Monday, March 14, 2016

Book Review - And It Was Beautiful: Celebrating Life in the Midst of the Long Good-Bye by Kara Tippetts

Several years ago, my sister-in-law shared a blog post on her Facebook page that was written by the mom of one of her Pre-K students.  This woman - a pastor's wife, mom of four, and beloved friend to many - had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and she blogged as a way to update her friends and family on her illness.  Something about that first post I read drew me in, and after I'd tucked my kids into bed that evening, I went back in the archives and read the entire blog from the beginning.  Over the next couple of hours, Kara Tippetts worked her way into my heart.

Kara blogged regularly throughout her cancer journey, and her readership grew steadily.  She wrote honestly about the battle she was fighting, how it affected her not only physically, but spiritually as well.  One of Kara's goals was to find God's goodness in the midst of her suffering, and He was faithful to help her find it.  Kara wrote beautifully about this in her first book, The Hardest Peace.  In her last months, she also coauthored Just Show Up, a book about living in community and walking through times of suffering with others.

Kara's blog crashed awhile back, and sadly, all of her posts were lost.  Thankfully, she had saved them to her computer, but the site was unable to be restored.  Her final book, And It Was Beautiful, is a compilation of many of those posts, along with other writings, and it is SO good.  Even though I'd read most of it as the original blog, and I knew how Kara's earthly story would come to an end, I was still completely drawn in.  Turning the page to Act Four in the book, and seeing the chapter title, "Letter to My Readers Upon My Death", caused a lump to form in my throat and my heart to sink again.  It obviously wasn't a surprise to me, but it still took me back to the day Kara went Home and the tears came again...for her husband, for her kids, for her community.  They have all modeled well how to grieve with hope.  She was so loved.

As the one year marker of Kara's "[flying] away to the land of no more tears" (p. 246) approaches, reading this book has been a fresh reminder to me of the ways Kara inspired us to look for the grace in every situation.  How very blessed I was by her words, and how very much I miss her voice here on earth.

*Disclaimer - I received a complimentary copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my honest review.*