Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Life We Never Expected

From the moment that there's a second line on the home pregnancy test, we dream about having the perfect baby.  We dream about how they smell, about counting ten fingers and ten toes, what color eyes will they have, will they have Dad's smile or Mom's nose. Nobody ever sits and imagines what it will be like to have a special needs child during those 10 months.  Many times, we're clueless to what the future holds even as we hold our precious newborn in our arms. It's not til a few months later when something is just "not right" that we have our first clue that all those dreams we had might not work out the way we expected.

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
aren't the perfect package we were expecting, they are just as important to God as any other of his creations.  From discussions of Chocolate Oranges and Dung Gates, Andrew and Rachel show us that parenting these children is an important job given to us by the Lord. But they also explain why the act of lamenting, really soul wrenching sorrow that we feel with the loss of that "perfect" child of our dreams, is a very important part of the process of acceptance. 

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.

#lifeweneverexpected  #FlyBy

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”


  1. Sounds like a fabulous read for so many. Yes, you almost need to grieve the child you imagined in order to embrace the one you have.

  2. I have twins with special needs. It is awesome the way they wave bye to their dad. They are 24. lol

  3. my 2 year old says i'm the best mommy ever

  4. Watching my son smile in his sleep is so sweet and always brings a smile to my face!

  5. My children are always saying how beautiful I am it makes me feel so good

  6. When she says I'm the best mommy ever.

  7. My daughter is very good at building things. Give her a bunch of random materials and she will make something out of them.

  8. I love the look on their faces when I pick them up from school

  9. I love the look on their faces when I pick them up from school


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