I reviewed Dr. Michael Norman’s book, Unbridled Grace: A True Story about the Power of Choice, last week, and had the chance to ask him a few questions. Here’s what he shared with me and graciously agreed to let me share with you.

When evil felt the strongest, what was your comfort? 

Throughout our ordeal, there were times of incredible darkness, seemingly insurmountable obstacles and protracted periods with no human hope.  Despite this, especially when the pain was most severe, I received tremendous comfort praying my rosary.  It allowed me (and remains so today) to “pull away” to a place of peaceful solace and escape the pain.  This practice served to overpower the darkness of evil that attempted to envelop myself and my family.

During my rosary, I truly felt embraced by our Lord and His Blessed Mother despite what we were facing.  In addition, during some of the darkest days when the opportunity for rosary was unavailable to me, I remember another tremendous comfort that I held on to. In just a few short hours, I will be praying my rosary and I can escape all of this!

How did you remain strong or at least keep going? 

Remaining strong through our 6 year ordeal was certainly not easy. The emotional roller coaster of highs and lows was incredibly draining and exhausting and the temptation to quit sometimes became very overwhelming.  Some days you are only holding on by a mere thread.

It is certainly God who ultimately sustains all of us, but He does need our cooperation as well.  I remember my periods of greatest strength occurred when I kept my focus on eternity and not the world.  As I did, my choices began to reflect eternal standards and not worldly standards and God’s will became manifest in our lives.  Also, I tried to remain focused on living for and seeking to honor only 2 areas of my life: God and my family. (Nothing else mattered to me).

What in your Catholic faith gave you strength?

I was most strengthened by my Catholic faith upon my discovery of our beautiful theology of redemptive suffering.  Nobody else in all my searching had remotely come close to answering the question of suffering for me.  As I embraced and carried this cross, I began to receive the most incredible gift that is His grace.  As this grew stronger within me, I was then able to share it with my family who grew stronger as well and united all of us together through this storm.

These were the occasions I felt so close to God as to hear His voice and participate in His thoughts.  As we embraced the cross, this gift of grace enveloped us in peace through some of the lowest points of our ordeal.  The cross is how He truly chose to unite with us.  Looking back now, I realize I was never so close to God as during this time of suffering.

Dr. Michael J. Norman is a chiropractor in private practice in Dallas, Texas.  His new book, Unbridled Grace: A True Story about the Power of Choice, is available on his website, through your local bookstore, or in a variety of online venues.