Seeking the Sacred On Kitten Creek by Nancy Swihart is a remarkable, modern-day adventure story about how one family, grounded in Christian love and guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit, developed a Christ-honoring community. The power of two verses is fulfilled in her book and life: In Psalm 71: 18, we are encouraged to “ declare God’s power to the next generation, His mighty acts to all who are to come.” Psalm 90:12 tells us to “number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” As I read Nancy’s story, I remembered my own family’s journey… When our first military assignment took us to Kansas, we were blessed with a life-long friendship with the Swihart family as well as our involvement with Wellspring Ministries. My three children, my wife, and I spent many a happy day frolicking on the Swihart farm, enjoying the uniqueness that only farm life can hold, as well as being affected by the spiritual adventures that took place there on Kitten Creek. Of particular interest to my animal-loving children was the variety of animals found there, which the Swiharts wove into their ministry (and Nancy into her book) much like C.S. Lewis did in his Narnia stories!
This is a life changing book as it points to self-introspection on how our own lives might be used to further the Lord’s Kingdom here on this earth. As a retired U.S. Army soldier and now a professor at the University of Alabama, I was impressed by the Wellspring team’s openness to so many college students… their willingness to simply be present, to listen, and to offer a relational community where young people could experience faith in action. Nancy’s memoir guides her readers to our Savior and encourages a lifetime of focus on Him and the gospel. It reminds us that God provides, corrects, leads, and answers our prayers and needs as we continually seek His presence in our lives. The importance of remembrance is emphasized as the Lord incorporates our whole lives into the strength of our witness for Him, and the value of praying and thinking the Scriptures is encouraged.
In a personal application of this book, though us city folk do not inhabit a farm in Kansas, we do have a small cabin on a river in the Appalachian mountains in north Alabama. We are now inspired to purpose to place a Christ-focus in our times there for our family and friends.
On a professional note, I am part of research and ministry with aging congregations across the world. Our team plans to recommend Nancy’s inspirational book as an encouragement to older persons of faith to share their Christ-honoring stories with the next generation and to remind adult children to capture the stories of their parents and grandparents. Nancy provides insightful suggestions and resources about how to tailor and carry this out . Her own book is a superb example of how one’s own family story can impact this world for the Lord and His life-saving mission.
Michael W. Parker, Ph.D./DSW, LCSW, PIP
Lieutenant Colonel, US Army Retired (AMEDD)
John A. Hartford Foundation and Gerontological Society of America Geriatric Scholar & National Mentor
Veterans Affairs Representative, Hartford – GSA Scholars Program Selection Committee
Professor, School of Social Work & Executive Board, Institute of Research & Aging
University of Alabama
Division of Geriatric Medicine & Palliative Care
UAB Comprehensive Center for Aging
Non-Resident Scholar, Duke Center for Spirituality and Health
Farah Hall, room 114
Tel: 205 348 6766