It was a Sunday, unlike any other. Allen and Diane were getting ready to go to church. The kids were all dressed and waiting for the bus to pick them up. Since the Church was growing their bus ministry, the kids rode along to help fill the bus and entice other kids. Allen and Diane would follow in their car.
Allen was nervous. He had a meeting with Pastor Blake that morning, before the church service. Diane was just as nervous. They both knew that this meeting was about to change their lives. Allen had admitted to the pastor that he had an addiction to cocaine and needed help. The meeting was set to give Allen the admission information to the Christian rehabilitation center. The center ran a program for church members that were struggling with addictions. Allen would spend six months living at their facility. It was September. This meant that Allen would be gone through the Christmas Holiday and would not be back at home until March the next year.
Allen and Diane knew that this was their last chance at getting Allen the help he needed. His addiction was out of control. Allen’s temper ignited when he was under the influence. He often abused Diane and the kids. Many nights he came home high as a kite. It was those nights that Diane feared the most. Allen was not himself. He would come home ranting and raving. He would scream, make loud noises, and hit whatever got in his way. Diane was his punching bag. She had hid the abuse and the bruises for far too long.
If Allen went to rehabilitation, the family would lose his income and there would be extreme financial struggles, but anything, at this point, was better than the addiction and the abuse.
The bus arrived and the kids were on their way to Sunday school. Allen and Diane left shortly after. The ride to church was quiet. Neither could speak about it. Once they arrived at church, they went to Pastor Blake’s office. He had all the papers ready. Allen would be leaving for the center that afternoon right after church. Pastor Blake was going to drive him. He explained the conditions of the program. He explained to Allen that he had to live there the full six months. There would be no opportunity to get a visit during the Holidays. He explained that I could visit twice a week, and the kids could visit on Saturdays, but not until Allen had been there for a whole month. That was the length of the detox portion of the program.
It was hard to hear. Pastor Blake told them that Allen would spend Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years at the center. Diane and the kids would be without him. Pastor Blake continued preparing them for what they were about to face.
Diane babysat at home. Her income was only a supplement to Allen’s income. During the next six months, the household responsibility would fall completely on her. It could not have come at a worse time. Diane was angry with Allen. His selfish addiction had put them in such a financial disarray. At the same time, she loved him. She believed in him. She knew that they could get through. She had to cling on to her faith more than ever.
Soon after the meeting was over, they headed over to the church. Diane joined the choir as usual. Allen sat with the kids. The sermon that day was about the impossible. Pastor Blake went on about how God can make the impossible seem like a walk in the park. Diane knew that the sermon was for the two of them, but no one else in the congregation knew. The whole situation was hush, hush. Pastor Blake would make an announcement the next Sunday.
After church, Allen, Diane and the kids headed home. On the way, Diane was quiet. She wanted to cry, but knew she had to let God take care of her. She had faith. She knew deep in her heart that all would be well. Allen told the kids that he was going away on a very long trip. He told the kids to be good for mom, and that he loved them. The kids became upset and asked why he had to go. He told them he had business to attend to and that it would take him that long to finish. He explained that on Saturdays, they could go and visit him at his new job.
The kids were young. That simple explanation was enough to ease their minds. After they arrived at home, Diane cooked lunch, and they all sat down to eat. Their oldest daughter, Sarah, said the prayer. Not soon they finished with lunch, Pastor Blake knocked on their door.
“Allen, are you ready”? He asked.
“As ready as I am going to be. Let me kiss the kids, say goodbye to Diane, and we can get on our way.” Allen’s voice crackled as he said the words.
Diane watched as the two headed out the door. This was the beginning of a very long journey. One that would test her faith, and at the same time, be filled with lessons and teachings that she did not even know she could endure.