And It Was Beautiful–A Book Review

and it was beautiful#Cancer puts in an appearance, but the grace of God holds the starring role. #AndItWasBeautiful… Click To Tweet

I didn’t want to read this book. I hate knowing the end of the story before I begin, and one can’t be in the Christian blogging world without knowing how the story ends. I avoided reading Kara Tippett’s first book The Hardest Peace, because, well, it’s about cancer.

Ever since my husband received his non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma diagnosis fourteen years ago, when our daughters were only eight and nine, cancer stories have both fascinated and repelled me.

I remember watching Shadowlands with my senior English class two years after Pedro’s successful stem cell transplant and weeping silently at the back of the classroom through the entire second half of the movie. The story probed the wounds in my memory and found them unhealed.

For the past six years I’ve found healing in writing about our family’s experiences with cancer, caregiving and cancer fallout. I even started a blog for other ‘recovering cancer caregivers’ in the hopes of helping others who found their caregiving journey a difficult and lonely existence.

When I saw the title available on NetGalley, I impulsively clicked the request button. After all, in experiencing my own healing, perhaps I could make it through someone else’s story without feeling survivor’s guilt by proxy (cancer caregivers experience a lot of things by proxy: chemo-brain by proxy is another example).

and it was beautifulThe title of the book aptly describes the content—And it Was Beautiful. Kara writes about the hard places of cancer; the ache of knowing she won’t be around for so many of her children’s firsts; the despair of treatment after treatment failing to work; the physical exhaustion that comes with treatment; and the challenge of doing the mundane tasks like laundry and cleaning. But its not really a book about hard places—it’s a book about grace.

I discovered that the hard places didn’t make me weep—the parenting stores did. The diamond prose that refracted and dispersed the beauty of her parenting during the hard times always brought tears of recrimination to my eyes—oh that I could have been so intentional with my children during our hard times.

The book makes the reader pause and think. If a woman dying from cancer can extend grace to others, live and love intentionally on a regular basis, and grow ever closer to her Savior—what excuse do I have? I have health, family, a job I love and a comfortable life. I have no excuse for my crabby attitude and miserly extension of grace to those who offend me (note—I said ‘offend’ not ‘sin against’—that’s how petty I can act at times).

If you’re worried about reading a book where you know the ending—don’t worry. Your spirit will feel refreshed (and you may have to keep a box of Kleenex handy—but watering plays an essential part of growth). Cancer puts in an appearance—but the grace of God holds the starring role.

Inspire Me Monday Instructions

What’s your inspirational story? Link up below, and don’t forget the 1-2-3s of building community:

1. Link up your most inspirational post from the previous week (just ONE, please).

2. Vist TWO other contributors (especially the person who linked up right before you) and leave an encouraging comment.

3. Spread the cheer THREE ways! Tweet something from a post you read, share a post on your Facebook page, stumble upon it, pin it or whatever social media outlet you prefer—just do it!

Please link back to this week’s post or add the button to your post so that we can spread the inspirational cheer :).

I'm joining my friends @blestbutstrest and @caregivermom to share #inspirational stories. Join us! Click To Tweet

So, go ahead! Take the plunge and share your most inspiring post with us!

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Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a 'recovering cancer caregiver' who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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  • Great review! I read Just Show Up and felt the same way — not just another cancer book!
    Michele Morin recently posted…10 Words to Consider Before Becoming a HusbandMy Profile

  • I wish I had a fraction of the wisdom and grace that Kara showed…she’s really something special, and I would strongly recommend both caregivers and cancer patients to read every word she made public.
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser recently posted…Your Dying Spouse 113 – Time To PrayMy Profile

  • Hi Anita … thanks for sharing Kara’s story this morning … this is a hard one, isn’t it. The ache, the despair, the exhaustion … and yet the grace.

    I’m putting this on my to-read list. And thanking God for her legacy.
    Linda Stoll recently posted…A Bouquet of Rainbow Colored Life-SaversMy Profile

    • She has a beautiful legacy–and that’s what matters in life, isn’t it? No one will care about how much money we made, they will only care about how we made them feel.
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…Book Review of A Spy’s DevotionMy Profile

  • Jed

    I love how you describe the book as a grace story, and I am always inspired when I hear about others clinging to God during their trials. I want my life to be a story of grace–both demonstrating it and living in it!
    Thank you for this awesome reminder that beauty is possible in the midst of pain.

    Thank you for the opportunity to connect in the link-up too. Wishing you a blessed week.
    Jed recently posted…How to Grow Your Blog with the Compound Effect (Link-up #5)My Profile

  • Wonderful review, Anita. I, too, have been inspired by the way in which Kara lived – loving many & in the moment. Glad to have joined you this morning. Have a great Monday!
    Joanne Viola recently posted…Games, Cooties and StoriesMy Profile

  • I have done the same thing as you for the same reasons. I just don’t know that I can read the book. My own story of walking with my mother through cancer is hard enough. I don’t feel like living it vicariously through someone else. Maybe soon but today it’s too raw. I am ordering some books in a few days… maybe I’ll put it in the shopping cart then put it on my shelf until I feel I can pick it up.
    thanks for the encouraging words about it. I’m sure it is very grace filled… I just don’t know that I feel like using up that many Kleenex! 🙂 If you understand what I mean!
    Rachel recently posted…What I Learned in January and A Happy Birthday to Mom!My Profile

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  • Pam

    What a great review of a resource to bless and keep in mind for facing such a trial as this! Thanks so much, Anita! This was powerful!

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  • A great review Anita, I followed Kara’s blog and her journey. You wrote well when you said, “Cancer puts in an appearance—but the grace of God holds the starring role.”

    • Thanks for stopping by, Susan :). I’m going to have to read her other books now!

  • Anita, I didn’t know this book was out. Now I want to read it. I read The Hardest Peace, and Just Show Up. Both books challenged me and urged me to both grow closer to the Lord and be more intentional with those around me. So glad you shared about it.

    It’s funny, isn’t it, how when we read a story similar to a hard that we’ve walked how it makes us tear up. Infertility and adoption stories do that to me every single time. Thanks for sharing today!
    Jeanne Takenaka recently posted…Change: When Change Finds YouMy Profile

    • I think the official publication date is March 1. I got approved to read it on NetGalley. It’s true, those stories that most closely mirror my own bring on the most tears (but a Folger’s commercial has made me cry before 😉 ).

  • Sounds like a moving book! Sometimes those in the hard places can teach us best. Thanks for sharing on #LMMLinkup

  • I have a different book of hers on my Kindle. This does sound like a hard (emotional) but good read.
    Barbara H. recently posted…Book Review: The Bronte PlotMy Profile

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