Claire Gartland

Dearest Family Smith, it is with great sadness that I send my love and condolences to you at this time of loss. Thank you for sharing this very special lady with so many of us – it has been the greatest honour to call her my friend and to experience her mother love.

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” ‘Make haste, Beloved, be thou like an hart
On mountains spicy sweet:
And I, on those High Places where thou art,
Will follow on hinds’ feet;
As close behind the hart, there leaps the roe,
So where thou goest. I will surely go.’

That, as perhaps you know, is the last verse of the Song of Songs, which is Solomon’s. But for Grace and Glory, it was the beginning of a new song altogether. ”

Thus closes ‘Hinds Feet on High Places’, one of the first books I remember you reading to me. There have been scores more – Pilgrims Progress, The story of Jim Elliott, Mary Jones and her Bible, Gladys Aylward – even Tom Sawyer, The Incredible Journey and David Copperfield to name but a few.
But alongside the love of books you inspired in me, I have so many deeper treasures to thank you for.

You taught me so much about humility, love, kindness, faith, forgiveness, resilience and strength. You know the impact you had on me, and the strength your example and inspiration has given me in life. Nothing was ever too much trouble for you, you would go the extra mile, always seek to understand and show compassion, even where others would turn their back. You showed great love and kindness to my children, and they always left your presence glowing. In times of ill health we as a family have been so blessed by your faith and encouragement and I thank you for this.

I love you dearly, and will treasure every memory, every note, every inscription. I will do my best to live as you demonstrated, and to show love and kindness and compassion, and to stand for justice.

Stephen and James and their families have my support and love – they always have and always will.

God speed dear lady. I don’t imagine for a minute that you will have your feet up in the Heavens – your armour will be glowing brightly as you fight on for justice and righteousness! Theo asked me this evening “is Mrs Smith a Jedi now?” I rather like that image – the coolest kind of Heavenly Warrior!

Thank you for everything.
My love always,