Wednesdays were Pretty Normal: A Boy, Cancer, And God

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Overview


“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 ...

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Wednesdays were Pretty Normal: A Boy, Cancer, and God

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Overview


“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

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
On October 17, 2006, Michael Kelley and his wife, Jana, discovered a rash on the stomach of their two-year-old son, Joshua. A routine visit to the doctor the next morning turned suddenly into a three-year struggle with life and death, faith and doubt, as Joshua is diagnosed and treated for leukemia. In this sometimes gripping, yet often distant and detached, memoir, Kelley shares the glorious ups and the devastating downs that he, Jana, and Joshua went through during these years. He recounts the small moments of joy—such as his and his son’s playing with trains—that could almost make you forget what was happening, as well as the limitations—Joshua’s being hooked up to an IV that beeped incessantly—that reminded all of them of the boy’s condition. In the end, Kelley reflects upon this crisis in his family’s life as a kind of wrestling match with God—like the biblical Jacob’s wrestling match—in which he, and we, are forced to reckon with who we really are, with doubts, selfishness, and fear, and in which God is fighting for our trust. When God has that trust, according to Kelley, God can then give us a name—son or daughter or treasured possession—that signals a new and close relationship. (Mar.)
Library Journal
The impulse to write a memoir after a religious experience is common, but successes in the genre are rather few. This offering by Kelley (Holy Vocabulary; The Tough Sayings of Jesus) is a welcome exception. The material is naturally dramatic: the narrative deals with his toddler son's cancer diagnosis and treatment. Kelley resists, however, falling into sentimentality or easy God praising; instead, he writes with directness about a genuinely difficult experience. VERDICT Neither exploitative nor pietistic, this is a depiction of contemporary Christian spirituality in action in the course of an ordinary life. A good choice for church groups, pastors, and a general Christian audience.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781433671692
  • Publisher: B&H Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/1/2012
  • Pages: 264
  • Sales rank: 1,005,113
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet 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.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

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(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 5, 2012

    Two-year-old Joshua Kelley was diagnosed with leukemia. Michael

    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.

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

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2012

    Awesome

    In my own personal cancer crisis, I stumbled on this book. It was no accident. The author puts all of your real questions out there. He pulls no punches. The answers make sense and have brought me much needed relief. I suggest this book to everyone.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 18, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal

    I can't imagine getting the news that a child has leukemia. In "Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal" that's the news that Michael and his wife Jana hear about their two year old son Joshua. The author doesn't sugar coat the story, instead his honesty as his family comes to terms with the diagnosis, gives the reader a true glimpse of how anyone's life can quickly change. Michael allows us to see his struggles and doubts but more than that we see God's love and faithfulness in the pages of this story.
    Overall, a story that I felt would be emotionally wrenching, instead it left me feeling uplifted and encouraged.
    A complimentary copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2013

    Story was good

    Story was good

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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