On Daisy Merrick (2004-2013) and Loving Little Children

I blogged a few times in the last year about little Daisy Merrick, the 8-year-old daughter of pastor Britt Merrick and his wife, Kate, of Reality Church in California. She fought cancer for many months before succumbing 11 days ago to the disease.

The Merricks chronicled Daisy’s fight for life on the Pray for Daisy blog; you can read the whole story here. After Daisy passed away, Kate wrote a reflection that stopped me in my tracks. It’s a piece to ponder and reflect upon wherever you are in life. It’s a sweet and stirring call to lead a trusting, thankful, and honest life in Christ.

Here’s what Kate said about Daisy’s final night:

Our darling girl gave us kisses at midnight, with lips dry from thirst and hot with fever.  Tiny and sweet, the words “that’s awesome” came from her tired body after letting us know she was having good dreams. She is safely home… Finally well.

Thank you for your partnership in loving our girl. Please know we are broken hearted for ourselves but so happy for Daisy, who is with Jesus in paradise able to run and eat and play with abandon. We believe that wholeheartedly, and as they say in Narnia, she is going further up! And further in!  She left the Shadowlands for a place more real in every sense.

Please join us as we celebrate the strong, kind, brave, goofy, thoughtful, amazing girl we call Daisy Love. Please wear what you feel best in; sandy feet and boardshorts, tutu and snorkel mask, or the prettiest dress in your closet. Wear black only if you must, but I’m wearing what Daisy would like most.  On her last night on earth, she requested we watch “The Hobbit” (70’s version) and dress like hobbits.  If ever there was a girl confident in her own skin, it was her.  Among her favorite ensembles are animal ears of all kinds, astronaut, flightsuit, monster, pirate, dinosaur, Indian, mermaid, bear, cowgirl, fireman and explorer.

And here’s what Kate said to her readers:

My final request to all who read this blog: love. Love your babies, your husbands, mothers, sisters. Love each day like it’s your last. All you mamas out there, you have been entrusted with the precious gift of a human life who depends on you. Enjoy your gift. Breathe in the scent of your child’s hair, breath. Let them cook with you and make a mess of the kitchen. Play hide and seek with them, build sand castles with them, take them on picnics, read to them!  Listen to them, value and respect them, never shame them.  Your words they will carry with them their whole life and you have the power to give them wings or stunt their growth. Motherhood can be tough but it’s worth it. It can be exhausting, boring, tedious, but never for long. You blink and they’re grown. It has been my honor and privilege to love Daisy these last 8 years. I’m thankful for every minute; the joyful and the terrible alike.

Read the whole thing.

It’s powerful to see both father and mother reflect on their daughter’s life. Britt Merrick recently preached a sermon entitled “When Sparrows Fall” on this subject. And Kate wrote her reflection. It’s clear that both parents loved their little girl with all their strength, and that they trust in a sovereign and good God. How moving to see that trust lived out from afar, and spoken of directly in Britt’s message.

Kate’s words in the piece quoted struck me as an eloquent testimony to the power and grace of a godly mother, one who loses herself in God’s gift of mothering and childraising. We get lost as evangelicals in debates over questions like “How much should a woman work?” That’s a fine conversation to have, but this story suggests, perhaps, another question to consider as well: “How much love can I possibly give my kids as a mom?”

I never met Daisy, but it sounds like she had a full and happy life, and her mother gave her time and strength to make it so.

We can’t lose sight of this vision as Christians. Our children are precious. We need these words. I need these words. Jesus loved the little children, and so do we, his children (Matthew 19:14). Testimonies like Kate’s call every father and mother to a life of sacrifice and investment in our children, and they remind us in particular that long hours that mothers spend with sweet little kids who require remarkable amounts of energy and attention are all worth it. Every minute. Every challenge. Every Target trip. Every start-and-stop walk outside. Every moment spent playing with Playdough when a harried mom could be getting caught up on email. Every minor squabble adjudicated. Every PBJ made. Every long, busy day that leaves you exhausted on the couch when it’s over, just a few hours away from the next long, busy day.

It’s all worth it. God’s glory is in those moments.

My prayers–and I’m guessing your prayers–are with the Merricks in a time of loss. We’re reminded that perhaps the two greatest humanly moments of grief in Scripture are those of parents: David’s (2 Samuel 12:14-31) and Job’s (Job 1). Each man is stricken with pain; each man looks into the void, and nonetheless walks on with the Lord.

God’s glory is in these moments, too, times of the deepest sadness, and so too his comfort and his grace.

(HT: Justin Taylor)


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