Think about those times in your life when you have felt inspired to something really great. Where does that inspiration come from?
The Holy Spirit. God inspires us to do great things with our lives.
----Matthew Kelly

Welcome to The Not So Perfect Catholic!

Disclaimer: I am not a theologian, just a Catholic empty-nester trying to figure it all out. The views on this blog are my own.

Be Brave in the Scared: A Book Review

Picture of a kayak in the water during a sunset with the definition in text
Mary E. Lenaburg (author of Be Brave in the Scared: How I learned to trust God during the most difficult days of my life) defines "Being Brave in the Scared" as facing the hard challenges that we can't escape no matter how hard we try. I have to admit that I started following Mary on Instagram after I saw a post about her daughter, Courtney, as she was in the last phase of her life. Me, being as selfish as I am, said a prayer but then went on with my life. The posts didn't pop up in my feed and I soon forgot about Courtney...until I started receiving posts about the book. Being a Speech Language Pathologist, I've worked with children with severe disabilities before. (My current position does not allow me that privilege.) I can't imagine what the families' daily lives are like: the appointments, the feeling of siblings being left out, the medications, etc. Courtney being an individual with special needs drew me to the book.

Keeping It REAL

I halfway expected this book to be another Oh, life is just wonderful. God took care of all our needs and feelings, and once we accepted Courtney as she is everything was roses. Boy, was I wrong! Mary kept it real in this book. I can't imagine how hard it was for her to revisit difficulties in her marriage and put it out there for all of us to read. It had to have been hard for her husband as well, to admit some not so proud moments of their Christian lives. If I had to summarize this book in one word, it would be REAL. Because it was. It wasn't preachy and Mary doesn't pretend to have all of the answers. She doesn't make herself out to be some saint who sacrificed for over 20 years to give Courtney the care she required. It's just...REAL.

Tissues Required

I cried toward the end of the book. I cried for Mary's marriage. I cried when she wrote about Courtney dying. I cried when I read about her feelings about not knowing who she is without Courtney. I had those same feelings when my youngest was beginning his high school years. I remember standing in the kitchen one afternoon after getting home from work. My oldest was away at college, my middle was at football practice, and my youngest was at band practice. I just stood there not knowing what to do with myself. I told my husband that I questioned what I would do when no one needed me. Mary's feelings had to be magnified a gazillion times more than what I felt!

All the Feels

Mary laid out her feelings for all of us to feel. She laid out her experiences and exposed feelings that I felt, although probably not on the same level as hers. She opened up herself and her family so we can experience Courtney and know that we have a saint in heaven that we can call on for intercession. I can honestly say that when I work with students with disabilities, I will certainly be calling on Courtney to give me patience and understanding during my therapy sessions. Thank you, Mary E. Lenaburg for writing this book. Thank you for writing it from the heart and for giving of yourself and your family. You certainly could have sugar-coated the whole thing. You certainly could have made it "preachy", but you exposed all of the ugliness that many see in their daily lives. We are all struggling to be the saints we are called to be. Thank you for sharing Courtney with us!
picture of a kayak in the water during a sunset with the definition of "Be Brave in the Scared"

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