Association of Catholic Women Bloggers – My Introduction & Purpose

1 Mom and 5 Boys

What gifts God has given me!

The Association of Catholic Women’s Bloggers is a wonderful group of gifted writers so I was delighted when I was able to join the group. Melanie Jean Juneau, site administrator, recently put a call out to members of the association to introduce themselves. This is my introduction.

Whether you are new to Single Mom Smiling or not, I hope you find something in this piece that interests you, and, as always, I’d love to receive your comments and prayers below and would be happy to pray for you as well! Thanks for joining me.

Posted on Association of Catholic Women Bloggers:

I know Melanie asked contributors to introduce themselves a while ago. I put it on my To Do List. I really did, and I know I am late to the party (again!), but I figured I’d finally throw my name out here and say hello.

I am a single mom of five amazing, wonderful, adorable, active, loud, smelly (sometimes, really smelly!), fun boys. There are just not enough adjectives to describe our kids are there?

Anyway…

Being a single mom was about the last thing I ever thought I would be. I absolutely loved my husband, and, it may sound crazy, but I thought he was my best friend…right up until the day he told me he was leaving.

We renewed our vows on Valentine’s Day 2009.

Unfortunately, it was also around that time that he discovered Facebook and reconnected with a woman he had dated 20 years before when they attended the same Catholic high school.

He told me he was leaving on Mother’s Day 2009.

Literally one week later, he moved out and never looked back. It was a day I will remember forever with a degree of nausea that cannot be put into words.

I was also five months into the surprise and risky pregnancy of  our 5th little boy at the time.

My husband texted me when the baby was three days old to let me know he had filed for a divorce that day.

I literally shook for months – and months – and MONTHS.

Over the next few years, my boys and I would lose our home and have a hard time finding housing for a single, stay at home mom of five boys. I would endure court battles with a man who was now a stranger to me in a court system that still favors the monied spouse and the petitioner over the defendant. I would need to file for an Order of Protection. Lack of court ordered but unenforceable child support would force me to turn to our local churches and charities for food, heat, and Christmas presents.

I still look back at those months and sometimes even at our life now and wonder,

How did I become the star of a Life Time Original movie?

Association of Catholic Women Bloggers – Start Reading Here:

As much as I struggled (and still do) with the financially devastating consequences of being suddenly abandoned while pregnant, I cannot begin to explain the devastation I experienced physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually.

To put into words what my children must have felt (and often still do) is not something I can do adequately. It is their story. Anything I say about them and what they feel in all of this mess is through my eyes, and I could never adequately verbalize their agony or the degree to which their lives have changed. They were 5, 7, 10, and 11 at the time (and of course, I was 5 months pregnant with Kaleb). They are now 4, 10, 12, 15, and 16 and very different people.

So am I.

It seems like a lifetime ago.

Personally, the abandonment and divorce would make me struggle with my faith in God in a way that I never had before.

I had believed the old adage, “A family that prays together stays together.” We attended Mass EVERY Sunday and held hands during the Lord’s Prayer. We also held hands as thanked the Lord for our food before dinner every night, and my husband and I ALWAYS sat next to one another for this meal. The boys and I prayed before bed every night, and I was the youth minister of our local parish.

We were the family that prayed together.

Why weren’t we the family that stayed together?

I didn’t understand it!

And it HURTALL of us.

Fortunately, my faith in God struggled for a relatively short time (considering what we went through) before emerging even stronger.

My faith in the holy Catholic church, however, went through a greater, more intense struggle, a struggle not helped when my ex applied for an annulment immediately after the divorce was finalized.

The Annulment Process:

I know there are people who find the annulment process healing. I am not one of them.

There are issues that need to be faced and corrected in the annulment process, but it is a process designed by humans, carried out by humans, meant for humans, and therefore it is, by nature, imperfect. I am not happy (to say the least) with much of the annulment process, but I believe the humans interpreting God’s blessing on marriage are doing the best they can. The annulment process has been incredibly painful, and, while I do pray for changes, I do not judge those involved in what must be an exhausting job.

And so, in addition to facing so many other traumatic issues, I would be forced to quickly suffer through the annulment process as well. (At the time of this writing, March 2014, I am awaiting the final decision – months after the expected final date.

I am humbly asking for prayers that the annulment is in fact approved quickly. I really appreciate your support.

A Divorced Catholic:

As a divorced Catholic, I sometimes still feel a bit out of place among other Catholics. I do have a greater understanding now of the Catholic faith and am learning more every day, but I also understand divorce and recognize it as a great threat to the church population. I have spoken to too many people at other churches who were once Catholic and who have now turned their backs on the Catholic faith for one reason or another.

This saddens me

And is a big part of why I write, why I speak, why I continue.

I tell our story so that people begin to see what divorce really does to families, the inadequacies of our judicial system, the need to wait for a God-appointed spouse rather than dating for the sake of dating, and the importance of total reliance on God. It is my hope that my writing is seen less as the bashing of my ex or his live-in girlfriend and more as a way for me to say to so many hurting families:

I’ve been there…

I know how hard this can be. I know about those days when you just don’t want to get up in the morning. When you want to just quit trying. When you stay up worrying all night because you can’t figure out how to pay the bills or how to work a 3rd job because the two you have just don’t cut it. When you want to cry because your child needs help with homework and is falling behind in school because you are too busy putting food on the table. When the children come home to an empty house night after night. When there are too many little ones (even when those little ones are taller than you!) who just need Mom and there’s not enough Mom to go around. When you all need that one who can never be replaced – the Dad.

WHEN…

The whens could continue forever.

Life’s sorrows give us a new perspective. They allow us to connect with the Sorrowful Mysteries of Jesus more closely. They enable us to share another’s pain with greater empathy. They give us the opportunity to reach out to those struggling with faith and to gently lead them back to the church.

If we let them.

If we don’t let them take over our every thought, word, and action,

Those sorrows can be incredibly powerful and beneficial.

In 1 Corinthians 14: 1-12, Prophecy Greater Than Tongues, Saint Paul tells us that we must seek the spiritual gift of prophecy and speak a language others can understand.

I speak the language of one who has been abused, abandoned, divorced, and experienced a crisis pregnancy.

At Single Mom Smiling, I try to give an honest look at the challenges we face, but also to thank the Lord for the blessings we can find in each day. I hope Single Mom Smiling is a place where others who speak a language similar to mine can find peace.

This is a long-winded introduction of who I am and why I write. Thank you for bearing with me!.

If you are new to Single Mom Smiling or if you are joining me from the Association of Catholic Women Bloggers, I hope you take some time to poke around Single Mom Smiling and let me know what you think.

I also hope those questioning their faith can be directed to Single Mom Smiling, see the genuine hardships we face, and the geniune goodness we find in life and hold on until the Lord lifts them up.

And He will.

In His time.

He will lift you up.

Thank you for joining me. I’d love to hear your comments about languages you speak, your faith and family, or pretty much anything at all! Thanks so much!

Oh and one more thing – that surprise pregnancy…What an AMAZING gift that little boy has been! What living proof hat God knows better than we do what our needs truly are! With what absolute certainty I can say that some babies are planned by their parents, but some are planned solely by God and what blessing those special children turn out to be!

To read more of the wonderful posts of the Association of Catholic Women Bloggers, please click here.

God Bless…

Remembering Life is in God's Hands
Divorced Catholics - Speak The Language of Divorce
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