IN HIS FEATHERS: THE LETTERS AND JOURNALS OF SHARON BOMGAARS
“A wonderful, and yet agonizing journey with an unusually honest Christian woman. Even though we know the sad ending to the story, the suspense and pleasure of walking alongside Sharon Bomgaars is a rare joy. She fights for her life and both reaches for, and pushes away, the Lord she loves deeply and sincerely. Sharon Bomgaars shows us how to live and how to die as she packs her diminishing life with delight, suffers intensely, and accepts her imminent death bravely and faithfully. In His Feathers should help many, many people.”
—Pastor Jim Kok, Director of the Conference on Care and Kindness at The Crystal Cathedral, Garden Grove, California.
“Sharon Bomgaars’ notes and diaries were written not only for her family but for anyone who reads this moving account. She was a hero who dealt with faith and doubt, pain and imminent death, with one foot on earth and the other at heaven’s open door. Her legacy is a ministry of God’s presence in the midst of suffering as she lived her last three years to fully enjoy his beautiful creation and at the same time prepare for eternity. She is brutally honest as she describes her affliction framed in true thankfulness.”
—Simon J. Kistemaker, Professor of New Testament Emeritus, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, Florida
“I meet again on these pages the person I knew as Sharon Wagenaar, and later as Sharon Bomgaars. I hear the warmth and frankness of her voice, and find the same fresh sense of humor, faith in God, and love of life and of the people in her life that were evident when she was in high school. But the subject that she and we cannot forget in these pages is the near certainty that cancer will take her life. Through it all, hers is still a voice that can sing hymns of praise in the face of the unthinkable, utter exclamations of joy at God’s great and small creatures. We learn from Sharon how to confront death with a vibrant faith and with courage—and at the same time how to love life wholly and passionately.”
—Carl Vandermeulen, Professor of English, Northwestern College, Orange City, Iowa, and one of Sharon’s high school teachers
“For the believer, the reality of life in this fallen world is never more real than when the faithful cry out to God, ‘It isn’t fair!’ For the believer, however, it is not a cry of despair, but a cry of deeply felt pain to the One who has promised to walk with those who love Him through the dark valleys, as well as along the mountain heights. In His Feathers: The Letters and Journals of Sharon Bomgaars, 1956–2002 is one Daughter of Eve’s testimony to the faithfulness of God to answer all of our prayers according to His perfect will, and, at the same time, grant us the strength to honestly answer, ‘Thy will be done.’ In Sharon’s own words we learn of her struggle with ‘a tiger of a cancer,’ that brought her increasingly severe physical pain and almost daily challenges to her faith in God. But although her ship was battered, her faith remained firmly anchored in God’s grace, until her mission completed, God wiped away the tears and opened heaven’s door.
“The reader, whether Christian or not, should be prepared to both weep and rejoice as he or she relives Sharon’s three-year battle with ovarian cancer, a battle she knew from the beginning she would eventually lose, in order to have victory over death, the last enemy.”
—Paul R. Waibel, Professor of History, Belhaven College, Jackson, Mississippi
“Although the outcome is clear from the beginning, Sharon Bomgaars’ story is neither morbid or depressing but an honest and open reflection of one woman’s triumphs and struggles while facing a life-threatening illness. Written in an evocative and at times gritty style, she takes the reader along on her journey and thereby provides us an outstanding model of what it means to live fully in the present moment, even while preparing for death.
“Dennis and Sharon Bomgaars must be thanked for their willingness to share this story. As a high school classmate and friend of Sharon’s, I hear her voice in these pages and recognize her bright intellect and keen sense of humor. The strong faith already evident in her as a young woman blossomed and developed throughout her life. Her story stands as her final testimony.”
—Brenda Winkler, Instructor of Social Work, Dordt College, “Patient Navigator” at June E. Nylen Cancer Center. Sioux City, Iowa
“As someone whose mother battled the same disease, I think Sharon's from-the-heart writings are beautiful, poetic and at times, poignant and heartbreaking. I enjoyed reading them very, very much. She is an excellent writer, who expresses herself beautifully and conveys her thoughts with compassion, humor and insight.”
—Nina Miller, Co-manager of the Association of Online Cancer Resources online support group for ovarian cancer at acor.org.
“Without shying away from the harsh realities of living with cancer, Sharon Wagenaar Bomgaars uses grace, humor, and a powerful faith in God to demonstrate what it means to be content whatever the circumstances. While sickness and death are certainly themes in these pages, of equal importance is that of finding pleasure and joy in the song of a bird, a beautiful plant, tasty food, a heartily sung hymn, and a conversation with a loved one. More than anything else, Sharon, Dennis, and their family teach us a lesson of being good stewards of the lives God has given to us.”
—Robert Wiersma, Director of Personal Counseling, Dordt College