Kara’s Collection: Kept

from an article originally posted October 9, 2014…

Until this point, I have only shared my journey and the journey of our family. David C Cook granted me the amazing privilege of sharing my journey on a larger scale. It has been an unbelievable journey of seeking grace and living near to Jesus.

When I was asked to write to Brittany, my heart was heavy. My dear friend and I sat on the bed of my daughter quieted by the task before me. We sat and quietly prayed that my words would reflect my heart. My faith. My hope for Brittany. Words have a way of not working when they aren’t expressed with the feelings a face, a touch, a gentle tone can bring. Some of you could hear my heart, sadly some could not. So many have been with me on my journey for so long- you know my heart without a word spoken. But yesterday was the first introduction of so many to my story.

Here is my hope, here is my heart. There are certainly people who vehemently disagree with my stance on this. Can we speak kindly to one another in our disagreement? We are talking about possibly the most tender moment in the life of another; let’s care for one another as we disagree with gentleness.

So many of you are hurting on my behalf for the ugly words that are being spoken. Many of you know I’m sensitive and, frankly, weakened by cancer. Please do not take on an offense on my behalf. If you feel called to confront an unkindness, please do it gently and in love. This is an important conversation. Unbelievably important. It is a conversation that is much bigger than I am, but I feel called to enter it. Yesterday, I sat in the office of my kind-faced oncologist. We were broken over what is happening. He longs to bring healing and comfort. He talked how there is a deep trust in our partnership. As I was leaving, he encouraged me to step out on this topic and be bold. Well, my knees are wobbly, but I’m bringing as much love to this topic as I am able.

And, of course, my faith is intertwined. If I believe something, wouldn’t it be an unkindness for me not to want to share it with another? I believe each breath of Brittany matters, is important, is seen. I want her to know I love her, my faith asks me to share my love. My big love matters. And I pray it will meet her—not the endless unkindness that surround her. This is not a Kara vs. Brittany issue. This is one broken and sick woman looking upon another and saying she matters.

Friends, I must confess. It has always been my practice to read each and every comment. I have to confess I have not been reading them all after my post. There was too much ugly. Too much meanness. So, I have been waiting to feel stronger to read. I’m sorry to all of you that sent love and prayers. They are felt.

One person in their comments meant to be unkind and called me a T-Total evangelist. I smiled a bit at that assessment. I would say before cancer I was a shy evangelist. But now, now that I know there is a limit to my days, I’m giving what was never mine to keep. Why would I hold tightly to this Jesus that asks me to open my hands and pour out His big love. Why? No; I delight that I get this opportunity to share the love I know. If I were in this bed, and you knew unbelievable, overwhelming, overflowing, unbelievable love and you didn’t share it with me… Well friends, I simply can’t be quieted. I have love to share.

Yesterday a friend shared my story and one person replied, Being a suicide interventionist I have held the belief that people have a right to their own death to avoid suffering. This letter may have just changed my mind. Our suffering on earth matters. We are made in His image and are called to be like Christ, does that mean we are called to suffer as Christ suffered? He never avoided his own suffering and death although he too had the power to do so. Oh my soul—a heart tendered. I’m not sure there is anything I have seen more stunning than that. The heart of this one gentleman matters. I’m so thankful I didn’t stop reading comments before I saw his.

Friends, and you are my friends, I know it has been hard to watch people say hurtful things about me. But God is the keeper and protector of my reputation. This a conversation that is important. The grace will be present for us to walk into this hard conversation. We do covet your prayers. How are you being met today in the hard edges of life? How are you being tenderly kept?