Greetings friends, this is Patty; I have not blogged for awhile. My friends and family have wondered if I have gone AWOL, but I can assure you I am alive and well. I have been a bit busy with school, counseling and preparing for a major transition in my life; a paid counseling job! For the past eight months God has allowed me the privilege to provided free counseling on a full-time basis to those “behind their own emotional bars.” The people I have served have been mainly through the St. Louis County Jail and the Union Gospel Mission. I am now looking forward to God’s new season in my life; providing therapy to children and their families at a local residential treatment facility. Please be praying for me as I begin this new adventure in June.
Pretty soon I will be off of probation and thus “off the books” of the Bureau of Prisons (BOP). Gerry and I have been on this judicial journey for the past seven years. What I like about the number seven is that scripturally it means completion; coincidence? I don’t think so.
Here is the breakdown:
- Fired from my Job June 15, 2007
- Under investigation for two years
- Began serving my twenty-seven month prison sentence June 15, 2009
- Released from prison on May 27, 2011and began three years of probation
- Off of probation May 27, 2014
Here is what I won’t miss:
- No more laborious monthly reports detailing every aspect of my life: personally, financially and socially.
- No more monitored emails, phone calls, or texts. Well at least not openly.
- Having to stay within the borders of Minnesota.
- Not having my civil liberties, such as being able to vote.
So what have these past seven years been like for those who have never gone through this (and hopefully never will)? Well that will all be in the book! However, here is what has been accomplished by the grace of God:
- Began a Masters degree in Professional Counseling January 2008 and completed all my course work except for my internship prior to serving my time
- Began a counseling internship at the Union Gospel Mission in September 2011
- Graduated with a Masters degree in Professional Counseling August 2012
- Passed my National and State Board exams in November 2012
- Began a prison ministry for the female inmates at the St. Louis County Jail November 2012. This in itself was a miracle. See Blog entry “Amazing Grace” dated January 2014
- Completed the training and became a certified Prison Fellowship Volunteer in February 2012
- Was licensed in the state of Minnesota September 2013 to practice counseling
- Provided 1,400 hours of volunteer counseling to those who could not afford it between October 1, 2013 and the date of this post
- Our marriage not only survived, but thrived
- Gained some amazing new friends and treasure the ones that “stuck it out” with us
- Paid down my court ordered $500 monthly restitution payments from $180,000 to $145,000! Yikes still have a ways to go
- Was offered my first paid job in my chosen field and
- Kept our home, our health, our humor and our faith in God!
What I look forward to, as Gerry and I begin this new chapter in our lives, is having our freedom and our privacy back. But then I got to thinking, in some way we are all on probation. God gives us this life for a certain amount of time. What we do with it is being watched, every detail, thought, action, or for that matter inaction. At the end of my federal probation I will get some canned report stating I have completed probation without incident. It won’t detail all of the hard work done to turn my life around for the glory of God and to be a blessing to others. However, I believe my heavenly Father is saying, “Well done Patty!”
Yes, I may soon be off probation (sixteen more days, but who’s counting) or what the BOP calls “supervised release,” but I am still being supervised in the eyes of God and so are you. Therefore, what are you doing to fulfill the time He gave you to serve on this earth? Are you walking out the destiny God planned for you or are you doing your own thing? In other words, who are you serving and are you going to finish your “supervised” time (your life) hearing these words, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”
In closing, Gerry and I wish to thank our family and friends who have so graciously supported us during one of the most challenging time of our lives. May God continue to richly bless you!