The story of Pastor Britt and Kate Merrick’s journey of first, trying to find a cure for their young daughter who was suffering from cancer, and then losing her to the disease was tracked by more than a million people on prayfordaisy.com.
New entry posts on prayfordaisy.com ended several months ago, but yesterday, Kate Merrick’s beautifully written book, And Still She Laughs: Defiant Joy in the Depths of Suffering was released. KKLA’s Frank Sontag had a fantastic interview with Kate on his radio show the day before the release (listen below).
“Merrick examines the Bible’s gritty stories of resilient women as well as her own experience…,” an introduction on Amazon states and continues, “Kate Merrick faced the crippling grief that life can bring when her five-year-old daughter was diagnosed with cancer. Three and a half years of suffering followed, accompanied by fervent prayer, hospital stays, emotional agony, and teeth-grinding fear. And in the end, her baby girl was gone.
“How was Kate to believe again, to hope again? To find out, she turned to stories in the Bible of real women who dealt with pain and survived. How did Sarah, after twenty-five years of achingly empty arms, learn in the end 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 And Still She Laughs, Merrick writes poignantly and transparently about finding joy in sorrow and shows how we — just like the ordinary women seen in the Bible — can rise above unbearable circumstances and live fully. In the middle of whatever hardships we face, we can smile, cry, and come away full — laughing without fear and eagerly looking for what is to come.”
The Merricks co-founded Reality church where Britt is the Pastor for Preaching and Vision at the Carpinteria campus, which means he does the bulk of the preaching on Sunday mornings for both the Carpinteria and Ventura campuses, according to the Reality Santa Barbara website. “I help lead the church doctrinally, and in mission, spearheading the effort to discern in community (with a plurality of elders) Christ’s leading for Reality,” he states.
Reality is a family of churches. Reality Carpinteria was born on September 7, 2003. Since that time we have birthed churches in Los Angeles, Stockton, San Francisco, Boston, and London. God has called Reality to be a church planting movement. We never sought to be this, but it has become clear that this is what God is calling us to do and be, and it is something we are passionate about.
Though planting is the common metaphor for starting new churches, we prefer to call what we do church birthing. Birthing is more labor intensive and relational than the planting metaphor suggests. When God called Reality to birth churches, He gave us a strategy that we knew would be slow, deeply relational, and require heavy investment. The birthing process has been all of those things. It has also been a wonderful process that has deeply enriched the life of our local church.