From the first page of her memoir, Ann Joyner invites the reader into an intimate story of love, triumph and loss as she shares the story of her son, Matthew. When Ann’s second pregnancy was very different from her first, her mommy instincts told her something was wrong. Her medical journey took her from doctors dismissing her concerns, to a diagnosis in her third trimester that Matthew’s was “not a life worth saving.” Told that Matthew was not likely to survive more than a few days at most after he was born, their post-natal plans included planning a funeral.
Learning that doctors are not God, Ann held on to scripture, Matthew 19:26 “With God, all things are possible.” Matthew proved God had plans for him. While Matthew struggled with fragile health due to a rare genetic abnormality, Ann and Jerry were faced time and again with a haunting question:
“How do you watch your child die? The answer we discovered is, you don’t. You watch your child live, however long that may be.”
This poignant story shares the faith journey of the family discovering God’s grace and everyday angels in the midst of their lives. Page after page shares stories of help just when it was needed, answered prayers, and improbable heroes. Key among them was her battle for medical coverage:
“Your son’s condition was diagnosed in utero, while you were pregnant with him. Therefore, all of his claims have been placed in the category of pre-existing. He had all of these problems before he was born. Your son has no medical coverage.”
Ann has a gift of story-telling, coupled with a strong faith that welcomes the reader into her life as if you are a long-lost friend and she is catching you up on the details. Especially poignant to me is the story of Matthew’s relationship with his older brother Drew. Parents of children with special needs often feel guilt or worry about neglected siblings who are short-changed in the midst of life with special needs. Understanding and appreciating Drew’s unique relationship and fierce loyalty to his brother is a welcome message of hope and love.
For any parent looking for a story of inspiration, faith and hope in the midst of the journey with special needs I recommend Ann Joyner’s, Not Worth Saving.
Saving God, Thank you for the Joyner family and their openness in sharing their lives. May otyhers be inspired by their story of unconditional love. Encourage Ann in her minsitry that makes space for all of God’s children. Amen
Bio: Ann Joyner, author of Not Worth Saving, proved with a two-year secretarial degree that a passionate, determined, and stubborn mother, who asks for God’s help needn’t have an MA, PhD or MD to turn a life “not worth saving” into one that touches and saves thousands of others. Filled with the desire to show that each life has unlimited value, Ann has delivered the message in several worship services, shared with Book Groups, Sunday School Classes, UMW Gatherings, workshops, and was Keynote Speaker at a luncheon benefiting those with special needs. Last Spring, Not Worth Saving was named to the 2016 United Methodist Women’s Reading List.