Finding Grace Within the Church by Kathleen Pooler
Excerpt from Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse
One day I bundled six-month-old Leigh Ann up and dragged her through the snow on a sled, ending up three blocks away on the doorstep of the rectory of the Catholic Church, in tears. Ed had stayed out late again. Another bowling night when I couldn’t sleep. I felt exhausted and sad. I had thought for sure he would change his ways.
“You’ll be half a person if you leave him,” Father Fulton said, looking over at me across his desk as I sobbed while holding Leigh Ann on my lap.
I had no words. I just nodded and left, but I ended up returning several times after that. He mostly listened. Then, one day, he told me he didn’t have any more time for me. I never went back.
Sometimes it was all unbearable. I slipped into a silent depression without even realizing it was enveloping me. I felt isolated, sad, and helpless. I cried a lot but tried to hide it when my mother called or my friends stopped over. After all, I had a beautiful, healthy baby girl, I told myself. I had to be strong, and it would get better.
I always had a faith in God and yet, it wasn’t until I was a single parent with two school-aged children after my first divorce that I found God in a personal way. However, I must have lost sight of that connection, for a few years after, when I met my second husband, I seemed to be driven by a need to be an intact family again rather than guided by faith. It turned out to be at a steep cost.
With counseling, faith, supportive friends and family, I have been able to see my role in allowing abusive relationships and to forgive myself for subjecting myself and my children to unacceptable behavior. I am very grateful that I was able to extract myself from two abusive marriages and learn from my mistakes. In finding my voice, I found a life of joy, peace and gratitude. I finally feel deserving of all the gifts God wanted for me all along.
“Be still, and know that I am God.”
God wasn’t on the beach, watching a mountain sunrise, or dreaming by a babbling brook when he said those words he spoke. He was on the battlefield with me, giving me strength.
Author Kathleen Pooler
Kathleen Pooler is an author and a retired Family Nurse Practitioner whose memoir, Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse, published on July 28, 2014 and work-in-progress sequel, The Edge of Hope (working title) are about how the power of hope through her faith in God helped her to transform, heal and transcend life’s obstacles and disappointments: domestic abuse, divorce, single parenting, loving and letting go of an alcoholic son, cancer and heart failure to live a life of joy and contentment. She believes that hope matters and that we are all strengthened and enlightened when we share our stories.
LinkedIn: Kathleen Pooler: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/kathleen-pooler/16/a95/20a
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Author page, Kathleen Pooler/Memoir Writer’s Journey: https://www.facebook.com/memoirwritersjourney
Linda says: I'm advocating for healing of divorced people within the church by gathering stories for my blog of Christians who chose divorce because of abuse, and the response of their churches to that decision. I'm also including those who have divorced because of their spouse's infidelity but have nevertheless been blamed by their church for the divorce. If you are interested in contributing your own divorce story in relationship to the church, please message me at https://www.facebook.com/LindaMKurthAuthor. I'm interested in both helpful and hurtful experiences. Know that I encourage respectful comments here, keeping this blog a safe place to dialog about this subject.