A guest post from Elizabeth B.
I’m sharing my story because I want people to know there IS hope beyond abandonment, and it’s not going to come from divorce.
I’ve done both Church and civil annulment. I previously filed Concubinage and Violence Against Women and Children against the ex, after nine years. ‘Kala ko kasi mag-mimilagro si Lord and save my hubby, who back then was also charged with nine court cases. I also asked help from the Dangerous Drugs Board to file Compulsory Confinement because he was substance-dependent.
I had 4 kids with my hubby, so I thought I had to stick with him. I was afraid of angering God. Yun pala I misunderstood Church teaching. I thought I had to be like Jesus to him, to the point I would take the abuse, as a witness to Christ, to prove to my hubby that He is real.
I submitted to my husband faithfully kaso I forgot about the part where St. Paul says, “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loves the Church.” I helped him out for so long, until that last straw when I had to place a blotter on him because I feared for my life. It led me to see more clearly that it was not God’s will for me to remain. I had the wrong image of God, dahil I grew up being abused too. I had a broken past. My father abandoned us and I experienced much hardship even as a child, that it was difficult to believe that something good could happen to me. Anyway the whole journey, counseling and all, even until now, was to bring healing of my character defects. Inaayos talaga ni Lord ang buhay naming mag-iina.
I went thru soul searching all the time, as an abused wife, solo parenting (my family is based in the US so I was all alone here) counseling with CEFAM, did a healing workshop, had a spiritual director (Ignatian discernment). All these led me step by step to my new husband. I told my priest-counselor about this man. I had been asking the Lord who he was for me and my kids… was he just a friend? He said to invest some time with this man.
By this time, I was part of a Catholic community that did a lot of Bible study and discerned with it. With that training and spiritual direction, counseling, I tried to discover what God’s will was for me. Back then I didn’t even know about Catholic annulments until Brother Pio (Bro Bo Sanchez’ friend) told me about Catholic tribunals. I got these little signs from the Lord and I’d move cautiously in that direction. I pestered the Lord with my whining and grieving “I did what I thought You’d want so what now?” and “I feel so lonely”’s. Had a number of notebooks I used as my journal and every concern, I’d ask my priest counselor. I’d pick his brains because I was abandoned by my father, so I wanted to know more about God too, since that gave me hope. God was really the wall that I leaned on. I had no family to help me. It was members of God’s family here on earth that really were there for me. I am filled with gratitude.
I met this man and after much discernment, God did answer me kung sino ba s’ya sa buhay ko. He gave me Psalm 18 and told me this man was a gift. Talagang inantay ko Siya sumagot! I was so happy. Kaso nagduda ako, baka ako kasi lang yun. So hingi ako ng confirmation kay Lord. Two days later I woke up and sensed Jesus challenging my doubt: “Can I not do this’? He meant a partner in life for me. Natawa ako kasi parang wow ilang signs na, tama kaya discernment ko? I was both excited because kakaiba dini-discern ko, ang daling magkamali. And I cannot afford that, kawawa naman my 4 kids. I didn’t believe God at first because of the abuse issues from my past.
So again I asked for another sign…kasi feeling ko baka delusions lang. Paranoid LOL. Eventually I realized the Lord was revealing to me that I cannot see nor believe He is that good of a Father as to give me a gift of a partner. Medyo di pa totally clear ang lahat naman until lang na approve church annulment ko. Bayad ko nga dun 3k lang, as donation, kasi alam nila I was in hardship then, kahit asking is 50k. They would never turn away anyone. I learned so much about God moving in my life, step by step, in the trials I had. Talagang God “ turns our mourning into dancing! “ Psalm 12. By the way we’ll be 7 years now, we have 6 kids, 2 are his.
There is really hope in Jesus and He provided for everything including no acceptance fee from lawyer for civil annulment. Saan ka pa nakarinig noon. My lawyer is a Christian, referred by a friend from another prayer community.
Honestly, I kept working all that time and ready to be a single parent for the rest of my life. I wasn’t expecting to have anyone after the ex, pretty much avoided men and even my old gimmick friends para lang focus sa mga anak ko. I believe the key was Faith. I really believed God is ever present in our daily lives and He had something to say about my situation. My struggle was, I couldn’t hear and took ages to discern kaya I’m very thankful for the people and programs He sent my way. I kept researching where was the open door He had for us.
I really want people to see that God is an active, ever present God. He will reply. Pero one has to truly believe and expect a response. Sabi nga ni Brother Bo, parang radio station …you have to move the knob to find the right frequency, to be in tune.
Divorce is not needed… it’s too tempting, makes it easy to leave and not fight for your marriage. It really lowers the sanctity of marriage.