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November 17, 2020
Mary Shaw

I’d like you to meet my daughter. 

Kalie is 21 years old, a fiercely loyal friend, and an active member of society. 

An avid learner, Kalie isn’t just book smart. She studies society, growing and learning by intentionally listening to others. Kalie hears all viewpoints, discovers common ground, and uses this to build bridges out of thin air.

Kalie is empathetic, intuitive, and generous. A quintessential two on the enneagram, she’s motivated to right wrongs. 

I may be her mother, but Kalie is an amazing person with amazing gifts.

But Kalie’s life, like all our lives, isn’t all success and joy. There are bumps in the road, and her perseverance through them only serves to further impress me.

One of Kalie’s biggest hurdles came during her senior year of high school, when she was diagnosed as bipolar. Overnight, her reality, her identity changed. But we finally had a name for what she was experiencing, and we determined to put it in its place. So we began seeking the proper combination of medications to calm the mania, counter the depression, quiet the anxieties, and bring restful sleep. 

As you would expect, we’ve had hits and misses along the way. We’ve celebrated stable moods, good sleep, and routines. We’ve prayed for relief from depression and walked through seasons of great doubt and fear. We’ve been hard pressed on every side, but not crushed.

Last fall was especially difficult. In the weeks leading to Thanksgiving, Kalie felt hopeless. There, God shone his light through a simple idea.

Over the next two weeks, I sought out family, friends, prayer warriors, and cheerleaders from afar. I asked them to send pictures and letters detailing why they are grateful for my daughter. They responded eagerly, and I compiled their notes and photos into a journal. 

Thanksgiving day, I presented the journal to Kalie while we were gathered around the table. She was overcome and overwhelmed. For a moment, her stresses and struggles were put aside, as she bathed in the love so many have for her.

It was a powerful experience for more than one reason. As Kalie flipped through the book, I realized the gift was given in love, but with a hint of selfishness. I’d not considered how the gift could impact Kalie emotionally. I was too focused on my need for affirmation and gratitude. 

Later that day, I confessed my selfishness. Then I asked Kalie was she was feeling. The tears flooded.

“I can’t fathom how I was so desperate,” she said through tears, “when so many love me so much.” 

Kalie realized the depth and width of the love of those around her, realized God’s provisions of grace and love to her. That He would intervene on her behalf—on our behalf, to renew hope.

Words are powerful. And I’m grateful Kalie now has a book to open and read true, loving words when the hard emotions and hard times come.

After witnessing Kalie’s response to the gift, I’ve decided everyone should have such a book. A book to turn to in times of self-doubt, sadness, and loneliness. A book to crack open when feeling lost. A book filled with reminders that God created you for specific purposes in all of the lives you touch.

A book that is true and good, like our Savior, who gave me Kalie to love and who loves Kalie with a fierceness and tenderness I cannot fathom.


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