I am sitting here, having just finished (I literally just put it down) a book that I was asked to review. It has transformed me, taught me, encouraged me and at the same time it has called me to account. The book ‘A good and Perfect Gift’ by Amy Julia Becker is the story of how Amy Julia learned upon the birth of her daughter Penny, that she was a baby born with Down Syndrome. This is a story that needs to be read, a story that needs to be understood because it doesn’t matter who your child is, if they are born with health issues, complicated syndromes, or perfectly healthy, your child is a unique gift from God and they are remarkable works of love from their maker, knit together in the palm of his hand with his signature upon their hearts, each one with a special plan laid out for them.
Reading this book took me a longer time than usual, the emotional pull that I felt while reading about those first few months of Penny’s life, the frustrations, the anger and ultimately the hiding were areas that I too waded through, with tears I shared her ups and downs, remembering not too long ago I was sitting in the hospital, staring down at a little boy classified ‘abnormal’. Hearing about Penny’s life, hearing about how Penny has touched the life of those who love her has taught me about what I hold dear, it has put a spot light on my own idols surrounding motherhood, and it has held me to account. As we read about Amy Julia’s struggle to break the idols in her own life it’s nearly impossible not the see the idols in our own.
What do we expect of our children? What is perfect? What is normal? What does it look like to love without condition? These are some of the questions that are answered in this book, but it’s only a small part. As you journey through the first two years of Penny’s life you are also wading through the swamps with Amy Julia and her struggle with faith, doubt and understanding. Her honesty about her faith journey allowed me to see openly into mine, she asked questions I have at times asked myself, and she has humbled me with her acceptance of the answers so quickly when it’s taken me so much longer in so many ways.
It doesn’t matter who you, who is in your life, if you have a child or not, this is a book that I would recommend for anyone to read, it will lead you on a journey of self discovery, and in the end you may just find that an idol has been smashed, or at the very least cracked.
‘Everyday it becomes more and more clear that Penny is not a ‘Down’s kid’. Penny is a child with wonderful and fascinating aspects to her personality. Penny is a child who knows and loves her family, who has a big vocabulary and loves books, who blows kisses to anyone who says hello, who is learning to climb stairs, and, oh, yes, Penny is also a child who has Down syndrome” Amy Julia Becker
“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group”.