Kara was a dreamer of the grandest sort. She always had some new plan or idea or even trip rolling around in her head. Some hope of the next thing she wanted to accomplish. And when she wrote The Hardest Peace, a big dream came true for her.
Kara and I would often dream over writing a book together. Different subjects were discussed. Ideas shooting back and forth between us. But the one that stuck—the one that became the obvious front runner—was the subject we’d taken a front row seat to. Me, as an observer and Kara as a participant. I’d never done anything like walking through suffering with a friend before, and the lessons learned along the way were many. Kara would often say about cancer and dying—we don’t know how to do this.
We weren’t experts. We were simply on a road none of us expected to be on.
As people have been searching for The Hardest Peace online, they’ve begun to come across Just Show Up. The book Kara and I wrote together is available for preorder though it doesn’t release until October.
The dance of walking through suffering together is the tagline, and I love the imagery. Truly, it is a dance many of us didn’t know how to do, but we stumbled through together. As I was gifted with the great privilege of writing with Kara, I knew it was my job to represent her friends and community.
This is our story, and it’s one I’m incredibly blessed to tell. The good, the heartbreaking hard, the beauty. The grace of God always showing up.
Seeing Kara’s name on the cover is incredibly bittersweet. I wish with every part of me she could be here for this. But we always knew this might be part of the plan. We always knew, but how we hoped and prayed it might turn out differently. Kara got to see the cover of the book before she flew away to meet her Jesus face-to-face, and we even looked at it on Amazon together. Always the encourager, she reminded me her words would live on when her body didn’t.
This book is another gift she left us. Our girl who wasn’t afraid to plan and pray for our lives without her.
Kara taught showing up in marvelous ways. She changed the landscape of what that looked like for many of us. I know she changed it for me.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned along this journey—from walking through suffering with Kara to writing itself—it’s this: God always shows up. Just not always in the way we expect him to.
In the intense pain of watching Jason and the kids mourn and miss Kara, in the tears shed between so many of her loves, I am CLINGING to that promise that he never leaves us.
I am watching for grace, praying for it. God didn’t leave us then, and he’s not leaving us now.
Kara fought, fought, fought to remind us she trusted God. She told us he was writing a beautiful story. Our job now is to keep trusting. It doesn’t have to be pretty. And when the moments of doubt seize us—and how can they not with our limited understanding?—we can cry out to our Father. Help me believe.