The Life We Never Expected: Hopeful Reflections on the Challenges of Parenting Children with Special Needs

The Life We Never Expected: Hopeful Reflections on the Challenges of Parenting Children with Special Needs


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This touching memoir by two parents recounts the highs and lows of raising children with specials needs, ultimately directing readers to the God who promises us peace and joy, even in the midst of trials.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781433550997
Publisher: Crossway
Publication date: 06/30/2016
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 590,896
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Andrew Wilson (PhD, King's College London) is the teaching pastor at King's Church London and a columnist forChristianity Today. He is the author of several books, includingUnbreakable andThe Life We Never Expected (with his wife, Rachel).

Rachel Wilson is a wife, mother of two, and the coauthor of The Life We Never Expected. She and her husband are part of Kings Church in Eastbourne in the United Kingdom.

Russell Moore(PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is the eighth president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the moral and public policy agency of the nation's largest Protestant denomination. A widely-sought commentator, Dr. Moore has been called"vigorous, cheerful, and fiercely articulate" by theWall Street Journal. He is the author of several books, includingOnward, The Kingdom of Christ,Adopted for Life,andTempted and Tried, and heblogs regularly at and tweets at @drmoore. He and his wife, Maria, have five sons.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

The Life We Never Expected is an honest, confessional, and hopeful book. It doesn’t flinch from telling the whole truth about the trials of parenting special-needs children, and it reminds us of our need for the gospel every day. This isn’t a book that’s going to tell you to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and try harder. This is a book for those who are on the floor, weeping, because they need to know Jesus is with them.”
Russell D. Moore, president, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention

“What a great book! Andrew and Rachel’s surprise journey with their two autistic children opened the door to knowing God and his ways more deeply. They learned, or should I say experienced, that the gospel isn’t something you just believe; it is something you inhabit when God permits long-term suffering in your life. I’d recommend this book even if your family doesn’t have a child affected by disability—it is soul food.”
Paul E. Miller, executive director, seeJesus; author, A Praying Life and A Loving Life

“Weeping, worshiping, waiting, witnessing, and breathing. These are the constant rhythms of my life as a parent to a son with autism. These are also the rhythms of Andrew and Rachel Wilson’s life, beautifully and delicately illustrated in The Life We Never Expected. The Wilsons have managed to do what no other authors have—provide me with clear, promising hope as a special-needs parent and allow me the sacred practice of saying, ‘Me, too.’ Profoundly moving and deeply rooted in the love of Jesus, this book is exactly what I needed. It is a tremendous gift.”
Nish Weiseth, speaker; author, Speak: How Your Story Can Change the World

“This is a poignant and delightfully forthright book, written by parents who are still clearly raw from their experiences. Here is hard-earned wisdom, biblical realism, and winning sensitivity. Recommended for all in the throes of suffering and for all who would comfort them.”
Michael Reeves, President and Professor of Theology, Union School of Theology, Oxford, England; author, Delighting in the Trinity, The Unquenchable Flame, and Rejoicing in Christ

“Andrew and Rachel Wilson help us see how uniquely difficult it is to parent children with special needs. Their candidness is infectious, inviting us to do what the church should do: laugh with those who laugh and mourn with those who mourn. Parents of special-needs children will find compassionate solidarity, honest wrestling, voiced frustrations, and, most importantly, the gospel. Many will read this book and feel understood. Others of us need to read this book to understand, so that we can walk alongside those in the midst of hardship with compassion.”
Nate Pyle, Pastor, Christ’s Community Church, Fishers, Indiana; author, Man Enough: How Jesus Redefines Manhood

“In a striking display of honesty and depth, Andrew and Rachel Wilson explore the tension of faith and reality in this moving book. What I love most is that it’s written in ‘real time.’ They reflect on the pain and joy not after the fact but while they are experiencing it. The Life We Never Expected is one of those books you have to force yourself to put down. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will celebrate the goodness of God—even in the midst of suffering.”
Preston Sprinkle, Vice President of Boise Extension, Eternity Bible College; author, People to Be Loved: Why Homosexuality Is Not Just an Issue

