Personally, one of the signs of a good book is when I talk with Jonathan about the things I’m reading. This book definitely hit that mark. I kept bringing up Kara, her stories, and how I was applying them to my life.
Over the weekend, I sat down and just wrote out the top things I wanted to take away from reading this book. Here are 5 things I learned from Kara Tippetts:
1. Give thanks for everything.
Kara writes openly about her struggle with contentment, especially in specific physical attributes. She shares how she learned that rejecting one thing God has given is like rejecting the whole package. Refusing to give thanks for any gift God has given – even if it’s something I wouldn’t call “a gift” – is ungrateful.
She made me think about specific things in my life – things I don’t like, things I wish were different, things I would change if I could. God used her words to encourage me to give Him thanks for those very things I don’t really want. Thankfulness. It changes everything.
2. Trust through everything.
God has not abandoned me. There will be Grace. Have faith.
Repeatedly, Kara writes about her confidence in the grace God will lavish on her family after her death. She witnessed this grace during her battle with cancer. And so she had confidence that, even though she couldn’t see it, even more grace would be present after her death. That’s faith.
3. Treasure the small moments.
Don’t live from big moment to big moment. Cherish the small ones.
Oh my, how this hit home for me. I LOVE the big moments. The weekend with Daddy home, the date night, the family vacation, Christmas break, etc. I love them so much that I get extremely sad when they’re over. Kara shares how she used to live from one big moment to the next. Then she got cancer. And the small moments became precious. After all, life isn’t primarily composed of big moments, but small ones. Every moment is a gift.
4. Invest in relationships.
Invest heavily in those God has placed closest to you, like your spouse & children. Ask questions. Spend time. Do what it takes. If they won’t talk with you, figure out a different approach. Don’t give up. Life is too short.
Kara talks about how she would rub her kids’ feet with lotion before bed. This was her time to talk with and listen to them. I love how she stayed invested in their lives right up until the end. She didn’t give up because she was in pain. She didn’t stop giving because she was feeling sorry for herself. She continued to serve and love until God called her home.
5. Love the Giver more than the gifts.
In perhaps the most powerful moment in the book, Kara shares about a sermon her husband preached immediately after they learned her cancer had returned. Before they had heard the results post radiation, Jason had prepared a sermon dealing with the topic of no marriages in heaven. He talked about how we tend to so love the gifts God has given us here on earth that we forget about the One Who gave them to us. We love the shadow of things to come and reject the Light they’re coming from. He told about how he was having a hard time releasing his hold on Kara’s life and asked his congregation what they were holding on to more than God. She said of his sermon, “it will not be soon forgotten.” No, I’m sure it won’t.
Kara went home to be with Jesus on March 22. I never read her blog until after she passed, but I am exceedingly grateful for the time she took during her battle with cancer to write The Hardest Peace. Certainly my thoughts have been changed because of reading it. And I pray that the lessons I learned will go down deep, take root, and bear fruit in my life and the lives of those around me.
Thank you, Kara. And thank you, sweet Tippetts family, for lending your mama to us during the last years of her life. I pray that you will have immeasurable grace, unfathomable peace, and sustaining strength during the days ahead.