If you happened to be a part of this blog community back in the early days (I was so young! So were you! Weren’t we cute?) you may remember a few posts where I shared links to a site called prayfordaisy.com. I didn’t personally know the Merrick family then, but our church and some of our friends were very connected to Britt, who is the Pastor of Reality Church in Carpenteria, California, and his wife Kate and their kids Isaiah and Daisy. When I heard that Daisy was diagnosed with cancer at age five, I just couldn’t not follow their journey. Daisy was just a bit younger than Luke, and being the
psycho slightly obsessed mom that I am, I couldn’t help but imagine if this were Luke, or any of my kids. So I prayed my head off, and I asked everyone else to pray too. Kate’s posts at her blog impacted millions. She was real and raw, but exemplified great faith. She shared the journey of hope and faith, of suffering and heartache. Her writing touched my life.
When Daisy went to heaven four years ago, many of us grieved from a distance. I read and re-read Kate’s story of the night they let Daisy go. And I bawled. I wished there was something I could do to change things. I wished I could carry just a little of Kate’s pain.
Kate was quiet for a few years after that. The family needed time to heal. In her quiet moments Kate pressed in to her grieving, searching Scripture for comfort and companionship in her suffering. God blessed the Merricks with another (adorable) girl, Pheodora. ( “Fifi.”) And Kate began to write. Not a blog this time, but essays that would be one day be a book.
Two years ago, about this time of year, I happened to meet a woman on the beach here on the North Shore. She and her husband were visiting from California, and they had a darling little girl with them. We fell into conversation then, and I immediately adored her. Like a friend you immediately know you want to keep. I think I even said the words “Oh I wish you’d move to Hawaii and we could be best friends!” (I say strange things to people I just met sometimes.) Her tall bearded husband stood a few feet away, chatting with the men. I didn’t recognize him as anyone I knew then (the beard!! It was long!!) but at some point as Kate and I spoke, I asked her what her last name was. She said “Merrick” and my jaw dropped.
Of course I probably said all of the wrong things then (sorry Kate!) and I got pretty emotional and excited. I’m sure I made her question the best-friend suggestion from a minute ago, but I just had to tell her that I had prayed so much for Daisy and for their family. I told her that many of you (my blog readers) had prayed too. I told her I loved her and grieved with her from a distance.
We have stayed in touch ever since, and my boys and I even spent a lovely evening at the Merrick’s home the following summer while we were in California for Luke’s National surf contest. We went to the beach and talked while the kids surfed. (Her son Isaiah and Josiah hit it off immediately. They have the homeschool-quirky/nature-loving/surfer-boys-who-love-God-and-are-mostly-barefoot-thing in common.) Kate’s husband grilled us burgers as we sat outside under white lights at her darling home in the country. It was such a treat.
Over the past couple years, Kate and I have exchanged text messages about writing, speaking, and books. She may not have moved to Hawaii (yet!) but I still count her as dear and true friend.
Well, that is about the longest introduction ever to what I really am here to share.
(someday I will learn the art of short and sweet.)
Here’s what I want to tell you:
Kate wrote a book!
I got to read an advanced copy, and guys…
And it’s so good!
It will make you laugh and cry and love all of the women in your life (including yourself) more than ever.
If you’re a Christian, it will make you embrace Jesus and your faith in a deeper way.
If you’re not a Christian, it will still speak to your heart that God loves you, and He is for you…
Despite suffering and loss and all of the hard stuff of life, He is for you.
Here’s a link to Kate’s book: And Still She Laughs: Defiant Joy in the Depths of Suffering
I hope you’ll click over and buy one for every woman in your life. (be sure to leave an Amazon review after you read it too!)
Kate was just back on our North Shore last week and it was wonderful to hang out again. We had a fun girls’ dinner out, we met for breakfast (just a few girls! no kids!) and we had the most fun day walking on a gorgeous beach, swimming in the ocean, and sharing our stories.
Then Kate spoke at a church women’s event I helped plan called Radiant. It was a huge turnout, and such a fun night! We ate fabulous soups and salads, piles of homemade Challah bread, and had a cupcake bar. Kate spoke on marriage and it was powerful and funny. And serious. And all of the things she is so good at rolling up together to make it go down easy and hit home in a very real way. (I have been much nicer to my husband since Kate spoke, which is evidence: Kate delivers.)
^^the bread!! (I had to show you!)
Let’s all order a bunch of Kate’s new book now and get her on some kind of best seller list!
(she so belongs there.)
And meanwhile, Kate wants to give FIVE of you a copy of her book!
Just leave a comment at the bottom of this post and you’ll be entered to win. I’ll draw names on Friday, March 17th, and contact winners directly by email (so be sure to leave your best email address.)
COMMENT AND SHARE: Where do you look for encouragement when you need it most? Do you have a mentor, role model, favorite book (or book of the Bible) you turn to? ALSO: If you have followed Kate’s family through their journey, or just want to leave a note for her– you can comment with a word for Kate. I’ll make sure she sees it! 🙂
Thanks, friends! And thank you Kate for sharing your life and heart and hilarity with all of us. You are a rock star. No, you’re even better.
**Note: Kate is NOT on Social media at this point, but you can follow her new website: kmerrick.com.
I am an Amazon affiliate and my blog will benefit if you click through and order books. Thank you! 🙂
Photo’s all by the amazing Emily Turner. (see photo of the cute one in the middle with glasses.)
Excerpt from And Still She Laughs, chapter two: “Tiny Pine Box”
We all have a story. We all have tragedies and losses and heartaches and miracles and real life, and while so much of life is glorious, sometimes it gets ugly. No one is exempt. We share in this thing called humanity, and I want to us to feel– really face head-on — the reality of life with all its pimples and less attractive bits. I believe it makes the joy more vibrant, the laughter louder and stronger. So bear with me, cry with me, but please, please, laugh with me.