The Annulment Decision – Opening the Envelope

The Annulment Tribunal Seal

The annulment seal made it official – thank God!

I am sitting here with my annulment letter in my hand. I have yet to open the envelope which arrived two days ago. I had more important things to do – like be a mom to my 5 boys.

But now I am sitting here in a house that I know for the next few hours will be quiet, if not exactly peaceful as I look around at the clutter five active boys have left for me while they are at their father’s this weekend. This is what I was waiting for. Time alone to cry if I feel like it, to jump up and dance and sing if I feel like it, to do whatever feels right in the moment.

I am not sure how I will feel when the verdict is read, but by having a few moments alone to digest whatever the outcome is, I am giving myself freedom to just Be in God and let Him handle my future. I don’t have to worry about the boys seeing my tears or pretend all is okay – when I feel like dying inside.

I really am not sure what I will feel when I open this envelope, and I study the outside of it for one more moment, holding more than an envelope in my hand, holding a part of my future, a part of my faith, knowing that whatever I hold in my hand is nothing compared to how I sit in God’s hand.

I am guessing the annulment went through. Maybe it’s my maiden name on the envelope, maybe it’s discussions with priests and those in the know, maybe it’s my prayers to a merciful God, but for whatever reason, I am guessing the annulment went through, and I am guessing I will meet that decision with a bit of sadness for the death of a marriage and the loss of a man I only dreamed existed, but I think there will be an overwhelming sense of gratitude as well, gratitude, not because it allows me to date and begin “husband hunting” (awful term isn’t it???) but because it will mean I am free.

There are so many wonderful things, amazing changes in our lives right now. I am hoping receiving the annulment is one of them, but whether I do receive that blessing or not, I am filled with a sense of peace. I have learned a lot about myself and what I am made of and of my real worth. I have been pushed and poked and put under inspection by myself and outsiders and I have noticed flaws worth changing and those I can live with.

And through it all, God has shown me He is by my side. Whether I have that annulment or not, God knows the Truth behind our marriage, and He knows the plans He has for me and for my boys.

Whatever happens when I open the annulment envelope, I will trust in Him.

To Read the Annulment Letter, please go here:

The annulment process is one handled by men doing their best to discern God’s Blessing. It is a process I believe has many faults, but it is doable no matter what your financial standing or your reluctance to enter the process. Do not let your excuses hold you back from seeking an annulment and the freedom receiving one (if possible) brings. Do not let your fear of being denied an annulment hold you back from seeking one either. God knows the plans He has for you whatever the outcome of this manmade decision is.

God Bless…

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Annulment Decision – It Came in the Mail Today

The seal - annulment Archdiocesan coat of arms

The envelope bore the Archdiocesan markings

I reached into the mailbox and took out an unusually large number of envelopes of various shapes and sizes. Back to school time was here, and for a single mom of five boys, that means a crazy amount of paperwork.

But as I sorted through the material, one envelope caught my attention. It was a plain, innocent looking white envelope of standard business size.

Only the red stamp of our Archdiocesan headquarters made it stand out.

I guessed that I held the result of our annulment in my hand.

The envelope was addressed to me using my maiden name, something the Archdiocese had done in all correspondence since the case was opened, something I still disagree with. I cannot understand why the church eliminates the married name, denying the marriage before the investigation even begins. Why would the church revert to pre-Sacrament practices before it was proven that the Sacrament had not occurred?

I prefer to Hope that a Sacrament did occur and work from that point than to assume it did not and work from whatever vague spot that places us.

Whatever the reason, seeing my maiden name simply stated on the outside of the envelope no longer held the sting it once had.

Today, I am neither my premarital self nor my married self, so neither name truly belongs to me.

Is it possible for Catholics to be Born Again?

I have certainly been made new in Christ.

I checked the return address and saw the letter was from the Archdiocese, but this envelope came, not from the tribunal judge, but from the head honcho himself, the “Very Reverend.”

I fought back a chuckle as I wondered, briefly and with no disrespect intended, if the church had “very reverends” and “sort-of, kind-of reverends” and maybe even “not-quite reverends” paired with “super-fabulous reverends.” There is so much I still need to learn, but I was pretty sure this head honcho guy was on was way to super-fabulous!

It was probably an odd thought, but it shows how far I’ve come in the last five years,

how I’ve regained the ability to laugh at moments that would have once broken my heart.

