Kara’s Collection: To LIVE!

From an article originally posted January 20, 2013…

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
— Philippians 1:21

For years, I have loved this verse. You can imagine finding myself with cancer has shed new light on this verse for me this year. Truthfully, I have struggled and wrestled much with this verse this year. It is such a simple verse; Jesus has often, often brought it to mind. And every time The Lord brought this verse to me, my internal voice would answer the sweet Spirit, We don’t believe this. I have written emails to friends, struggled, and meditated on the fact that we do not believe the gain of leaving here to be with Christ. Please stick with me until the end of this post, because last night transformed how my heart now thinks of this verse.

I will show you why I have struggled to believe this verse to be true:

Eleanor Grace

How could not being here for this gentle heart be better? How will someone else read her heavy heart and know when to push to help her share her heavy burdens? Who else, Lord? And selfishly, I want to see what the Lord has in store for the deep waters of my firstborn.

Harper Joy

How could I not be here to love this giver of love? Who will know her use of silly to protect her heart? This lover of humanity understands my great joy in sharing life with others; can’t we grow old learning the love of others together? And selfishly, how could I not be here to see this beautifully unique girl grow into a woman?

Lake Edward

Oh my only son, my lover of work, my fierce protector, my driven, stubborn, fierce, focused son. Selfishly, the Lord has allowed me to be his gentle place, his soft place of love driven by all those lovely characteristics. Oh selfishly, I want to be the only one that knows this place until he meets his forever wife. Lord, wouldn’t it be gain for me to see the wonderful plan you have for my son?

Story Jane

From the start, this one has brought me the greatest doubt, greatest heartbreak, largest angst. Beginning this one, tears begin in earnest. Not because I favor this one. What hurts for me is that we do not remember 3. We do not remember life at this age. I believe we carry with us a sense of love that carries us and gives us confidence to step out in life. My heart struggle is, how can it be grace, how can I call it good that this sweet baby will have to learn of her mama from her daddy and elder siblings? When we did not know my prognosis, I simply could not understand the gain of heaven when looking into the eyes of this sweet face. I, again selfishly, wanted a front-row seat to what God was growing in this unique heart.

Jason Edward

This one may be where my faith is extremely weak. This is where the idols of my heart are exposed. How could heaven be better? How can the jokes be funnier? Who knows me better? I still remember the joke he is whispering to me here. How is heaven gain? How could it be better?

But it IS better! It is gain!

But last night as I was preparing for a chapel service I will be speaking in at my children’s school, the Lord made a huge impression on my heart. HUGE! Heart changing, focus changing, sweet repentance bringing. Lifting my soul, rejoicing new eyes seeing moment.

In the quiet of 2:30am, Jesus very clearly showed me my sin. It was this moment where I was gently urged to take another look at this verse that is constantly being whispered to me by the Spirit. I will tell you how my heart heard it last night.

Kara, you have no imagination for how heaven is gain. You cannot see it.

Then the verse from 1 Corinthians came to mind...

But, as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.’

Then, the Spirit prompted me to look again at the verse... For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

I then realized my sin, my great sin. It is not my job to understand the gain of death, the gain of my forever home. It is not my job to hold on tightly to the things I fiercely love and cry out, “Please, oh please let me stay.” Though I do pray for long life. Focusing on the end of the story and forgetting the beginning is my great, GREAT sin. Praise Jesus, for revealing to me my wrong, wrong focus.


Are you alive? I am! Right now, I AM! I’m not yet dead, I don’t know the gain of heaven right now. I don’t need to! Not yet. So for now, to live is Christ. What is that, you ask! I can hardly wait to tell you! I can hardly wait to see how Jesus is going to show me. I can hardly wait to see how Jesus intends to shape my story. I knew these verses were special, but I couldn’t see it, and there are portions of this I still do not understand. This I know is true—today I’m alive. Today there are countless hurting hearts (my own included) that desperately need Christ. Desperately need the love of God. Desperately need the truth of grace, desperately need my love. You see my kids are included in this new picture of grace I’m ALIVE! I get to live for Christ with my children. I get to love, smother them with kisses, I get to live Christ right stinking next to them.

Now the heaven being gain, I have to leave that struggle to Jesus. I believe He understands. He cares about my heavy heart burden in this area. Please join me as I explore a new side of this beautiful verse written by the Apostle Paul all these many years ago. I would, in my sin, say in my snarky voice, he didn’t have kids.... Oh, my sin ran deep, I even was mad at Paul. Please walk with me as I enjoy the gift of repentance and learn what Jesus has for me in learning to live Christ. I’m giddy to see what He has planned!