Marilee and I head up to Boston today, and I'm looking forward to visiting with friends and family, reading with old and new friends at the Vineyard Church tonight, meeting with my aunt's book club tomorrow and reading again at Gordon-Conwell College on Friday.
Becker goes beyond the platitudes of "special kids for special parents" and discusses Penny's diagnosis with a rawness and a depth that speaks to any shocking situation, not just having a child with special needs.
This is a book about struggle, about identity, and about the deep theological questions of pain and suffering. Amy Julia does an extraordinary job of staring honestly into her own brokenness and providing her readers with a beacon of insight and hope into understanding that God's gifts are often unexpected and abundant.
From Dad Today, in which a father of three reflects upon the question of "what if everything hadn't gone 'exactly right' with my wife's third pregnancy?":
All those weeks and months day dreaming of one day swelling with tears and welling with pride as our child hit home runs, or executed flawless ballet leaps, or delivered their valedictorian address, or whatever. Imagine all of a sudden those images vaporized, replaced with uncertainty, with sadness, perhaps with fear, or a daunting awareness of the need to provide perpetual care ?
What would that feel like? And how would I react? How would it hit my family? My marriage? My faith?
A new book - A Good and Perfect Gift by my friend Amy Julia Becker - takes these questions head on . . .
The book gives an honest account of those darkest first days - one that does not filter or sugar-coat the kinds of questions and doubts I know I would have, but would be the hardest to say out loud - questions like, "Will I be able to truly love this child?" Or, "Will my love always be checked by a disappointment for who she is not and will never be?"
The years that follow are a crucible for Amy Julia - for her faith, for her relationships, for her sense of herself, and for her whole world view, as she slowly develops what she describes as a "ferocious and complicated" love for her daughter. At the same time, she comes to recognize that there is nothing complicated at all about the joy and love Penny stirs in and shows for others.
It is a beautiful story and I highly recommend the book - and not only for parents or friends of parents of children with special needs. There is wisdom for all parents here . . .