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Be Brave in the Scared: How I Learned to Trust God during the Most Difficult Days of My Life

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4.68  ·  Rating details ·  152 ratings  ·  43 reviews
As a parent, do you struggle with trusting God’s will for your life and for those you love? Are you tired and afraid?

In Be Brave in the Scared, Catholic writer Mary Lenaburg shares how the overwhelming demands of caring for her severely disabled daughter ultimately taught her—and can teach you—that trusting in God and accepting his will can lead to profound joy, no matter
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Paperback, 160 pages
Published May 10th 2019 by Ave Maria Press
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Average rating 4.68  · 
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Christy
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An amazingly honest telling of what real faith looks like in the face of staggering difficulty. Mary’s vulnerability in sharing how her daughter’s life and profound disability changed the course of her life doesn’t inspire with shallow platitudes but details how redemption truly transforms.
Catherine Boucher
May 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had the honor of reading an advance copy of Mary Lenaburg’s new book, Be Brave in the Scared. I’m usually pretty stingy with my stars, but this one gets all five! Those of you who listened to While You Were Folding might remember Mary from episode 12, “When a Child Has Special Needs.” Be Brave in the Scared is Mary’s bold account of her zigzag adventure from powerlessness, blame, anger, addiction, believing Satan’s lies (and, boy, does he have a lot of them!), to surrender, forgiveness, ...more
Katie Bogner
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: catholicism
If you follow Mary on social media, you know that she is a bright, strong, vibrant voice for the Church, but Mary's story runs much deeper than that. I remember reading about the impending final days of her daughter Courtney's life and listened to her speak on podcasts about her death and what she had learned from raising her severely ill daughter. Filled with compassion and hope, Mary writes openly about their family, including the great gift Courtney was to them, as well as struggles that she ...more
A.J. Cattapan
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
We've all gone through challenging times in our lives when we've felt alone and maybe even unworthy of love.

Mary Lenaburg's memoir, Be Brave in the Scared, is an inspiring story that will leave you believing in God's unending love and mercy. With unashamed honesty and humor, Mary tells how she faced some of her darkest years after her daughter was diagnosed with severe special needs. The challenges the Lenaburg family faced took its toll on everyone: Mary, her husband, and their son. Yet
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Emily
Mary writes passionately and honestly from both her head and her gut. Be Brave In the Scared details her journey from anting to be in complete control of her life, to having her only daughter diagnosed with an unknown seizure disorder, a strained marriage, and feeling like she would never measure up, to a journey that ends in trusting God, His ways, and where He wants to lead her, her husband, her son, and her precious daughter Courtney. Mary's story is for anyone who has felt like God has ...more
Rakhi Roy mccormick
May 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In this beautiful memoir, Mary takes the mask off the illusion of living a “perfect life” and instead gives the reader permission to live bravely and freely in a messy world. With her classic brand of humor and deep faith, Mary has shared her own struggles and the lessons learned in an effort to give us the courage to take off our own masks and live authentically in the grace of God. Through heartbreak, through betrayal, through her own perceived failures, Mary shows us the gift of surrendering ...more
Nicole
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is just what our culture needs right now. In a social media world that is saturated with false perfection, there is little raw truth, which leads so many to discouragement, dissatisfaction, and feelings of isolation. This raw, hilarious, touching story is going to tear down the false pretenses that exist, and show people that the path to sainthood is not merely roses showering your path, it’s choosing not to give up — every single time. It’s choosing joy over happiness. It’s trusting ...more
Jennifer Samson
May 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The rawness of Mary's emotions and the vulnerability of her language is what makes this book so, so good. She is completely open with her readers, making her incredibly relatable in a culture of fear and sin. Even better, she offers redemption and hope for all of us who stumble through life, ensuring us forgiveness is waiting for us when we're ready to let God take the lead.

