Chapter 1/My Story

He was the most beautiful baby in the whole world. My heart was so full and I couldn’t imagine anything better than being his mom. Todd stood next to the bed his face soaking wet. We had been married 4 years and the time seemed perfect to start a family. Really everything seemed pretty perfect at that time. We had a beautiful new home. Todd was heading up the christian country division of a record label, and I had been a flight attendant with a major carrier for 9 years. Todd was doing well with his job, and I didn’t have to fly a full schedule unless I wanted to. Todd really liked his job, and cowboy boots and Stetson hats started to appear around our home. I liked being a part of his career as well. I was ready at any time to go hear some good music. And now here we are at Baptist Hospital in Nashville, TN, and shortly will leave with this perfect little baby boy. We also were gifted with family. Family was spilling out of the recovery room, the waiting room, the cafeteria….we felt so loved. My father in law was a Christian Singer. He toured for over 50 years with his group The Cathedral Quartet. He arrived at the hospital shortly before our boy, his namesake was born. I would find out later that he was dropped off by the tour bus, and spent the night on a bench in the waiting room, awaiting the arrival of his 3rd grandchild. I told you things were pretty much perfect. The calm before the storm? Satin hates it when Gods children smile. I had no idea at the time, but I would very soon open a door and give him the foothold he needed to begin his evil beating of me and my family. And, when Satin begins his beating, he tears on the very heart and soul that God has breathed into you. I am reminded again of why I write with tears….I no one but me, is to blame for the terrible beating that Satin was waiting to bestow on my precious family.
But right there, and then….things were looking up. Way Up!!
It was a joyous occasion!! The time in the hospital passed and it was time to take our little bundle home. I will never forget Todd saying “I can’t believe they are going to just let us leave here with him”. Yep, we were both a little clueless. I am the reader in the family so I was armed with the latest edition of “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”. Off we went with all the flowers, balloons, stuffed animals and Glen Cole Payne 7lbs 3oz.

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I Write With Tears

Listening to Dr. Charles Stanley, I am once again reminded how awful it would be if toward the end of life, you suddenly discover that God had given you a gift, a purpose in life, and you never used it. Dr. Stanley called it ending your life with a big fat 0!  Wow a 0….As tears come to my eyes, very easily these days it seems, I realize at 47 years of age I don’t want this to happen to me.  I have failed so many times in my life.  Lord, I don’t want to fail you.  And so, here I am, and I write.  I write with pain in my gut that is sometimes so strong I feel it will burst.  You know where my pain comes from God.  I know where it comes from too……and that is why I write again, with tears ……So here I begin my story….with hurt in my heart and fear that is so strong it can only be conquered through surrender to the Lord….So again here it is the story of how God used this broken messed up life, to show just how far his grace will go…..

In the days to come I will begin to share my story. I appreciate your prayers as I share the parts of my story that are the hardest to share.  Therefore

I Write With Tears

 

