Hello, and welcome to Mundane Faithfulness. We’ve had a surge of new followers lately, and I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself and share a little about this sacred place. My name is Blythe, and I have been the steward of Mundane Faithfulness since Kara Tippetts went to be with Jesus in March of 2015.
Kara started this blog as a simple mommy blog, but after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2012, it became a place where she processed her journey and worked out her faith. It became a place where folks came to find a kindred spirit and a soul who fought to find God’s grace in every mundane wrinkle of life. It became a place where Kara shared the joys of walking with Jesus—even walking cancer with Jesus. And it eventually became a place where Kara processed her dying with her readers—her “friends she hadn’t met yet.” She came here to share updates but to also share her life and her faith. Mundane Faithfulness wasn’t a typical mommy blog, and Kara was certainly not a typical mommy.
I remember when Kara first mentioned my taking over the blog. It was in those last months when it seemed all we did together was talk and process and wonder. We would talk about our community, the church plant we were a part of, our marriages, our children. We would process her prognoses together and what it meant to live well and seek grace in the midst of tragedy. And we would wonder about Heaven, about Jesus, about love and joy and hope. Not a day passed that we didn’t have plenty to talk about; yet, many days passed when we didn’t feel a need to talk and were content to just sit quietly.
But on this particular day, Kara was planning. We had already planned her memorial service so that Jason, her husband, wouldn’t feel that burden. Those conversations had been difficult enough; I thought we were done with the hard talks. Then she mentioned her amazing Mundane Faithfulness, how precious it was to her, and how she wanted it to continue after she was gone. She asked me if I would be willing to take over.
Friends, I admit that I tried to gloss over this conversation. Somehow, I was able to dream about Heaven with her and plan her memorial service without sobbing (in front of her…), but receiving the gift of her treasured blog acknowledged her eventual death in a way I wasn’t ready to face. In God’s grace, I agreed, thanked her, and promised that I would care for Mundane Faithfulness in whatever ways she wished. And then I changed the subject.
Several weeks later, I received a late-night text from Kara. This wasn’t unusual; we had experienced So Much Life with each other in our few years as friends—cancer, surgeries, births, deaths, and planting a church in which our husbands were the only staff. We had a constant text conversation going at all hours with a ridiculous range of topics from dirty jokes to prayer requests to worries about our children to wise words our husbands had spoken to words for our Gross Word List. I mean, she was my son’s godmother—she knew everything about me and had access to my phone—and my heart—24/7. She texted me once about meeting a prospective wife for Jason and wanted me to know who this woman was. Uhhhh…Awkward. But that was Kara—she never hesitated to speak her mind or her heart. Which is why Mundane Faithfulness is such a sacred, special place. (By the way, I never did find out that woman’s name—I assured Kara that if Jason could pick her out for his wife, then I had no doubt he would be able to pick another spectacular wife without my help!)
Anyway, I received this text late one night. Kara was in hospice care at this point, and in an attempt to gain better control over her symptoms, she was in the hospital for several days. She asked if I could come over so she could talk. It was urgent.
As any of Kara’s girlfriends would tell you, nothing could keep us away from her in those months leading to her death. She could text and have any one of us (or, as frequently happened, all of us!) over at her house in a jiffy. Nothing was different about this night. I kissed my babies in their cribs, kissed my husband on the couch, and raced to the hospital.
The hospice ward was a beautiful place. I know that seems like a strange thing to say, but it’s true. The staff at Pikes Peak Hospice had worked very carefully to create an environment that was soothing, peaceful, and safe. I always gasped when I stepped off the elevator onto that floor, the tranquility rushing over me. I could hear nothing but the gurgle of the fish tank, and it took a moment for my eyes to adjust to the soft lighting. I took a deep breath and walked toward Kara’s room. She was lying there, fighting for every second she could keep her eyes open under the influence of the strong medications she had been given. Her dear mentor (who had become the community mama of all our hearts) Mickey was there, resting. I sat on Kara’s bed with her. Our conversation was swift and urgent. Kara was thinking about Mundane Faithfulness and wanted the peace of mind knowing everything was sorted out.
She told me what she wanted for it once she was gone: repost all of her original blog posts, give Jason a place to share his heart, and make it my own. She had a team of encouragers and helpers chosen so I wouldn’t be alone in this (you can find them in the About section). I listened to her every word, asked clarifying questions, and watched as she fell to sleep, content knowing that her beloved blog would be taken care of.
I went home and wept. That conversation made her death and dying more of a reality than anything else. I didn’t want Mundane Faithfulness because I didn’t want Kara to die. But I had accepted Mundane Faithfulness, and Jesus was asking me to accept Kara’s death.
Kara did soon die, and Mundane Faithfulness passed to me. The first thing we did was post the obituary I had written weeks before with Kara’s input. And soon thereafter, we started reposting Kara’s blogs.
