“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
(Philippians 1: 21 ESV)
Today, I begin to mend my heavy heart that is currently grieving for a friend I did not quite know for I learned late yesterday evening; Kara Tippetts lost her battle with cancer and awoke from this world finding herself surrounded by the loving embrace of her Savior. Kara taught us all how to live with Christ and equally important how to die with Christ. Her broken yet intensely beautiful transparency touched thousands of kindred spirits and through this intensely beautiful transparency, she accomplished what He asks each one of us to do…..She glorified God.
Just a few of my favorite excerpts from Kara’s book:
The Hardest Peace: Expecting Grace in the Midst of Life’s Hard
The second summer I still wore my Beastie Boys shirt and worn Pumas, but that summer I found comfort in my differences. I appreciated the women who had grown up in faith and didn’t face the struggles I had endured. Coming back, I realized I had something to share with them. I could share the heart of the brokenhearted and challenge those women to return to their campuses and share the love they knew with someone who looked like me. I was no longer intimidated by the differences, because I know I was uniquely made. My story mattered. I had grown in freedom and grace, and I returned not embarrassed that I wasn’t a spiritual giant. p. 42
I did not feel up for another battle with cancer. Jesus knew the prayer of my heart was something like a Jabez prayer, that I would not have any more cancer, that the pain would go away. But, that’s not what He’s promised. It is His presence that is sure, so I trust Him. I have trusted Him. p. 74
What God has patiently taught me over the years is the difference between pretty and beautiful. Pretty is what was valued in my childhood home, something that involves primping and painting and covering over so as to be acceptable in society’s eyes. Beautiful, on the other hand, is the revelation of what is truly and naturally there, often through suffering. p. 85
There are beautiful stories of courageous humility as they receive suffering and seek grace in the midst of it. There are also stories of those who are being brought low through suffering to show them their beautiful neediness for grace, those heartfelt inquiries from readers who desperately want to know peace. p. 116
“Dear heart, the purpose of life is not longevity.” That’s what a friend said to me recently. The words slowly seeped into my soul. I digested them gradually. I hate them, and I love them. I remember the Westminster Confession that asks one simple question: What is the chief end of man? The answer, the beautiful answer every heart needs to hear: To glorify God and enjoy Him forever. That forever is this side of heaven and the next. Longevity is not the answer, but it is my soft heart’s desire. But to give glory forever—yes, yes. That is my longevity in this place and in the next. It is easy to say those words when things are bright, but when future days feel like they are dimming, it’s hard. It’s just so hard. p 151
The veil between here and heaven is very thin. But it’s a dreadfully painful one. We struggle to see beyond these days and look upon eternity with gladness. God gives us morsels of eternity over here, crumbs really, and we beg for them to remain when there is a feast awaiting us. We beg for scraps when the very best is promised. I look at the beautiful creations of my loved ones and say, “Jesus, You did so well—so wondrously well—can’t I stay a minute longer?” p 153
Christ lavished you with His presence in this world, for it is so apparent in your sincere and honest testimony. Likewise, your abiding comfort in His grace and mercy allowed you to openly share with the rest of us your brokenness in His guiding light. Our world has dimmed a shade darker at the loss of your transparency and beauty…….. it’s hard. It’s just so hard… but our loss is your gain…
You were and are a spiritual giant Kara; now eternally enjoy your feast!