Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Truth

The Truth

I am writing my story and sharing it with the reader for three reasons.  The first is that the truth, the whole truth, will be made public for I know that what may be held in secret has power and power  should only belong to Christ.  The second is to hope that someone can learn from my mistakes and therefore never trust the untrustworthy or believe the unbelievable.  The final reason is to show how God does use all things for our good and He and His Son, my savior Jesus Christ, never left me in my times of trial and if he will do that for me, the most unworthy, he will do it for you.  Along the way I will set in brackets early mistakes that I made that in looking back if I had only been more vigilant then the bigger mistake would not have come later.

As I began to think about putting my story to paper I must confess that a strange sense of anxiety pervaded my consciousness as if seeing it in print would be paramount to reliving the ugly and painful parts of my life without the same clarity of memory of the good aspects.  However, as I thought about it more I realized with more conviction than ever before that as difficult as life had been at times it was through these difficulties, especially in the past 3 years that I gained freedom.

If I could identify something that I am in recovery from, it would have to be living under the burden of labels.  As I look upon my life, I realized that my life has been a series of “labels”.  Some of these  were given to me as a child growing up, some self imposed as I tried to move forward from a single parent household where my mother had to work hard all the time to make ends meet and some self inflicted as I lived in my reality of I’m never enough … you feel in the blank -  smart enough, nice enough, pretty enough, just not enough.  Then there are the labels the world knows me by: I am a Christian, I am a wife, I am a mother, I am a doctor, and I am a felon. I didn’t see that last one coming, nor probably did you, however,  it is that last label of all labels that has given me freedom and so goes my story.

I was married at 17 during my senior year in high school and had 2 children by 20 with a divorce soon to follow.  My 20’s passed in a blur as I went to college and medical school, all the while working.  I had two beautiful daughters and a bucketful of guilt for never being like the other moms. At 29, I met, fell in love, and married my husband Scott for all the wrong reasons.  He was a wild guy and fun and a big personality, all that I was not.  Despite my failures, I had pretty much followed a strait-laced pathway so at 30 I was ready to have fun. We spent the first two years of our marriage going out when we could and living large.  My daughters were adjusting to a new person in our household and a new location but life was good for us all as we became a family.  Then all of it changed when out of the blue my husband was struck by a desire to seek God.  I was thinking why God, God, of all things.  I hadn’t thought about God for a decade and now He was stealing my husband.  When he accepted Jesus as his savior he became a different man – no more dancing, no more going out, reading the Bible all the time, what the HECK???  I would describe my label at this time as “miserable person”.  I lived from event to event with anticipation just preceding and disappointment always following.   I became more and more envious of the peace my husband had and more resentful of the joy he had despite my misery.  I wanted to leave, he refused to let me, and he said he had enough love for the both of us.  I just couldn’t understand, it was like a mystery to me.  Then in 1996 while on vacation, I picked up a book that he had packed.  It was called “God of My Father”.  I read this book about a man’s faith through good times and bad, through the death of a child and the loss of many things.  This man had that same faith which a changed my husband.  This was an unexplainable, undeniable  faith in a God who would send His Son to die for him and for me. I needed that, that unconditional love, that peace, that joy that I could not find in children, career, or husband and so I prayed for that and God gave me His mercy.

I would like to be able to say that life was all rosy after this but my new found faith was tested frequently.  It would be punctuated with peaks and valleys, with extremes of both.  Our first son born blind and God in His Mercy gave him sight.  I had another son a the same time that my oldest was heading to college and realized that time and my career had robbed me of the journey with my daughter while she was still at home.  I no longer wanted to miss my children's lives.  Therefore, I left my job at the hospital and began my own practice. [This was a mistake because rather than go into something I was familiar with and remaining connected to my professional community, I did the opposite.  It is always wise to operate closely with your professional community.] I began bible studies and became friends with other women.  This was new to me as I had always been somewhat of a loner.  However, my friendships, though with wonderful women, remained somewhat superficial as I really had no desire to be authentic with myself at times, much less with other people. [Big mistake, we always need people in our lives that we can be authentic with and accountable to – if you’re not real, you’re not in real relationship.]   For a long time my prayer requests were, “pray for my children, pray for my husband”, you know the type, I might as well also ask for them to pray for my dinner I was cooking that night.   I did begin to notice a change though as I watched a couple of these women go through some very, very difficult times.  This was gut wrenching to watch, however,  I began to see a vulnerability there that was so authentic.  I remembered saying at this time that I appreciate your ability to dig deep but I am quite content to stay right there on the surface.

