What's happening to this beautiful, precious woman, Kara Tippetts, is breaking my heart in two. I first heard about her blog through my friend Sharon who lives in Denver and is close friends with Kara.
I check in on Kara's blog often, and every time I read it before bed, I can't sleep for hours. And I think, "Maybe I should stop reading this blog before bed," but then I think, "No, this is how it's supposed to be. I'm supposed to be severely disturbed about a young mother (my age) dying from cancer. I'm supposed to fight in prayer over things in this world that aren't right."
And I am. It has wrecked me. This woman's staggeringly beautiful faith has completely changed how I live and love.
A recent blog post by Kara called "Jealousy - The Longing for Normal" absolutely wrecked me...especially this part:
"I just want to be kissing my kids goodnight and sitting down for a glass of something and adult conversation next to my man- not calling the hospital and debating if I need to go there to spare the kids from hearing my agony. I want a bad hair day, to worry over a spelling test, or upcoming lines in a play coming out smoothy for my brave young lady that has taken on drama with a stutter. I’m so proud. So proud of her. I want to go to a thrift store and buy old wool sweaters and make ugly stuffed animals with my kids and bake over Christmas break. I do not want to be back in radiation battling to kill what is killing me…. or hurting me. I want to be decorating my house for Christmas. I want to buy a house where we can have chickens and goats, and outdoor-ness. I still want my farm, but I know I will never be the woman I dreamed that could handle a farm. I’m not angry- I’m simply jealous this morning of normal people that get to do normal things."
My little Norah had just gotten over being sick and I was already having a day being frustrated by all the tough things about caring for two little children. And then I read this. And then I thought, "Seriously? Nothing about my day was tough." I just wanted to hold my sick baby tightly, to grab my oldest and hug her close.
And now, Kara is really, truly dying. As in, she heard her husband on the phone calling hospice two days ago. The moment of her last breath is drawing near.
And even though I've never met this woman, I don't want to let go. My mama heart says, "No! Please do not let this woman die." With everything in me, I don't want Kara to have to leave her community, her family, her young children. Oh just typing this makes my heart literally ache. I've begged the Lord to heal her, but in His mysterious graciousness, He hasn't. And there's nothing I can do about it.
What I can do is what Kara asked of everyone - of me - in her most recent blog post. After she mentions that her husband called hospice, Kara writes this...
"So, there it is. My little body has grown tired of battle and treatment is no longer helping. But what I see, what I know, what I have is Jesus. He has still given me breath, and with it I pray I would live well and fade well. By degrees doing both, living and dying, as I have moments left to live. I get to draw my people close, kiss them and tenderly speak love over their lives. I get to pray into eternity my hopes and fears for the moments of my loves. I get to laugh and cry and wonder over heaven. I do not feel like I have the courage for this journey, but I have Jesus- and He will provide it. He has given me so much to be grateful for, and that gratitude, that wondering over His love will cover us all...
Will you trust Jesus with us? Love us today by imagining how you can press deeper into love in the place you live. Give away what was never yours to keep. Love us by extending yourself in the corners of your world in a way that shines bright the light on the strength of Jesus and His unwavering love and grace. Love us by not meeting our story in pity, but pray that Jesus would tenderly meet us as we walk these new hard steps together as a community. Will you walk in grace with us to my last breath? Will you commit us to prayer? Will you trust Jesus that He knows the moments, He holds the moments, and He will take me away to the land of no more tears at exactly the right moment- and He will also shepherd and love my people after that last breath."
Yes, Kara, I will do what you asked of me. I will love you - a woman I've never met but to whom I feel deeply connected - by pressing deeper into love. I will strive to be faithful with the days I've been given with these sweet lives to love and care for. I will not live as if I have endless days before me. And I will continue to lift you and your loved ones up to Jesus, even after you take your last breath.
"Knowing" Kara from afar will forever change me. I will not feel guilty or shamed by how much I want to be with my children, my family. I will take thousands of photos and selfies of us together and whatever it takes to capture the memories and moments. Because I'm here. They're here. We are here, living now, together, and one day that won't be. And that is grace. I will share my story of grace and not be ashamed of the Gospel. I will proclaim the light of Jesus and that even though Kara dies, Love still wins.
On her Facebook page yesterday, Kara wrote,
"Today- hospice came, we open a new chapter. Friday I will have my last appointment with my kind faced oncologist. I cannot imagine it- he and I have become such a team. Pray I would encourage him in his calling. That he wouldn't see my fading as a failure but my sweet wooing towards home."
Listen to the words of one who is close to Heaven. They have much to teach us.
Sweet Kara, I pray your journey Home is more beautiful, more peaceful, more surrounded by love than you can ever have imagined. Thank you for blessing us, and changing us, with your precious and priceless life.