Recent Reads: A Good & Perfect Gift by Amy Julia Becker

What the book's about: A Good and Perfect Gift by Amy Julia Becker is a book about her daughter, Penny, and in particular, Penny's Down Syndrome diagnosis. It's a book about parenting and above all, it's a book about grace.   

Why I read this book: A number of bloggers I follow have recommended this book at various times. 

My favorite quotes from the book: 

- "As much as I insisted that our experience was different from other parents', and that our child was different from other children, different didn't mean less than." 

- "Jesus didn't ask Peter to embrace his suffering. He was honest that Peter would be taken where he did not want to go. There was no sentimentality. No false piety. No stoicism. Just a statement of reality: The road ahead would be hard, but this is the road where I will be with you." 

- "I had always assumed it was very sad to have a child with mental retardation, or, for that matter, to be a person with mental retardation. But why? Why was that sad - because our culture held the intellect in such high regard?" 

- "Did I recognize the value of my daughter independent of her accomplishments or would she need to prove herself to me?" 

- "One word I did like was vulnerable. Penny was vulnerable - physically, mentally, even socially & emotionally. Another was dependent. Penny was, and would be, dependent upon others for some level of care throughout her life. Perhaps the reason I liked those words was because they described what I wanted to admit about myself. That I, too, was vulnerable, much as I liked to see myself as invincible. That I, too, was dependent upon others, much as I liked to think of myself as self-sufficient." 

- "I couldn't reserve baptism for adults who could articulate a profession of faith in Jesus anymore. God was too big for that." 

- "Most parents of kids with disabilities focused on their child's weaknesses. Instead we should try to identify Penny's strengths and help her grow into those strengths."

- "There was no need to compare the answers to 'Who are you?' It was just a way to find the good, the particular, with anyone." 

- "We didn't have family devotions. We didn't listen to Christian radio. Until Penny initiated, I hadn't even been trying to tell her about Jesus. She just seemed to like Him all on her own."  

Who I'd recommend this book for: I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to any parent of a child who has Down Syndrome. Additionally, I'd recommend it for anyone who ministers to such families. Beyond that, though, Amy has written a book that ANY parent will enjoy and be challenged by. 

Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the Minister of Youth and Family at Atonement Lutheran Church in Barrington, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

More about Jen

Jen's Books

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A Mission That Matters: How To Do Short-Term Missions Without Long-Term Harm

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Unleashing the Hidden Potential of your Student Leaders

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The Real Jesus

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The Jesus Gap

What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus

Based on National Research

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