself another time and the whole world will see Him. But tonight, well tonight Jesus looks just like you or me. I refocus on the nativity scene and see Him inhale this offering. The celebration that began in the heavens well over 2000 years ago continues still in the hustle and bustle of this night. How it pleases Him. It is His private gift to be with His children as they remember Him.  Watch Him with me…

A sweet ache pierced His heart as He caught the arm of an old man who stumbled as he tried to calm the nativity animals. Jesus gave the man a quick hug and walked to the side of the seating area. He leaned against a tent post to watch everything. He didn’t want to miss anything at all. He chuckled at the children’s squeals and antics waiting for the drama to start. Two pre-school kings ran into His legs and made everyone laugh as they continued to barrel through the crowd – determined to play, at the play!

Jesus enjoyed the twinkling lights, the costumes, the music, and the Star of Bethlehem high above the wooden stable.  He loved it all – and He loved them.  Jesus walked up the aisle and shook hands, hugged those around Him, and greeted everyone like His family.  No one knew anything was different tonight. Old people, young people, married people, single people, church people and passersby stopped and entered the tent looking for a place to sit. Everyone was eager to watch the drama unfold. After all, everyone wanted a reminder in this busy season of what it was really all about. Christmas is so hectic, so media driven, and so commercial.

Suddenly Jesus turned and headed to the far edge of the tent where a woman was sitting by herself.  Her head was lowered so her hair shielded her face.  He came around the row and sat beside her.  No one else saw the tear overflow as she closed her eyes, but Jesus did.  He quickly reached out and caught it as it rolled off her check. He also saw the bruises she hid underneath her makeup and the wedding ring lying in the bottom of her purse. Quietly He breathed a command to His angels concerning her, to guard her in all her ways.  How He loved meeting them at the place of their need.  Then He stood and walked outside.

Behind Him the lights dimmed and the drama began. It was time for Him to go, but He wanted to visit the extra animals not needed for the play first. He knelt down to hold them.  He grinned as they all tried to get to Him. He noticed a little lamb behind the others and stepped through the herd to pick it up.  About that time He heard the angels in the play proclaim His birth. He walked to the edge of the stable door and watched as His children honored Him by laying baby Jesus in the manger.

He felt His heart sing a song that only He knew. He shifted the lamb to His left hand and raised His right hand to run it across the top of the door frame.  He wanted the world to get it. He wanted them to see that tonight wasn’t really about Him, it was for them. Christmas was simply the beginning of Easter. And it was all so that He could be with them always. As Jesus turned to walk away, He glanced back at the blood that only He could see wiped across the top of the door frame.  With a smile He leaned down and whispered to the little lamb that He held, “I was born to be you little one.  I AM the last sacrifice.”

He put the lamb down, glanced up and was gone. There on the ground by the lamb was a gift tied with a large red bow.  On the gift tag it read – All my love, Jesus.

From me to you this Christmas season, open and receive all your gifts with love.  Especially the one that Jesus gave you.

Merry Christmas,

Patti Corbello Archer

December 13, 2015

 

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…

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 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!

End of Page 8

Patti Corbello Archer

Future 101

Supernatural all the way…

131207050324wybe“I didn’t know Jesus wanted us to love Him like that,” is what I told myself as I entered the atmosphere of the new spirit-filled church that my family and I were going to now.  We visited for Easter 2003, visited a time or two after that – and then, never left.  I would watch men, women and children praise and worship God in a way that I had never known – or even thought about.  I was so shy and embarrassed to raise my hands.  I didn’t mind clapping and singing but anything else seemed MUCH too personal or expressive.  I saw Julie help herself to praise and worship, and my parents, and little by little God was nudging me to loosen my restraints.

I am definitely a “watcher”, learning and making mental notes, always studying to prepare for what is ahead.  Nothing in my life had prepared me for the “spiritual” smorgasbord that we found in that small church.  Only thing is…I wasn’t sure when I would want to partake of some of those really personal things.  I was so private.

Altar prayer was amazing.  Watching the people “choose” to have people pray for them up front amazed me even more.  The music, singers and band were more vibrant than anything I had ever seen.  It was all so…so…so…passionate and loud.

I had never received so many hugs in my life – and my own family are some Olympic huggers, lol.  Everyone WANTED to love you at church.  I think that was the difference.  No one cared about anything else but loving you.  I cried the first 6 months I was there.

