This is the third post in the series To Love is to Live in Christ.
The best picture I have of this [moving toward in kindness] is that of Jesus continually moving towards me, always gently pursuing, always desiring nearness. Even when I turn away, act out, or move toward my own ends, He stays ever focused on moving towards me, not away.
Kara Tippetts, And It Was Beautiful, p.456 – 457.
Recently, I finished reading Kara’s final book, having requested a free copy to review as part of the #LitfuseReads Blog Tour. I both dreaded and looked forward to reading her words. Dreaded, because I knew well how her words lean into the awful truth of grief, but also yearned after, because I also knew well that in the rawness of grief Christ shines even more brightly.
I won’t be writing my review till next week, but wanted to share a piece from her book here because if there is anyone who has taught me about Christ’s kindness, it is Kara. His kindness poured out of her in manifold ways, both into her family’s life and her local and worldwide community’s, as it still does via her Mundane Faithfulness blog and the team there who have continued her legacy.
As I’ve shared in my previous posts in this series, to give Christ’s Love to others, we must first receive it. For, God is Love, and therefore to receive Love is to enable actions of Love to flow through us. If anything was clear to me in Kara’s book, it was how Kara chose, in incredible humility, to actively embrace Christ’s kindness. For, if she and her husband, Jason had not allowed Christ’s Body into their family’s life in the midst of their terrible suffering, if they had chosen to turn away the offerings of kindness – the women who pursued this family in kindness with cooked meals, babysitting, sitting with, crying with and nursing Kara through the horrors of cancer treatment – then they would have turned away Christ’s gifts of tender kindness. Throughout the book, Kara shares of situations where she hid away, tried to protect herself or her family from the truth, or leant into striving in the understandable pride of wanting to care for her family herself and each and every single time she shows us how Christ kept pursuing her through the community He had placed around her, a community that chose to keep leaning into Christ – into the excruciating cross of grief, but also into the beautiful Presence of a Heavenly Father. This Presence is palpable from each page to page, as with each ache, each piece of pain and grief, His Body leans in and embraces the suffering, each other, but also the incredible Hope of Glory.
So, how can we receive the kindness Christ extends us? Kara and her local community show us how: by leaning in, leaning into the truth, both the truth of this world’s suffering, but also the truth of an incredible life-giving Hope, by choosing to accept the outstretched arms of our Saviour, of His Beautiful Church, in and through the suffering as we step forward onto the path He has laid before us. This is a path that will lead us to our beautiful Home- a Home of no more tears, no more pain, no more incredible grief, but joy unbridled, life abundant, families reunited from across the world and time, a Home that Kara has now fully entered. May it be said of us as well, that we too clasped tight to the beautiful kindness He extends us, embracing and leaning into it every single day.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Kara Tippetts’ And It Was Beautiful for review purposes. This has in no way impacted the opinions I express here.