Because sometimes, life throws you a curveball in the form of Autism.
This is the lesson Rachel and Andrew Wilson share with their readers in the book The Life We Never Expected: Hopeful Reflections on the Challenges of Parenting Children with Special Needs. The parents of a son and daughter both diagnosed with Autism spectrum, they also felt as if those dreams were down the drain. They understand the pain of watching your child regress or the fear of having a child sneak out of the house and disappearing and they understand the complete emptiness a parent can feel as they weep uncontrollably over all that was lost.
But that is not all that the Wilsons care to share with their readers.
Instead of hopelessness, they offer hope using scripture as a basis for inspiration.
The book is divided into five cycles, each cycle addressing the topics of Weeping, Worshiping, Waiting, Witnessing and Breathe. The authors describe their thoughts and feelings as they progress through these five cycles, starting with their feelings of hopelessness and asking "Why did God allow this?" and ending with acknowledging that while being a challenge, special need children are their own blessings from God. To quote Horatio Spafford: " The bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.".
The Wilson's do not pretend to be an expect on having special needs children. They do not offer advice on the proper way to parent a special needs child, telling you to do it this way or that way. Instead, they share their own experiences while offering a hope through Christ to find joy even in the frustration.
I'm currently about halfway through this book and I am finding myself savoring many of the passages. I've also found myself highlighting things that I relate to. Like the author, I have cried over my son's Autism diagnosis. I've had my heart nearly stop when I discovered my son had snuck out of the house at 3am when he was 4 years old. I've felt the helplessness in watching the hand flapping knowing it wasn't normal, and I've found myself ask God "why?". Yet, I wouldn't trade my son for anything and I thank the Lord every day to feel I was special enough to be his mother.
I love some of the comparisons that the authors make in explaining that while maybe our children
I highly recommend this book for anyone with a child with special needs, especially parents who have just recently been told their child's diagnosis.
However, ONE of my lucky readers will receive a copy of this wonderful book. This giveaway is open to residents of the continental United States as well as Canada.