Publisher: David C. Cook
Publication date: October 1, 2014
Category: Biographies & Memoirs, Religion & Spirituality
Source: I received this book from NetGalley in consideration for review.
What can anyone say about this book? I took it at the suggestion of the publisher because the title reminded me of Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts, which I love. However, I hadn't made the connection between a more recent blog post of Voskamp's I was saving to read and the author of The Hardest Peace, Kara Tippets. Once I started the book it clicked: Voskamp's post titled How to Recover the Lost Art of Dying Well was about the death of Kara Tippetts on March 22, 2015.
The Hardest Peace, published by Tippetts in October 2014 before her death, is about having grace and dignity in death. As a pastor's family, the Tippetts (with four kids) had moved and were living in a new community when Kara discovered she had relapsed into cancer. Regardless the amount of treatment, the cancer continued to pop up, sometimes in new places. Although the book mentions the cancer, cancer is not the focus of the book. The timeline seems to lapse as you read and you become caught up in Kara's thoughts on dying and what that really meant to the here and now.
She essentially asks, "Is Jesus really good in the awful of cancer, fire, heartbreak, and devastation? In the face of all that is broken, is God good?" And with numerous examples of her experience she answers, "I see through the lives of so many facing brokenness they never dreamed and learning again that maybe, just maybe, brokenness is not to be feared but humbly received. Maybe it is our culture that is wrong. No, not maybe. I know it is wrong."
Kara Tippetts fully takes on the idea that "everything happens for a reason" and shows how thinking that presents Christianity as a way to only see the good and only be joyful in the good is false. She found God present in the hardest of times and Jesus her source of grace and peace where no one would ever think such things could be found.
I found her insights amazing...you want to experience what she speaks of and yet, if something like cancer is what it takes, do you? Kara Tippetts leaves us with the idea that it doesn't take cancer to experience peace and grace. We find ourselves up against struggles in many ways and her insights apply to all of it.
My connection to Kara Tippetts's words come through my own mother, who received a clean bill of health from her year long fight with breast cancer the very month Kara Tippetts passed away. I remember the night before my mom went in for her first chemo. She expected to be nervous, upset, etc., especially after a tough session placing her port. Instead she found herself inexplicably at peace and remained so despite the hardness chemo brought to every minute of every day.
Rest in peace Kara Tippetts. Thank you for sharing your wisdom of grace, peace, and dignity. If you are interested in more of Kara's journey, she blogged throughout at Mundane Faithfulness.