You know people who know people.
People with children who are atypical. Children whose needs may not be special - because we all share needs – but whose abilities have “dis” preceding them. Children who struggle to fit into a world not designed for them.
And you know people who are lonely. People who scroll through social media wistfully watching others pursuing activities they no longer can. People who are wondering how to find and keep new friends in this age of isolation.
And I bet – because I know you – there’s nothing you’d like more than to encourage those people.
One of them might even be you.
And there’s nothing I like more than doing that too!
So today I have copies of two brand-new books to give away: Special Grace: Prayers and Reflections for Families with Special Needs, by Elrena Evans, and Together is a Beautiful Place: Finding, Keeping, and Loving Our Friends, by Bailey T.Hurley.
When our youngest granddaughter entered the world against all odds last August, her family also entered - joyfully and in exhaustion – a bewildering new world themselves. One of cardiac surgery and rare, life-threatening complications. A world of feeding tubes and feeding schedules and little time to feed themselves. A world with an uncertain future for a very special little girl.
A world created and sustained by a loving heavenly Father.
As a mom with five children, none of whom can be considered “typical,” Elrena Evans has authored a beautiful collection of prayers and reflective essays for families with special needs. (IVP)
“This book is for all the parents who ‘get it,” she writes. “ Here are prayers for the exhaustion, frustration, and sheer joy of raising a child with disabilities. Here are prayers for laughter and heartache, for transitions, for bullies, for first days of therapy and last days of school.
Here are words for the times we have none.”
O God, who calls ordinary people to do extraordinary things, remind us that in our ordinariness we were fashioned by the One who spun galaxies from dust. Assure us that the One who holds the universe is holding us. Bless us as we care for this child of yours. Give us your love to be our love. Give us your strength to be our strength. Give us your joy to be our joy. Make us always mindful that this child is your precious creation, and help us always to see [him/her] with your eyes. Amen.
If you know a family who could use daily encouragement as they parent a special needs child, please leave a comment below. I’ll be giving away a copy of this unique resource.*
Around the same time Special Grace came into my hands, Together is a Beautiful Place by Bailey T.Hurley also arrived. As a thank you for my endorsement, the publisher sent me an extra copy to share with one of you.
Honestly, when the request first came, I almost declined. It’s not that I think the topic is unimportant. Quite the opposite. Several essays in This Life We Share deal with the topic of friendship.
But when the editor told me that Bailey was only 29 when she submitted the manuscript, I balked. How could a woman this young have something significant to say about friendship to women of all ages?
Well, she most certainly does!
Have you ever wrestled with the tension of changing seasons in life that seem to push you and your friends apart?
Bailey distinguishes between friendships she considers nostalgic and those that become adaptive:
“One of the worst things we can do is put our friends in a box of ‘who they once were’ and expect the friendship to function like it had before. Secretly, we want our friends to be predictable. But nostalgic friendship only allows our friendship to function in the past, without freedom to mature or grow.
“Healthy relationships can emerge if we acknowledge that our personalities, interests, and habits adjust over time. This is adaptive friendship: the ability to embrace the change in our friends and make it our mission to love them in all their various roles and life seasons.
“When we can adapt, ask good questions, and keep learning things about our friends, then we create a setting for life-long friendships.”
If you know a woman looking for sisterhood and community, you’ve come to the right place. Thanks to the good folks at NavPress, I have a brand-new copy of Together is a Beautiful Place to give away this week.* Please leave a comment below and I’ll draw a name prior to next week’s post.
Whether you’re parenting or grandparenting a special needs child or seeking timeless principles for building friendships, we all have more to learn.
And we’re here to help each other along the way.
Life is sweet, y’all. Have another slice!
- Maggie W. Rowe, 2022
* Due to high postal rates, books can only be mailed to addresses within the United States.