Things were about to change as things often do, especially when God sees us stagnant by choice.  My change began with a phone call.  I was in Charleston and my husband called me frantically speaking into the phone that the DEA, yes, that DEA – Drug Enforcement Agency and the FBI were going through my office with guns looking for drugs and confiscating my computers.  I was terrified and that drive from Charleston was one of my worst days. I had no ideal why they were there but was soon to find out.  When I arrived at the office only two agents remained.  They did not find any drugs but began to ask me a lot of questions about a man I knew as Dr. Abernathy.  I am not clear now if in fact he was a PhD as he presented himself. [Always, always check out credentials of anyone whom presents themselves as having them.]  I will not bore you with long details but basically I had found his website on the internet and had hired him to train myself and my staff in anti-aging medicine.  He had a clinic in San Diego but traveled across the country training other physicians in this new type of medicine.  He continued to consult on our patients over the next year and I found him to be very knowledgeable and helpful.  After this year he asked me to write prescriptions for his patients, a role previously held by a doctor in Texas. [Definitely check out your predecessor’s reason for leaving a position].  He stated that patients would receive a physical exam by their local physician, he would then send labs my way with his recommendations for treatment.  His patients were older males and my patients were female, hence the need to follow his advice.  He also had been involved in this type of medicine and therefore I trusted his opinion.  [Never be the one to trust another’s opinion on a topic when it’s your responsibility to know the facts].  My first instinct was to say no [This should have been a no brainer but I didn’t, you should always trust your instincts, or at the very least, get a second opinion]. He continued to assure me that it was perfectly legal [Never take legal advice from the person who stands to gain from your doing something illegal], and told me he was in a bind and that his patients would also suffer.   I reluctantly agreed to do so for a short time until he could find a more permanent solution. [Don’t allow yourself to be talked into anything].  I did this for a couple of months and was woken up suddenly in the middle of the night and felt clear direction from the Holy Spirit that something wasn’t right.  I sent him an email to that effect. [When the Holy Spirit speaks to you, especially waking you from a deep sleep, don’t write an email, run and do exactly what He tells you.] It took me another month (and a total of 18 patients) of being told that I would ruin his business if I didn’t wait till he trained a new doctor before I finally cut all ties with him.  Even though I had cut all ties with him, two months later these agents were now in my office asking me questions.   I was told that a pharmacy in Mobile, Alabama had been sending out prescriptions for testosterone and it’s derivatives and that this in fact was illegal as they were controlled substances [Doctors, if I could say what was my biggest mistake in all this, it would be this.  I am ashamed to say this but I did not know that testosterone was a controlled substance.  In the hospital, I didn’t prescribe it and in my practice I trusted the man who taught me about it.  If I had taken that step of looking up this information, there would be no doubt what my answer to him would be.  I DID not do my homework]. I was also considered to be a part of this as I had written 18 prescriptions for his patients.  However, as I told my story that day and many, many times later I was always told that the agents believed me as I had all my emails supporting my story and I stopped before I knew that I was being investigated.  For two years I was told that I would be a witness but in January of 2008 my husband woke me at 6 am to tell me we were traveling to Columbia to meet with attorneys, I was now to be prosecuted. Everyone was, whether intentional or not, it didn’t matter.  That morning we began our journey at Beach Church and Pastor Dan and Pastor Craig prayed for us.  I can still so clearly see Scott and I sitting in that room as they lovingly prayed for God’s protection and will.  I can’t even begin to describe how I felt. It still sucks the air from my lungs as I think of it.

