Because of Kara

Jill Blog, Just Show Up, Kara Tippetts 21 Comments

I was driving home the other night when this question hit me: Would I do it again? Would I walk that painful path with Kara again if it was presented to me? Or if I had the chance to opt out, would I?

Sometimes I look back at Kara’s passing and I wonder if it broke something in me, but then I realize all it did was bring to light the things that were already broken in me. 

Like my struggles with faith…though I’ve never wavered from believing God exists, I have struggled with believing that He loves me or that He hasn’t left me during rough periods of life. Logically I can look back and know that that never happened—I was never, not for one millisecond, alone—but emotionally, I don’t always believe it. I have to go to The Word to know The Truth.

Since Kara passed, it’s been six years of on and off counseling and pain and grief and the kind of growing and stretching that causes soreness. Ultimately, the broken parts of me have become a better version of me since Kara’s passing.

Before Kara won her battle with cancer and gained heaven, I was terrible at understanding my own emotions and processing through things. Before Kara died I often shoved aside how I felt, and I had no tools whatsoever to deal with much of anything emotionally.

After Kara passed, when I was doing radio interviews for Just Show Up and talking about Kara over and over again, (sometimes numerous times a day) I just shuttered. I got to the point where I could not do one more interview. I remember an interview offer for Valentine’s Day—five months after the book had released—and I declined. It was the first time I’d done that. It was on a large platform, and I felt bad saying no, but I knew that I absolutely had nothing left in me. After five months of talking about Kara living and Kara dying, I was done.

Don’t get me wrong—I was never alone during that period. I was well loved and checked on. But I was still broken.

The first time I ever sat my bottom in a counseling chair was after that period. When I didn’t want to leave the house anymore. People in general were too much for me. It didn’t matter if they were the nicest person on Earth I had just reached a breaking point. (How many times can I say that? 😊)

But as I looked back on that time on my drive home and thought: would I do it again? I knew the answer was absolutely yes. Because I am a completely different person than I was at that time. Because of Kara I finally got help processing some things that I needed to work through. Because of Kara I was able to deal with other issues. Because of Kara I figured out that it’s okay that I have big emotions. If it weren’t for Kara I don’t know that I ever would have gone through that breakage and on to a healthier version on the other side. Now, I’m not claiming that I’m perfect. I’m never going to claim that I’ve reached the top of an uphill climb and can throw my hands in the air like Rocky and call it all good. Certainly, we are all continuous works in progress. But what I do it again? Yes.

Kara gave me a million good things even in the hard that came along with it. Though, of course, if I could rewrite that story, we would have a different ending—an earthly victory for Kara instead of a heavenly one. 

I don’t know when the concept of being broken became such a bad thing. I’ve learned over my years of counseling that the broken parts of me are probably the parts that people connect with the most. The pieces of me that say I’m not enough on my own but with God I am enough…or I’m afraid but I’m going to try or sometimes I struggle with anxiety, but I still believe, believe, believe that God loves me and is with me. Lord, help my unbelief.

It’s a lie of the devil that I believed for a long time that said those were things that had to change or be fixed about me. I’ve certainly changed but I don’t have to be fixed. I just have to be in that continual motion of another day, another choice, another chance to love someone, another chance to breathe, another opportunity to pray and trust.

We’ve all been through pain that resulted in the smoothing and improving of our broken pieces. So…would you do it again?

Much love on this I’m-sorry-I-brought-it-up painful subject. <3 

Jill Lynn

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Comments 21

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  1. Carolyn Mercer

    This was a great read. It wasn’t easy to walk alongside a lovely friend like Kara and not feel broken after she went to Heaven. I became a Facebook virtual friend who knew her through her blog and I was touched in so many ways by her writings and death. I understand when you say “ yes, I would do it again “ because I had a friend I walked with right up to her last breath…. And I would do it again.

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      Jill

      <3 I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend, Caryolyn. But I'm so glad you got to walk with her. Wish I could give you a big hug right now!

  2. Connie Sue Larson

    Jill, thank You for being so open, honest and raw. You had a very special ringside seat of walking alongside Kara in her story. I loved your statement, “I don’t know when the concept of being broken became such a bad thing”.
    As humans and as Christians, I think we get the wrong notion that the hard happenings in this life are supposed to make us less human and more Godly…but only God can be God. He does walk every step with us and in those moments when we feel like we can’t take one more, He lovingly helps us do just that. I am thankful that in God’s wisdom, He knew you could and would come alongside Kara and give us amazing glimpses into God’s gifts of grace in the presence of hard happenings. Thank You for going outside your comfort zone so that so many others can be encouraged in their own hard happenings. Blessings to you my friend.

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      Jill

      Connie, your message made me teary. You’ve been there the whole time. Thank you. And thank you for always being such a huge encouragement. I love what you said – only God can be God. Amen!

  3. MARY

    Jill, your words are beautifully expressed and touched my heart. I often think of the concept of “just show up” – now more than ever as I’m going through my own bout with breast cancer. Many, many people have shown up for me in sweet ways that have touched my life and helped to make the cancer road a gentler one. I can tell you first hand that the road of suffering is indeed a crucible where our Lord does His best work if we let Him. I have never felt more softened up around the edges and so very in love with my Lord. He is good, holding me through this, every step of the way. I’m learning to lean in to what He has for me, to fill up my bottle of tears in heaven and to rest in knowing that He is making me into His image. And that is very good!

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  4. Monica Herman

    I would have never known Kara if it wasn’t for you, through Jill Kemerer. The world is a small place. Your blog about Kara, shared by Jill, brought me to a place where I worked through the intense grief I was suffering after the loss of my dearest friend. So many moments that brought me to feel my broken pieces and call out to Jesus. Thank you for sharing the love and joy and pain of your friendship with Kara. Looking forward to sharing heaven with both of you!!

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      Jill

      Monica, sometimes I forget that’s how we got connected. I’m so very glad! You’ve been a blessing to me. We are going to have a GOOD time in heaven, aren’t we? What an amazing thing to look forward to. <3

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  5. Susan Fullner

    I always admire the prescious time and selflessness you gave to to Kara and the good of her family. I speak from experience from loosing my parents and inlaws and each experience is unique with it’s own pain and blessings.
    You gave a gift of love that can never be repaid. You are very special!
    In His Love
    Susan

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      Jill

      What you said about each grief experience being so unique is so true. Thank you for sharing and sending lots of grief hugs your way. <3

  6. Shelly Woods

    I love this so much. I have been walking through my own inner brokenness. It has brought me to seeking help and acknowledging that brokenness. Most of all it’s brought me to a closer walk with God.
    I have gained so much through counseling. I pray that more Christians would accept that it’s ok to need help

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      Jill

      Shelly, me too. Me too. It has such a bad rep. I think that’s why I try to talk about it so much. It’s such a gift from God! Sending big hugs. <3

  7. Beth K Vogt

    You said a lot of things I loved in this blog post. The thing that’s staying with me the most right now? How pain results in the smoothing and improving of our broken pieces. Yeah, God does that. Learning to be okay with being broken. Learning that those I love are broken too … and that I can’t fix them. But I can trust God will smooth their broken edges too … and yes, it will be painful. Love you, my friend.

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  8. Jeanne Takenaka

    Jill, your post brought tears to my eyes. Your authenticity and your gentle way of sharing the work God is doing in you inspires me. It seems there are broken places in all of us, only some of us try to pretend they aren’t there. Sooner or later, we each must come to terms with them, and hopefully, bring them before God for better understanding of how to walk with (and sometimes through) them. Thank you for sharing your heart, friend.

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