I tend to find out about books to read through other author’s recommendations via Instagram or Twitter, but I found this read quite nostalgically. I was in a strange period of time in my life when I was between books without a queue. That feels strange to even describe as I now have a stack of at least 20 (no joke). I channelled my inner Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail and went into a bookstore. I walked down the aisle and this book caught my eye. Though familiar with the publisher, I had not heard of the book or its author. It felt strange to hold a book in my hands rather than read reviews on Amazon. I remembered lessons from my elementary school librarian and read the back cover and flipped through a few pages. I was sold and I’m so glad I was.
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 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.
In this work, Kate Merrick shares about the difficult journey her family faced through her daughter Daisy’s cancer, ultimately ending in Daisy passing away. She describes the ups and downs of Daisy’s cancer, when she and her husband felt hopeful and hopeless, when she was angry that these were the cards they had been dealt, and when she would lay in bed and hold every precious minute she had with Daisy.
While this read is heart wrenching at times, I was so blessed by Kate’s metaphors for grief. She described the phenomenon so well and so honestly, even naming some facets of grief I had yet been able to put words to. She talks honestly and openly about meeting God in the depths of doubt, hurt, pain and bitterness.
Nearness to God results in a banquet of peace beyond understanding, with a heaping side of joy.
Merrick connects her own story and struggle to many women in Scripture who were similarly handed unfortunate cards. She bravely challenges her readers to move at their own pace, but to keep moving. To keep pushing on and pushing away the barriers to return to the sweetness and intimacy of God.
If broken Bathsheba can say in Proverbs 31 that an excellent woman laughs at the future, so can I. If Sarah laughs at the newborn manifestation of the promises of the Lord, then I will too. Grief is real. It is intense. But what is more real, what is more intense, what is eternal is the hope of Christ, the drying of tears, the new heaven and new earth, the final conquering of death.
Through some of the most broken experiences of her life, Kate Merrick nudges readers of And Still She Laughs to shift their perspective from defining God through our circumstances to defining Him through His Word and proven character. She holds the sacredness of grief and the depths of suffering she has faced, but walks with bravery and honesty into the truth of Scripture that provides the hope with which broken bones can rejoice.