Debbie Finds Freedom Through Forgiveness
By Christine McWorter
The 700 Club
CBN.com -When Debbie Patten’s friends gave her drugs for the first time, the memories of her past seemed to fade to black. But between highs, old images flooded her mind. Particularly, images of the night her father stabbed her mother.
“He was very jealous and he started accusing her of adulterous affairs and things and she just wanted to go to bed,” remembers Debbi. “She was tired. And he came out and stabbed her in the chest three times.”
Debbie’s mother never pressed charges, and although Debbie’s father left, her mother let him come home just months later. Debbie hated her father. So she and her sister ran away. Debbie was finally free from the man, but not from the memories, which haunted her daily. Then she met new friends who introduced her to pot.
“It’s all free and easy at first, you know, to get you really started,” remembers Debbie. “It was a great escape. Because when I was high, I didn’t think about it, all the past you know, and I’m like, ‘I left him, he’s gone from our life, you know, it’s over and I can do whatever I want to do.’ I got started on acid and mescaline and peyote and all kind of hallucinogenic drugs. I was even using spray under the cabinets, huffing sprays and it really just made you basically trip. And I was escaping. At 16 I was already escaping, just as far away as I could get.”
As Debbie got older, she was always high. She did whatever she could to suppress memories of her father.
“I would get to the point where you know, I just, I hate this,” says Debbie. “But I have to keep doing it. I want it but I don’t want it.”
Debbie was able to stop using drugs, but she couldn’t shake her love for alcohol.
“I’d leave work and I’d see the beer sign blinking and I’d be like, ‘I don’t want to drink a beer today I’m not looking at that sign when I leave today,’“ recalls Debbie. “And I’d pull right in there and probably drink two 6 packs before I’d go to bed, you know, just to calm my nerves, just not to think about things.”
Debbie realized she couldn’t get sober on her own, so she made two decisions. First, she joined AA. Through the program, she stopped drinking immediately. Then, she began going to church.
Debbie says, “I remember on that first day, the guy, the pastor was like, ‘is there anyone here that needs to accept Jesus Christ to be their lord and savior?’ And I remember, with my prideful self, sitting back there saying, ‘Well, I could try it. If I don’t’ like it, I don’t have to do it.’ And that is when Jesus went, ‘Got her!’ He started reeling me in and I didn’t even know it. “
Debbie continues, “And I remember leaving that place that day saying, ‘what is this? It’s exciting. It’s kinda scary, but it’s real and I feel it. I feel love.’”
She gave her life to Christ. Through counseling sessions at her church, Debbie forgave her father. For the first time in years, she felt free.
“It’s a really hard thing to do but sometimes we have to do but sometimes we have to say ok God show me how to break these judgments, show me how to forgive. It’s hard to do at first but I could not do it without God,“ says Debbie.
Debbie found out that her father had lung cancer. A few months later he called her and asked her to take him to church. That day, something amazing happened.
“We took him to church and they got up and walked down that aisle and it was the exact vision I had,” says Debbie. “And he accepted Jesus right there. And so we got to just be so restored. You know, and I got that little time that was left to just love my dad and be with him then he passed away in 2000. I would have never dreamed in a million years that I could love my father the way I did before he passed away and forgive him for all the things that he did.”
Today, Debbie is married and she’s still free from drugs and alcohol. She says it’s only through God that she was able to forgive her father.
“The word of God says to forgive,” says Debbie. “And the only reason the Lord wants you to forgive is because it sets our hearts free. And the Lord has just blessed, blessed, blessed. He keeps putting more icing on my life than I can hardly hold onto, you know and it gets better and better. And I couldn’t be any more grateful.”
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