Be Ware of the Hair Salon

On the way to the airport this morning I watched as several men crossed the road adjacent to the Davidson County Jail. I pass this road at least once a week. The faces change, but the pain can always be felt. It may be in their dirty clothes, their faces, the words on the cell as they beg someone to come get them. But the pain can always be felt.
This is always a familiar sight, and sometimes brings back memories of my own journey. This morning, I think of a particular time that my drinking didn’t quite turn out as I wanted…..surprise surprise surprise.
It all started at the hairdresser. You wouldn’t think anyone could get into trouble at a hairdresser, right? Well if you are an alcoholic like I was, then the idea seems quite reasonable. I was trying out a new hairdresser in my home town. Everything was going smooth. I had been sober for a few days and managed to make my appointment on time. I talked with the stylist and we agreed on the type of service I would receive that day. First highlights, where they put these beautiful tin foils all over your head along with a solution that lightens your hair to the desired shade. If you are a seasoned highlight recipient like I was,you also know that the more foils, the more highlights hence the better look, hence the higher price. So…ultimately, if you can afford it, you want your head to look like a sate light dish of tin foils. Especially if you are going for the “natural blond” look like I was. Anyway the agenda for the day was highlights, cut and style. But before we got started, oh my……..I couldn’t believe what my eyes beheld. Here comes a women carrying the most beautiful bottle that I had ever seen at a salon. “Would you care for a glass of wine?” wine wine wine wine wine wine wine wine…………………………….. Her voice seemed to echo in the room with that one word…..wine
without hesitation, I said yes.
I learned later in recovery, that this was the first mistake that I made. You might think “a duh, you said yes?” No, my first mistake was the thought. As an alcoholic , in my mind I have but a few seconds to make life saving choices. sometimes, these choices can’t be made alone. At that split second , I could have excused myself and called on a recovering friend, played the events forward in my head (play the tape through) or my favorite just “Run Forrest Run!” Of course I could have called on The Lord, but at that point in my recovery, I wouldn’t have listened anyway, I needed God with skin. Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying my recovery friends are playing God for me. What they are doing is holding my hand and walking with me until I can find God and surrender my will to him, on my own. God uses people in recovery to help others find peace with him as they have. We have a saying in recovery “To keep it, you have to give it away.” I have found this to be true. I have also found that once I started giving it away, it became one of my greatest joys.
But anyway, back to the Salon and my beautiful bottle of wine. The woman says “I will get you a glass.” Glass? How about the bottle and a straw? Why dirty a glass? But I wait patiently and she brings me this wonderfully full glass of red liquid. I have a sip…I sip..I sip
I slam. Oh Miss? Could I have another? That was just fabulous! May I see that bottle as well? I must try that year at home. After the 3rd glass (I think) my hair is all up in the tin foil sate lite, and starting to bake, uh process, lol. Oh my goodness, I need to get my phone from the car. Yes I know I have foils in my head, but, what the hoo….this is 2005 live a little Lori. In my car, I just happen to keep an emergency bottle of Vodka, oh dear….
My last clear memory, is being in the bathroom at the salon, and slamming Vodka straight from the bottle, no straw needed. My hair processes, and the stylist cuts and styles my hair. I tell her I love it and go again to the bathroom. I change back into my clothes, and slam a bit more vodka. I walk out of the bathroom, through the front lobby and out the front door into the mall. There are some great small shops inside The Factory and now that I have a great new hairstyle, I am feeling pretty good. (May also have something to do with the Vodka)
I browse around one store and decide it is time for another restroom break. In the restroom I have another “swig” of Vodka….bottle…restroom…fog…..bottle….fog…..policeman….policeman….policeman…….
Oh Miss? Miss….Miss….Are you alright?
Oh yes, I’m OK, I uh, I uh, I’m just not feeling very well.
Yes Mam someone called us and said there was a drunk lady in the Restroom.
Oh no Sir! I’m not drunk! I just had some wine at the hair salon. It must have not agreed with me so well.
Yes Mam the salon called us as well. Appears that you also did not pay your bill.
Oh Dear Me!….I am sooooooooo sorry!! I….uh….uh…have the cash right here in my purse……I must have forgotten. Oh I’m so sorry, I will just go pay them.
I understand Mam. I think you need to come with me.
Oh that’s OK! I have my car here. I will just pay the salon and head on my way……my BMW is just parked out front.
I will make sure you pay the ladies, but I need you to come with me first.
Sir, I can just wait here a while if you think I’ve had too much wine. I will pay the salon, and shop a bit. I’m feeling better now. Oh did I tell you I have a BMW? I also know Toby Keith, I can get you concert tickets…..
Mam, you need to come with me.
I guess you don’t want Toby Keith tickets….
The fog started to lift a little by this time. Something about silver bracelets seemed to wake me up a bit. So we head to the Williamson County Jail. Ironically this is the same jail that 8 years later I lead a Celebrate Recovery meeting for the women once a week But on this day, something entirely different was happening. The officer lead me into the jail. I’m still shocked that he is going to actually book me. My photo is taken, I am finger printed and searched. I saw my booking photo sometime later…a great hairdo with one side pushed completely flat to my face, I guess from lying on a bathroom floor. Wow…what class! I am lead to a small room with a bench, the handcuffs are taken off and the door is shut and locked. I am alone, and no bottle to comfort me. I lay down on the bench and cry. I must have passed out because the next thing I hear is Mrs. Payne, your husband is here to get you. I don’t remember much of the drive home, only the look on my husbands face. He looked tired and lonely. I was destroying myself, and this beautiful man who was so unfortunate as to fall in love with me.

James 1:14-15
Temptation comes from our own desires which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions, and when sin is allowed to grow it gives birth to death.

How Do You Turn a Mobile Home Over?

