Adultery, Divorce, unwed Motherhood -- Is there a place for me in the church?


#1

I’m going through an extremely traumatic experience. I desperately want some spiritual advice, but I feel like a square peg. I want to return to the church but when I look around and see the other families, I feel I don’t belong. And I’m reluctant to go to a priest.

6 years ago, I was married to D in the Catholic church. We had an amicable relationship but the marriage should probably never have happened – we became estranged from one another for serious reasons, on both our parts. Wanting to maintain an image that everything was perfect, I told no one of our marriage difficulties. No one, that is, except his older brother J. J’s wife had just left him for another man, and we grew closer as we confided in one another our problems. This was probably not the smartest idea. We slept together, and during the time I was recovering from the shock of what I’d done, I discovered I was pregnant.

Long story short: I had the baby, a beautiful son (beautiful, smart, funny, and kind – the light of my life!!) who is now 5 years old. D and I divorced; we remain good friends (not much different from the marriage) and he’s a wonderful support and a great uncle to my son. D and I once jokingly mentioned to each other years ago that our marriage could probably be annulled, but neither of us is/was religious at that point and it never occurred to us that it might be important to pursue it.

I lived with my son until he was a year old, and the stress of working full time as a lawyer and taking care of an infant was becoming overwhelming; I was having anxiety attacks and all sorts of things. J moved into a new home with us and I quit my job to be a SAHM. We began living as a family, and were happy, except of course the status of our relationship was always a source of stress. Our intention was to raise our son together in as ‘normal’ a situation as possible. At first we shared a bedroom, and then we didn’t. We’d become closer to one another, and then he’d distance himself emotionally. I have always wanted to bring our relationship to the next level, and think about marriage. But he seems to have drifted off into another place over the years, and lost his job over a year ago – hasn’t gotten another one, and the financial stress has caused trouble between us. (I should also mention that both of us grew up in alcoholic homes and have little idea of what good relationships look like!)

Around Christmas, J announced that he didn’t want us to be apart, and wanted to work on our relationship for the sake of our son – be a “real” family. We went on a few trips together, alone and as a family, and although at first he seemed sincere about it, it wasn’t long before he became emotionally withdrawn again. I finally arranged for us to get counseling (should have done that 5 years ago!!) and during our first session together, he pulled out a letter saying that our relationship should never have been, and expressing his wish that we both go our separate ways – he’s not doing the counseling. He just wants to quit. Instead of feeling relieved, I’m devastated. He’s told me he loved me, we’ve lived as a family for years, and now he’s gone without really any explanation. I’m home alone for almost three weeks now with our son, who of course wants to know where Dad went. I’m heartbroken. I don’t know where to turn with my feelings. My whole life I swore I would have a normal, happy family – and look at me. I’ve made it a mess!!

Most of my girlfriends are saying to get off the roller coaster and let him go, move on. But I have been finding myself at church for the first time in many, many years, praying what to do about this and that we can find whatever we need in our hearts to remain a family – and certainly become a better one. I grew up in a divorced home, shuttled between parents, and I don’t want my son to experience the same thing. I know that I love J, but with all of these issues between us, I haven’t really explored these feelings or allowed myself to express them. I want to do what’s right, but I’m not sure what that is anymore. I want J to come back and work on things – not just give up, but after humiliating me in that therapist’s office, I can’t even talk to him any more. I’ve wanted to talk to the priest, but given my story, I’m embarrassed. I’m so not the model catholic mother, obviously – will he wonder why on earth I want to come back to the church for support and advice? Let’s face it, this situation doesn’t really fit the mold when it comes to marriage and family counseling from the church. I think I’m afraid of what he might say.

Do I bother to pray for this relationship? Do I bother going to talk to a priest? Is there any hope of my finding a place in the church again???


#2

Of course there is a place for you!!!

Meet with your priest - (believe me, he’s heard it all), get right with God, and start living for your child and get this man out of your life.

You need to be alone for awhile - to learn how to be yourself and a mom.

Of course you can come back. It may not be easy - but no one ever said being Catholic would be easy.

I’ll keep you in my prayers - you can do this if you want it badly enough!!!

~Liza


#3

if you are looking for a church home filled with perfect people, with perfect families and perfect marriages who never sin you will have to look elsewhere, because we are the church of sinners. true we have all been redeemed from our sin by our Saviour Jesus Christ, but some of us still act as if we have not read the memo, so get in line. Can we become or remain Catholic if we cling to our sinful ways. No, or at least not fully and completely. To the extent we voluntarily separate ourselves from God’s love by loving sin more, we cannot experience that love.

