Friday, April 2, 2010

autism & alleluias by Kathleen Bolduc

I was pleased when Judson Press contacted me about participating in a blog tour for Bolduc's new book, autism & alleluias.

I was privileged to meet Kathleen Bolduc several years ago at a conference to help religious organizations be more inclusive to individuals with disabilities. She autographed her book, "His Name is Joel," for me. Bolduc taught me, in a big way, that taking not only my praise to God, but also taking my raw pain before His throne, is okay and necessary. I shed a few tears while reading that book.

Being the mom to a child on the autism spectrum is isolating at times. I have experienced times in the last ten years (since we entered early intervention) where I have never.been. more.lonely. I am able to find understanding at conferences and support groups, but in my day-to-day, real life, I'm often an outsider, navigating a very different pathway than that of the parents around us in the neighborhood, at church, and the ones we know through baseball or public school.

I'm ashamed to admit that finding the desire to say an "alleluia" has sometimes been very difficult. I know that God is in control. I know our circumstances are temporary. And yet, the deepest, darkest moments within the challenges of autism are often the most lonely. Sensing God, seeing His hand within the turbulence is sometimes an ugly struggle for me.

I don't like to be told to be thankful. I know I do - I don't need someone to tell me that in holier-than-thou way. Bolduc doesn't preach to me. She leads by example. I like that.

In autism & alleluias, Bolduc uses short chapters, "slice of life vignettes" to share real moments from her life and experience, moments that demonstrate God's hand on her family. Bolduc is, as always, authentic, never sugar-coating the experience of having a child on the autism spectrum. I was uplifted with Mrs. Bolduc as she let me, the reader, inside real moments she has with her son, not all pleasant, and yet she shares with me the intimate moments of gratitude and praise with her Father. She reminds me that I am not alone on this pathway, that there are mothers who helped find the pathway before me, there are mothers on the pathway with me now, and we all have a God who cares deeply about us and what we experience. She reminds me, gently, lovingly, through her own journey and faithfulness, that I need to look for Him in little ways, because He is there, providing, loving. Bolduc begins each chapter with a verse of scripture that sets the stage for the experience to come, and ends each chapter with a short prayer of praise and thanksgiving.

Judson Press is offering an exciting opportunity in the form of a FREE webinar called "A Place Called Acceptance": On April 8 at 2:00 p.m. Kathy Bolduc will be joined by Bill Gaventa, editor of the Journal of Religion, Disability, and Health (I have attended a Bill Gaventa presentation, too - he's *wonderful*) and Ginny Thornburgh, the program director for the Interfaith Initiative of the American Association of People with Disabilities, for a webinar on the topic of autism and disability ministries. Register here for this free event.

Judson Press sent me a complimentary copy of autism & alleluias to review on this blog. I am not compensated for this review and I am not obligated to provide a positive review.

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