I watched the pastor on the platform and he loved Jesus all over the place.  He had no pride or shame as far as God was concerned.  He would fall on his knees and have his prayer closet right there on the platform in front of God and everybody.  Well, I guess God was the point!

My eyes didn’t know where to look at first.  But finally I focused on the platform and all the loving on Jesus by the pastor.  I finally began to realize that I wanted to love Jesus like that!

It didn’t take me long to begin to join the church body loving on each other and mostly on Jesus.  It was all such a celebration and open door to enter a literal, spiritual, relationship with God.   They talked a lot about power but just touching Jesus was what I thought about.  I like the thought of my God being a passionate God that wanted to love on me.  I began to receive more and more Word and Spirit teaching and my heart felt like a sponge…soaking up all of it.  I KNEW the Bible.  No problem there.  But they taught me how to speak it with authority and how to believe that it was alive.

I asked a lot of questions about speaking in tongues, dreams, visions, discernment, warfare, etc.  There was just so MUCH I didn’t know!  I had all that scripture in me and it was stirring in my belly wanting me to do something.  I used to sit  far from the front during service…but then we started to move closer and closer to the platform…wanting more.  LOL, any closer and we would have been ON the platform!

Now before I go any further, I want you to know that most of the rest of my stories are powerful, spiritual and touched by the creative hand of God.  God is as real and personal as you will allow Him to be.  For me, so much damage had been done way down in my spirit that I had a destiny appointment that was about to begin.  We are body, soul and spirit, and only my body and soul were nourished.  That was about to change…

I started doing a ladies’ bible study on Breaking Free that summer.  It really was totally intense, invasive and revealing…going deep into the crevices of the heart.  In many ways I was very shy with it, knowing where all I had been…but I was determined.  I was eager for anything that was true.  It cost me a lot of tears.  It rewarded me with lots of insight….and courage.  When I got to the middle of the study there was a section on Song of Songs and learning about totally having a personal love relationship with Jesus.  The instruction was to imagine loving on Jesus, personally.  Now, nothing inappropriate was meant…just totally free and exposed before your God.  I just knew I would get struck by lightening for even saying it – and I didn’t know how to imagine it or ask him.  As a child suffering I didn’t even think He wanted anything to do with me.  I began to cry, afraid of it, then pushed the workbook aside, went to the living room and hit my knees.  With everything in me I cried out to God to love me…and let me love Him…to teach me how to love Him because I didn’t know how…and that I promised that I would give Him all of me…nothing held back…if He would give me all of Him.  I wept on the floor laying my heart on the altar.

A few days later I was heading home from the law firm when I began to have my first spiritual experience – a sensation of God being with me.  I was driving mind you, on the road!  I got weaker and weaker – so much at peace that I was literally melting in my seat.  I remember being aware that something was happening and saying, “But I need to drive home first!”  When I got home, I wobbled up to the door, and went inside.  I collapsed into a rocker I had in the middle of my seating area.  I was totally spiritually aware for the first time in my life!  It wasn’t like I could see with my physical eyes – but I most definitely was aware of His presence with my spiritual eyes.  I knew that He was answering my heart’s prayer from a few nights ago and stepping into my life in a way that I would never forget.  Ever.  I just stayed sitting there amazed for quite awhile.  It just never occurred to me that He would come to me personally.  At one point I had the sensation of Him leaning over my left shoulder and inhaling deeply.  I somehow knew that He had just inhaled the love in my heart.  I don’t know how my lips worked, but I told Him, “I will follow you anywhere.”

Now the evening this was happening was a Tuesday night.  On Tuesday nights we had prayer service at church.  At some point it occurred to me that I needed to go to church.  Eventually I stood up, my legs still shaky, and I picked up my purse to walk to the door.  I opened it to go out, then looked back in my apartment and then out my door again.  I wasn’t sure what to do.  I was going to prayer service to pray…but I was already with Him.  Literally, as God is my witness, I asked Him, “Are you coming”?  I can only imagine heaven laughing about that one.

From that day forward my experiences, revelation, growth, healing, and purposes began to increase 10 fold.  For the first time in my life I realized that I didn’t need to go anywhere to find Jesus, because He was always with me (and you).  I was never alone again – my “Teacher” was always with me and I am a fast learner!

To close out tonight, we will end the Breaking Free Bible Study. We finished the study and I was asked to testify because they knew what an impact it had made on my life.  But since I was too nervous to speak, they let me write it.  At that moment in time, God touched me and I began my first inspirational writing.  I wrote a story about Jesus taking me on a deliverance journey.  My hand shook so hard that I could hardly read it but it didn’t matter, destiny was released and the ladies roared.

