This July, my friend and author Kathy Pooler will be celebrating Independence Day in a big way launching her memoir in early July. The book’s title Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse hints at the road Kathy has traveled from victim to victor with faith as her guiding light. Her story speaks of the liberation she experienced as her renewed faith enabled her to cope with multiple family upheavals including a spouse’s alcoholism, domestic abuse, two divorces, and her own struggle with cancer and heart disease.
Faith is walking to the edge of all the light and taking one more step. Author Unknown
As a “cradle Catholic,” I was born into and brought up with all the traditions and ceremonies of the Roman Catholic faith. I have, by conscious choice and deepening desire, remained true to these beliefs and teachings, except for a period in my twenties when I questioned and even rejected them.
As is often the case, my faith did not deepen until I had to face several life-altering challenges. It was then that my religion became my faith and my spirituality, the source of comfort and meaning in my life. Therein lies the heart of my upcoming memoir, Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse.
One of the threads in my story is the role my faith played in getting into and out of two emotionally abusive marriages.
I asked myself as I wrote my memoir “How does a young woman from a stable, loving Catholic family make so many wise choices about her career but so many poor choices about love that she ends up escaping with her two children in broad daylight from her second husband for fear of physical abuse?”
The truth was this: A loving family, a solid career and a strong faith could not rescue me until I decided to rescue myself.
So what does faith have to do with all of this?
- Faith has been a way to nurture my own soul. I know spirituality is a very personal issue, but I do want to say that finding meaning in our lives is very important. It does not have to but this search for meaning can involve religious traditions. As mentioned, I am a Roman Catholic and find great meaning in praying and observing many rituals of my church including Holy Communion. Some other ways I nurture my soul is through Al-Anon, family friends, and following my passions of writing, exercise, reading, playing the piano. The main point is that we each need to find what works for us just as we respect each others’ right to do the same.
- Honor yourself: When I learned to sit still long enough, I found what I wanted and needed and then learned to honor myself and my needs. I was able to carve out my own time and space to “follow my bliss.”
- Hope matters: And perhaps the most important for me: Never, ever give up hope.
Excerpt from her book:
Tuesday was Ed’s bowling night. As my belly began to swell in my third trimester, my weekly vigil became more difficult. I sat by the bay window wondering when he’d return home and what condition he’d be in after his night of drinking.
My slow rhythmic breaths echoed through the quiet darkness and steadied the anxiety bubbling up from the pit of my stomach, colliding with my view of what I wanted and needed. My thoughts drifted to my great-grandmother. The visions of that tiny woman with her unwavering faith came to me in whispers and glimpses throughout my entire life.
Great-Grandma Ranze, Mom’s grandmother, had been pregnant with her ninth child when her husband died at the age of thirty-three. Surely I could get through this. The memory of watching Grandma Ranze praying the rosary when I was eight years old warmed me as I sat by the bay window on that cold night. I grabbed my rosary beads and started praying. It made me feel close to her.
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This was one of many times in my life when my faith in God bolstered my hope and gave me strength for the battle. Faith is a gift given to me and nurtured in my childhood by Great-Grandma Ranze. She planted the seeds of faith in me as I faced my own challenges. She is still with me when I say my daily prayers.
Kathy’s Faith and Her Career:
My faith in God also guided me throughout my entire career as a nurse and nurse practitioner.
Every morning on my way to work, I prayed that I would remain open to being God’s servant in caring for the ill or in carrying out whatever role I happened to be in at the time—clinician, educator, administrator. I often prayed with or over patients with their permission. I said many silent prayers for those who were not comfortable.
I also prayed for the strength to deal with whatever I had to face—a dying patient, a difficult family/coworker/physician. Jesus is the Divine healer and if Jesus is in me then I am the vehicle for carrying out His will.
This is the faith that enabled me to walk away from two emotionally abusive marriages with two children. It has been through these challenges that my faith has deepened, and I have found freedom from emotional abuse.
Kathy asks: How about you? How has faith worked in your own life?
Kathleen Pooler is a writer and a retired Family Nurse Practitioner who is publishing a memoir, Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse and working on a sequel, Hope Matters: A Memoir about how the power of hope through her faith in God has 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.
She blogs weekly at her Memoir Writer’s Journey blog: http://krpooler.com
One of her stories “The Stone on the Shore” is published in the anthology: “The Woman I’ve Become: 37 Women Share Their Journeys From Toxic Relationships to Self-Empowerment” by Pat LaPointe, 2012.
Another story: “Choices and Chances” is published in the “My Gutsy Story Anthology” by Sonia Marsh, September 2013.
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Can you relate to any part of Kathy’s story?
What questions do you have for Kathy?
Both she and I will join in the conversation today. You can bet on it!
The 30-day Pubslush Crowdfunding Campaign for my memoir, Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse was launched on May 12 and ends at midnight on June 11.