Last night, I went to bed with a piece of my heart that felt kind of out of place, jumbled up, and twisted in several knots. I then woke up this morning and the first thought that came to my mind was of Kara Tippets and her loves ~ particularly her beautiful little family and one of her dearest friends who I call friend as well, my Shellie.
To say that my heart hurts for them today, friends? Well, that is quite simply a major understatement.
As many of you already know, Kara Tippetts went home to be with Jesus yesterday, and her loves are hurting. Her husband, her beautiful four children, and her many, many friends ~ they have a different feeling in their hearts today than they did prior to yesterday. I would venture to guess that it feels like it’s being squeezed, and squeezed hard.
And that is a hurt that one can only understand if they have been there.
But there is peace in this piece of things too…
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
Kara allowed Jesus to speak to us through her in so very many ways, friends. She spoke much about The Hardest Peace and even wrote a book titled as such ~ about the peace we find in Jesus in the midst of suffering, hardship, heartache, and even when all the pieces of this puzzle we call life seem to be shattering all around us.
But she always returns to Jesus ~ always returns to His grace and His peace, His joy and His love ~ no matter how many pieces of us seem to be crumbling down to the floor.
He makes us whole even when we seem to be falling apart.
And there is peace in that piece of things too…
Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. Matthew 9:22
Kara has fully returned to Jesus, friends ~ to live with Him in her forever home. And she is healed from cancer and all that may have been ailing her on this earth.
But what about the sharp pieces that those who love her are dealing with today? Is there peace to be had for this piece in the suffering pie that they must endure right now? Is there peace to be had and snippets of joy to be felt even as they move through these days, weeks, and years without Kara by their side? They know they will be seeing her again ~ but that doesn’t mean that they won’t be missing her something fierce ~ something heart-squeezing.
Is there peace to be had for all of these pieces that are so very hard to swallow and we sometimes wish we could just throw out and rid ourselves of so we can get back to the good stuff?
I’m pretty sure that Kara might say to us ~ “this IS the good stuff. Seeking His peace and being held by Him even when it’s hard.”
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27
Christ’s peace is not always the kind that makes us feel totally calm, at ease with everything, or completely void of stress and difficulty. It is, like Kara tried to tell us and show us in all that she did, a peace that can often be hard to grasp, but one worth holding on to with our ALL.
And it can definitely be hard to swallow.
But the Lord has placed a voracious appetite within us and has assured us that He is here for us, with outstretched hand ~ ready to carry us through so we don’t cut ourselves on the shards.
We have to reach for it, friends. We have to reach for His hand. But we don’t need to strain too hard, for He is ready and waiting for us.
We have only to hold out our hands, because His is already right there for the grasping.
There is peace in that piece too….
…that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us. Acts 17:27
Reaching for the hand of Christ is not hard once it’s open and willing~ it’s not the hardest piece for us as we walk through rough things. I think it’s the willingness to simply even open our hands wide in the first place that can prove to be a strain for us.
We like to clench our fists sometimes.
But Kara’s loves ~ many of them ~ well, they don’t struggle with this piece of things. They don’t struggle with reaching for Jesus through this sad time or the suffering they are enduring as they grieve the loss of having their Kara by their side.
But their hearts are still being squeezed today, friends. They are all dealing with the pieces of grief, and heart hurt and missing their love so very dearly today.
They are being squeezed and may be wondering if they will come out whole on the other side of it. But they are also being held tightly by Jesus. He’s holding them together as they contend with the broken.
And there is peace in that piece, friends.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2
So, will you pray for peace amid all the pieces of grief these friends are enduring today, dear ones? Will you pray for their hearts to be filled with Jesus and His love and comfort as they walk through this twisty-turny valley of sadness intermingled with peace and love all at the same time? Will you pray that the Lord will help them to know that it’s okay to be rejoicing one minute for Kara and the fact that she’s fully healed and in the presence of her Savior, and crying the next because they miss her so very much?
Will you pray peace over all of these pieces?
Most of all, will you open your hand to your One, True Savior and let Him hold it as you walk through suffering or hard stuff in this life as well? Will you share yourself with others who wish to walk alongside you if you are grieving, or if the pieces seem to be shattering all around you today?
Therein lies His peace.
There is always peace in every piece if we open up our hands and turn our eyes upon our One and Only and ever-so Mighty Savior, our dear Jesus.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to a fund benefitting the Tippetts children:
P.O. Box 49727
Colorado Springs, CO 80949