This coming Sunday when we celebrate the Divine Mercy is the perfect time to come home. We’ll leave the light on for you. then talk to the priest. ask for a referral to professional counselling through Catholic Charities or Catholic Social Services to deal with all the challenges you face with your and your child, and get pastoral counselling from the priest on the direction to restore your relationship with Jesus Christ, which is the important one that should be your focus at this time.


#4

[SIGN]AMEN![/SIGN]

Another Amen! Check out the gift of Divine Mercy in my signature. You can get right with God! He’s knocking at the door of your heart – answer Him. :heart: :hug1:


#5

To quote Carla Tortelli on “Cheers” when to Sam Malone was complaining about the number of prayers in the rosary:

“Eh! Catholicism isn’t for wusses”:cool:


#6

Your question of whether you belong or not brings tears to my eyes. Of course you do! Jesus died for YOU. He loves YOU for who you are. I am glad you were lead back to the church.

As for the suggestions from your girlfriends, friends tends to be right on the ball with advice. You should get off that emotional roller coaster. Praying is a good thing too. Some of us on CAF will even be praying for you :slight_smile:

Speaking with a priest about all this can seem indimidating, but they have heard it all! They are strictly confidential and the sacrament of reconciliation is just a wonderful gift.


#7

You belong just as much as the rest of us sinners. We’re all in the same boat. It’s the person who condemns you (or any of us) for sin who does not really belong there. The Church isn’t a museum for saints - it’s a hospital for sinners. We’re all in this together.

God bless you


#8

Of course there is hope for you!

The situation you are in really enables you to see how much you need Jesus in your life.

May the Lord bless you and guide you on your journey to Him.
He is the true purpose and meaning for our lives, and the cause of our happiness and peace.


#9

Absolutely come on home! I think that Puzzleannie really gave some great advice. Don’t stay out in the cold, we are all sinners and we need to get about the business of allowing Christ to heal us of our wounds (yes and in particular the self inflicted ones).

I think it is good advice that the first relationship you need to build in your life is with Christ. From there things will start to happen only with the far different outcomes. Will it be easy to change the course of your life? no, but its challanging for all of us. Do not be afraid. You have many people now that will be praying specifically for you, your not alone in this. You not only belong in the church, the church needs you! You are her daughter. I’ll be praying for you!


#10

There IS hope for you, absolutely! As others have said, the first step is to get right with God and to begin living according to His ways. You are hurting right now, but dwelling on your past and the “what-if’s” with J is not going to help. Let him go, and make Christ your focus right now.

The priest won’t wonder why you want to come back to the church – he knows that you have tried things the world’s way, the world’s ways have left your life in shambles, and now you are beginning to seek God’s will for your life. So many of us have been there, myself included.

We are **all **sinners, and some of us have done some pretty crazy things over the years. I am a convert and it was not easy making that first confession. But when I did, I can’t tell you how wonderful it felt to get rid of the weight of all of those sins! And the priest was awesome. He was so happy to see me trying to get my life on the right track after all those years of sinful living. It has been ten years since my confirmation, and when I look back maybe 15 years ago, I can’t believe I ever lived that way. Living God’s way instead has brought so many blessings into my life. I am nowhere near perfect even today, but as they say in AA, “progress, not perfection.” It won’t be easy, but you can come home to the Church, repent of your sins, and with Christ’s grace and help, turn your life around to be the daughter of God you were meant to be. God bless you, and we’ll be praying for you. And please keep us posted!


#11

Keep praying - It IS worth it. talk to a priest - he CAN help and he has often heard it all before as said above.
There is a place for you - Ask for God’s forgiveness and help to turn your life around.
I will be praying for you.


#12

Come On Back! I could tell you family stories to curl your hair, as Carrie said when the worldly ways make your life a shambles, you have realized that has happened to you. Good first step, keep going.:wink:


#13

Don’t fit the mold? Girl, you ARE the mold!!

You are Jesus’ favorite kind of person! Pull out your bible and read the Gospel of John. You’ll see what I mean. You’ve screwed up massively, created a mess of your life and somehow you have the humility to admit it and are ready to beg God for mercy and forgiveness. According to the gospel, you just might be closer to God right now than many folks who have more or less followed the rules all their lives. (Read the Prodigal Son story twice!)

Any priest you go to who understands even the first thing about christianity will likely cry with you in happiness for your coming to him for help. It won’t be easy, but there is hope. The first step is to realize that this J fellow is NOT the key to filling the hollowness you feel inside you. As saint Augustine said “our hearts are restless until they rest in YOU, Lord.” And he ought to know, most of St Augustine’s life makes yours look downright innocent. (A biography of Augustine might make for some encouraging reading!).