My Mom Could Do Anything! One of my earliest and scariest memories happened when I was about 4. We lived in a trailer in Las Cruces NM. It was me, my sister who was 6yrs older than me, and my mom and dad. I was adopted before I was born. Dad was a truck driver, and mom stayed at home with my sister and I. One day when my dad was gone and my sister was at school, there was an awful storm. I can remember it bMy Momeing very dark and load noises like tree limbs breaking and lightning flashing everywhere. Then it happened. Things started flying, dishes breaking, pictures coming off the walls…mom and I flying though the air and finally resting on what had been the side of the trailer. Things are a little foggy here, but I remember my mom picking me up and running her hands all over my body checking for injury. She herself was bleeding from her knees where she crawled across glass to get to me. Then mom smelled something that made her move quickly. Mom somehow got me and her out of the trailer. Then another neighbor lady appeared to help. The wind was still blowing horribly, and it was pouring rain. My mom and the lady found the butane tank laying on its side. Mom somehow knew how to shut the butane tank off. This is where I black out. I must have fallen asleep, because I woke up at the neighbor ladies house. I’m still not sure how they turned our trailer back upright…..   Here I am in my Dads work boots in that same trailor before the accident.  You can see my sister doing dishes behind me. 20120823-080456.jpg

Conclusion Shameful Day at the Shelter

We left off at the bath tub in the homeless shelter….

The staff member said to the transient ” If you don’t get out of that tub, I’m calling the police.” The police? Surely she’s not serious. Just wait a while and the women will eventually get out. Certainly the police would not respond to such a request. Uhhh….we have a lady here at the homeless shelter who is in the wrong bath tub, and we need you to send an officer out to remove said lady from said tub. No, this had to be a bluff. Sadly, she was not bluffing. A few minutes passed and I could hear men’s voices coming up the stairs of the shelter where the perpetrator remained in the bath tub. There were two male officers and they were headed straight for the bathrooms. I and several others had gathered at the doorway of our bedroom to watch the scene unravel. There was no hesitation, no warning, no polite alert. The officers entered the bathroom, called the women by name, then proceeded to drag her naked, dripping wet body from the bath, across the t.v. room and down the stairs. She was screaming and crying the whole way.

Of all the wrong doing and sin in my life, I still had some heart left, and it was breaking for her. Please just leave her alone, its only a bath, she would have gotten out.

I was ashamed. Ashamed I was there, ashamed I didn’t try to help, ashamed of my sisters who chose such an act of cruelty for such a small crime. Ashamed of who I was at that very moment.

Shameful Day at the Shelter

The Homeless Shelter had two stories.  The downstairs consisted of the chapel on one side and the offices and cafeteria on the other.  The upstairs had beds and bathrooms of the “Program People” like me on one side, and the homeless transient people on the other with their beds and bathrooms.  There was a small t.v. lounge in the center of both sides, but it was rarely used because program people and transient people were not allowed to associate.  We were in a program, they were not, that made us different.  I was told that the reason behind the rule was that the transient folks were allowed to leave during the day and could possibly bring in alcohol or drugs to the program people who were not allowed to leave.  Program people were not allowed to leave on their own at any time, or they could not come back.  At night outside my window, it wasn’t uncommon to watch drug deals being made  between the buildings.  

One incident, that I think about to this day, happened one hot afternoon in our bathroom on the “program side.”  One of the transient homeless ladies probably in her late 50’s, with mental challenges decided that she wanted to take a bath.  There were no bath tubs on her side of the shelter, so she came on over to ours.  I remember seeing this lady quite often at the shelter.  She was a regular and could often be heard talking to herself.  So there she sat in the middle of one of our bathtubs.  Now there were many of us at the shelter, me included, that thrived on drama, so another women went immediately to tell one of the staff our aweful dreadful problem.  I have to say that this kind of drama I didn’t like.  I felt sorry for the women and would have said nothing to staff, but I also said nothing to stop it.  If I knew what would happen next, I would have begged them to just leave her alone, but I didn’t.  The senior staff member came in our bathroom and started yelling at the women to get out of the tub.  I could not see or hear from my vantage point any response from the lady.  I don’t believe that she spoke back.  The staff member continued to yell and then she said something that I thought was surely just a threat, you know a bluff…………..Oh if only she was bluffing……..

