Book Review: Heaven Without Her
by Beth Mull *
Heaven Without Her: A Desperate Daughter's Search for the Heart of Her Mother's Faith
by Kitty Foth-Regner
(Thomas Nelson, 2008, 272 pages)
I look forward to death, except for one reason only. How can I possibly live in a world, no matter how heavenly it may be, if my little agnostic Kitty is not there?1 -- Ethel Boehm Foth
"I'll see you there, Mom." These were Kitty Foth-Regner's final words to her mother. As she left the nursing home Kitty was determined to keep her promise, but she wasn't exactly sure how she would do it. Her mother was a woman of strong faith who had looked forward to going to her heavenly home. But to Kitty, religion held no answers, and as far as she knew, heaven was nothing more than wishful thinking.
For years, Kitty had relied on herself and her own talents. Although raised in the church, she eventually turned away from the faith of her parents--especially when her father died soon after she entered college. "Happily ever after" seemed just a fairy tale, science had shown that God wasn't necessary, and life was whatever you chose to make it.
But her mother's final, fatal illness spurred Kitty to examine her assumptions about life and the world around her. Heaven Without Her chronicles her fascinating, agonizing search for answers. Each chapter begins with a segment tracing the long hours of her mother's final night and its immediate aftermath, and then segues into an account of Kitty's spiritual journey.
In her early life, Kitty came to see reason and feminism as her road to success, and success as the road to happiness. She remarks, "This point of view worked almost perfectly for me for close to twenty-six years. But it took just one terminally ill little old lady to blow it all to kingdom come."2
Suddenly, living for her own happiness wasn't enough anymore. She wanted to know whether there was any validity to her mother's faith that she was going to heaven, or to any place where Kitty might find her again. For the first time in her life, Kitty considered that the truth about our final destination might be knowable.
And so she began to look. Her first stop was a little book called Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis, a gift from her sister that had been gathering dust for years. After careful reading, Kitty admitted that Lewis' reasoning might be accurate --that not only is there an all-powerful Creator, but that the unique claims of Christianity might be true.
But what if Lewis had overlooked something? She read more of Lewis' books, bought a study Bible, and examined standard atheistic objections (e.g., how could a loving God allow suffering?) and Christianity's responses to them. She explored scientific evidence about the contrasting theories on origins, and was astonished to learn that the facts of evolution were not what she had been taught in school. Instead, the evidence "pointed insistently toward an intelligent designer."3 Intrigued, Kitty avidly studied the origins debate, eventually concluding that there must be a Creator God. And as she examined the doctrines of the world's major religions, she saw that this Creator could be no other than the God of the Bible.
Kitty Foth-Regner dedicates Heaven Without Her in part to "Dr. John Whitcomb and the late Dr. Henry Morris, for showing me the truth about where we came from, what we're doing here, and where we're going." You will be blessed by this account of an intelligent woman's search for answers and her discovery of the greatest truth of all--the Creator God of the Bible not only exists, but sent His Son to be our Redeemer so that those who believe in Him "should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). Kitty will keep her promise to her mother.
- Foth-Regner, K. 2008. Heaven Without Her. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 252.
- Ibid, 27.
- Ibid, 107.
* Ms. Mull is Managing Editor.
Cite this article: Mull, B. 2008. Book Review: Heaven Without Her. Acts & Facts. 37 (6): 19.