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