I thank God for that laughter often

and Love to share that Joy.

I had personally met with this Very Reverend after the horrible experience with my tribunal judge, and I could certainly attest to the fact that this man was indeed a VERY Reverend.

I admired and respected him and am more grateful than I can verbalize for the calm, peace filled way he read through the transcripts of our case, the comments he made about what he saw stated, and the gentle humor he expressed through it all.

Whatever this kind, wise man had decided, I was sure he would have prayed first; I knew I could trust him and God with the outcome.

Putting off the Annulment Decision

As I walked into the house where my basketball team of boys waited for me, I knew I’d have no time or privacy to open that envelope now. I was only mildly surprised by the calm acceptance I had knowing that.

I wondered if I really needed to learn the result of the annulment decision after all.

I’ve learned over the years, the word “need” is overused; I need very little after all.

At that moment, the decision didn’t seem to matter much either way.

I walked in the door putting the envelope in the middle of the stack of papers so my boys wouldn’t see it. Tomorrow was Kaleb’s birthday, and I had already been out late shopping.

Tomorrow night Kaleb and his brothers would be staying at their father’s house and celebrating his birthday – a fact that still amazes me. Tonight, I would put all my worries about the new job and stress over the messy house and everything else aside and just hang out with my boys.

Tonight, I didn’t need to know what that envelope contained.

Tonight, I just needed to be Mom.

Later, when the boys were gone, I thought back to my reaction when my husband had told me he was leaving, the indescribable Loss, earth shattering fear, and absolute agonizing pain of those long months – even years.

I remembered the shock of receiving the annulment papers in the mail while I was still reeling from the divorce. I remembered the heartlessness my ex husband and his girlfriend (and some in the church) had by forcing me to approach the annulment without warning and while still trying to adjust to being a single mom of five boys, finding a job, being forced from my home … to so much…

but that was all in the past now,

The peace and calm I once would not have thought possible I now know comes straight from the Strength of the Holy Spirit and the Power of the Lord Himself. It is that which filled me as I placed that pile of mail on the counter and went to play with my boys.

I’d find out the result of the annulment decision soon enough.

Please join me for my post, The Annulment Decision - Opening the Envelope, which will be posted within the week to find out whether the annulment was successful or not. I also thank you for patience with my temporarily sporadic writing schedule while I adjust to my new job, teach my night SAT class and CCD (Confirmation class! A story in itself! YAY!!!), and send five boys off to school, Scouts, sports each day.

I may be low on blogging time, but I’m still high on Faith, Hope, & Love!!

God Bless…

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John 3:16 Carry Your Cross

Cross and candle vigil

We are each given a unique Cross to bear – Use it well

John 3:16 – Ask a young Christian child what the most important verse in the Bible is and many will tell you John 3:16,

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.

Ask a young Catholic child how much Christ loves her and she will smilingly respond, “He Loves me this much!” As she throws her arms wide to show Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross.

And yet somewhere in between that trusting child and our cynical adulthood

     Life Happens

And we question the Crosses we are given.

I sat in church yesterday listening to this Gospel of John, looking around at my friends, and thinking of how every one of them is carrying some sort of burden. No matter how perfect they seem, many have shouldered painful, frustrating, anger-provoking experiences. Many have questioned why, and listening to their stories, I have questioned why too.

I still do.

These are Good people. Why does life have to be so hard?

I sat in church praying for my friends, both those around me who carry their crosses quietly, behind closed doors and those who share their stories online revealing to others Light and Love, victims of child abuse like Cristina and marital stress like Charity, those who are sick and wanting the best for their families like Tammi, and especially those like Mary (and her daughter Courtney) who care for sick children.

There is such pain and suffering in this world and we often, understandably, beg the Lord to lift our Crosses from us. This is especially true when we face pain in our Loved ones or the fear of the unknown.

Turning to God both in our sorrows and in our triumphs is Good. God wants to share those with us. He wants to share every moment with us as every Good Father wants to share with his children, but, just as a Good Father tells his children not to cheat in a ball game even though they may experience a loss, God the Ultimate Good Father tells us not to cheat when it comes to carrying our Crosses even though we too may experience a loss.

There are often times when the Cross we carry helps us become stronger to face challenges ahead, bends in the road we do not see coming, or to help Loved one through their own painful experiences, experiences, not caused by God, but by man or our environment. When we carry the Cross we are given, the Cross uniquely designed for our shape, size, and strength, uniquely designed for us in our place, in our time, we are offered two choices: to accept the Cross and carry it in faith or to turn away. Very seldom do we see a middle of the road Cross bearer.

