A Nest of SparrowsA Nest of Sparrows
Deborah Raney
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His fiancée was the one woman he’d loved.
Her children are all he has left.

Reserved contractor Wade Sullivan never expected to fall in love with Starr Parnell or to love her three small kids as if they were his own. But that’s exactly what happened. As their wedding draws near, however, tragedy strikes–and Wade must put aside his own grief in order to help Starr’s children cope. As Wade focuses his efforts on caring for the children, he discovers that their tender, young lives give tremendous meaning to his own broken one. Then Starr’s abusive ex-husband shows up to claim the offspring who barely remember him–and Wade prepares for the fight of his life. Will Anyone Believe His Claim to Love the Children More than Their Father Loves Them? A powerful novel of loss and discovery, courage and grace, A Nest of Sparrows masterfully illustrates one man’s struggle to know when to fight, when to let go, and when to simply wait.

A Nest of Sparrows Discussion Questions: by Deborah Raney

1. Talk about Wade Sullivan’s qualifications to take on the task of raising three small children after their mother’s death. Do you believe he was qualified? Do you think it made a difference that he was not related to the children? That he was a single man? That his job took him away from the children for many hours each day?

2. What mistakes did Wade make with the children? How do you think these might affect the children over a long period of time? What could Wade have done differently? Discuss I Peter 4:8, in light of Wade’s situation: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

3. Traumatic experiences from her childhood shaped Dee Thackery’s future in a positive way, even eventually directing her to a rewarding career. Can you look back on your own past and see how God used painful or tragic events to shape your personality and future for the good? If not, explore the reasons why? What makes the difference between a tragedy being used for good in one’s life, or being the cause of ongoing pain and bitterness?

4. How does the concept of Romans 8:28 (…all things work together for good to those who love God, who are the called according to His purpose.) apply to the events in Dee’s life? In Wade’s? Sophie’s? What about in Starr’s life? Can Romans 8:28 apply even when “all things” includes death?

5. Did you approve or disapprove of the way Dee and Wade handled the social services policy that forbade them to have social contact with each other? Were there other solutions to their dilemma that they could have used?

6. What is your opinion of the social workers’ code of ethics, which prohibits a social worker from having a relationship with a client?

7. How would you have felt if Dee had quit her job and forfeited her social work license in order to be with Wade? Do you think it would have been ethical for her to do so? Would it have compromised her own calling in life?

8. If you were the judge, and knew only the facts Judge Paxton knew in the story, how would you have ruled on this case? What experiences in your life helped you form that judgment? Are your reasons for such a judgment fair? Discuss the social services philosophy of family preservation, where the ultimate goal is to keep children with their biological parents or relatives whenever possible.

9. If you were in Wade’s shoes and feared or even suspected that children you loved were being abused, would you do anything differently than Wade did? Under what circumstances should a person break the law to protect the life or health of another person? Did Wade do enough? What might have been the ramifications had he been more aggressive in trying to get the children back?

10. Discuss Sophie’s role in this story. How did her struggles and secret sins affect Wade and the children? How did they affect Starr? Think about the private struggles and moral failures in your own life. How have they—or how might they—affect the lives of those you love or those you have contact with? How far does our responsibility and accountability to the other people in our lives extend?

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