“I am not a parent of children with special needs. In fact, I’m not a parent at all. Even so, I couldn’t put this book down. The Life We Never Expected is about so much more than parenting. It is about loss, lament, hope, humility, contentment, joy—and about finding God to be more than sufficient through it all.”
Karen Swallow Prior, author, Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me and Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More—Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist

“This is a sweet and touching book—a testimony of parents’ love for their special, vulnerable children, and an extended meditation on the nature of the suffering that is part of the Christian life. Andrew and Rachel write with frank honesty and a sensitivity to biblical teaching about the expectations for life in a fallen world. I hope this little book will bring wise comfort to other parents facing similar challenges.”
Carl R. Trueman, Paul Woolley Chair of Church History and professor of church history, Westminster Theological Seminary; author, The Creedal Imperative and Luther on the Christian Life

“This is a helpful book both for those experiencing disability in their families and for those who love such families—not because of how the Wilsons are ‘dealing’ with disability but in how they rightly orient to our great and purposeful God. Having parented a child with multiple disabilities for more than two decades, I smiled regularly at their honest portrayal of life with disability. Anger, disappointment, and confusion along with delight and insight are offered in right measures. As both Andrew and Rachel point out, families like ours frequently do not experience the ‘great resolution’ about the circumstances of our lives, but we can always trust the promises of the One who made and sustains us and who will ultimately make all things new.”
John Knight, Director of Donor Partnerships,

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The Life We Never Expected: Hopeful Reflections on the Challenges of Parenting Children with Special Needs 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
ChasRay0 More than 1 year ago
The Life We Never Expected is a must have for parents of special needs children. It helps to know someone who has "been there done that" and with two special needs children of their own Andrew and Rachel Wilson are those people. They are open and honest as they share their day to day struggles to be the best parents they can be while trying to come to terms with all being a special needs parent entails. As a mom of two special needs children myself, I was eager to review this book. Sometimes being a mom to a child with special needs is lonely. It's hard to explain what you experience on a day to day basis to someone who isn't in the trenches, so to speak. Some days feel like all out war while others are blissfully happy. It's not an easy road to say the least. In the Life We Never Expected Andrew and Rachel Wilson open their hearts and share their struggles and their faith. I truly believe when your child receives the label "special needs" or "autism" or whatever the label may be the parent grieves. You grieve for what you perceive you lost. You grieve for your child and how much harder their life will be. Andrew and Rachel want to help parents move past their grief and cling to hope. God has a plan and a purpose for ALL of us. Not just the ones labeled normal by society standards, but those he created extra special. He gave them to you for a reason. He hand picked you to be their mom, or dad, and you are the right person for the job. It's okay to be sad, mad, angry, whatever so long as you don't stay there. Yes, we all have bad days, they come around every so often but as long as we cling to our faith and put one foot in front of the other we can conquer this life we never expected. *I was given a copy of The Life We Never Expected from Flyby Promotions in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed above are my own.
TheBookishGirl More than 1 year ago
"The heart will always look to rejoice in something beyond itself, so rather than trying to squash desire, we should instead look to satisfy it. It is what you call fighting for your joy in all circumstances." The Life We Never Expected was a beautifully painful book for me to read. You can tell that the authors Rachel & Andrew Wilson are blessed with a wonderful gift of being able to be parents. They are great at the ministry of parenthood. They are parents of two autistic children. I don't have autistic children but I know people who do and know it can really be a challenge and struggle. It is so worth it though. In this book, we witness stories of their successes, grief, joy, defeat, and victories on their parenthood journey. They are bound and determined to turn this into something great and give all the glory to God. They have faced the pain, not shoved nor explained it away. They have been able to see their distress in ways I can only learn from. It isn't just their words they have your reflect on. They keep the gospel in their teachings and reflections because God is the only one we can lean on. The Life We Never Expected was such a true title, but ultimately all our lives are unexpected. I am thankful for the words expressed in this book. Disclaimer: I received this book from Crossway and the authors in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.