Thursday, November 17, 2011

I remember Sunday afternoon, September 10, 2006 well. My family had come to our house after church for lunch, and we'd had a wonderful time. As my sister was leaving toward the middle of the afternoon, I walked outside to wave goodbye. Suddenly a loud clap of thunder shattered the quiet. It startled us so because it came out of nowhere. There were a few clouds in the sky, and I supposed we were in for a storm. I had no idea, though, how life had suddenly changed for many of us with that one rumble from the heavens.

Several miles down the road from my home, my cousin's precious granddaughter Madison Fagan had just leaped from the porch of a friend's house and headed to the car where her mother was waiting. As her mother watched in horror, the lightning bolt from that thunder struck Madison in the chest.

Madison Fagan, the child who was loved by everyone who ever came in contact with her, lived for a week in a Memphis hospital, but there was nothing that could be done to save her. Of all the family members who kept a vigil during those days, none were more heartbroken than Sheila Turner, Madison's grandmother.

After Madison's death, Sheila held onto her faith to try and cope with the grief that came from losing a child who had been such a vital part of her life. As Sheila searched for books to help her understand and heal from the agonizing loss, she found them too clinical and turned instead to writing.

Her book Journey of Grief  chronicles the first year without Madison, reflects on her own grief, and tells how Madison touched everyone with whom she came in contact. Madison's loving spirit shines through in this tribute to a remarkable little girl.

The following is from the back cover:
This deeply personal yet universally human account not only speaks to the heart but also reveals surprising insights. Turner's journey is ultimately one of hope, as she moves from searing grief to the certainty of God's hand at work. Whether you're in the depths of your own grieving or want to understand the experience of a loved one suffering from loss, you can find a renewed faith and sense of purpose in Sheila and Madison's story.

As a person who loved Madison, I have been touched by the journey Sheila has traveled in coping with the overwhelming grief in her life. Maybe you, too, are grieving right now. Sheila would point you to the One who has carried her through the depths of despair. She says, "The miracle of God's unending love and providential care is just amazing."

All of us suffer grief at one time or another in our lives. How has God ministered to you during a time of loss?


  1. Beautiful post. It is so difficult to give up our loved ones. This sounds like a book everyone needs to read.

  2. I agree, Pat. Sandra, thank you for spotlighting such a wonderful, necessary book.

    When my husband and I lost our son, God spoke two words to me...

    Be still.

    I didn't want to hear those words at the time, but looking back, I have never failed to marvel at their meaning. I believe God wanted me to remember that He was still God, still in control, still able to do all He wanted to accomplish. I couldn't even imagine then how much two little words would come to mean. Whenever I get so busy that I feel like I'm running in circles, whenever I feel doubt or can't understand what plans God has in store, I stop and remember, and I try to obey the command of those two little words.

    Be still.


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