The Life They Never Expected: Andrew and Rachel Wilson on Raising Special-Needs Kids

Laura Dilly | September 15, 2016

Parents, particularly those of children with special needs, are bombarded with how-to books and advice. But a book that addresses the parent’s heart is a rare find. Andrew and Rachel Wilson provide just that in The Life We Never Expected: Hopeful Reflections on the Challenges of Parenting Children with Special Needs [review] (Crossway, 2016) as they chronicle their emotional and spiritual story as their son, Zeke, and then daughter, Anna, are diagnosed with autism.


The book reflects on the Wilsons’s honest heartaches and comical joys. Each short chapter illustrates how the their story fits within God’s larger redemptive story. The Life We Never Expected offers gospel truth parents can cling to during the long days of parenting kids with special needs. The balance of family vignettes and heart struggles are sure to resonate with all parents.

I asked the Wilsons what role lament plays in their parenting, how churches can better serve parents of children with special needs, how having a child with special needs can challenge a marriage, and more.

With Zeke and Anna’s diagnoses you’ve seen many of your expectations change or die, and you mourn those losses. “Lamenting is a lost art,” you write. What have you learned about the art of lament through

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