Often times we feel we know people we have never met. It may be a character in our favorite book, a movie star, a sports celebrity that we will never meet face to face but we feel we have a connection with them because we have followed their lives for so long.
Today I find myself grieving the loss of a sister in Christ that I never had the privilege to meet. Kara Tippets, mother of four, wife of Jason, 38 years of age went home to Jesus on March 22, 2015. I feel as though I have lost a mentor and a friend.
Kara shared her journey so openly and honestly on her blog Mundane Faithfulness and in her book The Hardest Peace. I have never seen such transparency as she shared in her battle against cancer and her struggle to say goodbye to her family and friends. Her videos were breathtaking as you saw her and her beautiful children living life together to the end.
I stumbled upon her blog but then I don’t believe there are coincidences, only divine appointments so I know I was suppose to be there, to read her posts, to meet Jason and her littles, to see her friends rallying around her and ministering to her. To read and to hear her minister to me in a way that made me feel like I was a close and personal friend. Only God gives that kind of grace.
As I read her good-bye post today I am struck by the unselfishness of this sister to use her last energy and strength to tell us all goodbye, to ask for grace and prayers for her family, and to thank us for traveling with her even from afar.
In the wee hours this morning I was also led to Ann Voskamp’s blog A Holy Experience only to find that she, too, was writing about Kara. She did have the privilege of knowing her and her words of appreciation for a live well lived were compelling. She wrote today, “Dying doesn’t have to be a tragedy-if we have avoided the tragedy of living for the wrong things.”
Kara, like my daughter, had months to prepare for her home going. They both lived those months well and continued to minister to others around them. That’s impressive, but I also knew someone who died suddenly, very unexpectedly at a very young age who also had prepared well and left a legacy that continues to minister to others. In the weeks and months before my pastor Mike Whitt left us for heaven he laid a foundation for us. He preached with an urgency that was palpable. At the time I couldn’t understand the urgency. But then on that July night when Mike was gone it was suddenly clear. He had been preparing us for his imminent departure. I believe without any doubt that God was directing Mike to prepare us for what was to come. I can still hear him, the tone of his voice, see the look on his face that called us to understand that what he was saying was important. Oh my soul, what a life well lived.
So today, I say good-bye for now to my “friend” Kara Tippets. Until we meet face to face her words will continue to lift me up and as I say good-bye she is saying hello to my daughter Dawn, and my pastor Mike Whitt as they all sit at the feet of Jesus.
Peace to you all.