Several years ago, a childhood friend discovered her baby would be born with multiple health challenges and special needs.
I watched and prayed from afar, wishing I lived down the street so I could babysit her older children and take her family homemade meals.
I cried and praised God as her local community did all those things and more, the body of Christ supporting a hurting member.
Through the years of surgeries and countless doctor visits, this family’s faith has inspired me. Their child is a beautiful gift, and her love for her older siblings and parents radiates through every photo.
When I heard about Jocelyn Green and Kimberly Drew’s new book, Refresh: Spiritual Nourishment for Parents of Children with Special Needs, I knew I wanted to get a copy to send to my friend.
But before I sent the copy along, I sat down to read a couple devotionals for myself. I wanted to understand a bit more of the journey for families like my childhood friend. I wanted to know how to love and pray better. (After all, one of my topics for Q in Pray A to Z is uniQue needs–families with special needs.)
I sat down to read one devotional. Fifteen devotionals later, I put the book down with tears in my eyes, and a heart full of gratitude.
Through each devotional, Green and Drew share the stories of families going through a variety of special needs. From diagnosis, to surgeries, to the emotional roller coaster that accompanies it all, Refresh does exactly what its title claims: it provides spiritual nourishment.
“More than one-fifth of US households with children have at least one child with special needs. Raising a child with special needs is spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically challenging. Parents need encouragement to restore hope and a passion for God in their lives -but the realities of having to be parent, nurse, therapist, and caregiver make it difficult to find the time or initiative to seek encouragement.
Packed with encouragement from parents who understand this complicated balancing act, Refresh is designed to provide just what these parents need. The devotional guides parents to spiritual truths that can be applied to the demands they face every day. It offers perspective and hope through the varying stages and phases families experience, from diagnosis to loss and grief.”
Even though I do not have a special needs child of my own, I was challenged and encouraged by the teaching of Scripture. I found myself with greater understanding and learned how to better care for families in my community who are on similar journeys.
If you or a family you know has a child with special needs of any age, pick up a copy of Refresh. It would make a fantastic Christmas gift, or provide encouragement for an upcoming surgery or for a family who received a new diagnosis.
About the Authors:
Kimberly Drew is a graduate of Taylor University, with a degree in elementary education. She and her college sweetheart, Ryan, have been married since 2000 and live with their four children. They also have a son, who is waiting for them in heaven.Kimberly developed a passion for children with special needs and their parents after their firstborn daughter suffered a traumatic birth which resulted in multiple disabilities, including cerebral palsy, a seizure disorder, hearing loss, and microcephaly. From these experiences, and a heart to see and know Christ more, came the desire to help other parents grow in their Christian walk through their own experience raising a child with special needs. In 2016, she and Ryan adopted their fourth child, a baby girl with special needs. Kimberly has been serving alongside Ryan in full-time youth ministry since they were married.
Jocelyn Green is a multiple award-winning author of more than ten works of fiction and nonfiction, including the Faith Deployed and Faith Deployed . . . Again devotionals for military wives, The 5Love Languages Military Edition (with Dr. Gary Chapman), and the Heroines Behind the Lines Civil War series of novels. Her passion for special-needs families was ignited when her newborn son was diagnosed with congenital hypothyroidism, which causes dwarfism and profound mental disability. While his daily medication has kept his development on track with his typical peers, Jocelyn’s heart remains burdened for the special-needs child and parent. She’s a graduate of Taylor University with a degree in writing.
*I received a copy free from the publisher to review. Opinions are all my own. You really should go get a copy for someone you know.
**Photo credit: Unsplash. Seriously, isn’t it the most darling photo EVER??!