[This post was started a couple of months ago, so the “past couple of weeks” were back in October… Remember when I only published like three posts that entire month? Here’s why…]
I confess, my heart has felt rended in two these past couple of weeks over a girlfriend’s situation. Amid the easy excuse that having our house on-the-market and show-ready has stifled my ability to craft and blog, I’ve found myself grappling with my sorrow over the whole messy painful thing. And feeling utterly uninspired. Like exercising my creativity is so absolutely small and unhelpful in light of discovering that my friends’ life-as-they-know-it is seemingly falling to pieces. I almost wish I did not know the truth so I could avoid facing it. Or thinking about it. Every day. So I could carry on just naively believing their life-is-good highlight reel of facebook posts. [I know that makes me a terrible and selfish friend. So I am all the more downcast for wanting to escape the knowledge of it.]
What does it look like to “[live] in peace when life screams for something different”? (the hardest peace, p.173). Because the heartache in this life has been screaming at me lately. And since I am not able to fix the situation, I am so thankful that God quiets my heart with peace in it.
Rewind a few weeks. When Kara Tippett’s book The Hardest Peace arrived on my step, I tucked it away to “get to,” busy with house prep and heartache and avoiding anything that might make me even more sad than my friends’ situation has. I just knew that reading a book written by a young mama-of-four who is dying of cancer, talking about hard peace, would surely lead me into sorrow.
But when I saw Ann talking about Kara and this book, I was reminded that I needed to at least pull it out and make a start, a valiant effort, as I’d agreed to read it and, if I felt led, to share it here.
So I pulled it out of the padded envelope, postmarked back in September. And suddenly there I was, before I’d blinked, already on page eighty, sitting on the floor in the middle of my kitchen, right where I’d pulled the book out from under the counter.
Rather than inviting us in to wallow with her in the pain of her illness and treatments, or indulging in the possible sadness of her husband’s or children’s story, she offers a transcending hope:
“But if the hardest is asked of us, we believe grace will be there” (p140).
There is something radically inspiring–for anyone if we will glean it–about facing the brevity and pain of this life and realizing, deciding, knowing, affirming that it does not diminish God’s goodness or His good plan for our lives.
The big takeaway for me is with my own children.
As any of us mamas-of-littles have heard, and heard again, these days go fast, and we will miss them. Exploding diapers shooting green straight up the back of that onesie? You’ll miss these days. Screaming toddler in the grocery aisle? You’ll miss these days. Endless kindergarten crafts leaving a debris trail of vacuum-eluding glitter all over your house? You’ll miss these days.
I already know I’ll miss these days. I already do. And I try to absolutely relish them and the gifts of my precious ones.
It looks like Kara Tippetts will not be here to miss these days, but her children will. And the beautiful thing for me–the striking and radical thing–about Kara’s words are that while she could buoy up, shore up, and try to insulate her loves from a seemingly impending doom, she points to the grace that will meet them there.
What if we didn’t just commanded ourselves to relish the fleeting present, but instead equipped our children to meet the future, whatever it holds. What if we could bind to their hearts that God is good, and His grace will meet them there, whatever the “there” holds.
That’s powerful stuff for me. As a woman, as a wife, as a mama.
Anyway, time here is growing thin now for this precious reflector of light. Hospice has been called in. And I cannot think of how to adequately or eloquently end this post, this piece of my heart laid out for you, so I will end with this:
I have two copies of this book to give away to you. No fancy hoops or requirements, but won’t you leave a comment here, a word of hope, a scripture of encouragement, a sign of solidarity for Kara? That will be your “entry.” Thank you precious friends. I will draw two names from these comments next week and send each a copy of this book. It’s an easy and difficult, fast and slowing read. I hope you will love it and pass your copy on once you have read it.
[Here’s Kara’s blog, if you are not already following her journey: Mundane Faithfulness]
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