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Storyteller. Grace Dweller.

I’m Jennifer — wife of an Iowa farmer, mom to two girls, new book author. I believe in you, because I believe in Jesus. You matter to Him, and you matter to me. more »

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Tuesday 24th March 2015

#TellHisStory: What Kara Tippetts Taught Us About Living Our Story

In the end, each of us is a story.

And hers read like a prequel — the back-story to the real story that was already written for her, before time began.

Maybe you’ve read her story by now, the story of Kara Tippetts, who taught us all how to live well and die well. She lived the kind of story that you sort of don’t want to read, because it’s so hard … but that you want to memorize, because it’s so beautiful.

“My little body has grown tired of battle, and treatment is no longer helping,” Kara wrote. “But what I see, what I know, what I have is Jesus. He has still given me breath, and with it I pray I would live well and fade well. By degrees doing both, living and dying, as I have moments left to live. I get to draw my people close, kiss them and tenderly speak love over their lives. I get to pray into eternity my hopes and fears for the moments of my loves. I get to laugh and cry and wonder over Heaven. I do not feel like I have the courage for this journey, but I have Jesus—and He will provide. He has given me so much to be grateful for, and that gratitude, that wondering over His love, will cover us all. And it will carry us—carry us in ways we cannot comprehend.”

Kara was 38. She was the mother of four children. She died March 22, 2015, of cancer.

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This is the part of the story that I can’t stop thinking about. In her last days of the prequel, Kara said it like this:  

“I feel like a little girl at a party who’s Dad’s asking her to leave early. I’m not afraid of dying. I just don’t want to go.”

My friend Ann … she said she felt like a little girl at that same party:

“I feel like I am a kid still left at the party — and I’m at the window watching her go… watching the life of the party go.”

lydia at window

And for a moment, I felt my soul stand next to Ann’s — two farm girls watching a friend leave early. And I imagined it then, how it was happening up over the bend, where we wouldn’t see:

I imagines all the faces at the windows of Heaven, pressed hard against the glass, saying, “Look! Look! Here she comes!”

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In Memory of Kara

Join me today in praying for Kara’s husband, her children, and all who loved her.

Donations may be sent to a fund benefitting the Tippetts children:
Jason Tippetts
P.O. Box 49727
Colorado Springs, CO 80949

You can purchase Kara’s book, The Hardest Peace, here.

Read Kara’s obituary here.

Read Ann Voskamp’s beautiful post about Kara and “dying well” here. 

Watch Kara’s documentary trailer.

Love,
Jennifer

#TellHisStory

Hey Tell His Story crew! It’s always a joy to gather here every week. The linkup goes lives at 4 p.m. (CT), and you’re welcome to link up. If you would use the badge on your blog, found here, that would be great. And if you would visit at least one other blogger in the link-up and encourage them with a comment, that would be beautiful!

Be sure to check the sidebar later. I’ll be featuring one of you over there! Amy Jung is our latest featured writer. (To be considered for linkup, be sure to use our badge or a link to the linkup in your post. 🙂 )

xo

Jennifer


  • Thank you for sharing these words. Here. Today. Kara’s story is not a new story to me, but surely it’s one that God has and will continue to use to proclaim is unwavering goodness to the multitudes. It’s not the way we would write the story. But it’s marked by His amazing grace love nonetheless.

  • Tears. Lord, comfort this family. You say it so well here, Jennifer. “She lived the kind of story that you sort of don’t want to read, because it’s so hard … but that you want to memorize, because it’s so beautiful”

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  • John D Blase

    Good words, Jennifer. Thank you.

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  • joni

    What a beautiful soul

  • You imagine well, friend. We take comfort in that vision.

  • Kate

    Beautifully written, Jennifer. She was a bright, bright light.

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  • Mary

    Kara’s story has captivated me, brought me to messy tears and has shined a bright light in how living life can be done well-very well in the process of dying. Thank you for this story and for sharing with so many others.

  • In the short time that I followed Kara’s story I grew to love her because she was all about snuggles and giggles. She loved her people so beautifully. Her life is a reminder that we need to cherish each moment and not miss the beauty of the every day.

    I’ve been praying for her man and her littles. My best friend lost her husband last year to cancer, and having walked this road with her, I know how grief is exhausting and hits you in waves. I am thankful that the Tippetts are surrounded by so many who have stepped into their pain, and I know that they will continue to press in.

