Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal: A Boy, Cancer, and God
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B&H Books / 2012 / Paperback

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

B&H Books / 2012 / Paperback

Expected to ship on or about 05/27/17.
CBD Stock No: WW671692

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Product 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 superficial spirituality and would rather acknowledge and work through the difficulties of faith with some transparency.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 288
Vendor: B&H Books
Publication Date: 2012
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 X 0.75 (inches)
ISBN: 1433671697
ISBN-13: 9781433671692

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Publisher's 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.


"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

Author Bio

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.

Publisher's 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.)2012 Reed Business Information

Product Reviews

4.7 Stars Out Of 5
4.7 out of 5
5 out Of 5
(5 out of 5)
5 out Of 5
(5 out of 5)
Meets Expectations:
4.7 out Of 5
(4.7 out of 5)
of customers would recommend this product to a friend.
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  1. Mathew sims
    Simpsonville, SC
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Don't Miss This Book
    May 28, 2012
    Mathew sims
    Simpsonville, SC
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Skillful Story Telling

    I wasn't sure what to expect when I received Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal (WWPN). I knew the book was about a family's journey as their son had cancer. I was probably expecting a book that was more autobiographical but what I got was a well crafted story which did indeed tell their family's story but placed that story within the larger context of the one story. I can't recall reading a book which was so theological rich and compelling but also well developed as a story. I'm not afraid to admit that as a father of two beautiful little girls around the age of the Kelley's son I trembled, cried, and rejoiced through out their story. Micheal carefully chose snapshots of their struggle to encourage and teach us and to demonstrate the work of God in their lives.

    It might be easy to write a story of this sort that ends up being overly sentimental but Michael was able to avoid this pitfall.

    He describes receiving the news of his son's leukemia,

    We had been to the doctor before. But something was different this time. Then he started saying words that I never expected to hear: "hematology"; "children's hospital"; "call your wife". [sic] Then he said the word that would become part of our everyday vocabulary at heart-breaking speed: "leukemia."

    What do you do with a word like that? How do you respond? What questions do you ask? I didn't know; I still don't know. But I think I do know that there are some words in our vocabulary that are heavier than others. They are the kind of words that linger in the air long after they are said. They echo in your mind and pierce your heart over and over again, and when they are first spoken, they drop to the pit of your stomach like lead. Leukemia. (p. 5)

    What he did was skilfully weave their family's story within larger biblical truths while also offering rigorous application. WWPN will challenge your notion about faith. It will jostle you wake and make you face the groanings of this fallen world head on. But Michael does not snuff out the flickering wick.

    The Fight for Faith

    A common theme that pops up through out WWPN was the fight for faith. He challenges the American notion that faith is merely a personal relationship and assenting to certain facts about Jesus and, while strongly holding to faith as a gift from God, he also strongly argues that our pilgrimage through life requires a constant fight for faith by the power of the Spirit (see chapter 10 and especially pp. 143-45). We must lay hold of this truth and hold it dearly.

    I cannot recommend WWPN highly enough. I've already purchased two copies for members of my family and recommended to a half dozen other people I know who are going through their struggles and who could benefit greatly from the Kelley's faith-building testimony. I wish WWPN was available four years ago when I was struggling intensely with my own faith. Don't hesitate. Purchase this book now.
  2. onedesertrose
    St. Paul, MN
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    A Boy, Cancer and God
    April 5, 2012
    St. Paul, MN
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 4
    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.
  3. Brenda
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Heart touching
    March 18, 2012
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    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.
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