Since this book is subtitled: Words of Encouragement for the Special Needs Parent, I didn’t expect it to find it personally relevant. However, I was pleasantly surprised. If you are a parent at all you will be able to relate to some of the topics and struggles that Jamie Sumner describes. Her son, Charlie was born with two challenging conditions: Beckwith-Weidman Syndrome (a rare genetic disorder which affects the pituitary glands, causing the baby to be very big among other problems) and cerebral palsy. Because of this, Charlie had (and still has) difficulty eating, walking and communicating. His infancy was full of different therapies, financial challenges and finding (through trial and error) which strategies worked best in minimizing and controlling his disabilities. Most of us will never have to deal with problems that are this overwhelming.
On the other hand, mom guilt? That’s universal. As is bullying, seeing and appreciating your child for who he or she is, accepting help when you need it, bouncing back from making parenting mistakes and being thankful for blessings. As parents we all learn that there is so much about our child and his or her life that we cannot control. The virtues we need are also universal: patience, hope, persistence, gratitude, humor and resilience. As a parent of adult daughters, this book took me back to many times when I struggled to survive and make sense of what was going on in my child’s life. Trusting God is the only way to make it through. As Jamie puts it:
“This kind of faith is … the most natural thing in the world because happiness and faith come with trusting someone upon whom you are dependent. And dependence, when viewed as it should be, is a beautiful thing.”
There are reflection questions at the end of each chapter. This would make a great read for a small group of parents, whether their children have special needs or not. The author weaves in stories from Scripture in a way that is both creative and pertinent.
VERDICT: 5 STARS
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