Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Kregel Book review: Refresh Spiritual Nourishment for Parents of Children with Special Needs

I was blessed to review this book.  It's a devotional for parents of Children with Special Needs. My first comment is that most parents have children with special needs (gifted, learning disabled, adhd, behavior concerns, dyslexia) but this is geared to parents who have children with demanding, time consuming special needs that require a lot of parent support daily (1/5 of all parents).  The authors were thinking cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, genetic disorders, chronic illness, etc.   I would definitely add this is a book for parents of children from hard places (trauma, RAD, adoption, foster, mental health issues, ....).  We are parenting such a child, and this book is a gift to me. One of the reviewers, Janet Thompson, printed in the book calls the book "a life-line of hope."  And it is.  

Here's what I appreciated most about the book: 
  • Rich Scriptural connections, this is founded in the Word of God, truth statements for all believers. 
  • Format:  
    • Table of Contents with 8 Section Themes, each devotional titled
    • Stories from parents of children with many different special needs, including bloggers I was familiar with, and adopted parents.  
    • Brings perspective that is relate-able to all parents, no matter the special need.
    • The intro explains how this book is to 'pour hope and courage back into you.' 
    • Two authors, so different tones in the narration.  (Jocelyn and Kimberly)
    • Each devotional contains:
      • title, author, and a KEY verse.
      • a personal narrative that shares a story of struggle, dedication, consuming parenting, .... 
      • more scripture
      • an italics potential application/prayer
      • Digging Deeper, 3 questions that are higher level thinking, and help you connect your experience with the promises from God's Word.  
  • Digging Deeper really approaches the layers of feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and perhaps our actions/responses in the struggle or joys of parenting.  It really helps the reader process and internalize how he/she might feel and empathize with the experience of another. 
  • Stories are integrated with thinking and what the Word of God says to help empower parents, give insight to daily living, and help us know that we are not alone in the struggle, and to help us take care of ourselves, or have a moment of respite in life. 
  • Theologically accurate, it acknowledges the struggle inside of us, our fear, seeking truth/faith, role of sin and the need for nourishment, growth, pruning, bearing fruit, and branching out.  Good analogies for the Christian life.  
  • Short, sweet, to the point.  Even parents who don't like reading, could easily read these short thoughts and find promises to build their day on.  
  • It's affordable on the kindle: $1.99.  It's worth a whole lot more!  
This book I've kept in the van, and picked up while I wait for kids at school, at the doctors, etc.  It's a great perspective change, and really does Refresh me.  I'd recommend that local churches who aren't sure how to help parents with special needs kids, gift this book to those parents, and ask their leaders to read this book, and learn how life might look in homes where children's needs restructure everything.  It might help those who want to help, but don't know where to start, to have an understanding of daily life, and give ways to pray, support, and sympathize with parents who life this way for decades.  It certainly will encourage parents who are struggling.