This month I am absolutely thrilled to introduce you to my November feature for my Bold, Brave, Catholic series! A convert to Catholicism, in her own words, Mrs. Emily Davis is a proud “Catholic, Texan, wife, mama, grandma, crafter, volunteer, friend, teacher, writer, and faith influencer. Her husband recently moved the family to Naples, Italy for 4-5 years as he works for the Navy. Emily is teaching CCD and volunteering in hospitality for the Good Samaritan Catholic Community. Their youngest, Christopher, is a freshman in high school.” Emily and I have met virtually between friends in real life and the blogging community, and I have been extremely inspired through what she shares about her faith, her family, and her life. You will need to read more of her inspirational words below to get a feel for why she was asked to be a part of my Bold, Brave, Catholic series – but, if you want to read more of her words from her own sites, don’t forget to stop by her blog at Our Home, Mary’s Mantle or find her on Facebook. Before then, however, you do not want to miss this very honest, raw, powerful witness to living as a bold, brave, Catholic in today’s world!
When Anni asked me to write this post, I thought “is she crazy? I am so chaotic and have been on such a rollercoaster, I am NOT brave or bold.” But you know what, I am. And so are you sisters…
About a fifteen months ago, my husband moved us to Italy. Two years before we’d lost my father right before the first of three major surgeries I’d undergo. A year before, we surprisingly sold our home three days after the last of the surgeries. We’d moved into a small rental whilst we were looking for some property on which to build a small, but open concept home. And then we were moving to Italy?
I have been through a slew of things in my 56 years. I’m a post abortive woman. I’m an abuse survivor. I’m an incest survivor. I was so good at surviving and being brave for a long time, that I lost me. But in all my loss, I found that God was present even through all the chaos, I vividly remember God’s comfort. I will always carry all trauma with me, because I have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Anxiety Disorder that comes with PTSD.
I went about life, as we all do when we are trying to hide how freaked out and scared we are… I volunteered for the USO, for the Catholic Church, and plugged myself in. I knew if I freaked out, my kiddo would be freaking out. And he had enough stress moving here, leaving friends behind, and going back to brick and mortar school after seven years of being homeschooled. My husband was not the happiest, but really I couldn’t even help him. I was so angry with him for moving us here, and causing all these things… you know, because he made it happen.
The litany of things that went wrong could read like a horror movie. I will spare you. But about 9 months in, my façade crashed y’all. My mental state was precarious and I was a virtual roller coaster of stepford fakeness in public (because I have to hold it all together – right?), and guttural yelling behind the scenes… pleading with God. Yelling at my family. Awful.
Recently during confession, the Priest told me I am too hard on myself. It really is my worst habit. He told me it was ok I hadn’t handled things well here and acknowledged, as a Father, that it is hard here and I really am doing well. He told me I needed to pray more, journal/write more, and give myself the grace to heal and grow.
I know that I have PTSD. But it never occurred to me that I hadn’t beaten it. You can’t beat PTSD. You have to manage it.
I had to ask for help.
A strong person…
Someone who has lived through unthinkable trauma…
Someone who built a great career…
A woman who is a great wife, mom, grandma, friend, etc…
Me?! I have to ask for help?!
OH THE HORROR EGO!
I was broken y’all. My whole family was broken. My husband and son… we all had to face it and fix it. And then, the realization…
I was never alone. I was never forsaken. God really was here!
In so many little ways He’s shown Himself to me in the past six months, as I’ve been willing to see Him and His plan. He waited patiently, with fatherly love, for me to stop drowning in sadness and worry, and to truly look to Him for guidance.
So when I think about what being brave and bold look like to me?
- It looks like turning to God and learning to ask for help.
- It looks like learning to be happy where I am… which I thought I knew, but apparently needed more of a lesson about it. HA!
- It looks like not settling for less than I deserve.
- It looks like discerning who I allow into my inner circle.
- It looks like trying not to worry about people, places and things I can’t control.
- It looks like letting go of the Past and learning to tell the pesky devil that he can’t get to me anymore.
- It looks like using the gifts God gave me for the betterment of others.
- It looks like getting up every day, in spite of fear and anxiety, that is a daily battle with me, and being the best wife, mom, friend, volunteer, and Godly woman I can be.
And right now y’all, that’s enough. God said, “Emily Davis, completely imperfect and weary, is enough.”
How about that?
I don’t have to dwell in the past (which is where I revert when times get hard). It is way easier for me to feel unworthy and like a failure, than it is to see my successes. It’s a daily struggle. However, I see the lessons that God has taught myself and my family in Italy, and I’m praying for the courage to be where God wants me to be.
I am so thankful that in our Faith, we have bold and brave Saints to look to. Imperfect people, many with horrors in their pasts, who stood up and faced the world bravely knowing that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, along with Mary and the Saints with them.
The key is to pray for focus, concentrate on what God’s asking of you or telling you to do, and do that.
The key is to pray for focus, concentrate on what God’s asking of you or telling you to do, and do that. – Emily Davis
I am slowly catching up on the things I haven’t done in the past year – for our home, for my family and for me. I will always be a work in progress, and I’m so grateful and so very thankful to serve a loving and forgiving Father God.
I believe I went through a lot so that I can help others see all evil (trauma) can be overcome by good. I just have to figure out what that looks like to God.
Please pray for me as I continue to get well… that I don’t push God away; that I learn to love myself and not retreat into the depression and angst that life brings; that I focus on the worthy plans God has for me, and purpose to bring them to fruition.