Thursday, June 25, 2015

Finding hope in the unexpected {a review & giveaway}

My journey to motherhood didn’t look like Kayla Aimee’s journey. But both of us became mommas in unexpected ways. We both met God in what were dark seasons of becoming a mom and saw his faithfulness pour into our lives.

In “Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected,” Kayla refers to who she was before and after giving birth to her daughter at 25 weeks. Scarlette may have weighed less than six sticks of butter but she was a fighter.

And that little life changed her momma.

I’ve never stepped foot in a NICU, but I lived through a hard season of infertility that rocked my emotions, my faith, and my marriage – and eventually led us to let God build our family through adoption. While they aren’t the same journeys to motherhood, they are ones that marked our faith journeys.

“Motherhood for me came with a stripping away of control and it has continued in that vein ever since.”
{Kayla Aimee in “Anchored,” page 167}

I too learned to find hope and peace in the unexpected. I had to learn to let go and trust what I couldn’t always see or understand.

Kayla shares her story beautifully and with truth and humor that will have you laughing one minute and crying before you finish the sentence. And while this story of a micro-preemie wasn’t one she expected or necessarily even wanted, it’s one she shares because in her darkness she found light that can only come from God.

I started reading “Anchored” on Mother’s Day while my kids rested and I sat on our back deck in the sunshine. Of course, I finished the book a few days later because even though I knew Scarlette lived – a fact I’m glad isn’t hidden because I’m not sure I could have made it through the pages wondering – I wanted to hear the rest of the story.

Kayla’s words are honest and refreshing as she shares how she sorted out her faith while her dreams seemed to crumble around her. She relates everyday moments of her life to the great big faith we’re all trying to grasp. She shares her prayers and her fears and her hopes – for her family, for her daughter, for her community, and for mommas elsewhere.

When she tells about praying like Hannah, how she prayed for this child and God answered her prayers, and then sees Scarlette in the incubator and so many moments are weaved together in a way that would change a momma’s faith.

“Every bit of want that had gone into those prayers was wrapped up here and now, swaddled in an incubator. It did not look anything like what I had asked for and yet it was everything I had hoped for. All of it was completely unexpected but as I gazed at her I knew that I would do it over for the privilege or loving her. All of the sudden I was Hannah again and all of motherhood was love and all of love was a prayer.”
{Kayla Aimee in “Anchored,” page 106}

ABOUT THE AUTHOR :: Kayla Aimee is a writer, mother and slightly spirited southern girl who spends her days uncovering hope and humor in unexpected places. She makes her home and garden in northern Georgia with her husband Jeff and daughter Scarlette. Kayla shares stories of faith, family and her favorite things at Learn more about her at Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

And here's excerpts of a Q&A with Kayla that the folks at Icon Media Group provided:

How did you keep it together when you felt like your world was falling apart?
I didn’t. Absolutely I fell apart with it. I think it surprises people to hear that because on the outside I looked like I had it together, I was stoic and did the hard things in order to keep myself together when I was at the hospital. Away from that space was different, full of fear and sorrow. But it was in allowing myself to fall apart that I discovered the truth in the Scripture that says that His strength is made perfect in our weakness. I learned that God’s grace really is sufficient and the only thing that was comforting was knowing that I could just lean into that and let it do what I could not.
2. How would you say humor and the ability to laugh at yourself have helped you through parenting? In your marriage?
I remember the first time that I laughed after Scarlette’s birth. I was weary from weeping with heartbreak when the nurse brought me nursing pads and they were wrapped in a bag that said DANGER! HAZARDOUS MATERIALS! I laughed so hard that it hurt my stitches and I remember that was the moment when I knew that I wasn’t lost to my grief. Finding the humor in the moments that are hard helps to shift my perspective. It keeps me from being too quick to anger and makes me appreciate the little things more.
Ecclesiastes says that there is a time to laugh and a time to cry and I think that the intersection of the two is a beautiful portrait of our humanity. Plus, it just brings me so much joy to live a life that is full of laughter and so I chase that, I try to seek out the hope and the humor because that just makes everything a little bit brighter.
3. What is the #1 thing God taught you through Scarlette’s birth experience?
I tend to want to control things or at the very least to know what is coming. Our experience with Scarlette’s birth and NICU stay really revealed to me that I had a tendency to layer my own plans over my prayers. When there was nothing I could do I learned what it meant to genuinely trust God. I think it was this specific time that sharpened my faith, when I was the angriest at the situation and when I least wanted to be faithful was when I found God faithful to me. Not because of a happy ending but because I felt the hope of Him staying steady in the chaos.

ABOUT THE BOOK :: Officially releasing July 1, “Anchored” is 208 pages and published by B&H Books. It’s available at Amazon or wherever else books are sold. Read more about it Kayla’s website.

GIVEAWAY :: And I’m giving away a copy of this book! Yay! Use the Rafflecopter below to enter to win. A winner will be randomly selected on Wednesday, July 1.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Icon Media Group provided my advanced reader's copy in exchange for a review and is providing the additional copy for the giveaway. These opinions are my own. 

Want more insights? "Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family" is available on Amazon. Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, peek into my life on Instagram, follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin', or subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox."


  1. Michelle Faile6/25/2015 9:40 AM

    I struggled a lot through the early stages of motherhood, which I didn't expect at all because you generally don't hear many people talking about postpartum depression, singing hymns and prayer kept me going through that hard time.

  2. KristinHillTaylor6/25/2015 9:44 AM

    Postpartum depression is a real thing - so glad you found hope in the midst of it. Thanks for entering!

  3. God showed me hope through our adoption journey. Through each failed match and our failed adoption He showed me not to give up even though I was weary.

  4. KristinHillTaylor6/25/2015 2:27 PM

    Your story has so many hard parts, but it's so beautiful what God is doing through your family. So glad you entered to win this book - you'd love it!

  5. This sounds like an amazing story. I have 2 friends who are in the middle of an adoption process and would love to share this book with them!

  6. Wow, this books sounds really interesting. Would love to read it!

  7. KristinHillTaylor6/30/2015 6:48 PM

    I really love memoirs. This one is definitely worth the read.

  8. KristinHillTaylor6/30/2015 6:48 PM

    Adoption stories are my favorite! :)