After that, everything began happening so quickly.  I received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost and began to speak in tongues.  Worship birthed on the inside of me and I began to basically sing along with hand movements.  I learned that I was born to be a liturgical worshiper.

Who knows why God touched me (or you) the way He did.  I guess it all has to do with what He has for us to do.  For me, so much in my mind was painful.  If you ask me, He just gave me beauty for ashes.

I would like to tell you that was all there was to it.  Mercy, for real, that was only the beginning.  My past didn’t give up without a fight, blood, sweat and tears.

This is only the pause of a time out.

End of Page 7

Patti Corbello Archer

Future 101

Damage and deliverance…

imagesCAYMVT77One September night in 1998 just a few months after my son’s high school graduation, I was working in the kitchen putting the finishing touches on supper.  Zeb and his stepdad were working in Westlake driving dump trucks and I was waiting on them to get home.  Zeb got home first.  His stepdad never made it past the red light.  A man driving a truck with minimal insurance ran the red light and hit him basically head on.  We got the phone call and ran for the hospital.  41 days later he was discharged home with a wheelchair, walker, and nursing care to check on him during the week.  He had endured surgery, ICU for a collapsed lung and rehab for a shattered hip and socket – along with huge bruises and stitches.  We had been transferred from 4 days in Lake Charles to 12 days in Houston back to 25 days in Lake Charles.  By the 25th day, I just looked at the chair that I would sleep in again and cried.

It is so hard to see someone you love suffer; especially when you know the end of the suffering isn’t just around the corner.  It was a very trying time for all of us.  The house had to be transformed so that he could maneuver safely without tripping.  I became legal secretary by day and nurse by night.  Recovery was a 7 month process.  But eventually we got a little breathing space, was able to take him to church, and his faith was still strong.  Then less than a year later they needed to do the surgery again – the huge surgery repair didn’t take and he would need to have the total hip replaced.  So we went around the mountain again…except this time he began to change from all the anger of getting no compensation, retribution or hope. We finally realized that he would be left with some disability. He hated being a victim and he hated the guy that hit him.

We were all enduring the tremendous pressure and responsibilities.  Then unresolved, ignored and overlooked marriage issues began to take over as we began to be divided and fighting against each other.  No longer partners but roommates. No love, just caretaking – and one sided at that.  My health began to suffer, I stuffed myself with emotional eating, was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease and forced to take many shots and medications, and needless to say, depression arrived up front and center. I ended up on anxiety medication.  I smoked just as many cigarettes as I possibly could.  Then I stayed so sick from smoking until they diagnosed me with chronic bronchitis.

During all this time I was still trusting in God. Trusting but hurting. Praying for strength and guidance but locked in survival mode. My son and my family were a blessing from the throne of God.  When you talk about people holding your arms up…I know all about that.  I am sure many of you know that position too…

One night my husband and I were watching a special program about euthanasia on television and he told me, “I wouldn’t let you suffer if you got really sick and in the bed; I promise I would put you out of your misery.  Oh, I wouldn’t shoot you are anything, I would just smother you or something.”  I don’t think I said anything.  At least I can’t remember saying anything.  I just sat there and the last tie holding my heart together came apart.

All I could think was of all of the time that I had cared for him, kept him safe and protected him as best I could – but if I got sick for long, I might not see morning.  It was over.  I knew our marriage would not survive.  He thought he was doing something honorable because his mom had suffered – but instead he had just killed my heart. I would not live afraid like I had as a child.

A couple of days later at work, the secretaries and I were discussing marriage issues and I told them mine was over.  Shocked, they asked when I was leaving.  I left that night when I got home.  It was Pearl Harbor Day, Dec 7, 2002.  I was 44 years old…and starting over again.

I spent the first month crying, packing and afraid God was going to punish me for leaving.  As a Christian, knowing that I was breaking a covenant, I asked for forgiveness with all my heart.  I wasn’t looking around me for a man; I just was looking up to God.  That’s all I knew.