Mary's story is heart-wrenching yet joyful, and her words will make you both laugh and cry - have a box of tissues close
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Faith Hough
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Mary Lenaburg begins her story by betting the reader that you wouldn't ever want to trade your life for hers. Personally, I'm not enough of a gambler to come near a bet like that with a ten-foot pole. But if I did...she'd win. I've rarely heard stories of such profound tragedy, yet Mary is able to convey how God's grace is always present (and perhaps most strongly present) in moments of heartbreak and difficulty. Her style is incredibly engaging--I breezed through this in two sittings...and by ...more
Michelle
May 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book! This book really helps you see that your life is not the only one that is tough. Especially in the age of technology, it is easy to think that everyone else has it easy. We all have this idea that we can control our lives and her story can help us realize (if we haven't yet) that we don't. This book brings you to the darkest times that Mary's family has faced. This book also shows you how she found God in those times and how we can find him too. She helps the reader to give up ...more
Mandi
Jun 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very slim book, a quick read I couldn’t put down, though I should have probably read it slower and really took time to contemplate and apply the lessons to my own faith. Shows a great depth of spiritual growth that was inspiring. I would have liked the memoir part to have been more detailed and the language was maybe a bit too casual for me.
Kayo
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book will touch your heart strings. Seriously, whatever you are going through you will find uplifting words.
Every page spoke to me.

Thanks to author, publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book. While I got the book for free, it had no bearing on the rating I gave it.
Lauren Scharmer
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most important books I’ve ever read - Mary shares her story with grace, grit & humor. Fair warning - you won’t be able to put this book down once you start!
Nicole Scully
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“You will cry”. I had the honor of seeing Mary say these words firsthand at her book launch. And I did. The takeaway: you are never alone. What a beautiful story of a faith journey that reminds us that we are truly never alone. Absolutely beautiful.
Bonnie Engstrom
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The book covers some really hard to talk about issues with a boldness that can only come from confidence in God's love and mercy. I loved that. The honesty and vulnerability in Lenaburg's writing makes it feel like a friend is confiding in you to help guide you with wisdom gleaned from a similar difficult situation.
Wendy
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In her debut solo publication, Be Brave in the Scared, Catholic speaker and author Mary Lenaburg deftly weaves a powerful story of sacrifice, pain, loss, rebellion, heartache, healing, forgiveness, redemption, courage, hope, and above all – love.

Mary and her Navy sweetheart Jerry were married with two kids when their world imploded. Daughter Courtney began seizing during her Baptism ceremony at five weeks old, an affliction that followed her throughout her 22 years of life. Subsequently, an
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Christina
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Here’s what I love about this book: Mary shares her story honestly and candidly, but in a way that makes the details not entirely the point. I laughed and cried through her descriptions of the things she’s been through as if I were there with her- she has a gift for making everyone feel like they’re her best friend. But even though she was sharing such personal heartache, the entirety of her story points back to God’s love, mercy, and presence in EVERYONE’S life. I’ve never known the trauma and ...more
Melanie Rigney
Reading Be Brave in the Scared is like sitting down for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine with Mary. Her writing is beautiful, transparent... and unflinchingly honest. Her daughter Courtney took Mary, Jerry, and Jonathan into places they did not want to go... and transformed them. Mary's journey hasn't been easy. It's been full of bumps. But her honesty in sharing them will encourage readers to stop trying to do it on their own... and to, as the title indicates, be brave in the scared. Every ...more
Katie Marquette
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've followed Mary on social media for a while now. Her beautiful family is incredibly inspiring. Once Mary started giving interviews on podcasts and I got to learn even more about her story, I was blown away by her raw honesty and bravery. I'm grateful her daughter Courtney proved to the world the importance of each and every life. This book, while it does include the trials and joys of caring for her disabled daughter, is a more broad look at the journey of faith and redemption in Mary's own ...more
Holly  BN
Jun 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mary has a great sense of humor and a way of making living a life with the Holy Spirit seem natural and possible. Revealing her own struggles with sinfulness and how she accepted God’s mercy and worked to build virtue made holiness attractive. That she continues to credit Courtney for this story of grace shows her true humility and deep love for her daughter. Marriage and family life are hard, but Mary and Jerry’s love story reveals how bringing the grace of Christ into the center of our lives ...more
Colleen Kiko
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful and vulnerable journey -- Mary has hit on so many different aspects of being away from God and then walks with us as she surrenders and embraces the amazing journey God has for her - powerful! I especially love the part where Mary feels useless after Courtney died - as she had spent so many years as Courtney's caregiver. That speaks volumes. It is raw, real, and will touch so many people’s hearts. Mary's vulnerability will bring people to God! I know one person to whom I will ...more
Carolyn
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a quick read this was - a credit to the author's personable style and storytelling ability. Mary Lenaburg's painful honesty, her authenticity, is what makes Be Brave in the Scared one of the best Catholic nonfiction books I've read.

