2015 Illumination Book Award Winner, Silver: Spirituality Cateogory
Are you there, God? You have to show me how to raise this child. Because the skills I’ve learned over the years just aren’’t working here. I’m helpless, Lord. I can’t do this on my own!
Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau report that 2.8 million children in the United States have a disability. That means more than 5 million parents, grandparents, and caregivers have probably offered up a prayer like this. Raising a child with a disability is hard work. Where do you go for solace? For rest, refreshment and renewed joy? We know where to go for our kids, but where do we go for ourselves?
Author Kathleen Deyer Bolduc knows these feelings from experience. She and her son navigated through his childhood and now approach yet another new life phase – – adulthood – – and all that entails. In The Spiritual Art of Raising Children with Disabilities, Bolduc uses the metaphor of the mosaic to life as parents of children with disabilities. How do you rearrange the fragmented and chaotic pieces of your family into a perfectly whole and beautiful work of art? Readers are walked through the process using the spiritual disciplines to help you recognize God’s presence in your life and regain the balance we all need.
In this book, writer, parent, and spiritual director Kathleen Deyer Bolduc – – with honesty and humor, wisdom and wit – – invites the caregivers of children with disabilities to steep themselves in Scripture and self-reflection.
• Provides a unique perspective of a parent raising a child with disabilities – – and dealing with it through faith and spiritual direction.
• Powerful, insightful, faith-inspired stories of other families who are walking similar paths.
• Exercises at the end of each chapter allow readers to reflect to find the beauty in the pieces of their mosaic
Some books make you laugh. Others make you cry. Occasionally, a book will cause something deep inside your spirit to vibrate with a sense of recognition: This author knows; she knows what it is like to stumble along in my shoes; she knows and understands. Rarely does one book evoke all three.
The chapters are short—crafted with the chaos of life in mind. They are accented with poems and epigraphs that sparkle with power and profound wisdom. They are framed by personal anecdotes and scriptural encouragement. They are held together with compassion and creativity, and crowned with concrete, contemplative practices to reconnect our spirit to the Holy Spirit who is the Source of our strength and hope and peace and joy.
Parents, grandparents, and other caregivers will revel in the spiritual refreshment and renewal offered in these pages. Family members and friends, teachers and clergy, who care for and work with children with disabilities, will all find here a window into the hearts and spirits of their parents. Spiritual directors and coaches will welcome this resource as a practical tool for ministry to and with parents who desperately seek resurrection and wholeness in their faith journey.
Director, AAPD Interfaith Initiative
American Association of People with Disabilities
“In this valuable book, author Kathleen Deyer Bolduc becomes your compassionate but clear-eyed companion, sharing her personal experience and perspective, as well as those of others. She explains how, with God’s help, people just like you have been able to address the challenges of disability. Steeped in practical, Spirit-filled wisdom, let this book renew and revive your spirit.” —Mark I. Pinsky, Amazing Gifts: Stories of Faith, Disability, and Inclusion
“Sharing her experiences as a parent of a son with autism, Kathleen Deyer Boldoc brings authenticity, inspiration, and discernment to this work. Writing in a conversational style, she allows the reader an intimate glimpse of real people as she walks alongside other parents as they share times of questioning, grief, and anger, wondering where the hand of God is and finding it as they engage in the practice of spiritual disciplines. This book provides valuable spiritual insights for parents. It is also helpful to clergy, spiritual directors, churches ministering to families, and other service organizations privileged to provide space for grace to parents of children with special needs and catastrophic illnesses.” —Rev. Betty Wright-Riggins, former speech pathologist, school administrator, and consultant for students with special needs; founder and principal of TrustOne, a ministry of spiritual direction and coaching
“Parents of children with special needs often experience isolation and frustration as they wrestle with the unique challenges that come with loving and raising their children. Kathleen Deyer Bolduc gives voice to the thoughts and feelings that many of these parents find difficult to express, reminding them that they are not alone in the mix of emotions stirred by parenting a special-needs child. Yet she also offers spiritual direction to help caregivers tap into the deep resources of God’s love and provision to find healing, joy, and sustenance for the journey. Not only parents, but extended family, friends, and fellow church members will discover insight into the blessings and trials of parenting a special needs child.” —Jason D. Whitt, PhD, Associate Director, Institute for Faith and Learning, Baylor University
“Once again Kathy Bolduc, through her bold honesty and earthy faith-filled insights, lights the way for those seeking understanding of people so often misunderstood. An alternative construct is offered—igniting spiritual awareness that is essential for everyone, and indispensable for parents of children with disabilities. For allies of people with disabilities and their families, Kathy’s book provides an unvarnished glimpse of struggles and dilemmas of everyday life—confronting fundamental questions that the secular world leaves unanswered. Readers hungry for a fresh and enduring perspective will be well fed.” — Milton Tyree, Disability Concerns Consultant, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
“As a parent of a child with disabilities and of three children without disabilities, I struggled for years with guilt over taking time for myself. I felt that I was being selfish for wanting to do anything by or for myself when the kids had so many pressing needs. Eventually, though, I learned that I can’t serve others or God unless my own cup is full. The Spiritual Art of Raising Children with Disabilities offers life-giving suggestions for connecting with God amid the everyday, moment-to-moment challenges and joys of living with disabilities. The stories shared within are real, honest, life-affirming, and spirit-nurturing. It feels good to connect with others who have similar thoughts and concerns and to feel peace that God is with us every step of the journey. Kathleen Bolduc offers us many ways to connect with and rest in our loving God, who will fill our cups to overflowing if we but let him.” —Victoria McGoey, parent
“A beautiful book born of the brokenness of life and of the grace that is found there. Drawing on her own experience raising a child with disabilities and sharing the stories of other parents who have walked similar paths, Kathy Bolduc demonstrates what is possible when we pay attention to God’s presence in the midst of it all, with questions to ponder and reflections to consider along the way.” —Curtis Ramsey-Lucas, Executive Editor, The Christian Citizen, Steering Committee, Interfaith Disability Advocacy Coalition