Kathleen’s new book is a series of vignettes from her life with her autistic son Joel. Don’t expect a sugar-coated view of life with a special needs child. Her experiences are painfully familiar, as she describes in each chapter a daily hurdle in mothering her son Joel. Her frustrations are written in beautiful prose, creating a strange mix of beauty and pain.
Mothers of special needs children will find Kathleen’s struggles familiar: quiet holiday church services loudly narrated by a boy who can’t be still, the daily phone calls to pick up her son, the need for “me” time, and the feelings of not being or doing enough for her family.
But here is the part about the book that I most enjoyed:
As Kathleen so perfectly describes her frustration and pain in different situations, and as she surrenders her situation to God, it is almost as if her eyes are opened to a new understanding. As she turns to God for spiritual support, He opens her eyes and she suddenly sees each challenge in a new light: God’s light. In that instant, the day’s challenges produce wonderful blessings: understanding, patience, love, appreciation of beauty, and quiet joy. Only God can do that.
I was encouraged as I read this transformation of perspective so beautifully recorded in each chapter. This books shows that the most difficult of days offer special blessings. In Joel, we find hope, meaning, and a spirit that cannot be crushed. In Joel, we find God’s child. In Kathleen, we find a strength that is beyond human ability. This kind of strength to endure is only found when we surrender ourselves- whatever the challenge- to God.
God has a heart for families living with autism. This book provides a glimpse of the precious love God holds for children with special needs, and for those who care for them.