We often see Jesus on the Cross but forget that His suffering began long before that final day. Even as a child He was questioned by those in the Temple, as a young man, He was angered by the gaming in His Father’s temple, and as a Healer, he was doubted and His Goodness was questioned.

Jesus’ Cross began, through NO fault of His own, long before the Last Supper.

And yet, He bore that Cross for us. He did not try to lighten His load, go back on His promise, or cheat us out of it.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.

John 3:16-17

It is tempting to question the Crosses we have been given, but just as Jesus’ Cross was sent to save us, so too are our Crosses sent, not to condemn us to a life of abuse, worthlessness, hurt, or fear, but to save us from even worse.

Bear your Cross with Faith, Hope, and Love. We will rise again with our Lord in Heaven, and those Crosses may actually be your bridge to the Lord.

What Crosses do you bear? How are you uniquely qualified to carry that Cross? Who has the Lord put into your life to help shoulder your burden? Are you humbly reaching out for help? When it is your turn to help another, do you offer your assistance graciously so as to not add to the burden?

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God Bless…

A New Beginning! God’s Perfect Timing.

Butterfly & Flower

God’s timing, like His creation, is perfect.

Five years and four months ago my ex-husband made his sudden announcement. Five years and four months ago, I began the most incredible journey filled with more hardship and struggle, pain and fear and heartache than I could ever have envisioned.

Five years and four months ago I would have traded almost anything to have my husband back, to have the life I thought we had, to have my illusions held in one piece.Continue Reading

Do You Recognize Sin? Do You Have the Courage to Confront a Sinner?

money, wedding rings, shot glass

Do you recognize sin? Do you have the courage to confront it?

We see it all the time. Sin. In any number of its many forms. Sin that knows our weaknesses. Sin brought about by Satan, the prince of sin. Sin has become so commonplace that what once was easy to recognize in someone else but hard to recognize in our own lives has now become hard to recognize in anyone.Continue Reading

Oh The Week I’ve Had!

George!

George is so much cuter than I am. I’ll use his happy face to show how I feel! Love this kid!

Okay, you know those days when everything, and I do mean everything goes wrong? And we grumble and moan about it all the time? I’ve certainly had them – and I’ve grumbled and moaned about them more than my share!

But what about those weeks when everything – and I mean EVERYTHING!!! – goes right!

Well, this last week was one of those weeks. Everything went right, and all of it was in God’s perfect timing – I see that now! After months of waiting and trying to be patient but really questioning God in the back of my mind (just a little bit), I finally see the celebration He had planned for us!Continue Reading

Reach For What is Good

Today we often expect trophies even for what we don’t do well. Reach for something real instead.

Reach – it’s something I’ve said to my children (and to myself) many times although I seldom use that exact phrase.

“No honey, we cannot afford it.”

“Sorry buddy. Not now.”

“Oh sweetie, I don’t think we can do that today.”

“No, I don’t think that school is a possibility.”

So many ways to tell our children something is out of our reach for whatever reason whether it is financial, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual, but how often do we tell children things truly worth striving for are within our reach.

How many times do we award our children for tasks not well accomplished, giving everyone a trophy rather than telling them honestly they’d do better trying something else or getting them to try harder next time.Continue Reading

I Hate Dishes – Or Do I?

Pristine wine glass & plate.

Dishes are a luxury in many parts of the world.

I grew up in the old days without a dishwasher.

Yes, Boys, your Mom grew up in the days before dishwashers or cable TV (you will never understand tin foil wrapped rabbit ears on top of the television). I grew up in the days when a hand held device would have meant a sponge or, if it was my brother’s turn for dishes maybe I’d have thought you meant a pencil (do you even know what that is???) or a toothbrush (there are nights I wonder if you know what that is too!)Continue Reading

Chosen: Help Me Understand The Gospel of Matthew

Divine Mercy - Jesus

True Worth comes only from the Lord

Every Monday, I post a reflection on the previous day’s Gospel reading often seeing ways those readings speak directly to those suffering from marital difficulties, abandonment, divorce, abuse, or similar tragedies. I believe God has given me a gift in the way I see things through my experiences and in His  power to overcome them.

But today, I struggle with the Gospel of Matthew.

Continue Reading