Fifteen years ago, Karoline Davis emerged from a long, war-torn darkness into the light. After a terrifying childhood and grueling Army service in the Vietnam War, the former therapeutic riding instructor had come to a fork in the road.
She had moved to the U.S. when she was 16. Previously, she had lived in a children’s home until age 5 when she was adopted and raised Catholic through her elementary years. After that she had no structured religion until she joined the Army.
“For three months, my bunkmate kept bugging me to go to church with her,” recalled Davis, “and just to get her off my back, I finally attended a service with her. When I heard the sermon with its message of, ‘God loves everybody and we were all created for a purpose,’ I became infuriated.”
How, Davis reasoned, could a loving God let her suffer through a horrific childhood from which she still bore emotional scars? How could he forsake her like that?
This deep-rooted desolation and rage continued for six years and from age 26, when she was pronounced legally blind, to age 38. She sought solace elsewhere. Having heard that her favorite singer and songwriter, Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac, was a Wiccan, Davis explored these tenets and decided that this was something for which she felt an affinity.
“I became a solo Wiccan – rather than seeking out a coven – and kept it to myself until 1993 when I began studying therapeutic riding as a career,” said Davis, who emphasized that from the beginning she was not interested in black sorcery but rather white ideology. “Some of the therapists were involved with alternative philosophies, and I felt they would be empathetic with my Wiccan, so I began talking with them and experiencing gratifying energy flow. I finally felt accepted for my beliefs.”
Falling in love – and off a cliff…
Karoline Davis first met husband Tim Davis by literally crashing into him on a Colorado ski slope during vacation in 1991. According to Tim, a double-amputee with a Purple Heart from Vietnam War injuries, he and Karoline developed a friendship that lasted several years, until 1998 when the two veterans blissfully tied the knot – on horseback, no less!
Tim was so in love with Karoline that it didn’t matter if she was a Wiccan. “She had her beliefs and I had little,” said Tim, adding that he detected no evil in Karoline’s principles.
Fast-forward to 2002, when the Columbia City couple left their horse farm and traveled to Kentucky to visit Tim’s aunt.
“Aunt Alvie knew I wasn’t Christian but she always said I was the daughter she never had, and loved me anyway,” said Karoline.
“The two women bonded, with Aunt Alvie teaching Karoline about the Bible and baptism, which the latter had not known about. After the ritual was explained to Karoline,” she had a sudden flashback.
While on tour in Germany in 1985, Karoline was walking by a quarry, encumbered by her backpack and weaponry. She was talking to God, saying she was tired of the rigid military life and desiring to marry and raise a family and asking, if it were God’s will, would he send her a sign that a good change was coming and that it was ok to leave the Army?
“I needed to prove to myself that God didn’t exist, because if he did, his so-called love for me would require me to change my ways. I was hot-tempered, prone to fights and being trained toward more violence,” recalled Davis who was the first woman to earn the Recondo Badge, which was from a course for survival training used by the U.S. Special Forces in the 1980s.
The surroundings were completely flat, and there were no obstacles in her way; just the cliff that overlooked the quarry. Without warning, Davis lost her balance “for no explicable reason” and fell over the cliff into the water. She swam to shore but for years has reflected on that day, wondering what caused her unexpected fall into the water..
“Well, honey, you done been baptized!” said Aunt Alvie when the story was shared with her. Karoline, upon hearing these words, was suddenly chilled with goose bumps, realizing she had indeed been given a sign.
“God obviously did something that day, but I was too blind to realize it,” Karoline reflected.
According to Tim, Karoline listened even more closely to the Bible readings, as his aunt gradually delivered Karoline from Wiccan into Christianity.
“When I first met Karoline, I didn’t consider myself a true Christian. My parents did not go to church but listened to Oral Roberts on the radio on Sundays, so I never knew of Jesus or God. I am closer to him now than I ever have been because of her religion, and she is very close to God and her faith is strong. Our daughter, Emily, has also helped lead us to the Lord,” said Tim, who is an official with the U.S. Quad Rugby Association, working nationwide tournaments each weekend.
The couple has spent the last few years putting their faith to work through several venues. They have been foster parents for several children, have hosted eight foreign-exchange daughters globally and have adopted one of their foster daughters, Seria.
“Adopted children were heart-grown; biological children were homegrown,” said Karoline.
The family travels worldwide on mission excursions. They just got back from Uganda, where they, “loved on babies in the Sanyu Babies’ Home, ministered to pregnant teens, participated in a feeding program for street children, visited and shared God’s Word with a Ugandan church and children’s home,” said Karoline.
“Tim and I continue to support Destiny Rescue to bring awareness to the sex slave trading here in the United States. We are going to the Dominican Republic this month and to Haiti in November, and on other mission trips.
While a devout Christian, Karoline still treasures some aspects of Wiccan. She maintained her inherent love for nature and animals, and the major Wiccan belief that, “Negative begets negative; positive begets positive.” “Christianity offered me an example of unconditional love that touched me to my deepest core,” said Karoline. “Wiccan was my steppingstone to Christianity – instead of just appreciating the Earth in all its splendor and beauty, I now appreciate and love that which created the heavens and Earth. Instead of separating myself as being better than others, I now realize I am no better than the least around me.
“I traveled my chosen paths, learned lessons and lived the consequences of my choices. I am in love with Jesus and love the fact that my God, who created, me loves me for all my wayward ways, my failures, and my humanness.
“Christ’s love is deep and profound, and when I open myself to love others as seen through Christ’s eyes, I receive great joy that can only come from my God, who created me to love as he does.”