140: Andrew & Rachel Wilson | Lamenting & Parenting Special Needs Children

Andrew & Rachel Wilson | Lamenting & Parenting Special Needs Children

Andrew Wilson (PhD, King’s College London) is the teaching pastor at King’s Church London and a columnist for Christianity Today.
 
He is the author of several books, including Unbreakable and The Life We Never Expected (with his wife, Rachel).
 
Rachel Wilson is a wife, mother of two, and the coauthor of The Life We Never Expected. She and her husband are part of Kings Church in Eastbourne in the United Kingdom.

Andrew & Rachel Wilson join Amber to discuss the emotional, spiritual and familial hardships and joys that come along with parenting special needs children.

Questions Andrew, Rachel and Amber Discuss:

  1. (3:02) Take us back to when you first became parents.  What did life look like for you at the time?
  2. (5:04) As your children became toddlers you found yourself parenting 2 special needs children.  As you think about those first few years, how would you describe the physical, spiritual, and emotional challenges you faced?
  3. (13:01) Rachel: Early after your children were diagnosed you said you read a Charles Spurgeon quote, “I’ve learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages” and thinking I will never learn to kiss that wave.  Expound on that a bit and where are you now when it comes to kissing that wave?
  4. (15:34) Andrew: Lament is more than crying and longer than a few days.  You write extensively about lament in The Life We Never Expected. What were some things you have lamented when it comes to loving and serving your special needs children and how do you encourage others to lament who are walking through similar family dynamics?  
  5. (23:42) Research shows that a huge percentage of Christian families of kids with special needs stop attending church. 
    • How are you able to make being a regular part of your church a priority
    • What are specific ways a church can provide support that makes it possible for a couple whose children have significant special needs to be involved and to attend together at least somewhat regularly?
  6. (28:14) Special needs parenting is a full time job, and finding a babysitter/caretaker who can handle the needs can be impossible during some seasons. How are you able to prioritize your marriage, time with the Lord, or recharge when constantly caring for your special needs children?
  7. (34:35) As a mom and dad to children with special needs, what lies sneak into your heart most often, and what Gospel truths do you find helpful to remind yourselves of most often?
  8. (37:29) How does your neurotypical child do with his siblings? How do you help him navigate the difficult emotions that come with being a special needs sibling?
  9. (40:29) What are some of the greatest joys/gifts that you have received that you would have missed out on if you weren’t parents of children with autism? 

Quotes to Remember:

Rachel: “In those early years, we talked a lot about the eternal qualities of God. We reached a point of faith that He would be eternally good and eternally faithful, and that He had plans and providence and purposes that He was working out in our family, in the light of eternity.”

Rachel: “Our testimony in recent years, is that we’ve seen the goodness of God in the land of the living like Psalm 27.”

Rachel: “Not only do they [children]  have wonderful gifts and qualities in themselves, they draw out the gifts and qualities in other people in ways I never could have expected.”

Rachel: “The fruits of the Spirit have been drawn out not just in our children, but in the people that have come into our lives around them.”

Andrew: “Lament….is the act of bringing those emotions to God in prayer.

Rachel: “It can be really hard as Christians in those moments with friends and family to sit back, and to go, ‘No, God’s a good narrator. Let’s trust Him, that over time, in the course of history, in the course of life…He will be faithful, He will be good.’ It’s not on me to narrate this experience and to have a testimony ready for Sunday morning.”

Andrew: “I don’t know what God is doing. And I don’t know whether or not it will ever turn out good and I don’t know whether it will get better, but I’m going to hang in there. And I’ll still be here tomorrow is often what’s needed of us as friends and in my case, pastors.”

Andrew: “Our long term health as a family is dependent on some measure of time without the [children] dominating our day.”

Rachel: “Our biggest desire for the book was that it would make and help special needs parents to cling to Jesus and to the hope a little tighter that He’s with them in the storm. He’s in the boat. He’s with them, and that He’s faithful and good and kind in the middle of parenting children with special needs.”

Scripture References

Resources Mentioned:

Related Episodes:

Our desire for the book was that it would help special needs parents cling to Jesus and to the hope a little tighter that He's with them in the storm. He's in the boat. He's faithful and good and kind in the middle of parenting children with special needs
God's a good narrator.... It's not on me to narrate this experience and to have a testimony ready for Sunday morning.
Our testimony in recent years, is that we've seen the goodness of God in the land of the living.

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