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For the people in this book, the sovereignty and goodness of God have become a sanctuary for the soul in a life they did not expect to live. When they affirm the goodness and wisdom of God in creating them for short–term disability and eternal super–ability, they do not do so without tears. There is no glib trifling with pain. They are learning the paradox of “sorrowful yet always rejoicing.” They are learning how to be brought low and how to abound. They believe that in this fallen age, God’s loved ones groan along with the whole creation, waiting for the fullness of adoption, the redemption of their bodies. They find more hope in God’s unsearchable wisdom and power and purpose than in the vagaries of natural processes or the assaults of Satan. They believe that God did not spare his own Son but gave him up for their complete renewal–spiritually and physically. This healing is as sure as Jesus is precious–infinitely precious. It is only a matter of time, a vapor’s breath, and they will be whole. Because of the grace of God, these lives and this book exist for the glory of God.
I was delighted to come across a book for children addressing the area of disability. This is a very live issue for me as I have a disability myself and have close family and friends who have, or are affected by, disabilities of varying kinds. Unfortunately having read this book I came away feeling unable to wholeheartedly recommend it. I felt the book was just a bit too positive about disability as I didn’t feel that it put disability in the context of the fall and the resulting brokenness of this world. It also didn’t highlight the hope of the resurrection and new creation. It comes close to implying that disability is a good thing. Thus this book could suggest to children that being sad or angry that they can’t do the things their friends can do is to doubt the goodness of God and is bad of them. I believe we need to point our children to the goodness of God, the sovereignty of God, the fact that all of us who believe have been given gifts for the building up of His church however this should not be at the expense of mourning with them when they mourn and allowing them space to be angry that this world is not how God originally created it. Praise God for the good He can do in and through all of us in our brokenness, including disabilities, but that doesn’t make brokenness and disability good in themselves. The book summary given above is much more nuanced and to be honest I didn’t really recognise the book from the summary! Maybe I have missed something… (I have to admit that I read the book at a friend’s house last week and don’t have it in front of me). Another concern is that of style – this book seems to be aimed at children however it isn’t especially child friendly. Each two page spread of the main body of the book features a lovely photo of a child on one side and a statement on the other (eg God made me) with a Bible verse beneath. The photos are beautiful and are happy and positive images of a variety of children, including some with obvious disabilites, however they are all black and white. The font of the Bible verses is really small. The Bible verses don’t come from an ‘easy to understand’ type translation and so don’t use particularly child friendly language. There are geometric blocks of colour as part of the design so the book isn’t entirely without colour but this doesn’t strike me as a use of colour that will appeal to children. In summary this book is a wonderful idea but doesn’t quite hit the spot.
Just the Way I Am is a unique and valuable resource for parents and pastors who get asked the honest questions from children with disabilities.
Total Price: £1.99