Since Theo’s been born, I’ve been very diligent about giving him lots of tummy time. That is, he has been sleeping/hanging out on my chest, while I recline in our squishy beige microfiber recliner. (By the way, if you have or are planning to have kids, do not buy light-colored furniture, no matter how easy to clean the salesman promises it is.) When I ran out of episodes of Fixer Upper on Netflix (Why, oh, why isn’t season 3 on there?), I cracked open my Kindle to see if any books caught my eye. About a week and a half ago, I had purchased Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected by Kayla Aimee for the amazing price of $0.99. I’m blown away that I paid less than a dollar for the book, because it’s the best one I’ve read this year.
Anchored is Kayla Aimee’s memoir recounting her pregnancy with her daughter Scarlette, and how it was brought to an abrupt halt when Scarlette was born a micro-preemie at 24 weeks. I felt like I was in the NICU with her, holding my breath and gripping her hand with her as she stared at the monitor, interpreting the numbers and peaks on graphs that gave clues as to whether her daughter might survive. The author’s talent shines in her ability to make the reader laugh and cry on the same page. She and I are almost (if not exactly) the same age, so I got all of her pop-culture references, including The Backstreet Boys and Muppet Babies. Kayla Aimee also told the story of how Scarlette’s extensive stay in the NICU devastated her and her husband’s finances (it cost $18,000 a day in the NICU) and how it took a toll on their marriage (the divorce rate for couples who give birth to micro-preemies is 97%). Most of all, though, I appreciated Kayla Aimee’s honesty about her faith… how, during the most terrifying times, she was angry with God, and her faith was like a thread. Even in its thinnest state, though, it was her anchor and was what got her through a very difficult time.
“People tell me all of the time that I am so brave to have shouldered this burden with grace, but I am not brave and it was not my grace… I didn’t feel brave at all. I felt like I was in the middle of an REM song. You know, ‘That’s me in the corner, that’s me in the spotlight losing my religion.’ I often hear people say that God will meet us where we are or that in time of difficulty God will ‘show up.’ But what I found was that when I reached the place of desolation, God was already there. He was there as I fumbled my way toward it through the forsaken feelings, and He was there when I landed knees hard in the dust left by what burnt down, and He was there as I watched Him create something beautifully new from the rubble. He was. He is. He will be.”
Aimee, Kayla. Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected. B&H Publishing Group, 2015.
You guys, this book is so, so good. If you’re looking for the next book on your reading list, this is it. Although I will warn you, if you are pregnant, it’s probably best to wait until after you’ve delivered your baby before reading this. (The top of Theo’s head got a lot of salty, teary kisses as I was immersed in Kayla Aimee’s and Scarlette’s story.)