Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Spiritual Art of Raising Children with Disabilites by Kathleen Deyer Bolduc

  I told the nobles, the leaders, and the rest of the people, “So much work has to be done in different places that we are widely separated from one another on the wall. When you hear the trumpet, assemble around me. Our God will fight for us!”
~ Nehemiah 4:19-20, GW ~

Nehemiah was a leader, called by God to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem during the exile of his people in approximately 445 BC.  With the permission and support of Persian King Artaxerxes, Nehemiah returned to the land of Judah to lead the remnant of his people in resurrecting the compromised walls and gates.  Facing much adversity, he led a discouraged people in coming together, piece by piece to find wholeness in their God.

The wise, experienced voice of Kathleen Deyer Bolduc represents a modern-day Nehemiah, reaching out to a broken community she loves.  Those fellow citizens are parents raising children with chronic illnesses, disabilities, and special needs.  Like her predecessor of ancient times, she is a beacon of encouragement and an intimate with God.

While her latest release, THE SPIRITUAL ART OF RAISING CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES, may have parents thinking that they are about to embark on a tutorial of how to impart Christian faith to their challenged children, the journey actually begins with parents themselves.  Using the image of a mosaic, Bolduc guides readers to a place of embracing wholeness and beauty in brokenness.

She states in her introduction, "It is my greatest desire, the pages of this book, to walk alongside you as you seek answers to the questions that are rising up in your heart, and to help you pay attention to God's presence in your life."*

After reading the book I would emphatically state, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

Like the faceted light reflected by a glorious mosaic, Kathy's tender prose explores the many pieces of our inner journey as parents raising challenged children.  From grief and guilt to marriage and gratitude, many sacred scraps of our lives, some that we may have even fallen out of touch with because of life's busy-ness, are thoughtfully examined.  The reader's inward rumination on raising offspring with special needs becomes part of a larger theological exploration of the heart, and who we are in Christ.

Kathleen Bolduc not only shares some of the inner wrestling from her own journey, but also shares the personal stories of others to escort parents along the way.  Grief, gratitude, and fellowship are just a few of the themes unpacked through the experience of other loving mothers and fathers working out their faith through the various seasons of parenthood.  Readers get to see wounds and brokenness up close as the most intimate of heartaches are shared.  Survival and overcoming in spite of pain add the color of hope to the shards of these families' brokenness.  I was honored to share a bit of our journey and how our griefs were turned into the gift of ministry in Chapter 15.
The Spiritual Art of Raising Children with Disabilities - See more at: http://www.judsonpress.com/product.cfm?product_id=17766#sthash.zX2cgg8P.dpuf
The Spiritual Art of Raising Children with Disabilities - See more at: http://www.judsonpress.com/product.cfm?product_id=17766#sthash.zX2cgg8P.dpuf

Each chapter uses such vivid reflections at the end, which imprints each theme on the heart of the reader.  The mindful meditations force busy, stressed-out parents to slow down and encounter God.  In the final section of the book, spiritual disciplines such as prayer, meditation, worship, and spiritual reading are unfolded in all their beauty.

While this book is for any parent facing the spiritual wrestling that comes with a son or daughter who has special needs, more seasoned parents can take delight in knowing that the contents offer meat, not just milk.  The more I pour over Kathy's writing in this volume, the more I fall in love with it.  If you want to relive the Nehemiah journey of putting the pieces together through mutual support, then you must get your hands on this book.

PRAY:  Father, thank You that You formed us for fellowship.  Even in our profound questioning of the divine, You do not leave us to figure things out on our own.  Thank You for the encouragement that there is beauty in our brokenness.  We praise You for taking the shattered pieces of our lives and making them into something beautiful, as only You can.

~ Barb Dittrich

*Bolduc, Kathleen Deyer (2014), The Spiritual Art of Raising Children with Disabilities, Judson Press, Valley Forge, PA 19482, p. xiii

1 comment:

  1. Way to go Kathy!! And thanks for your review Barb!!:)

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