Like most families, mine has been touched by terminal illness. I've lost grandparents and an uncle to cancer; Another grandparent to the horrific Lou Gehrig's disease. During each of their illnesses, I depended on my faith and inevitably encountered God in powerful ways. Even so, I struggled to find grace in the midst of those hard times.
Like so many others, I think that's why I've been drawn to Kara Tippetts. In And It Was Beautiful, Kara chronicles her battle with breast cancer, a battle which she eventually lost. And It Was Beautiful is a compilation of Kara's blog posts that many of her fans will recognize. It's beautifully edited, arranged in such a way so as to showcase her story without losing her unique voice.
Kara's story is raw. She doesn't attempt to sugarcoat her pain or the ugly aspects of her journey with cancer. She acknowledges her fears, especially the ones that pertain to leaving her four young children. As Kara says, “It's not so much that I want my children to remember me, as I want to be woven into the fabric of their living.”
Throughout the journey chronicled in And It Was Beautiful, Kara also acknowledges her faith. It's clear that Jesus is not only her hope, but also the one who enables her to find grace, even on the hardest of her days. In Kara's words, “Cancer wants to be a thief and steal my moments, but there is always grace.” Elsewhere in And It Was Beautiful, she says, “Cancer is causing us to see all things beautiful in the mundane.”
So often, when it comes to serious illnesses, we only hear of God when miracles occur – when the surgery goes well or the chemo works. Kara's story acknowledges something different: That God is worthy of our praise and a giver of hope even in the midst of a story that ends in death. As she says, “So many believe that hard comes and then God makes it better. It is so easy to forget that our salvation came by way of the hard of a cross... Blessing the Lord is not clean; it's not just when things are easy and good and healthy. It's thanking Him at ALL times and in ALL circumstances, not for the painful things but for his presence.”
Kara's story – and her journey – was hard. And yet, as the title of her book suggests, it was beautiful. And It Was Beautiful will leave readers inspired – regardless of the hard they're facing – and challenge them to find the small graces in the ordinariness of their lives. After all, as Kara reminds us, “The small graces today as well as the big ones tomorrow are the essence of living in faith.”
Disclosure: I received a free copy of And It Was Beautiful in exchange for a fair and honest review.