The dirty dishes in the sink have finally been put away. The light in the kitchen is still on. The sounds of Cutthroat Kitchen are on in the background. And the residue from frying a little piece of steak is still stuck to my George Foreman grill. And it will sit there just a little longer as I spend a few moments in prayer as I write this post and pray for the family of dear Kara Tippetts.
Kara and I never met, yet I have felt our lives linked ever since I first read her blog Mundane Faithfulness. Kara was diagnosed with cancer in 2012 and today she finally was welcomed into the arms of her dear Lord and Savior. Kara leaves behind her beloved husband Jason and their four children. Throughout her journey, Kara was so full of grace, authenticity, vulnerability and pure faith in God. (Her words continually reminded me of several dear friends of mine who are currently battling cancer and whose words speak the power of community and God’s love for all of us!)
Earlier this evening, I popped onto Twitter and saw a Tweet that shared that Kara had entered into her Lord’s arms today. As I read that Tweet, I found myself thinking about the chain links to a fence and how those links connect together to make the fence complete. At the churches I have served, whenever we have had a special milestone blessing (3rd graders receiving their Bible etc), I have tried to have the congregation stand and place their hand on the person next to them or in front of them to link back to the ones being blessed at the front of the congregation. My favorite piece is being at the advantage of seeing everyone linked together. It is a powerful witness…to look into each face and know that no matter what we are linked together as brothers and sisters in Christ. And that is what I am reminded of today as we know that Kara heard the words “well done good and faithful servant.”
As God’s beloved children, we are all linked together even though we may have never met in person. I think of how many times in this life I have been blessed by reading someone’s words or by talking to someone I have never talked to before. God has a way of linking us together in ways and places that we never imagined which is why we grieve those that we have never met yet feel like we have known forever.
Knowing that we are all links to the fence, my heart still breaks for Kara’s family and friends. How do you say goodbye to a dear friend or family member especially when it doesn’t seem fair and seems far to soon? How do you share how someone has blessed your life in more ways than you ever imagined?
What I do know is that it is not easy to say goodbye. Throughout my thirty six years on this earth, I have had to say goodbye to my maternal grandparents. I have said goodbye to one of my favorite high school teachers who saw gifts in me before I saw them in myself. I have said goodbye with friends as they have said goodbye to children they never got to even hold. Each of these goodbyes has not been easy, but the hardest for me was my high school best friend Mandy.
Mandy and I were inseperable growing up. She was just a few years older than me but had a kidney transplant which held her back in school. So we ended up in the same grade. As we graduated, we both went our seperate ways which eventually led me to seminary. Every one in awhile my phone would ring and Mandy would be on the other end. We would laugh like old times. During one of her calls, she asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding. I was honored that she asked and flew home from seminary to be a part of her special day. I will never forget that day…she was so happy! Not long after that wedding, a year or so, I got a phone call from Mandy’s mom letting me know that she had passed away. Sadly we had lost touch as our lives went in different directions, but my heart was still breaking. Mandy was my first “best friend.” I remember standing in the church office, tears streaming down my face as I listened to that voicemail.
Saying goodbye is indeed a part of life, but it is still so hard. There are days I wish I could shield us from the hurt but then I am reminded of the words we hear Jesus say “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Jesus is with us through it all. Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried, but then, on the third day, Jesus rose. HOPE AND RESURRECTION! That is what it is all about. I am reminded of these words from one of my favorite Psalms. “Weeping may come for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”–Psalm 30:5
The weeping is fresh tonight especially for those who love Kara so much and so deeply, yet God promises that joy will come with the morning. And knowing that joy will come with the morning, I am reminded of the quote on Kara’s website from our dear Martin Luther: “What will you do in the mundane days of faithfulness?” So, honoring this beautiful soul and remembering how we are linked together like chain links to a fence, I ask you, my dear readers and friends, how will we live our days even in the ugliest darkest spaces? And what will YOU do in the mundane days of faithfulness?
I didn't know Kara, but I totally understand what you mean about being linked even though you've never met. I lost an online friend last week who was a member of an online community I've been a part of for almost 10 years now. I never was blessed to meet her face to face, but I felt like I knew her nonetheless. Her death hit me really hard. It's funny that you should mention a childhood friend named Mandy who died young. I had a dear childhood friend named Mandy who was a grade behind me in school but who I knew from church. We had playdates and spend the night parties at each other's houses, our parents were friends, and of course, we learned about God and worshiped together at church. Her death devastated me as she was the first person I knew of my own age who died. I was a senior in high school and woke up on New Year's morning to the news that she had died in the wee hours of New Year's Eve following a car accident where she'd been thrown from a car when it skidded out of control. She had hit a tree when she was ejected from the car and sustained a head injury that eventually killed her a few hours later. I still think about her to this day and pray for her parents. She was their only child. I'll pray for Kara and her family too and you too, my friend! I am so grateful for the fact that thanks to the internet and blogosphere, we are linked together! 🙂
I thought you might understand. I remember you sharing about your online friend and her death last week. Too funny that we both had childhood friends named Mandy…kindred spirits indeed! I appreciate you praying for Kara and Kara's family and all of us who were blessed by her story in one way or another. I too am thankful that we are linked together too.
I am sorry to hear about Kara passing. I had seen a few glimpses of her story over the last few months.
Blessings to you today as you mourn.
Thanks Jennifer! Amazing how someone I never met could touch my life in so many ways!
Today was the first time I had heard of Kara, but she obviously had a major impact and will leave a legacy that will continue reaching people for Jesus. I have a best friend like you described so I know how even if you loose touch you are always close. That must have been difficult to go through that. Joy does come in the morning. Thank you for that encouragement.
Natalie, I only started reading Kara's blog a short while ago. I always cling to that promise…that joy does come in the morning. Thanks for stopping by.
Hmm… this may be a repeat! My first comment disappeared! I was so happy for Kara… and so heartbroken for her hubby and their littles! Then again – what a gift to be able to say all of what your heart wants to say… and what a reminder for us to do that with consistency for none of us know the number of our days! I love the honor and integrity being poured out for Kara, and the legacy she leaves behind!
Those silly comment gremlins…sorry your first comment disappeared. I am happy for Kara too but still heartbroken for her hubby and their littles etc. Totally an amazing reminder for us all to say what is on our hearts. I too love the honor and integrity being poured out for Kara, and the legacy she leaves behind.
I confess to cringing a little bit when I saw the title of your post. I'm still touchy about cancer, and I like to ignore that everyone's story doesn't turn out like ours did. And on top of it all, a friend's older sister passed away yesterday as well–from breast cancer. Too many hard things in such a short time. But I've been blessed by reading, my friend. We are a chain link fence–and we are so much more interconnected than we realize! Thank you.
Sorry my title made your cringe. I can totally understand you being touchy about cancer. And so sorry to hear about your friend's older sister losing her battle. I am glad you were blessed by reading my post today. Yes we are indeed so much more interconnected than we realize. It also reminds me of the body of Christ passages in the Bible. You are welcome friend!
Wonderful post, love your chain link fence analogy. Like you I didn't know Kara, but have been touched by her words and witness and faith in Christ.
Thank You Tobi!
so sorry about the world losing Kara (I hadn't visited her site until you posted), and what lovely reflections about our truly being connected and feeling with each other, *even* through that one time improbable medium of cyberspace. hugs!
What a beautiful tribute to Cara… Who I also didn't know it until I read this post… And what a poignant reminder of God's faithfulness.
Thanks for stopping by Cindy!