Few, if any, of us will encounter the challenges the author has, but we each have our own personally-crafted crosses, and we all need to learn to give up control and grow in trust. With chapter-ending reflections, readers are given the opportunity to take a
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Emily Meixner
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In this book Mary walks the reader through her and her husband Jerry’s faith journey while caring for their daughter, Courtney, who suffered from a rare disorder. Through her joyful witness, Courtney helps her parents rediscover their faith and indirectly save their marriage. I cried several times and can’t recommend this book enough. Sometimes life hits you like a semi truck, but Mary Lenaburg shows you that trusting God even in the anger and the scared is always the best path forward, for only ...more
Barb
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I binge-read this book in an afternoon. It's THAT good. Mary Lenaberg is a terrific, honest writer. She does not shy away about discussing the hard stuff, and I give her a lot of credit for sharing her own struggles in order to encourage others. If you have something in your life that you need to grieve and heal from, but you haven't been able to give yourself permission to do that, this book is for you. (ARC received from publisher)
Beth Williby
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There is something about reading a book that is so brutal and beautiful, so raw and open and heartfelt. This is one of those books. Mary's warmth and humor draws you in and her story of love, loss, sin, and salvation keep you turning page after page. In an age of rampant pornography usage and a culture where those with disabilities are seen as less than, this book is an incredibly important resource for facing these difficult topics. It truly was a joy to read.
Mary Cooper
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Once I had a chance to begin this book I couldn't put it down until I finished it. Mary E. Lenaburg keeps things very real in this book. It's not "preachy" and she doesn't pretend that her life was perfect once she and her husband accepted their daughter just as she is. Mrs. Lenaburg speaks openly about her marriage, her family, and her faith in this book. I know it's a good book when I cry, and I definitely cried!
Silvio Pellas
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great great great!

If you have ever gone or are going through a big suffering in your life, read this book. The author writes an incredible story of faith and hope. She does so from her own life experience and what an experience. Very real, full of love, suffering, sin and redemption. Will give this book to others!
Amy
Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: catholic
This incredible look into the strength of faith and the power of God's love through suffering touched my heart and gave me a renewed love for my Catholic faith. Mary Lenaburg has a way of writing that makes you feel like you are having a heart to heart with a dear friend. She is vulnerable and beautiful in such a way that you can only love her and her precious Courtney completely.
Erin
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Honesty wrapped in Hope

This book is written in a beautiful conversational tone. Mary makes you feel as if you are a good friend over for coffee and talking about all the important things of life. There is beautiful encouragement, heartbreaking realization of sin, wonder of forgiveness and above all HOPE to strike a new way forward - a better way to love and honor God.
Katie Fitzgerald
May 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I discovered Mary Lenaburg's blog just a few days before her daughter Courtney passed away in December 2014. As I read her updates about the final days of Courtney's life, I also read through her old blog posts, trying to learn everything I could about Mary's journey as Courtney's mom. Though I follow Mary on Instagram and have heard her speak at a local parish, I was still really excited to read this book and finally read her whole journey from beginning to end.

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