Starting Sept. 2nd, I’ll be leading an online study through Unexpected Blessings: The Joys and Possibilities of Life in a Special-Needs Family. And this time, I’ve invited five friends to join us!
Unexpected Blessings guides special-needs parents through the five stages of special-needs parenting. So I’ve asked Becky Davidson, Laura Hernandez, Diane Dokko Kim, Jolene Philo, and Kim Albrecht to speak about what they’ve learned in each stage.
Meet my special guests:
Becky Davidson and her late husband, Jeff, co-founded Rising Above Ministries in 2005. They were inspired by the life of their son, Jon Alex, and motivated by the realization of how underserved the special needs community truly is. Since Jeff’s passing in 2017, Becky has taken on the role as president of Rising Above, casting vision and leading the ministry into an amazing new season. Becky also shares her heart in a new book co-written with her late husband, Jeff, Common Man, Extraordinary Call: Thriving as the Dad of a Child with Special Needs (available at Amazon, Lifeway, and Walmart.com). You can learn more about her story and her approach to life at redefinethislife.com.
Laura Hernandez founded Mama Systems to help other mamas bring more peace to their home by coaching them through ideas, schedules, incentives, chores, and delegating. Laura and her husband Tony live near Dallas, Texas where they are raising their ten children (including three who have special needs). Between all their appointments and anything else that may come up in the caring for nine children, she had to figure out what worked for her family. How could they manage the logistics and make time to instill the ideals that her family values? By making systems that helped her family run smoothly and reduced her daily workload. And she can help you too!
Diane Dokko Kim is a special-needs mom and a disability ministry leader. Her recent book, Unbroken Faith, identifies the fear, guilt, and inadequacy all parents of children with special needs experience. Rather than apply pat answers to deep wounds, Unbroken Faith tackles the core struggles and conflicted emotions all special needs parents stumble over. It courageously articulates the deep-seated, unspoken doubts and fears families may have, but are afraid to voice. Diane is an empathic guide toward healing and a renewed faith.
Jolene Philo is a life-long caregiver, first to her father who had multiple sclerosis and then to her son who was born with a life-threatening birth defect. Her experiences led her to partner with Dr. Gary Chapman to write Sharing Love Abundantly in Special Needs Families: The 5 Love Languages® for Parents Raising Children with Disabilities. Through this book, Jolene and Dr. Chapman can help strengthen your marriage and family life—whatever your needs. Having a special-needs child shouldn’t mean sacrificing a full family life. She will help us learn to share love abundantly no matter your circumstances.
Kim Albrecht and her husband Tom are raising two daughters and caring for her mother with Alzheimer’s in their home. Kim noticed a lack of resources to guide her family through the challenges they faced as their older daughter (who has autism) grew toward adulthood. She knew she couldn’t be the only parent with so many questions, so she launched the LOMAH podcast. Through the first three seasons she has addressed special-needs housing, transition planning, safety for our loved ones with disabilities, caregiver encouragement, and much more. Kim is a great example of someone who helps others on the same journey she is on!
More about the online study:
When you sign up for the study, you’ll receive an email with instructions on what to do next. This will including buying the book (if you haven’t already) and joining our Facebook group. Each weekday in September there will be pages to read and questions to discuss in our Facebook group. I’ll be posting the video interviews from Becky, Laura, Diane, Jolene, and Kim in the group for us to learn from and discuss as well.
You’ll move through the stages of special-needs parenting with some of the best encouragers I know guiding the way. By the end of our study, you’ll feel ready to experience the joys and possibilities of the life God has called you to as a special-needs parent.