I've been following the blog of a woman named Kara Tippets, who is not quite forty. Kara writes in her profile, "I am the blessed mama of four amazing children, and the wife of one excellent man. Our family has been carefully kept and loved by Jesus through some remarkably hard circumstances. We are currently planting a church in the northwest side of Colorado Springs. I spent the last year battling breast cancer with the help of family and our amazing community. It currently appears that I'm headed into another difficult battle. Join me as we seek to live faithfully in the midst of suffering." As I write, Kara is now nearing the end of her life on this earth and will soon be entering her eternal home. She is a woman of great faith and courage, a wife, a mother who so desperately wants to hang on to the ones she loves, yet at the same time so desperately hangs on to Jesus and His GRACE in each day she is given.
Kara lives from minute to minute, trying to embrace the life in each moment she still has with those she loves. There are so many special moments in life she longs to be a part of in the lives of her children and husband but also knows that apart from a miracle she will not be there to experience them. I found this quote on one of her posts and it speaks so well how she has learned to live each precious day she has been given. A beautiful wedding picture of a mother and bride came through her newsfeed and she looked at that picture for a long time with a sad and broken heart, it would be a moment she would never be a part of. Later that night she came across this quote: "It does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that," Professor Dumbledore (J.K. Rowling).
How often do we forget to live in the here and now because we're waiting for the future when we'll have this or be able to do that, or be this or be that, etc. Each day Kara is given could be her last and yet even for me, the day I wake up to could be my last. The LORD numbers our days and I need to see each day for the gift that it is. I wonder if I could be guaranteed to know the day I would be taking my last breath would I live my life any differently?
I would like to answer "no" to that question, but I don't think I can because I wonder if I am not threatened with my ending of life do I even know the fullness of the gift that it is. Oh I would like to live each of my days as if they could be my last, to live fully in the moment, to live fully for Christ, to love fully and deeply, to love as Christ loves and to live with my heart wide open. But how often do I live for me, how often to I guard this heart of mine, keeping it from those I love or from those I struggle with. This life...this heart isn't even mine to hoard, it's His, He bought me with His blood poured down and I am all His. He is my KING...He is my LORD...He is my ROCK.
Kara's life's journey has been such an encouragement to me and to so many others. Her courage in the hard that she has been asked to live is so beautiful. In one chapter in her book she is talking with her oldest daughter Ella. They are reading through the first chapter of Proverbs and talking about what it all means, when they come across verse 33 they are both struck by it. "Whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster." Kara talked through this verse with her daughter explaining it this way; "When we listen - really listen - to the LORD, looking Him straight in the face, He removes the dread. It does not say He removes the disaster. But the dread of disaster. If we really sit and listen to God, He will lift the dread. The dread and fear are what so often steal our peace and leave us on the edges of moments exhausted."
So often we allow our FEARS to rob us of life. Yet God says in His word that He would deliver us from all our FEARS and what is the opposite of FEAR...PEACE. He gives us His PEACE in the midst of our troubles and pain and gives us courage to walk the difficult journey that we at times are asked to walk.
I am reminded of Joshua 1:9; "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."
I belong to a God who is with me wherever I go...WHEREVER...I go. Through any dark valley, through loss, through pain, through suffering, through challenges, through change, through cancer, through illness, through layoffs, through relational hardships, etc. He is there and I need not fear, you need not fear.
Kara embraces grace and peace in the hard journey she lives, knowing that to live in fear or bitterness would rob her of the life she yet has. Her story is both beautiful and painful. Each of our journey's is unique but often times the different choices we have to make in how we live out our difficulties are the same. May this be a year in which I don't allow fear to rob me of life.
Some things to be thankful for...
369. Dad's excitement at getting a banjo
370. God's deep deep love
371. Charissa and Sarah getting groceries for me
372. The sunshine
373. Matt coming into our room to chat after getting home with hanging with his friends
374. A call from Charissa - a funny story shared
375. The heart of my husband
376. Jocelyne's home!
377. Visit with Amy and Will at their apartment
378. Matt & Jocelyne chatting all the way home from the airport
379. Charissa stopping by to see her sister
380. Seeing my daughters together out for a walk, warms my heart
381. Beautiful candlelight service
382. Fun practicing with all the angels for Christmas Eve service
383. God in control - our lives are in His hands
384. Jocelyne doing the decorating
385. Answer to prayer by many - Kara is home with her family for Christmas
386. Christmas Eve service
387. Thunder in December
388. Laughter from my kids
389. Emmanuel - God with us
390. Kids all home
Having fun with the quad copter.
392. Board games with the kids
393. Delicious christmas dinner with family
394. Cousins having fun together
Watching the busy beaver.
396. Help from my husband
397. A visit with friends
398. Faith and courage of a beautiful woman as she nears the end of her life here on this earth
399. My girls spending time together
The girls and their Opa.
The girls and their Oma.
400. Matt stepping out
401. Safe flight home for Jocelyne
402. Matt and Charissa laughing together
403. Pinkish glow in the morning sky
404. Beautiful, sun filled, cold, crisp morning
405. Dusting of snow sparkling in the morning sun
406. God's unfailing love - "Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the LORD, who has compassion on you." Isaiah 54:10
407. The close of 2014, the opening of a new year 2015
408. Quiet night with my husband
409. Safety on slippery roads while driving home from Ottawa
410. Dusting of snow this morning
411. Sun shining through the snow as it falls off the trees
412. Sunshine across my desk