I can't imagine what it must be like to have a special needs child. But Wallin does. She has four girls - two foster-adopted that between them have a number of diagnoses. She knows how hard it is to keep the family sane when you have disability in the mix.
Wallin knows that many books exist for those raising children with special needs. But this one is different. It is dedicated solely to the care giver and his or her needs. Her aim in writing this book is to “help you deal with your stress in ways that are intentional, realistic, and that make space for the joy you sorely need.” (13)
Wallin is honest about her own experiences, like the cost of hanging on to resentment or hiding behind a “all is fine” facade. She makes lots of suggestions and they are not easy, like her admonition that you must let resentment go or that you have to forgive. She is clear in this book that you must make certain choices, like working on your marriage. Some of her suggestions surprised me, like forgiving professionals when they don't know how to help or try and get it wrong. She has good ideas for when your family is not accepted, even when that happens at your church. She suggests much but she has really practical ideas to carry it out.
Wallin's book is one of encouragement. She reminds readers that we matter. We are precious to God. She also reminds us that it takes something supernatural to cope with the chronic stress of the family life. It is only by God's strength. She even deals with the questions parents ask God, the “why” questions.
I don't have a special needs child. Reading through this book, however, I can see a wealth of encouragement and a wealth of practical information. Wallin presents a great overall strategy to move to a life of rejoicing. She includes “practicing” points at the end of most chapters, strategies for moving forward with her suggestions.
Food for thought: “We love God and others best...when we live intentionally within the core strengths of the unique and special who God designed each of us to be.” (35)
Laurie Wallin is a Christian speaker and certified life coach. She writes regularly at her own site, LaurieWallin.com, contributing to SpecialHappens.com, SpecialNeedsParenting.net, GodSizedDreams.com, and the Women of Faith blog. She is the author of one previous book, Why Your Weirdness Is Wonderful. She and her husband and their four daughters make their home in San Diego.
Kregel Publications, 176 pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through The Book Club Network for the purpose of an independent and honest review.