Ride that roller coaster…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for sharing this story with me.

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

Life After Divorce – Final Page

Patti Corbello Archer

Single struggles…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Love Ad

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

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

See you tomorrow night!

Page 5

Patti Corbello Archer

Life After Divorce – single struggles

Online dating…really

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I got sleep again thank you God!

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

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

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

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

Page 4

Patti Corbello Archer

Life After Divorce –  Online Dating

The Carousel…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And tomorrow night I will share about that.

Page 3

Patti Corbello Archer

Life After Divorce – The Carousel

Hindsight is 20/20…

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Patti Corbello Archer

Life After Divorce – Hindsight is 20/20

Life After Divorce…The Beginning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life After Divorce…the beginning

Patti Corbello Archer

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