In Hope Wins. Leisa shares her struggles and breakthroughs in raising a child with special needs. Her vulnerability and down-to-earth approach provide the reader with a sense of the very real pressures and raw emotions experienced. but also some very practical answers to help enjoy the journey.
As Leisa, Ian and Justin’s pastor, it has been my privilege to see a large component of this story unfold and see their uncompromising faith in Jesus through the highs and the lows. This story is not over. There are still hills to climb. But the faithfulness of God rings true. The One who has made a way where there seemed to be no way, and the One who has given strength, grace and wisdom will continue to see them through. That is why we can boldly proclaim: “Hope Wins!”

Ps Jon Cathie

Senior Pastor - Capital Edge Church, Canberra

Prior to retirement, I worked as a Carer Support Coordinator, witnessing firsthand the heartbreaking difficulties to which parents were relentlessly subjected as they sort out support and respite wherever it is available. Leisa is a modern-day pioneer paving the way for carers of special needs children. It hasn’t been easy for this woman of courage who has weathered many storms to achieve hard-fought outcomes on behalf of all the parents out there who feel that they don’t have a voice. Leisa has embraced the abilities of her special needs child, and this is her family story.

Jenny Haines

Retired Carer Support Coordinator, Victoria

Reading Leisa’s insightful story. Hope An open, honest and sometimes raw look into the life of a parent dealing with the challenges of raising a special needs child. A must read for all special needs families.

Andrew Bliesner

Brother, brother in-law and uncle of Leisa, Ian and Justin, UK

It is my privilege to do a book review of Leisa’s work, Hope Wins: Overcoming Feelings of Hopelessness in Special Needs Families. As a Christian who has participated in the healing journey, like Leisa. and a treating physician for both her children. I think this book is much needed to help similar families with special needs children.

I appreciate Leisa’s openness and frankness in sharing her feelings and struggle in bringing up a special needs child. Through the book, one journeys with Leisa through her various feelings of shock. grief, despair, isolation, aloneness, depression and finally hope. She shares openly about her Christian faith, which gives her strength in the face of adversity and triumph in the midst of hopelessness.

Having a special needs child is a big challenge, not only for the parents but also the entire family. One’s parenting and marriage are tested. not to mention the impact on the other children. It is so apt that Leisa has titled her book to include the family system rather than the individual special needs child. The impact of the disability more often than not is not confined to only the individual child, but the entire family. Often the parents and the other siblings are not considered sufficiently by the professionals involved in the management of the special needs child.

As a physician who treats children and adolescents with various disabilities across their life span, I value the knowledge and insight that Leisa offers in this book Her firsthand experience as a parent who journeys with her special needs family adds invaluable help to parents who are seeking solutions to their special needs families. I highly recommend this book to parents who are seeking better ways to manage their special needs families. For those who feel that they are already doing a splendid job, this book will further sharpen and deepen your existing skills. It is a book I like to have on my book shelf!

Dr Kam Wong Psychiatrist

Reading Leisa’s insightful story. Hope Wins, a common thread stood out for me: Having Other People Engage. That’s what helps the individual and families of those with disabilities-hope. It is not a solo journey; it really does take a group of people who do care a whole awful lot. It’s those individuals that can become the hands and feet of Jesus Christ in the lives of these families who often feel isolated, alone and hopeless.

Helen Buckley

Live Like U Matter Counselling Practice

I’d like to begin by commenting first on the character of the author – Leisa Williams – mainly because in life, I have discovered that to know the character of a person tells me all I need to know about whether that person has something valuable to share. 

When I first had the privilege to meet Leisa, she had arrived at Ellel Ministries needing to face and overcome some significant wounds that life had dealt her. To witness Leisa’s own journey towards healing and wholeness in Christ has shown me all I need to know about the inner strength of this woman of God. I can confidently report that Leisa Williams is the real deal!

Leisa has always carried an incredible love for her son, Justin, and in fact her whole family. But in her journey of restoration, she forged an extraordinary love for the God that powerfully rescued her! That rescue shifted something deep inside her heart, developing a deeper trust in her Heavenly Father that has helped her overcome the trials faced in raising a special needs child. It is worth noting that Justin has been raised to become a passionate follower of Jesus. I know this personally, because Justin has participated in our Explore Schools here at Ellel Sydney. He is an outstanding young man. If a special needs child can be raised to adulthood and become such a devoted disciple of Jesus, that alone proves to me that there is something I can learn from this lady!

Raising a special needs child is difficult. In this book, Leisa openly and honestly shares her journey through the trials, challenges, and triumphs that she and her family have faced in caring for and raising Justin. It provides great insight and numerous practical suggestions on what form that care looked like to make life easier. Her suggestions will offer hope and strength to those who find themselves facing similar struggles.

Leisa also answers such challenging questions as how do you look after your own hopes and dreams as well as those of your family and child, and not get lost in a sea of despondency and despair, and how do you navigate the daily routines of life and still experience the fulness of life that God promises us – or is that a promise only for families without special needs members? Her answers provide great assurance and encouragement.

Leisa vulnerably shares the reality of being misunderstood; feeling judged; and the desperation of just wanting to give up. But the fact that is she did not give up and learning how she triumphed makes this a must read. Fabulously practical and penned with hard-fought wisdom, this book is written with an authority that comes only when an individual has faced and overcome considerable adversity.

Her engaging story provides powerful hope that with Christ, regardless of the adversity we face, victory is possible for those who remain deeply connected to a Holy God!


Paul Ryan

Centre Director

Ellel Sydney