I don’t remember how I found Kara at Mundane Faithfulness. I’m guessing it was Facebook, but my brain just doesn’t remember all of life’s details. Before you continue reading here I would like you to click on the link to get an idea of who I am talking about and the book I am reviewing. Kara caught my heart because not only is she a wife and mother, she is a fellow pastor’s wife…and I love women who love a pastor…well we should all love our pastor…but I have a special place in my heart for pastor’s wives.
I began reading her blog earlier this year not realizing she has been waging war with cancer. Big time cancer. At the same time I was following her story and praying for her, there were several in my fellowship of believers who were battling their own war with this dreaded disease. I stopped reading for awhile, but was drawn back to her battle because it is very unique in the sense that she is not wasting her cancer.
When I found my way back to reading about Kara’s cancer story, I found she was writing the hardest peace~~expecting grace in the midst of life’s hard. She wrote this book because we all experience ‘hard’ in our lives. Whether it is cancer ravaging your body in Kara’s case, a difficult marriage, financial hardship, the death of a dear loved one or whatever you may be facing, this book is for everyone facing ‘hard.’ She wrote to convey her journey of a broken woman wanting to know peace in the midst of hard.
This is not the easiest book to read, but I could not put it down. The author does not mince words in all of the 194 pages. Because her childhood was marked with anger, she and her siblings became people pleasers. As the stress of trying to win the approval and love of her parents, she “walked away in stages” from her family. She admits she struggled to tell the story of her early years, but it is the “story which brought her to the end of herself.” She lovingly tells of a grandmother who was joyful and full of peace and loved Kara unconditionally. Not until she met the Savior did she come to understand the power of her grandmother’s love was Jesus.
This book is a page turner as the author bares her soul in telling of her cancer story. Authentic and transparent are words that come to mind as she and her husband seek to live in the midst of very hard cancer. Kara is a mother of young four children who are walking this road with their mother, and a community of loved ones. She talks of ‘big love’ and not wanting to waste a moment of daily living as she makes it her goal to fully participate in life. Whether it is in the ‘simple moments of cooking or dancing with her kids in the kitchen’, or taking her kids to school, Kara has chosen to live for today, to enjoy what today brings not languishing in self-pity because she knows her days are numbered. As are all of our days. Cancer has found new ‘corners’ as she calls them, to take up residence in her body. Surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation have taken a toll on her body, but she continues to pursue grace and Jesus Christ in the midst of hard.
She says she is “getting far too much credit for faith when all I’m really doing is sharing my weakness with honesty. I’m not the only one facing these hard moments, I’m just writing about them.”
Towards the end of the book she poses these questions. “In the most painful fear and hurts of our lives, will God be good? Not just the simple: God is good, indeed, always good. Not the rote, recited, memorized answers we have been trained to give in the edges of life. But the asking: Is Jesus really good in awful of cancer, fire, heartbreak, and devastation? In the face of all that is broken, is God good?”
I was also impressed by the fact the author is not only telling her cancer story, but at the end of each chapter she has taken the time to ask the reader very important questions. This is NOT just another story about a woman with cancer. Kara is walking through the fire with her husband and children and has not been burned or consumed by the flames. Not because of any special effort of her’s, but because she trusts the One she is walking with and knows beyond a shadow of a doubt He will see her through to the other side.
Words in this space do not do this book justice. You need to read it for yourself to be encouraged to seek breathtaking grace and the hardest peace from the Only One who can give it during the hard in our lives. I highly recommend this book and her blog.