A Good and Perfect Gift

Faith, Expectations, and a Little Girl Named Penny

Recognized as one of the top ten Best Books of 2011 by Publishers Weekly, religion category A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations, and a Little Girl Named Penny is a spiritual memoir about coming to understand that every human life is a gift. A Princeton grad and seminary student pregnant with her first child, Amy Julia confronts her own prejudices and privilege when her daughter Penny is diagnosed with Down syndrome at birth. Covering the first few years of Penny’s life, this story explores questions of faith, social structures, and what it means to live a full life. As she recognizes her own expectations and perfectionism, Amy Julia turns towards a different understanding of perfection — the perfection of being created with a purpose. And as she sees her daughter’s vulnerability, brokenness, and belovedness, Amy Julia begins to understand herself as one who is broken, limited, and loved. She invites readers into a journey of letting go of perfectionism and embracing wholeness. Through the gift of this child, Amy Julia discovers that love is stronger than fear.

Penelope Truesdell Becker, five pounds, five ounces, 19 inches, born at 5:22p.m. on December 30, 2005. Alleluia and Happy New Year! Amidst the euphoria, amidst the doctor’s report that Penny was a little cold and they would bring her in when she had warmed up, a nurse called Peter out of the room. In the back of my brain, a warning signal flashed. . . . When Peter returned . . . He grasped my hand, “The doctors think Penny has Down syndrome.”

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A Good & Perfect Gift Resources

Real Life with Penny: Journal Entries from 2006-2008

Missing Out on Beautiful: 7 Essays about Raising a Child with Down Syndrome

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