About this book: (from the publisher) “It isn’t the long day of monitoring a child’s precarious health or being hyper-vigilant about her mood and mental health challenges that weighs parents down; it’s the wishing that things were different. . . . Resentment, not the intense care they must provide their child, is the parents’ greatest stressor and source of pain.” —Laurie Wallin
Parents of specials needs children are exhausted. They’ve done all the research, consulted all the experts, joined support groups, gotten counseling, fought for the best life for their children. Often just caring for their children’s needs and attempting to maintain a home maxes out parents’ mental, emotional, and spiritual reserves.
Laurie Wallin knows firsthand the difficulties of this journey. With Get Your Joy Back, she steps forward to make a bold, audacious claim: in the midst of this long-term, intense task, it is still possible to have an abundant life, full of joy. The key to radically changing daily life and restoring joy to the weary is forgiveness. Wallin gives parents a lifeline to find that restoration, pulling them back to shore when they feel like they’re drowning.
This book is full of practical, biblical insights and strategies to shed the resentments that leave Christian special-needs parents themselves spiritually, emotionally, and socially drained. Wallin meets readers right where they are, sugar coating nothing, but addressing issues with honesty, humor, and–above all–hope.
About the author: (from Litfuse Publicity) Laurie Wallin strives every day to live out her message for families: that no matter the challenge, in Jesus they can have joy and confidence. She is mom to four girls, two of them with mental and developmental special needs. She has been a certified life coach for over a decade, and is a regular speaker at women’s events and retreats, a popular blogger, and the author of “Why Your Weirdness Is Wonderful.”
Genre: Religion/Christian Life/Family
First impressions: Yay for the image of a carefree mom, right down to the pigtails, and for the promise of a less-stressed life.
Why I read this book: Because I can use a little more joy as I parent my special needs child.
Reminds me of…Get Back Up: Trusting God When Life Knocks You Down by Sheryl Giesbrecht
Will especially appeal to… moms of special needs kids who are seeking faith-based help.
This book matters because… it encourages frazzled, worn-out moms to remember to care for themselves in the midst of raising challenging kids–starting at the very heart of the matter.
My take: I have a child who lives on the special-needs spectrum. Perhaps you didn’t know that about me, but I do. I won’t say a lot about it for my child’s sake, but we received a diagnosis five years ago (after suspecting it for a few years before that), and the condition has had a fairly significant effect on our lives–especially when it comes to school. Compared to the average mom, I spend far more hours advocating for my child, as well as providing encouragement and homework help. The unrelenting challenge takes its toll.
So I was very ready to hear what kind of help this mom might offer.
Perhaps what surprised me the most, and what I liked best, is that Laurie Wallin begins and ends her book with the notion of forgiveness. I admit, this is not what I was expecting, but she makes a valid case that the best…even the only…way to get one’s joy back is to practice forgiveness. Whom are we forgiving? Ourselves, our spouses, children, community…God.
And then there’s the matter of grace.
“How we see ourselves in this role of parenting children with special needs and whether or not we learn to grieve the big and little things well comes down to one word: grace.
Grieving what we should have done sooner, might have done better, could have discovered earlier, or would have tried ‘if only…’–all of it needs to be wrapped into this one attribute of God.
I also applaud (loudly) how she encourages moms to dream. I’m all over that. Too often dreams get buried under the mundane and the stress. But Laurie suggests a way out from under. She also encourages soaking our minds in the truth. Changing the way we think, based on God’s truth as revealed in His Word, so that we may then change how we feel. I also appreciate her focus on marriage, and that she bases all of her ideas on Scripture, which she quotes directly, frequently.
Will this book do as promised? After reading it, will get your joy back? I’d say that depends on how much you’re willing to accept Laurie’s guidance. I also think it might depend on where your child falls on the “special needs” spectrum because that will affect how deeply you can relate to what she’s saying.
I do have to say that where Laurie really won me over was in her final pages where she offers her readers a free, 30-minute coaching session to move them toward confident, joy-filled living. I take this as an author who is not content to merely keep her readers at arm’s length, but to be there for them, personally, to show them on a better path.
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Thanks to Litfuse Publicity and Kregel Publications for providing me a free copy to review. All opinions are mine.
After words: You can see what other Litfuse reviewers are saying here.
Do you have a special needs child or know a mom who does? (I’m quite sure the answer to at least one of those is yes.) What encouragement would you offer her–or yourself–today?