Last Tuesday Joel came bouncing in to the kitchen shouting, “guess what, guess what?!” I honestly thought someone had had a baby or got engaged or something lifechangung like that by the tone of his voice and the excitement in his face.
“Andrew Wilson has written a new book!” Great…I thought…there’s his birthday present sorted.
“It’s by him and his wife and it’s about parenting his autistic children…”
*clicked on Amazon and clicked buy-with-one-click before he even finished his sentence*
I know being a fan or a theologican isn’t particularly cool (or possibly even right!) but Joel loves and respects Andrew Wilson’s work and he keeps a kean eye on his blogs and podcasts. We have also had the priveldge of hearing Andrew speak at a conference and also at our Church summer camp last year. At the end of the meeting Andrew was dashing off home (to get back to his poor wife and two autistic kids) and we grabbed him and asked him to pray for us and Toby. He stopped and dropped his bags and hugged Toby and us and prayed. He prayed that Toby would make progress like his own son Zeke and that God would equip us as Toby’s parents. I can’t actually remember much more of what he said or prayed but Joel and I both burst in to tears and Andrew had a tear in his eye too as he hugged us. Joel will honestly admit that the hug and prayer that night was the start of his journey in processing Toby’s diagnosis and needs. Where as I had been to every meeting and appointment, Joel had been very busy at work and hadn’t had chance to deal with any of the emotions or feelings attached to having a child with additional needs.
The book arrived Thursday (thank you Amazon) and I finished it that very day. I cried my eyes out all the way through as I felt as if for the first time somebody else really knew what I had been facing.
Not only was it extremely honest and real it felt uncannily similar to my life and experience. It was also real and extremely practical (four page chapters are also incredible to read between octonauts episodes or while in the bathroom – only time I usually get to myself!)
God really encouraged and strengthened me through Andrew and Rachel’s words and I would highly recommend the book to anyone who is going through a though time.
The book brings a throughly God perspective on things not in a wishy-washy lets pretend everything is ok kind of way but with a vunrability and reality that sometimes everything isn’t ok and that’s ok!
Andrew and Rachel’s book has helped me to keep bringing my feeling and emotions to God and has helped me to process in the right kind of way. And I know that it’s an ongoing process…
By Saturday night I had finished the book for the second time and had going through with a pencil underlining and staring key parts (which for me was most of the book!)
Joel has also been reading it to and he have had some really deep and painful conversations together and with God.
I’m just about to start reading it for the third time before I pass it on to some friends. I think I might actually have to order a second copy as I’ve promised to lend it to lots of people!
You can read about the book and the bit about the ‘Orange’ which I found particully helpful and insightful on Andrew’s blog here – http://thinktheology.co.uk/blog/article/the_life_you_never_expected