 

Arriving At The Homeless Shelter

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Walking into the shelter that day years ago, I must have been so sick and in denial that I clearly could not see the truth from the false. My friend Sue, who was kind enough, or just in the wrong place at the wrong time when I asked her to sponsor me, had taken me there. In recovery a sponsor is someone who guides you through your recovery and all that entails. For me, bless her heart, this would mean my getting sick in her car, calling her so many times one night she finally put the phone in the drawer, and those were some of the better moments. So we arrive at the shelter to do a “walk through” and have their drug and alcohol program explained to us. In my mind, remember how dangerous it was up there, in my mind that is, I’m walking with a Real estate Agent showing me where my bed would be in my new home, and hoping that I will approve! I’m also trying to decide what colors would look best on my twin bed, and if Sue will take me to buy new ones. It is explained to me that I am required to stay in the Homeless Shelter area for 30 days, then I can be accepted next door into the Hope Center for a 6 month Recovery Program. The program is Biblically based. Sue approves of the program and I move in 3 days later, still in my cloud of denial.

During the first few days, the rules are introduced to me, and I am constantly thinking of ways to break them, or at least get around them. I also make sure to mention to any of the staff who would listen names of any “important or celebrity people” that I know. Once again in my mind, I must establish right away just “who I am” and how different I was from everyone else at the shelter. I was just at a bump in the road, and didn’t really belong there. After all, I had dined with Country Music Stars!!! I continued to look to all the worldly things that didn’t matter, and couldn’t see my sweet Jesus who was carrying me…… I read my Bible, said all the right things, but completely ignoring any personal relationship with God. I can picture Jesus at that time and wonder was he laughing about how silly I was? Or did it break his heart to see me so far away from him. Either way, he never left me, NEVER.

Matthew 25:35
For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.

My Month With The Hagee Family II

When we left off I was picking the brain of one of the most gifted, anointed Pastors that I know. Oh yeah and, forgetting every word he said. I’m grateful that he has authored many books that I can reference these days when I am actually trying to listen. I’m also reminded of a sermon by T.D. Jakes. He was talking about how we need to look at today as the “good times”. It so easy to get caught up in looking back and saying “oh that was so great, that opportunity is the best I will ever have, too bad I didn’t see it”.
He was talking about, I think, living in today. Enjoying what we have today. Yes I just finished Chemo and yes it’s been an HE double hockey sticks kind of a year. But I’m also 45 years old. I’m alive, and I have a lot of time left, hopefully, to serve God, love and serve my family, and enjoy what God has blessed me with. Yes I’ve had great times in the past, but I plan on having many more! God has blessed me with some gifts. I don’t want to waste those. Again back to the story. Here is where it was proposed to me the opportunity to participate in a weekend retreat called The Encounter. Again, I had nothing else to do so Ok what the heck. Looking back I would love to experience that again. You see I was still caught up so deeply in self will, that I wasn’t open to what God had for me. I was concerned with, how I dressed, where I would sleep, would I fit in, all the things that I see today are so NOT important at all. The day came and I packed up for the weekend. The Encounter takes place at the Tarpley Ranch property owned by the Ministry, I believe, and used for different events associated with the church. When I arrived at the property I’m not sure what I expected, but it wasn’t the beautiful facility that I walked into. I had heard the words like lodge, bunkhouse, and kind of pictured us all huddled outside with a fire holding hands singing cum by ya……..that is not anything like what I found at Tarpley.

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My Month With The Hagee Family

Living with the Hagee family that month was fast paced to say the least. I would think more than once, where do these people get their energy? From my location in the home, I could hear Pastor leaving somewhere around 5am each morning. When I am up that early, I know it’s got to be the Lord! I followed Diana around like a little puppy, and she sweetly let me, at times giving me some type of assignment at the church. These little things helped me to fit in and feel useful. I didn’t think much about alcohol, during my visit, which I still find very interesting. You have to understand that at this stage in my alcoholism, it was rare for me to not be thinking about it, or plotting to somehow still drink, while trying to hide it from everyone. Even in my home church, there were times that I volunteered at our church bookstore while hiding my drink under the counter. I’m not proud of these times. But through Gods grace and forgiveness I am not ashamed of who I was then. God was still working on me back then, just as he is working on me now. The difference is today I invite him in to do that “work” that I so desperately need. I try to stay out of self will, therefore giving God room to show his will for me. But back to my story. At one specific assignment I was allowed to sit on the left side of Pastor Hagee with a large stack of books to my left. My job was to open one book at a time to the front cover page, and slide it in front of Pastor. There he would autograph it and slide it on to another helper who would stack the finished product. Being the good alcoholic that I was, I was always looking for something or someone to blame my alcoholism on. So I take this opportunity to ask Pastor Hagee about generational curses. You know just in case that is the real problem that I need to look at. I wish I could tell you what he said. I was good at listening, when it was me doing the talking. I’m sure he said something very biblical and wise, but it all just went right past me. What a shame. Maybe someday I will have the chance to ask him again……….
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