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Monday, December 22, 2014

"The Hardest Peace" (Kara Tippetts)

TITLE: The Hardest Peace: Expecting Grace in the Midst of Life's Hard
AUTHOR: Kara Tippetts
PUBLISHER: Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook Publishers, 2014, (192 pages)

Life is hard. For some, life can be even harder despite being children of peace. For Kara Tippetts, mother of four young children, her journey through life seems to comprise of more valleys than mountains. In a title that is very revealing about how hard life can be, Tippetts shares openly about her childhood, her challenges in marriage, her encounter with fire, and her unending spates of illnesses.

Right from the onset, Tippetts share about her childhood where the highs were very high and the lows very low. As a young victim of anger, and a "witness to so much pain," Tippetts sought out solace through childhood rebellion in beer, marijuana, and boys. When she found Jesus, she knew that there was a lot of her past that she needed healing from. Then, there was the marriage where she and her husband Jason needed to learn how to fight fair and to use kindness as a way to save their marriage. As a wife who supports her husband in ministry, the whole family uprooted themselves from North Carolina to go toward Colorado springs. Their step of faith required an even bigger step. Like the fire that threatened to derail their plans, but instead taught her about the value of relationships over things.

Perhaps, the hardest of it all would be the series of painful ailments and devastating illnesses that would occupy the bulk of the book. It all started on that fateful day of July 23rd, 2012 when she was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic cancer. It was terminal and spreading. Not knowing how long she will get to live, she decided to spend the rest of her life to cherish her family and friends, to live with faith in God and hope for a future promised in Christ. The book is drenched with her personal struggles against physical pain. Yet, it is soaked in that gentle assurance that God is present in her suffering. Much of the book is drawn from her blog, "Mundane Faithfulness," and pieced together in 8 chapters. There is a gradual surrender that it was not going to be her will but God's. There is also that conviction of how she is dying to self each day. Tippetts is real, both in her pain as well as in her hope. This fighting spirit and authentic self have captured the hearts of many people. Tippetts's blog, an online cancer journal is widely followed. She has contributed to many articles in several Christian sites and widely reported in mainstream media, especially after her touching open letter to another dying patient, Brittany Maynard, who took her own life on November 1st, 2014.

It is not easy to be open and honest about something so personal and private. Yet, Tippetts have found courage to tell her story and to share her life not only with her circle of friends but with the public. This is testimony of her strength amid suffering. Her story is her unique rendition of what it means to be struggling in this world and at the same time, maintaining a firm conviction that the day will come, when God will wipe away every tear, erase all suffering, and embrace His children.

I appreciate the way Tippetts end the book with a letter to her husband Jason, and a reply from Jason, expressing the age old phrase: "Love never fails." Life is hard, but it is also beautiful. For Tippetts, seen from the eyes of love and faith, beauty is everywhere.


This book is provided to me courtesy of David C. Cook Publishers and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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