I moved in with Julie and her family for 9 weeks to save up enough money to move into an apartment.  I was getting less afraid of punishment for leaving and beginning to enjoy the peace and new opportunities.  One night Julie, Jade and I took off to Victory Worship in Sulphur to a healing service.  I had never been to one!  It was totally wonderful!  I didn’t know you could get delivered like that!  I laughed and we ran from line to line getting prayer for smoking, healing and deliverance. We celebrated and received the power of God!  And me, well, to this day I have never smoked again.  Nope, not even a craving.  Now THAT is a miracle!

In March of 2003 I moved into my own apartment – all by myself for the first time ever!  I loved it.  I was off all medications.  I was no longer eating based on my emotions and began to lose weight.  I was healing and happy out from under oppression.  I decorated my apartment and spent time with family and God.  Life was wonderful.  I was still pretty shy from all the destruction and wounding but I was standing taller, day by day.  If anyone asked me about dating, well…they didn’t ask again.

Easter of 2003 Julie had invited us to a new church she heard about.  Jade was going to participate in the Easter program and Julie wanted us to go.  So Good Friday I went and bought some new dye and colored my hair – excited that we were going out to eat boiled crawfish and have a good Easter weekend.  But Saturday morning when I woke up, I couldn’t open my eyes, my head and hair were wet and my pillow soaked.  I managed to get to the mirror and realized that I was allergic to the hair dye and had a chemical burn over my whole scalp.  Fluid filled my face and head to where I was swollen like a balloon.  If I laid my head to one side, the fluid would go to that side. It was perfectly painful and awful!  Everyone insisted I still go to church for Easter service.  So trying to be inconspicuous I went.  As we were walking up to the church doors Jade said, “Aunt Patti, your face is jiggling when you walk!”  I couldn’t believe I was out in public…but I ignored my bouncing face and walked up to the church doors and entered Christian World for the first time.

I just THOUGHT my life had changed before.  LOL, I hadn’t seen anything yet!!!

End Page 6

Patti Corbello Archer

Future 101

No longer a victim…

imagesCAEMHBQDStepping 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.

End of Page 5

Patti Corbello Archer

Future 101

Husband number 2…

Whew!  Always good to turn the page!  That was some intense stuff on my last post.  But, I just buried it and kept on going.  It is not like I knew that I had issues.  All I knew is that I was 27 years old and free for the first time – on my own as a single parent – and liking it!

I will steer this next season of my life to introduce my second husband.  We were married almost 15 years. We met at a Parent’s Without Partner’s event. I had been “single again” about two years and was working and still going to college. He was almost 12 years older than I was and came from a totally different lifestyle in New Orleans.  He was a tough guy, used to bars and partying, camping and being aggressive if protection was needed.  Since I had no goals of my own, jumping into his life seemed easy enough.  We dated about a year, had a fight, made up and took off to Las Vegas to get married.

Yes, can you believe it?  For real we took a limo ride from the courthouse to the Little White Chapel and got married with music playing out of a boom box.  We were in love but I knew that we had some serious major differences and I stuffed my concerns down deep…that was easy for me.  But, all in all, I was happy, eager to settle down and be a wife again.  You know, being a wife gave me an identity role that I knew how to manage – and his toughness made me feel safe – like he could protect me from anything.  I grew stronger and more assertive in that environment.  We were doing pretty good.

We moved a few months after we got married to Denham Springs with his job transfer and stayed there a couple of years. I partied more in the next 5 years than I ever had in my whole life.  I never had been much of a drinker.  I thought it tasted bad – I just wanted a drink that had fruit in it, lol.  We danced a lot – you have to remember I graduated from high school and then disco rolled in.  My husband drank a lot. And at 30 years old I smoked pot for the first time.  Looking back, I can’t believe that I did.  My nature was to be scared of everything.  But I just slid on in to the new me.  See how easy that happens?

As for being away from home, I really enjoyed being away from Lake Charles and was eager to move again.  After a couple of years we moved to Dodge City, KS and there we stayed for three years.  We were a pretty strong family unit by then.  My son was growing up and doing well. I was working and advancing at the regional hospital there. We were enjoying exploring a new environment.  Oh my gosh!  Tumbleweeds are real!  You really have to sleep in the basement because of tornadoes!  There are coyotes and canyons! There are hail storms, blizzards, wind all the time, and dry river beds. I studied and knew more about Kansas than those that lived there!!!  It was great. Remember, I love to explore.

But other than that, I just shake my head thinking about the rest of it – so much happened in those three years. The first year in Kansas we lost Julie’s youngest son, 2 ½ year old Gavin from a burn accident and our family was wounded beyond anything that we could ever have imagined.  It will be 20 years next week and in any given second those memories can replay.  This, my friends, is where I saw Jesus for the first time.

