“Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal: A Boy, Cancer, and God” by Michael Kelley (A FIRST Blog Tour)

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:
and the book:
B&H Books (March 1, 2012)

***Special thanks to Haverly Pennington of Lifeway for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Michael Kelley is a Bible study writer and editor whose previous works include Holy Vocabulary and The Tough Sayings of Jesus. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama. Michael and his wife have three children and live in Nashville, Tennessee.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

“Wednesdays were pretty normal,” writes Michael Kelley, looking for a bright spot amidst the chemotherapy routine brought on by his two-year-old son Joshua’s cancer diagnosis. His book of the same name offers much to anyone who’s tired of prescriptive spirituality and would rather acknowledge and work through the difficulties of faith with some transparency.

Joshua battled and beat the disease, but not before his family had to reconcile what it means to believe in God despite a broken world. His dad’s personal account of that fight to survive sparks a larger discussion of how Christians must learn to walk in the light of Christ’s promises despite the dark shadows of earthly pain. Indeed, it’s pain that sometimes opens the door to a deeper experience with Jesus, an authentic relationship that holds steady even when life loses the comfort of normalcy.
Endorsements:

“Get ready to go on a remarkable journey . . . Faith is more than a gift we’re given; it’s a tool we must exercise and use in order to experience its supernatural power. Michael Kelley poignantly illustrates the process of turning faith from a noun to a verb and how it can transform and shape our ability to persevere. Everyone needs to read this book.” —Pete Wilson, author of Plan B

“I sat down to skim this and instead read every word start to finish. Reader, please listen to me: If you have ever suffered, struggled, doubted, wrestled with a God who allows hunger and disease and two-year-old boys to get cancer, if you have attempted to believe God in the midst of devastation or fear, please devour this book like the gift it is. Thank you, Michael, for not only honestly sharing your story with us but drawing us deeper into the true, rich, genuine love of Jesus who cries with us, stays by us, and redeems us.” —Jen Hatmaker, author of 7

“Anyone who has ever had a sick child will find much needed words of comfort, encouragement, and a powerful reminder that you’re not alone. Whether for yourself or your friends, you’ll discover divine solace in these pages.” —Margaret Feinberg, author of Scouting the Divine and Hungry for God

“A huge man and a tiny child walk hand in hand through these pages, then right out of the book and into your heart. Read it for your own edification, if you wish! But be alert, there are other parents you may not have noticed, who grieve quietly and are much afraid . . . They need this book.” —Calvin Miller, author of The Singer trilogy

“In the midst of a battle no wants to face, Michael wrestled issues about God and faith and the difficulty of life that most of us will in some way. Honest, heart breaking but beating loudly with hope, Wednesdays were pretty normal is a beautiful book.”–Jon Acuff, author of Quitter and Stuff Christians Like

“Michael points back to a God that is deeper than the pain and doubts, and guides us beyond Christian platitudes to genuine rest in the arms of our heavenly Father. I look forward to recommending this book to people in our church.” —J.D. Greear, author of Gospel

“Michael Kelley is a gifted communicator and offers the church in this generation much promise. I am pleased not only to recommend this book, but also to commend this faithful servant of the Lord.” —Thom S. Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources

“This is not a sentimental memoir or another theoretical look at suffering. Instead, Michael leads us to the intersection of faith and life, of God’s love and our pain, of God’s plan and our questions.” —Trevin Wax, author of Counterfeit Gospels and Holy Subversion


“I feel very strongly that this story is one that must be shared again and again. You’ll find yourself seeing faith, hope, and ultimately, God, in a much more intimate way than you have before.” —Mark Batterson, author of In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day

“. . . It is also a story about hope and the God whose love reaches us in the deepest depths, the God whose middle name is Surprise! You must read this book!”–Timothy George, founding dean, Beeson Divinity School of Samford University

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99

Paperback: 264 pages

Publisher: B&H Books (March 1, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1433671697

ISBN-13: 978-1433671692

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER (Please click the cover below to LOOK INSIDE!):

Used by permission Excerpt taken from Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal; A boy, cancer and God /Michael Kelley/c. 2012/B&H Publishing Group

My Review:

Two-year-old Joshua Kelley was diagnosed with leukemia.  Michael Kelley, his father, wrote Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal, looking for a bright spot in the course of Joshua’s chemotherapy routine for three years.

This is a book that takes you through the throes of anger at seeing your child suffer, questioning God, disillusionment, depression, loss of faith, recapturing faith, hope, trust, love, and everything else you can imagine that parents go through when their child receives the C-diagnosis.

Though this is a fallen world of sin, sickness and loss, Michael does not leave you aloft with these struggles. He shows you how God takes you through the process of working through you as the parent(s), the trust and hope that He provides for you to sustain you through the horrendous ordeal, the gift of friends and family so you aren’t alone, and the promises in His Word.  You can choose to allow the journey to leave you angry at God or lead you to a closer relationship with Jesus, one that holds you together while you traverse this world that lacks normalcy.

Michael Kelley’s book is transparent.  He unabashedly opens up every avenue and frustration within himself during those difficult years.  His personal story will let you know that what you think and/or say isn’t out of the ordinary. But most of all, he leaves you with hope and trust in Jesus, regardless of the circumstances, the dark days of cancer and the possibilities of a relapse.  Michael’s book will minister to you and help you through the rough times.  It’s part of God’s gift to you.  (See 2 Corinthians 1:3-7)

“These things I have spoken to your, that in Me you may have peace.  In this world you will have tribulations, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.  And my favorite, “In the multitude of my anxieties with in me, Your comforts delight my soul.” Ps. 94:19.

Though this book is about family stress, strain and struggling with God’s intervention of childhood cancer, it can also be used for other areas of life where normalcy has been disrupted.  I found it useful for my own situation as well.

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