    I look forward to meeting Kara personally one day in heaven. I am sure she will have a nice corner spot there chosen with intention to take in the beauty of Jesus. 🙂

  • MsLorretty

    Truly, from the moment I stumbled across her threshold, I knew I was in the presence of Someone special. No matter what the frustrations or joys were in her life… that’s what she wanted most.. to make sure we were always finding ourselves in the presence of Someone special. And now she is totally in His presence– known and completely knowing. It’s not easy to imagine but she gave us a reason to trust and obey til death do we part. Amen!

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  • What a beautiful story of the grace of God! Thank you, Jennifer. Praying for strength and peace for her husband and children.

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  • Kara shared this in her book, and I underlined it and circled it and wrote it on an index card to stick in my Bible. “But because I believe God’s plans for me are better than what I could plan for myself, rather than run away from the path he has set before me, I want to run toward it. I don’t want to try to change God’s mind—his thoughts are perfect. I want to think his thoughts. I don’t want to change God’s timing—his timing is perfect. I want the grace to accept his timing. I don’t want to change God’s plan—his plan is perfect. I want to embrace his plan and see how he is glorified through it. I want to submit.” (Nancy Guthrie, Holding on to Hope) Oh sweet Kara, so much glory to our good God! If we ever doubt how one story can change hearts and lives for Jesus we only need remember this sister saint.

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  • Yes, I will join you today in praying for Kara’s family, her children. Thanks for highlighting her story here. Some stories are sad, as you say, but I’m sure Kara is rejoicing today at the best birthday party ever. (From time to time I lift up a prayer for Wanda, who lost her husband Milo a few weeks ago.)

  • Dawn Paoletta

    Thank you for sharing. I had not heard of Kara before her brave departure but am touched by her living and dying and leaving such a beautiful legacy for us all. A beautifully startling grace!

  • Thank you for a new perspective on Kara’s passing. I’ve been so consumed with thinking about what/who she left behind that I hadn’t thought once about the event that happened as she entered into her eternal state. A heavy heart has been lifted a bit…as it always here in your space! Thanks for featuring my story!

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  • Thank you dear Jennifer for sharing about Kara here. Her “prequel”, I love that. 🙂 May we all live our prequel with such grace and beauty; secure that His arms are waiting to usher us into the rest of our story; His Story, beautiful redemption.

    I’m the girl at the party watching my friends standing at the window, grieving, and silently feeling their pain and grief too, praying for strength as they say a weighty, yet hopeful, “see you in awhile.”

  • Michelle Anderson

    Look! Look! Here she comes! This. We have to hold onto this.

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  • Ellen Chauvin

    Beautiful Jennifer! What an inspiration she was. I heard an Adrian Rogers quote just last night that said: “You’re not really ready to live until you’re not afraid to die.” Amen to that. Kara lived and died beautifully!

  • Kamea Hope

    An absolutely beautiful faith. Such grace in the midst of an unthinkable trial.

  • This.
    “I feel like a little girl at a party who’s Dad’s asking her to leave early. I’m not afraid of dying. I just don’t want to go.”
    Blessings and prayers for her family still here….

  • Karrilee Aggett

    Just so much love! xoxo

  • Such a beautiful life she lived and such a heartbreaking and beautiful way she died. Praying for her husband and family today.

  • Thank you for introducing us to Kara, her family, and her beautiful story, Jennifer. Much like the post I just linked up, God is always working for our good – even in the bad. I can relate to this post in a way as I have experienced the much-too-early loss of a loved one. I will keep her family in my prayers. Blessings to you and yours.

  • I can’t read a single word about Kara without my heart just breaking open – but every single time it is a prompt to pray for her family and the legacy that stretches out before her kids – the legacy she left for each of us. Thank you for sharing the words as well as a practical and tangible way we can support the family.

  • Tammy Provins

    A beautiful faith…A beautiful life! Praying for her family to find peace and comfort in the arms of Jesus.

  • bluecottonmemory

    It is that “Look! Look! Here she comes” that holds so much hope for those of us left behind by those we’ve loved so much! Such a beautiful tribute to such a beautiful heart!

  • I love your image of the faces in heaven peering out the window in excited anticipation to welcome her home. I need to remember that one.

  • Beautiful words, Jennifer. The end reminds me of the sailboat story. We stand at the shore waiving goodbye, watching as the sailboat disappears over the horizon. While there are others, on the other side, waving hello. Praying peace and comfort over all who love her.

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