However, now is the time to tell you of freedom and trust and friends.  Since January of 08 I have had times when I felt such a weight on my chest that I felt I would surely be crushed, I have had times when just the sheer waiting for the next phone call, the next court date, the next whatever would feel like more than I could bare.  There have also been the most amazing of times.  Those were when God showed me that even though he doesn’t answer my prayers exactly as I would wish (taking it all away, for example) he showed up in miraculous ways to show me he was right there with me.  I prayed for a prosecutor that was a believer in Jesus, He gave me one that was a pastors daughter and comforted me with the exact same Bible verse that I played over and over in my head as this was the prayer from my Pastors in 2008 – “What Satan intends for evil, God will use for good”.  When I prayed for strength, he gave me a brokenness that finally allowed me to break open in front of my friends and they were my strength, they encouraged me, they were true sisters.  When I prayed for the blanket of shame to quit smothering me, he lifted it by giving me a counselor whom told me to write down all the good things that happened because of this and all of the good things that could happen and to live those out.  When I prayed for purpose, he gave me the courage to live out my dreams of going on missions and started going to Rwanda to care for the street children there.  I prayed for mercy and my medical board believed that I was conned and did not take my license.  In fact, the prosecuting attorney even wrote a letter to my medical board requesting leniency, something they had never seen.  I eventually pled guilty to a "misprision of felony" which means that I saw a crime and didn’t report it.  It didn’t really matter that I didn’t know it was a crime, I believe that I should have. [If you have a license, no matter what type, make sure you know the rules of your license, the responsibilities, and the weight of it.]  The day that I pled guilty was one of the worst as I stood before the Judge and said I was guilty of knowing something when in fact, I didn't.  However, it was also one of the best.  The agent who was also a believer walked Scott and I to the second floor of the federal building so that I could be fingerprinted and the infamous "mug shot" taken.  He stated in the hallway, "let me go check to make sure no one in the cells so that you are not uncomfortable".  He returned as said "no one there, and just enter through the door and the agent will be there".  As I entered I looked straight ahead and was treated with respect by the agent as he completed my fingerprinting.  He then directed me to stand by the two jail cells which I had just walked by.  I looked to my right and I saw two elderly black men sitting on opposite sides of the cell.  As tears streamed down my face for my photo to be taken, they both comforted me and said "it will be ok".  A smile came to my face and I told Scott and the agent about these two men and the agent looked surprised stating no one had been in the cells.  He entered back in and once again the cells were empty.  I know that I know that I know that once again God in His Mercy sent angels to comfort me.   The waiting began again as I was asked to testify in the case against those who were the organizers of the syndicate.  I learned that Dr. Abernathy was in fact not a doctor but a recruiter of doctors to convince them to become complicit.  The wait became a time of peace, and trust, and miracles, and hearing from God in a way that I cannot even explain.  On the day that I was to testify I sat with the prosecutor (remember the Pastor's daughter) and I gave her a list of scripture of what it means to be a warrior for God.  We prayed together and as I entered the witness stand I was immediately aware of  so many attorney's representing multiple defendants versus she and another at the other table.  I cannot explain what happened next, however, the best that I could do is that while the Holy Spirit gave me clarity, He confused the mind of these attorneys as the questions did not make sense and they seemed frustrated by even the questions they asked.  The final question though was from the prosecutor, and it was:  "Dr. Pyle, you mention the Holy Spirit in your email to Abernathy, could you tell me what you mean by that?".  Knowing that she knew this answer I have always seen this question as a tennis lob.  And I looked to the jury and I shared who Jesus was and who the Holy Spirit was and as I stepped down, I knew that the journey may have been for that moment.  Thank you Jesus for the pain.  They were all found guilty and imprisioned and then I finally reached a point that I would find out my punishment, my worldly consequence.   As I stood before the judge over a year ago, I shared how I knew my responsibility and how I was affected the previous 4 years and finished by quoting scripture, “The kings heart is in the hands of the Lord and as a river runneths, he turns it withersoever He will”,  I told the judge that "your heart and your decision are determined by Him and that I trusted that above anything else".  She looked at me with compassion and I received a year’s probation which was the least that she could give me in the federal system.

I am a felon, yes, that is my label at least by the world’s standards.  But that is not who I am.  If you look at the letters of felon, this is who I am:
Fallen
Elevated by Christ
Loved by Him
Owned by Him
Now and forever.

How do I live my life now? Well I would say that I try to live my life with purpose, passion, and authenticity.  My purpose is mother and wife and I hope that my husband and children feel how much they are loved and my passion is Rwanda.  In Rwanda I have found a place where poverty is not defined by a lack of material things but poverty is an emotion when one is poor in spirit.  These children whom live on the street, laying in ditches at night and searching through dumps for food during the day, they are not poor in spirit.  Their hope is evident upon their face as we spend time with them caring for their wounds and caring for their hearts.  It is that hope eternal that reveals their riches and blesses me with their presence.
And it is through trying to live an authentic life that has given me an entirely different perspective on the journeys of others.  Everyone, EVERY ONE is going through something.  When I can share my journey and my struggles it takes the power out of them and allows others to share theirs as well.  When WE, YOU, ME, anyone release our grip on our secrets, they float away.  What a picture of freedom that is that I have only been taught through this experience and my relationship with Jesus Christ.

So my final words of encouragement are these:  With all the ups and downs, the failures and the successes, I would not change a thing about my life.  I am free. I am free, and friend - SO ARE YOU!

Pamela Pyle




4 comments:

  1. God is such a good God! Out of the ashes of our lives He brings beauty and restores us to where His glory can be shown!

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  2. Thank you for sharing your testimony.

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  3. I just came across this, Pam. Hooray for you!! It's so good to be free. I am free, too, from situations I didn't even realize were causing bondage. Following Jesus is all that matters. So happy to call you friend.

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  4. Wow, I am humbled, challenged, and encouraged by your story. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. I never cease to be amazed by the Lord's redeeming power. He really does make beautiful things out of our brokenness. It is a great reminder that we ALL have a story. I am blessed to know such a wonderful couple as you and Scott!
    Love,
    Brittani

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