Waiting for Butterflies

Waiting for Butterflies was inspired by the loss of my mother-in-law. A devoted grandmother, she looked forward to watching her granddaughters—ages three and under—grow up. But that wasn’t possible, and in the days following her early death, a question surfaced in my mind: What if a mother is taken from her family before she is ready to go? As my imagination explored the question, Waiting for Butterflies became the answer.

Waiting for Butterflies was awarded the 2017 IAN Book of the Year, 2017 IAN Outstanding Christian Fiction, 2017 Foreword Reviews Gold, and 2018 Christian Indies Award for Fiction.

Available at an independent bookstore or retailer near you


  • Waiting for Butterflies engages your emotions to leave your faith charged and your heart changed.—Joleen Graumann, Freelance editor
  • A deep and unusual story about grief, healing, and the depth of a mother’s love…Waiting for Butterflies is a book for anyone, no matter where they are in their faith journey.—Carre Armstrong Gardner, author of All Right Here and the Darling family series
  • “In Waiting for Butterflies, Karen Sargent tells a tale of love and loss … and of a God who works in the midst of our deepest suffering to bring about good in the most unlikely of ways.”—Emily Ellis, editor of Journey Devotional Magazine
  • Waiting for Butterflies is a poignant story about a family coping with loss. No matter what your religion, it is a story of finding faith in life’s most difficult moments.—Renee Macalino Rutledge, author of The Hour of Daydreams
  • Karen Sargent’s impressive debut novel incorporates questions of the spiritual life brought on by tragedy and shows that sometimes clarity comes in ways we least expect.—Kate Brandes, author of The Promise of Pierson Orchard
  • Sweet and sentimental at times yet raw and real, Waiting for Butterflies is an uplifting story that promises grace and redemption. Readers will find hope in the Blake family story.—Sandi Ward, author of The Astonishing Thing


Book Clubs

Gather your book club or just a group of your friends and let’s do a Q&A. You can ask author questions, and I can ask reader questions. If you’re nearby, I’d love to visit. No matter your location, technology such as Facebook chats, Skype, and Google Hangout can bring us together. Check out “Discussion Questions for Book Clubs” at the back of Waiting for Butterflies to see if my book is a good fit for your book club.


Introducing Maggie & Sam

“What are you writing?”

She clasped the journal before tucking it into the side table drawer.

“Oh, just…stuff. You know—”

“Stuff? I’ll never get that, Mags. When something bothers you, you write. When something bothers me, I need to hit golf balls or chop wood, work through it.” Sam grabbed her hands and pulled her to him.

“Yes, that’s what you always say.” Her smile was gentle. “But it’s not just writing, remember? It’s praying, too.”

“Yeah, I don’t get that either. But that’s okay. Praying about a problem is your department; doing something about a problem, that’s my department.”

Sam’s arms encircled her waist and her body settled into his. His familiar scent was therapy.

Introducing Rachel

“This will be a partner project.”

In most classes those words signaled doom for Rachel, but not science, the only class she shared with her best friend. Quickly she scanned the faces in the lab until she locked eyes with Kristen, sealing their partnership.


Kristen wrinkled her nose. “You’re such a nerd.”

Rachel pushed her elbow into her friend. “I know.” And she did know; somehow she was different. In the hallway, in the classroom, in the cafeteria, she looked normal, just like everyone else. But there was something intangible, something she couldn’t verbalize, that made her peculiar, peculiar in a way Kristen tolerated and some called freaky. Only her mother celebrated her uniqueness, and her words—creative, brilliant, gifted—drowned out the snickers that sometimes followed Rachel in the halls.

Introducing Olivia

“Okay, Lambie, you get to sleep up here by my pillow next to Horsey.” She put her mouth against Lambie’s ear, and her voice lowered to a raspy whisper. “Because you’re my favorite.” Then she picked up a bear and placed him on the other side of her pillow. “Teddy, you go right here. And Baby, I’ll hold you.” She wrapped her arm around a stuffed doll wearing a diaper and a blue bonnet. Then she patted the edge of her bed and addressed them all. “We’ll save this place for Mommy. She can lay with us when she gets tired.”


Olivia moved her stuffed lamb closer on the pillow. “She said maybe she saw Heaven, but she isn’t sure.” She turned to face Sam. “Mommy said it’s gonna be beautiful.”

Hairs tingled on the back of his neck. Olivia’s imagination was remarkable, tempting even him to get caught up in her make-believe. But this had to end. “Honey, you know, people who believe in Heaven think that’s where they go when they die…And, your mom, well, if she were to see Heaven, it would mean she would have to die.”

“She did die, Daddy.” Her blue eyes were wide and honest.

What was going on in Olivia’s little mind? How could he help her sort this out? “Well, if you know Mommy died, why do you keep pretending she’s still here?” It was a gentle question, but he couldn’t mask the accusation in his voice.

“I’m not pretending. She is here.” Olivia squeezed her fists as she hugged her doll tighter. “She died. She just didn’t go away. She doesn’t know why.”