My sister, Julie, had long been a Christian – having given her life to the Lord in middle school during some traumatic times.  She learned early how to depend on God.  But, I really wasn’t concerned a whole lot about God.  I didn’t think He really wanted much to do with me anyway.  I just didn’t know the journey that we were all about to take.  I got the call about Gavin’s injury just hours after they delivered our new sofa in Dodge City.  Isn’t it amazing that you remember the oddest things?  So odd.  I don’t think anything in our lives was ever the same after that.  My son and I flew out to meet them all in Galveston at the burn hospital the next day.  Thinking everything was going to be fine we were just looking at doing what we needed to.  But it wasn’t that simple.  The injury went bad in surgery and we lost him.  I won’t say all the things I remember in my heart.  But I will say that my sister is an amazing woman with more God in her than you can ever imagine.

I have to say this because experiencing this with her was a life changing experience.  I watched my sister wrap that little white casket with a huge bow for the funeral…as her gift to God.  I saw her love her God so much that my heart (the hidden one) began to crack open.  My life changed forever.  All of our lives changed.  And perhaps many of you know this journey too.  I know your life changed.  God bless you…

After the funeral we all had to go back to our homes and try to live again.  And you do, because living is what we do. But my son and I began to go to church.  It began to be important to me to know where Gavin was…and know that all our family would be together again one day.  I began to learn.  And life went on, differently, but life went on.

But my heart had been cracked open and God had plans for me. Within six months I ended up bringing my son to a counseling agency for some school related problems.  During the intake interview the counselor kept quizzing me about my life.  I kept telling him that everything was wonderful – nothing was wrong in the family besides the loss of my nephew.  He persisted and like a little light going off, I suddenly remembered the secret I buried long ago, and said, “Oh, well there is this one little thing”.  Needless to say, he was totally upset and shocked, I almost laughed.  I became his new project.

There is no need to say that my life changed totally again.  Under the care of outpatient counselors they taught me how to open up and deal with the pain of the past.  I won’t tell you that it wasn’t bad.  It was a total nightmare.  I had so much anger that rose up it scared me…and my family.  I began to take karate lessons, and self defense classes. My husband and son would try to be in bed before I got home because I wanted to practice with them. I became focused on protecting myself – determined to never be a victim again.  I lost tons of weight because my stomach always burned.  I walked so much up and down the hills that several of my toe nails turned black and fell off.  I couldn’t sleep.  I couldn’t eat.  I broke a baseball bat in half over a picture of “him”.  I didn’t speak his name for two years. I became very aggressive. And I roamed the countryside and thought about running into a telephone pole to end it all.

Whoa now….I know that is a lot of trauma in a short span of time.  But I want you to know (unbeknownst to me) that I know now that God kept his eye on me and I began to heal.  I was still going to church.  I didn’t know Him yet, but I was beginning to seek Him. I stopped watching horror movies.  When I found out that I watched them because I identified with the fear, it grossed me out.

By this time in my life, I was the last person in my immediate family that was unsaved.  But God doesn’t waste anything my friends, even heartbreak.  And that goes for all of us.

Tomorrow I will turn the story to moving home where I would meet for the first time my new one year old niece, Jade.  God’s gift back to us and we learned to laugh again.

Lots had truly happened in my life so far, but finally…there were no more secrets.

My God is faithful.

End of Page 4

Patti Corbello Archer

Future 101

Going back in time…

 

Wow, when you are 52, going back decades to childhood is quite a trip!  Too funny! But then again, for real, don’t we all sometimes see something that triggers a playful childhood memory?  Do you remember playing king of the mountain, or hide and go seek, or playing in the rain, or riding a bike, or trying to dig up a rabbit hole in the woods?  I can’t help but laugh.  Oh wait; have you ever had a tarantula jump on your bike tire?  I have!  Have you ever jumped off a cliff?  I have!  Have you every “rode” down a Christmas tree?  I have!  Have you ever been attacked by bats?  I have!  Eeek! I can tell you that this is where my spirit of exploring comes from.

There are so many wonderful memories, experiences and powerful things taught by my parents and family. Things that have seeded into my victories as an adult – lessons learned – wisdom passed down.  May I give my son, Zebulon and his children…or anyone I meet a transfer of the blessings from the precious gifts I have retained from my childhood.  I love and respect them all. To this day, I have learned to produce by being constructive because my dad would ask me and my brothers and sister, “What have you accomplished today?”  What honor I give to my parents as teachers.  What encouragement they gave because they always believed I could do anything.

