Patrice Miles: New Lifestyle of Forgiveness
By Jewel Graham
The 700 Club
Patrice Miles remembers her childhood in snapshots. She lived with her mother after her parents divorced.
"I remember pink sponge rollers," Patrice said. "She used to always put those pink sponge rollers in my hair. We slept in a twin bed together and I remember having matching nightgowns. I don’t remember the day that she told me I was going to go live with my dad. But I remember the events, the emotions. I remember my dad pulling up in the driveway. Somehow I put it together that this wasn’t just a weekend visit."
Patrice and her brother were sent to live with their dad and his new wife.
"I don’t think a stepparent can really ever truly love somebody else’s child like their own," Patrice said. "There was always that thought that she didn’t love me like my mom should, like any mother would love their own child. But I think she did the best she could."
Patrice’s brother was angry about the change. He vented his anger on Patrice.
"It started out with just molestation, just a boy touching, experiencing, wanting to see things," Patrice said. "And it led into where it was a nightly occurrence and there was hitting involved. If I wouldn’t play a game with him he would hit me. Then of course, you know, [he'd say] 'if you tell, you’re going to be in big trouble.' Then, 'don’t you ever tell.' I feared him for many many years."
Patrice’s dad was a pilot. When he was home, he was a loving father.
"He would read to us every night; he would make these stories up. He would animate it all and we loved it," Patrice said. "He would take me on dates. It was just automatic, every month, we went on a date someplace. So he was a great dad when he was home."
But even Daddy broke his little girl’s heart. Her father and stepmother divorced and bounced Patrice back to her mother. Patrice’s mom remarried and had her own family now; so Patrice felt left out and ignored.
"There was no curfew. I think they just kind of expected that we would come home and I didn’t. I was into anything and everything," Patrice said. "It started out freshman year in high school with just cigarettes. And as anything leads to something else, as we went on into high school, drugs started to play a heavy role in our fun. You know, just starting out with marijuana and then of course it led to other things like pills and cocaine. You name it, we did it. I mean, we were out to have as much fun as we possibly could."
Then Patrice met Lenny. They fed off each others’ bad habits.
"Drinking and marijuana played a pretty big role when we first met," Patrice said. "Eventually, as we aged, we were looking for more powerful substances. My heart hurt so bad that drugs and alcohol made everything go away. It felt so good. I was happy."
Using drugs later became dealing drugs. When Patrice’s parents found out, they set rules she didn’t want to live by. Soon after, she and Lenny moved in together. But Lenny was an alcoholic.
"I remember a lot of nights - him just drinking way too much and just going into these psycho stages where he would just go crazy," Patrice said. "And there were many times I had my bags packed. But, where was I going to go?"
Patrice married Lenny and became pregnant with their first child within a year. While Patrice prepared for parenthood, Lenny started attending church.
"I think after a couple sermons hitting him, finding out that he’s going to have a baby, he decided that he wanted to get baptized and he did," Patrice said.
Still, he kept drinking. Lenny woke up New Year’s Day after a rough night of partying and decided there would be no more alcohol for him. In fact, he even decided to attend a retreat at church.
"He came back completely brand new. He was a completely different man," Patrice said. "I was very scared because I didn’t know what was the next step in our life. If all of a sudden my husband was going to change, that was going to mean I had to change too."
Patrice wrestled with Lenny bringing God into their lives.
"I think I resented it at first because I didn’t want him to be the Christian man that the Bible talks about," Patrice said. "You know, taking care of your family and being the head of the household. I had done all that. So it had put a huge divider into our relationship."
With their marriage on the rocks, Patrice agreed to attend the same retreat in order to appease Lenny. What she wasn’t expecting was a lesson on forgiveness. She realized the happiness she hoped to find in drugs and alcohol could only be found in Christ’s forgiveness. Patrice learned complete freedom also included forgiving those who hurt her along the way.
"My mom was there and I went over and gave her a hug. I told her that I forgave her for everything and she started crying," Patrice said. "And I just lost it because I never knew that she wanted my forgiveness. I don’t remember her asking for it. She may have, but I don’t remember her ever saying, 'I’m sorry' or 'This is why this happened, will you forgive me?'"
Patrice forgave her family members. Together, she and Lenny vowed to create a better environment for their marriage and their two beautiful children by forgiving, just as God forgave them.
"The anger that boiled up in me for so long and the unkind, impatient, un-self-controlled person that I was, was only bringing me misery. The forgiveness that I experienced helped me to have a life full of peace."Can God change your life?
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