|Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal: A Boy, Cancer, and God|
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"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 superficial spirituality and would rather acknowledge and work through the difficulties of faith with some transparency.
Q: What compelled you to write about this experience?
A: We believe God has entrusted this experience to us in the same way He entrusts other resources to us--to be used for His glory. So we really see telling our story as a matter of stewardship--we're trying to be good stewards of cancer. And in that effort, we've seen some things that I think are applicable across the board to people in a season of pain. Things that can help us all process disappointment, tragedy, and awful circumstances in a healthy way that brings about hope and healing.
Q: What is the main theme of point that you want readers to understand from reading your book? Are there any other themes present in the book?
A: The main theme is that pain can open a unique doorway to intimacy with Jesus. God is present with us in our struggles, but often it hurts too much to try and find out where and how. My hope is that the book will give people some good starting points for seeing how God's grace, mercy, and love in uniquely revealed during times of real hardship.
Q: What lessons do you hope readers take from the book?
A: I hope people understand that it's okay to wrestle with God when your circumstances don't exactly line up with what you think is true about God--that He loves you, that He's with you, and that He's in control. We can wrestle with how those things bear themselves out, but Christians have the unique position of wrestling with a God who is committed to never letting them go.
Q: Do you have a favorite part of the book or a favorite chapter? Why?
A: The most meaningful chapter to us is Chapter 4: "Tears." It's incredibly powerful to think that God doesn't offer us trite explanations for suffering in our lives but instead chooses to be present and weep alongside of us in a very real way.
Q: What makes your book different than any other books similar to yours that are in circulation today?
A: There are lots of books that offer good, solid advice for how to grieve well and how to respond to pain. This book doesn't do that. Instead, it seeks to provide an overall framework through which you can view the difficulties of life. This book is also, I hope, very sensitively written and not meant to be a sterile attempt to reconcile the problems of good and evil in the worlds. It's written from the perspective of someone who has been there and seen these things first hand.
Q: How does the book intertwine with God's call on your life and how you are currently serving Him?
A: Almost every week we have the chance to visit someone who has cancer, is losing a loved one, or going through a time of difficulty. The stuff of the book are some of the ways we have seen the Lord minister to us during our own experience with childhood cancer. I hope that the book, for others, will be a great chance to hand something sensitively written to people who are experiencing difficulty.
Q: Do you have a favorite Scripture verse? Why is it important to you?
A: This is tough--I think I come back to Romans 8:15-16, which is also Joshua (my son's) life verse. It reminds me that one of the main jobs of the Holy Spirit is to remind me, regardless of my circumstances, that I am a child of God.
Q: Who influenced you to write this book?
A: My wife. We would talk about all these things as they were going on, and she said that we should be writing them down. So we did. A few times--hopefully they got easier to understand through the further versions.
Q: What is your advice to families going through a similar situation?
A: God is present with you. At the end of the struggle, you might not find answers, but you'll find God. He's what we really need, even more than the answers to our questions of "why".
Q: Thank you for taking time to answer a few of our questions. As we close, is there anything else you would like to add about your upcoming release?
A: Thanks for working hard to help others know about Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal. I appreciate it more than I can say. It might help you to know, too, that we are working to find the right organization to donate half of all the royalties that come from the sale of the book.