Yes, all that is in my heart!  Praise God!  But “other” life stuff still happens. The enemy always looks for ways to get people to listen to his whispering lies.  Children don’t know that.  They just know who is the boss of them and that they have to trust the people around them to keep them safe.

For those of you who do not know my testimony, understand that this sharing is to show the glory that will come later in my blog story.  This is necessary now for the later revelation to have the true impact that I experienced when God began to restore me in this area.  If you do know of my testimony, I ask your patience as I repeat it.  If you are sensitive to childhood issues, I want you to know that I will only reveal my heart’s thoughts, nothing else.

To begin, I will start my childhood story with the story of another child.  I was in my mid 30’s and had just completed a year of intense outpatient post traumatic stress therapy in Dodge City, KS where I lived.  I was in a setting structured to expose issues buried long ago so that I could learn how to address those experiences.  I got off work one afternoon from the hospital where I worked and dropped by the local grocery store.  I was tired, wired and just ready to get home.  I just had a few items in my hand and walked up to the checkout line.  There was a mother checking out in front of me but as she talked to the checkout clerk she left her little boy in a buggy behind her.  Then I entered the picture. I walked up and stood behind the buggy where he was.  I wasn’t paying him any notice until he began to fuss and complain.  I was surprised and didn’t know what he was fussing about to me.  I glanced at his mom and she wasn’t concerned at all.  He was staring angrily at me and I am sure I just look surprised.  All of a sudden I realized what was wrong with him.  I was too close to him.  I was in his space.  I took two steps back and waited for his response.  He gave me the biggest smile ever. I have never forgotten him.  That is one of those epiphany moments in my life.  That little two year old boy knew his boundaries and was healthily claming them.  I was so proud of him.

I wished I would have had that option.

As a young girl, I learned that there really were monsters in the dark.  I learned that men know how to keep secrets.  I learned about living a lie.  I learned a false definition of love. I learned how to be a sacrifice.  The rapes seemed to happen far away as if I was someone else.  I would dissociate. I hid all the reality deep within me.  I learned to hate myself and never say a word.  Authority figures were the boss and I did what I was told.  I begged God to help me but when He didn’t I thought He thought I was disgusting and didn’t love me anyway.  I didn’t blame Him.  I hated me too.  I learned to live life anyway…very angry deep inside.

When the victim season ended I just grew up and lived like everyone else.  However, there were some problem indicators. I wet the bed till I was 18 years old.  18 years old.  Wow.  I struggled with my weight from emotional eating.  I didn’t share much personally about myself.  Other than that, I was involved in school, ran for elections, bloomed into a young woman, cheered, made good grades, had a boy friend, and worked at a pharmacy.  By the time I graduated, we were engaged.  No one noticed any issues at all.  But I rarely spent the night away from home.  No way.  What teenager brings a plastic sheet with them?  It was always amazing that people looked up to me and wanted their children to have my influence.  I was always surprised.  No wonder, the secret down inside me was always waiting.  As a woman, I just felt numb.

I married my childhood sweetheart at 18.  He was the football player and me the cheerleader.  We were picture perfect and had fun.  I didn’t tell him till many years later about the secret that I hid for so long.  At 21 our son was born – life was wonderful – he was precious!  Then the enemy began to come between my husband and I with betrayal and secrets.  I tried but could never trust again. My heart shut down and we divorced after 9 years.  It was so sad that I never learned how to work things out – that things are worth fighting for.  I just endured till some unknown time frame ran out and then I walked away. I wasn’t afraid to start over.  I just kept going.  As a woman, I still just felt numb.  I had never really let him in my heart.  Truth be told, I don’t even think I had been in my heart.

For the next season in my life, my son and I were together as a single parent family.  We eventually moved into the McNeese family apartments and I went to school during the day and worked as a traveling inventory auditor at night and on the weekends.  I LOVED life.  It was the first time that I had been on my own as an adult.  Bless my son for putting up with me!  I was part child and he was an explorer!  We were both exploring! It was great really. I know that I didn’t have sufficient emotional tools in many ways but we loved each other, we were each safe, we had great times, and we kept growing.  God wasn’t a part of our life yet – but my family kept reminding me that God was there.  I would just think…maybe one day.

