By Ian Acheson
Kate Merrick examines the Bible’s gritty stories of resilient women as well as her own experience losing a child—a journey followed by more than a million on prayfordaisy.com—to reveal the reality of surprising joy and deep hope even in the midst of heartache.
Is it possible live fully—even joyfully—in the middle of overwhelming pain?
In the excruciating aftermath of her young daughter’s death from cancer, Kate Merrick struggled to find a way to live. Not just to survive or go through the motions, but to live fully. Faithfully. With real joy amid inevitable tears.
To discover how, Kate delved into the stories in the Bible of real women who suffered deeply and emerged somehow joyful. How did Sarah, after twenty-five years of achingly empty arms, learn to laugh without bitterness? How did Bathsheba, defiled by the king who then had her husband killed, come to walk in strength and dignity, to smile without fear of the future? In her encounters with these heroines of the faith, Kate discovered how to have contentment—and even joy—whatever the circumstances.
By turns heartbreaking and humorous, And Still She Laughs reveals the secret to finding hope in the midst of devastation. In the end, no matter what hardships we face, we can smile, cry, and come away full—laughing without fear and eagerly looking for what is to come.
I first came to know of Kate Merrick when I stumbled across her husband, Britt, and their church in Carpinteria, California about 8 years ago. Soon thereafter I became aware of their daughter, Daisy's, illness. And so I joined the global army of prayers that stood on the watchtower for dear little Daisy and this gorgeous family.
After a few years of immense struggle, dearest Daisy passed away in the arms of her parents and brother, Isaiah. The family held a wonderful memorial service for their little girl, which those of us from far way were able to watch.
And then the family went off the grid. For years.
They bunkered down in their grief and loss. I was one of those who from far away wondered from time to time how they were doing.
Until February this year. I was watching IF Gathering annual event and lo-and-behold Britt and Kate step onto the stage and both speak. Britt ministers in the Word (golly gosh can this man preach!) and Kate shared as only she can. And then she mentioned this little book she'd written that was coming out in a few weeks.
It's a wonderful book. As another reviewer states so eloquently: "She (Kate) writes from a depth of understanding grief and from an inspiring place of understanding how to grieve but still live life fully and with joy."
Daisy's presence is threaded throughout every page ... the first few chapters are intense as we read how grief knocked Kate down. But ever so slowly the Lord in all His tenderness lifted this wonderful lady back on her feet. Through His Words and gentle touch.
Kate shares the stories of 3 great women of the Bible who also suffered much: Sarah, Abraham's wife, Bathsheba and Mary, mother of Jesus. Kate's retelling of their stories brings them alive in a way I'd never experienced. Especially, Mary. Chapter 6 is a very powerful chapter. Mary, this teenager, who had everything to lose, says 'Yes" to Gabriel, when he informs her she is to birth the Messiah. How she must have suffered. Her family, her betrothed, her community would have all scorned her.
But she still said: "Yes"
I want her faith.
This is a book about so much more than grief and loss. It's also about the discovery of leaning into the mystery of walking with the lover of our souls, Jesus. It's a book that often brought me to tears but also made me laugh and laugh. Death of a loved one, especially one so young, doesn't make any sense. And even though Kate doesn't know the answer to why Daisy passed away much too young, she knows the lover of her soul is always close, always tender, always loving and suffered as much as Kate did.
Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Sydney. Ian's first novel of speculative fiction, Angelguard, is available in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. Angelguard was recognised with the 2014 Selah Award for Speculative Fiction.You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter