Talking with Dennis Rainey About Parenting, Faith, and Down Syndrome

The short story: on Thursday and Friday, you can listen to a broadcast of a conversation (“Special Kids, Special Needs“) on Family Life Radio with Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine who interviewed Jennifer Shaw (singer/songwriter and author of Life Not Typical) and me a few months ago about raising children with special needs. (April 25: Embracing the Unexpected and April 26: Trusting God in the Valley)

The longer story:

In November, I flew to Little Rock, Arkansas. It took all day to get there, between a two-hour drive to the airport and no direct flights from Hartford to Little Rock. I spent about four hours with Bob and Dennis and Jennifer, between getting to the studios and having lunch and recording our interview. (As an aside to the story I’m about to tell, the interview experience itself was refreshing and encouraging. I loved meeting Jennifer and hearing her story, and I was particularly grateful for Bob’s and Dennis’ ministry to parents and families. Both men were marked by kindness and strength.) Even though our interviews wrapped up mid-afternoon, I couldn’t catch a flight home until the next morning. All of this amounted to me being away from home for about 54 hours. And 50 of those hours were all by myself.

I slept a lot. I took a walk. I ran on the hotel’s treadmill. I called a friend. I ordered room service. I read the Bible. I prayed. And I wrote and wrote and wrote, for what felt like the first time in months. I remembered that I tend to score as an “introvert” on personality tests, which means that time alone gives me energy and motivation.

I came back from those days away with unbelievable gratitude for the gift of those hours holed up inside an Embassy Suites hotel room. It helped me realize that much as I wanted to sacrifice my “own” desires and simply serve my family, I had to continue to write and think and speak. It’s been a slower year for me on all those fronts, but I came back from that time away determined to take one day a week for writing, and I’m very grateful for the gift of a new babysitter who has been a literal godsend to our whole family. In these intervening months, I’ve loved the chance to write. Perhaps even more importantly, I have been so much kinder to my children since I’ve given myself permission to write consistently. And they seem to be doing just fine. Fewer fights with William. Plenty of time with each of them. Even an increasing amount of laughter.

So, back to the short story: tomorrow and Friday, you can listen to a broadcast of a conversation (“Special Kids, Special Needs“) on Family Life Radio with Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine who interviewed Jennifer Shaw (singer/songwriter and author of Life Not Typical) and me a few months ago about raising children with special needs. (April 25: Embracing the Unexpected and April 26: Trusting God in the Valley).

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Thank you Patheos! (And Continuing the Conversation at Christianity Today)
About Amy Julia Becker

Amy Julia Becker writes and speaks about family, faith, disability, and culture. A graduate of Princeton University and Princeton Theological Seminary, she is the author of Penelope Ayers: A Memoir, A Good and Perfect Gift (Bethany House), and Why I Am Both Spiritual and Religious (Patheos Press).