It is time to pause…wow, what a journey I have been on in sharing.  Like all of you, we live life as we know it – until we know differently.  I never really had personal goals or dreams.  I didn’t know a whole lot about myself inside.  It had been locked up so long.  I loved being a mother, daughter, sister, friend and student – was loyal, honest, smart – all that.  But personally, me as a woman…there didn’t seem to be an identity.  I had walls up in my life.  I wasn’t open or especially friendly with men I didn’t know.  Rarely did I flirt.  I didn’t know how to assert myself to explore that.  In many ways I was still a child.  I just wanted to be safe.  I just wondered if anyone would ever choose to love me.

To close out tonight, I can so see the video in my mind of the words that I have written.  I pray that you are beginning to see some of it too.  I still have more sharing before God steps into my picture. That is after all, the purpose for this.

I hope that you are connecting with the idea of “roots and reasons” for why you do what you do.  Notice your patterns.  My testimony is more than a story.  I pray that you receive that hidden pain or destructive secrets are alive and fester – working to destroy life.  We need a doctor that will clean out the wound so that it can heal.  Jehovah Rapha is our healer and He does all things in His time.

So be blessed this night and forgive me for this heavy sharing.  Know that the dawn is coming. In therapy I was taught that the only healthy reason we look back is so that we can glean what we need to go forward.  I promise you, you will know the power of God when He gets His hands on all this in the days ahead.

Victory did come for me.

End of page 3

Patti Corbello Archer

Future 101

This is what happened…

imagesCAH9WLA9Last night I ended Page 1 with an analogy when the Harley screeched to a halt at a cross roads. An ended journey that clearly revealed that life as I normally defined it would be forever changed.  That happened a couple of months ago.  Today, I assure you that the release of pressure and breath of freedom was truly immediate.  My relationship with Christ had prepared me.  You might say, He had already packed me for my new journey.  That in itself, once you learn my testimony, is truly a miracle.

Leaving the job and the church in January…my season to end that cross road had been a long time coming. The beauty is that I left with all the treasures from those many years there as a member and a leader in the flock with the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, spiritual growth and strategy, altar prayer counselor experience, teacher in ladies bible study, leader in the singles, and sincere love to those I ministered and served for so many years.  You see, the true value of that season comes with me – the things of the heart from me and from you.  Always know that YOU matter to me.  But the pressure, the infinite details, and all the waste of a spirit, well it truly will become beauty for ashes because my God is faithful.

This journey was prophesied back on November 1, 2009.  Even then God was preparing me.  Some of you may remember the guest Evangelist, Prophet and Singer that came to Christian World, John Ragsdale.  The following prophecy was spoken to me from the platform during service.  It was a particularly painful time for me and God read my spiritual mail for all the world to hear.  My spirit received it all.  I share…

Patti, the Lord says to tell you that your past has prepared you for now.  Not just your training but your tribulation – the good, the bad and the ugly.  Every bit of that has gotten you where you are and is going to help take you where you are going.  And the Lord said to tell you specifically, because they have walked away from you and because there’ve been things that you have walked away from, that this is releasing you into this next time of destiny…this is destiny for you….destiny for you…..

So, God has a plan!  Do you realize that He has one for you?  You see, I believe that we are all born purposely unique to God.  That we are born to do something individually for HIM that ONLY we will do.  It is personal.  Don’t ever doubt that He desires to be up close to you …most definitely in your breathing space…or breathing for you!

I tell you this because I didn’t know it could even be personal between Jesus and I until a little over 9 years ago.  Oh, I had been a Christian for 9 years already.  I had volunteered in ministry. I had studied and memorized the Word of God.  I was a wife, mother, mother in law, daughter, sister, friend, co worker, etc.  But until I walked away from my second husband – I didn’t see that I needed God to transform me to be what He created me to be – that things in me were broken…like stained glass strewn all over the floor. It is amazing that many times we don’t even see that we have emotional or addictive issues or behaviors until we do something more than once.  I never could believe that either of my two husbands loved me.  They tried to tell me but I never believed them.  I didn’t see myself as lovable, worthy or valuable.  I hated my self-definition or should I say, my experience-definition, and forever locked away my heart in a personal prison…missing out on the freedom and beauty of true intimate heart relationships.