Even though I had read all of her posts, there was something different about reading them after she was gone from this world. Her original blog had crashed irreparably a few months before, so I was having to use rough drafts from which to draw the posts. I had to read each entry carefully and make corrections and edits and make sure Kara’s voice shone through. I had to ignore and fight through my grief to get the work done. Eventually, I realized that I didn’t need to shove my grief under the rug—it was okay to engage it. In fact, it was good to engage it! Being so involved with her words and reliving her last few years became how I grieved. I felt Kara’s presence so closely and understood her journey differently. The hope of her faith struck me in new ways, and I discovered places of my heart that hurt in ways I hadn’t noticed before. And I found new places of joy that threatened to overwhelm me. (I pray the same for all of you who are discovering Kara’s words for the first time, or who are perhaps rediscovering them!)
Our little Mundane Faithfulness team came together and brainstormed ways to enjoy the blog while hopefully blessing Kara’s dear readers. We posted our friends’ stories of friendship with Kara, we wrote book reviews and random posts on things like manners, we reflected A LOT on grief, we did a series on community. We even had a short-lived podcast, which brought us together in grief and joy and celebration of Kara and grace. It was a precious season. All the while, I reposted Kara’s blog posts one at a time. It took years. And lots of tears. And plenty of smiles.
Once we finished posting Kara’s blogs, we felt like the season had ended; we were content to simply let the blog stay active as long as we had the funds to support it so that Kara’s readers could still have access to her wonderful, life-giving writing and the miraculous story of Kara’s faith. However, with the release of the documentary, The Long Goodbye, we are making new friends—folks who are being introduced to Kara for the first time. We want to welcome all of you and tell you how thrilled we are that you have found this stunning, one-of-a-kind story. And we want to share a bit about this place you have found in Mundane Faithfulness.
We have been receiving a lot of emails, so I would like to try to answer questions in one place; I apologize that we are not able to respond to all of your emails. Please be assured that we are grateful for each and every one of you and your interest in Kara, Mundane Faithfulness, and this community. And for those of you who have shared your own hard stories with us, please know that you are prayed over and honored for your vulnerability and tenderness.
Now, we should make clear that Mundane Faithfulness is not associated in any way with the documentary. If you have questions or thoughts or observations about the film, you will want to contact the filmmakers directly—while we here at Mundane Faithfulness enjoy your reflections, we are sure that the filmmakers will enjoy them even more! They are active on social media and have a Facebook page specifically for the movie.
Many of you have expressed a desire to donate money or items to be a blessing to others. We have good news for you: Kara’s brother Dennis has formed the Kara Tippetts Foundation to help other families experiencing terminal illness. I know he would love to hear from you and help you brainstorm ways you can bless others going through hard stories.
Lots of folks who have seen the movie are now interested in reading Kara’s blog and her books! This is awesome news—we love to share Kara’s wisdom and love. You can find her books simply by clicking on the Book tab at the top of the page—it will take you to a page that lists her books. And It was Beautiful is a compilation of her blog posts if you’d like to read them all together. Also, check your library—I know that ours has Kara’s books, so you might be able to find them there! Side note: Kara’s books are not available in hardback and Big Love is only available as an ebook.
Finally, the question we get the most is, How are Jason and the kids? Oh, how I love this question, for it reflects such compassion and tenderness. It would make Kara smile if she knew how many thousands (yes, thousands) of times I’ve received this question. In a word, they are well. The kids are almost 5 years bigger than what you see in the movie and on the blog. As Mickey observed days after Kara’s death, they have chosen joy, and they have continued to do so through their grief and as they have navigated their new normal. In fact, I would easily venture to say that not only are they choosing joy, but they are thriving. Just as Kara hoped and prayed for, Jason remarried (a most lovely woman, as I predicted!), and the family has moved away from Colorado Springs to start a new church. And, in the happiest of news, they are expecting a baby! The children are thrilled, as is our community. We see so much redemption and healing in this story, even as we continue to miss our Kara.
We have learned that grief—that ugly, sob-inducing, blinding grief—and joy—that overwhelming, laugh-inducing, beautiful joy—can co-exist. We have learned that we can mourn Kara while living a new normal with new friends and new stories. We have learned that missing our dearest friend teaches us to yearn for Heaven, and that in yearning for Heaven, we learn what it means to live in the Hope of Christ.
So here I sit, reflecting on the last several years. I was reminded the other day how Kara and I had set our phone alarms for 3pm every day to pray for our church, the staff (our husbands), and the leadership. I had heart pangs remembering the intimacy we shared, the grace that abounded, and the intensity of life in that season. And I realize that none of that is gone—it abides deep in my soul, and some day my longing for Kara will be fulfilled when I see her again. But bigger than that, my longing for complete peace will be fulfilled when I see the face of Jesus. He will wipe away my very last tear, he will swoop me in his arms, and he will rejoice in our reunion. That is what my heart longs for most deeply, beyond missing Kara. And we can all experience that if we simply say yes to the call of Jesus to join him in his love and grace, just as Kara showed us.
Thank you for visiting this place. Thank you for joining us on this journey.