For people of faith, the difficult episodes of life don’t have to be meaningless suffering. Insights gained through the struggle can someday be shared with others to help them navigate their lives toward safer harbors, too.
That day has come for Kristi Lackey of Hillsboro through the release last month of her first book, “Stress Less and Soar More: An Eight Week Exploration of Faith,” produced by Tate Publishing.
Lackey said she hopes the insights she’s gained through the emotional abuse she encountered during a troubled marriage can help others in whatever stressful situations they may be facing.
“Basically, the book started as my journaling,” said the 40-something mother of three. “For about a year and a half I journaled. As I was jounaling, I thought the Scriptures I was reading and my reflections might be able to help comfort somebody who was going through similar things.
“The goal is that the book will help people see themselves as God sees them versus the negative messages they’ve received about themselves from other people if they went through hard times.”
And how does God see such people?
“As very valuable, very worthy, very special, uniquely made,” Lackey responded. “And definitely with special gifts and purpose for your life.”
Unique to her book is combining faith insights with relaxation techniques. Her book is accompanied by a CD on the topic.
Lackey said she uses relaxation techniques as part of her full-time work as a student-support worker in the Hillsboro and Goessel schools through the Marion County Special Education Cooperative.
“The relaxation techniques help with stress and anger control and sleep problems, so the book includes the relaxation exercises in there,” she said. “Of course, I don’t use Scripture in that setting.”
She felt the combination of both approaches might be useful for people.
“I looked around for relaxation techniques that included Scripture, but there really wasn’t that much out there,” she said. “The neat thing about these relaxations is that it’s an eight-week program. The week matches that week’s Bible verse, so you’re hearing it over and over again during the relaxations.”
Lackey said faith has been an important part of her life since her childhood days in Caney. She graduated from high school there in 1986 and then went on to play basketball for four years at Emporia State University. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in school psychology as an education specialist.
Over the ensuing years, Lackey lived in several Kansas communities before settling in Hillsboro with her kids in July 2010.
During the tough times of her life, Lackey said she leaned on the faith foundation of her youth.
“I think when you go through emotional abuse, or any kind of abuse, it can seem like everything in the Bible seems to be OK, even though you’ve tried to hope for the best,” Lackey said. “It was important to go back and look at my faith and see how God had been there the whole time.”
The process of writing the book took about 21?2 years to complete, Lackey said, because of her family and work schedule.
“I worked on it through the holidays mostly—Christmas break and summers,” she said, adding with a smile: “My kids got used to hearing, ‘Not now, I’m working on the book,’ a lot.”
Lackey said her book may connect most naturally with women readers because she is a female author, but she has included information for men as well.
“There is a section in there that talks about the signs of depression in men and what it might look like,” Lackey said.
“I think it could be a good devotional for any family, or even a church group. But the target audience is probably for people who are struggling in some way.”
It’s too early to know how sales are going, Lackey said. Her publisher has scheduled her first book-signing event for next month in Hutchinson. The book is available through several online sites for around $15, and from Lackey herself.
“It’s very exciting,” she said.
Lackey envisions finding opportunities to share her experiences and insights through other venues—as time allows.
“My goal someday is to go out and talk about emotional abuse,” she said. “That’s what I’d really like to be doing maybe five years from now.”