I will share many private encounters between He and I in this testimony blog.  I have to share it with you.  I need you to know that He fixes what is broken and if He doesn’t fix it He can replace or recreate it.  He can give you a new mind, new beliefs, a clean heart, purity in the place of perversion, and testimonies for your scars.  You don’t have to be who you think you are.  He doesn’t want you to be.  He wants you to be who He says you are.

We are to be scripturally created.  How cool is that!!!!

Tomorrow I will “begin” the reflection journey of this blog all the way back to the lies spoken as fear when I was a little girl…to the lies believed when I was a teenager…to the false beliefs I acted upon as a young woman…till the day Jesus showed me what He does to lies.  I don’t know how long this journey will take…but each moment will matter.

Bless all of you, have a peaceful night…for God always “gives His Beloved sweet sleep”.

End of Page 2

Patti Corbello Archer

Future 101

The journey begins…

imagesCAD6F46BIt’s midnight …and I am just now sitting down to write.  I am so excited…for real.  I get to finally tell it like it is…or, should I say, reveal who I am.  Generally, people only see what stands before them.  But they can’t help it; after all, life is just too busy for us to see past the moment we are in.

But not me, right now, I seriously contemplate and focus on myself as I look in the mirror.  Oh my, I am truly grateful for hair dye, red lipstick and flashy bling!  God, thank you for the beauty supply industry!  My future would certainly be less…uh…vibrant…without such additions…giggle.  Oh, sorry, I got sidetracked!

Okay, let me get back to my story.  It is time to open up my memories and heart to the places I have been and to the things that have left their mark in my life.  NOT for the purpose of sharing alone, but purposely to reflect on the things hidden in my past that Jesus had to touch and remodel years later. So here we go…

Oh wait, first let me go ahead and surprise many of you right up front.  One of my heart’s desires for most of the last 10 years has been to get on a Harley and drive cross country by myself.  I am thinking I would have on black knee boots, jeans, big loops and hair (freshly dyed) blowing in the breeze.  The thought of this trip makes my heart twirl…to be free to sight see, explore, and ride the wind.  Wow.

Now this may seem gypsy or hippy-ish to you, and it probably is!  But the truth of the matter is, my body, soul and spirit were “damage” restricted through much of my life – so that when Jesus set me free – I hungered to embrace freedom any way I could!  My mind was set free, my destiny, my purpose, my identity!  (Oh, did you catch it?  I am driving.  I haven’t yet met the man that I trust to drive me.  But that is another story…)  So, on we go.  For the sake of the story line, come cruise with me.

The trip I dream about is all about the wind, hills, open fields, and authority to drive. I have a place to go and a destiny to meet. I feel 16 (going on 53) with the world in front of me!  Time has no meaning, for in the waiting God works His special power.  You know…when He prepares you for the days and years ahead and the choices that must be made. I so understand when His Word says, “…you have been put in this position for such a time as this”.

Back to the trip…  If you would, please focus and get a mental picture of me cruising down a long hilly highway at about 80 m.p.h., simply intent on living life as I know it.  Only thing is, I am going too fast, my Harley is loaded with responsibilities and pressure, I can barely see the open fields anymore and exploring has no available time on my agenda.  Tired of this journey and nearing the end of my map of directions, I come atop the final hill and have to hit the brakes hard.  Rocks flying, I slide to a stop.  There before me is a T in the road, a cross road, or possibly from some perceptions, a dead end – because life as I know it just changed.

Been there?  Can you imagine my tires squealing, heart pounding, and pure adrenaline at the challenge I am suddenly faced with?

For real…I stood up, put the kickstand down, and took off my helmet and glasses.  I shook out my hair…and smiled.  Freedom!!!

End of Page 1

Patti Corbello Archer

Future 101

Future 101 – Introduction

imagescacwfjdx.jpgI am a storyteller!  I love to share experiences, testimonies and my relationship with Jesus.  My first blog is entitled Future 101.  If you have ever reached a cross roads or seemingly dead end in your life and had to start over, come journey with me and let me share with you my life and how Jesus has made me who I am today.

In the days and years of yesterday, I may have known the oppression of fear, shame, betrayal, loss, divorces, mockery, tears, isolation and intense pressure…but let me assure you that God has indeed used these tough experiences along with my “destiny” to catapult me through the door to my future.  I stand here today with extremely powerful treasures.  I now release them to you!

So many times we sit in a church pew and never truly “know” the story of the precious person sitting next to us, so today, I welcome you to come with me…read my story as I share more of it each day.

I pray that you will be touched, inspired and encouraged to then go share yours!!!