God loves you so much that in spite of all you’ve done, he’d literally take a bullet for you. Nah, a bullet is too quick and easy. He’d die one of the most tortuous deaths in history to save you. In fact, he did just that. Go on and do that reading, go find a catholic church to sit in and talk to God for a while, THEN go find the priest.

And welcome home!


#14

Welcome home! I won’t even tell you the sad litany of sins I’ve committed…it’s too embarrassing. Suffice it to say that they are worse than yours, and the Lord led me straight into the Catholic church, where my sins were forgiven immediately after my RCIA classes. I’ve been a happy Catholic ever since.
Nothing you could ever do could take you out of the orbit of God’s love. Know that!
About J: I would let him leave and try to get over him. Seek out a good priest who can advise you well about annulment proceedings and becoming a good Catholic, and the rest of the pieces will come together.


#15

Just think about what God promises us in Isaiah Chapter 1:

[18] "Come now, let us reason together,
says the LORD:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.
[19] If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land;

Or Luke 15:7

*Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. *

Believe me, I have had to put a lot of faith in these promises.

The list of sins and failings before and even after my baptism are probably more than CAF will allow on a single post.:blush:

Look at it this way. Imagine you are standing at the shore of the Pacific Ocean with a drop of water in your hand. The water in your hand is the sum of all the sins you’ve committed in your life. A human can only carry so much water in the palm in his or her hand. You are only one person and you can carry only so much sin.

The Ocean is God’s forgiveness. Christ invites and wills each of us to take that water in our hands and throw it into the ocean of God’s mercy to be absorbed, obliterated, and forgotten for all eternity. I think He is inviting you to do this now and follow Him, otherwise, you probably wouldn’t have posted here.

No human can hold more water than the Pacific Ocean and no human can “out-sin” God’s mercy.


#16

First off Lombard, I want to say how powerful it is that you seek the Church and your faith. However dark your cloud may seem to you, do not judge yourself out of fear of public approval. Repent of your sin and seek the counsel of the priest. You may have been asleep in your faith, but you are now awake. Truly, the chance for salvation and forgiveness is at hand. Just looking at these posts, I am touched. I am so proud of the posters on this thread in their compassion toward you, it reminded me so much of the lesson in the Gospel of John:

“Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. They said to him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?’ … he stood up in reply, 'Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” - John 8:4-7

And we shall not throw a stone! You already know of your sins, and frankly you admit them and are sorry. Take the next step, confess them in person, in the presence of God almighty, to a priest and he will surely help you. If you are discouraged by the response, then seek other priests for help.

Your heart (because of the love in you from God) shines so brightly in my eyes, I have great faith that you will prevail in your time. Do not worry for the outcome, for many good things will come in time, but are not obvious right now. Have faith, and you will grow stronger. You give me the courage to face myself.

As for the boy’s father, go to him and tell him of your pain (or contact him in some way), if nothing more than to gain closure. Ultimately, the son’s fate is more important. I don’t know how old he is, but before he gets too old, I think it would be wise to openly discuss it with him. If he’s about 5 now, plan to talk to him when he’s like 8 or 10. It may seem young to you, but he’s almost certainly already figured a lot out, and the sooner you are open about it the better. He will see that you were open with him, and he will likely be more open with you when problems arise.

Looking ahead, I have so much hope in your future.

Jesus said to the woman, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, " Neither do I condemn you. go, and from now on do not sin any more." - John 8:10-11

Much peace, love, and hope to you.


#17

Don’t feel there’s no place for you in the Church!!! Many of us have had struggles in life and the only place I have found comfort and acceptance is at my parish.
Talk to a priest. He will help you. Someone else mentioned that he’s heard it all. That’s the truth! And he’ll tell ya that to! The Catholic church will lead you to deliverance and the first place I’d start is the nearest priest!
Pray your heart out. God will lead you home.

I will be praying for you and I hope you find the courage you need in prayer to come home!


#18

Of course your situation “fits the mold” when it comes to marriage and family counseling from the church! Who ever told you that Catholics were perfect? Call your priest! Pornography, multiple marriages, adultery, homosexuality, children out-of-wedlock, abortions, abuse, alcoholism, drug use…the priests have heard it ALL. They are there to help. A parish pastor may have a busy schedule…but for sure he would love to meet with you and refer you to a good faith-based counselor.

As far as “J” goes…I disagree a little with some advice given here that tells you to let him be out of your life. He is the father of your child, that is not so easy nor is it necessarily the right thing to do. A child needs a father. Even if you two do not reconcile as a couple…you need to be able to work together in a loving way for the benefit of your child.

Praying for you, so glad you found us here. God bless you.


#19

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