Be Brave in the Scared–Summer Reading Discussion Group

By Nancy Belmont

I didn’t want to read this book. When MCCW WW’s Director of Financial Stewardship, Elizabeth Tomlin, suggested we build an entire online summer book club around a former Navy wife’s account of caring for her disabled daughter, my face smiled and my head nodded, but I thought to myself, “This book? A beach read? Okay…well, Elizabeth knows Mary Lenaburg and she knows what she’s talking about, so I’ll trust her…” 

I ended up inhaling this volume in two days. It has all the suspense of a thrilling novel, the humor of chick lit, and the heart and soul of a deep devotional told within a genuine memoir. Mary thought she had the perfect life. She was in love with her successful military husband and they had created the ideal family, composed of two beautiful children, a boy and a girl. However, on the day of their infant daughter’s baptism, their life changed forever when Courtney began seizing uncontrollably. Mary prayed fervently over the course of the next week, begging grace and mercy from a God she viewed as a disciplinarian. 

While Courtney survived her first trial, an experimental treatment left her profoundly handicapped, and Mary felt guilty, afraid, and ashamed. Her husband, Jerry, pulled away and threw himself into work, grad school, and pornography while she turned to food for comfort. 

Read the book to learn how Mary and Jerry came to rely on God and each other to help them through their struggles. 

Mary told me, “Everybody’s got a Courtney. Everybody’s got a situation they are not in control of. Sometimes, your very best effort won’t change it.” 

Mary’s story is a journey towards surrender to God’s will and trust in His constant provision. Are you, in the words of Mary, “Carrying around a bunch of stuff you don’t need to be?”  

Do you know someone who is? Please join us for this book club, as we’ll learn together how to “be brave one breath at a time.”

Join us every Sunday starting on July 7 on MCCW’s public Facebook page, The Military Council of Catholic Women – MCCW-Worldwide. Mary has personally curated a devotional guide for us that contains deep questions and describes her story in more detail. We will read three chapters each week, discussing online for four weeks in row. Our study will culminate on Sunday, July 28 with a Facebook Live discussion event with Mary. Time to be determined, so stay tuned!