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Eleven-year-old Madison was leaving a friend’s house on a Sunday afternoon when she was struck by lightning. A week later, the little girl—often called Smiley because of her cheerful, generous nature—was pronounced dead. Among the many loved ones she left behind was her grandmother Sheila KayTurner.


How are we to make sense of such a tragedy, as family members, as friends, but most of all, as Christians? Searching for books to help her understand and heal from her agonizing loss, Turner found them too clinical and turned instead to writing. She chronicles that first year without Madison, reflecting on their relationship and on the special way Madison touched everyone, from the little boy afraid of starting kindergarten, whom she befriended, to her youth minister. She also writes with painful honesty of Satan’s using Madison’s death to rekindle resentment and jealousy within her family. Yet Turner chose to make Madison her example and her inspiration, knowing that the greatest tribute she could pay to her precious granddaughter was to exemplify her loving spirit.


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.

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