Tag Archives: death

Bound for Glory

So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (MSG)


A dear friend committed suicide a few days ago. It was both sudden and completely unexpected. To know this women was to know loveliness, great talent, graciousness, kindness, caring, trustworthiness, gentleness, and a servant’s heart. The news of her passing from this life to the next was a shock for all.

As I sat in the memorial service, watching her family, noting the number of women present to honor her, I wondered, and not for the first time, why? How did this happen? What did we all miss? No one seemed to know of the pain she carried and the desperation she felt. She was always the one with the lovely smile. But as one person observed, the smile didn’t go past her eyes.

Women in the church often gather for fellowship, Bible Study, lunches, and special events. But is this enough to really KNOW someone? Masks go up because of shame or guilt and feeling like we need to have it all together. Becoming vulnerable and admitting need doesn’t happen often or easily.

If we learn anything from this tragedy, I hope we find ways to get past the mask and have true intimacy between friends and in small groups. We see more millennial women working, not having time or interest in the typical women’s gatherings. Many would rather go to the large meetings like the Belong Tour or the If Gathering. Yet, they still yearn for one-on-one mentoring. Our ladies gatherings must be purposeful. Bigger, better, grander is not the goal but rather, loving acceptance as we share Jesus together.

Society has become very isolating with social media often becoming the source for “friends.” I love social media but it will never be able to replace a conversation over a latte, hunched over the table so no one else can hear. It can’t replace that hug as you leave and offer a true smile on your face of acceptance and encouragement. If you feel a nudge to call a friend, do it. If you need a friend, reach out. It may be scary but the blessings for both of you will be worth it.

So, we have lost a lovely saint to the arms of Jesus. We sang a chorus in church today and I kept thinking of her:

This world is not my home
I’m here for a moment
It’s all I’ve ever known
But this world is not my home

The fight is not my own
These burdens aren’t my future
The empty tomb has shown
I am bound for glory

The saving work is done
Death is not my ending
My God has overcome
I am bound for glory

All my pain, hurt and shame
Gone when Jesus calls my name
Endless joy endless praise
All when Jesus calls my name.

I am free because I’m bound
I am bound for heavens gate
Where my feet will stand on holy ground
I am bound for glory

She’s free! Glory hallelujah! We’ll see you soon.


Dying is Even Better

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Philippians 1:21 (NIV)


Google Kara Tippets and you will find a myriad of articles. I found her last October after reading her letter to Brittany Maynard, a terminally ill cancer patient in Oregon who wanted to end her own life. Kara was opposed to this stance, even when the circumstances seem to warrant it because she, too, was dying from breast cancer.

That letter began a saga for me, and thousands of others on Facebook, as we followed her story. She wrote a blog, Mundane Faithfulness, where she shared the ups and downs of her treatment, her family, her agony and pain, yet always, her hard peace and love for Jesus. She loved big and you could see it reflected in her husband and children, her family and friends.

I read her book, The Hardest Peace: Expecting Grace in the Midst of Life’s Hard, and gained a fuller and greater understanding of God’s love and peace in the hard corners of our lives. I remember my journal entries asking God for a time of peace. You, too?

Having fought valiantly for months for just a little more time, she came to terms that there were no more treatments and recently, knew she was fading. Each step away from independence was a battle. She fought for more time with her “littles,” yet, always gracious, never bitter, always leaning hard into loving.

That last week, she asked a pastor friend how to die well. His answer, “Rest in the arms of Jesus and let Him take you home.”

Kara lived out what she tried desperately to share with Brittany.

“Suffering is not the absence of goodness, it is not the absence of beauty, but perhaps it can be the place where true beauty can be known. In your choosing your own death, you are robbing those that love you with such tenderness, the opportunity of meeting you in your last moments and extending you love in your last breaths.”

We see life and death so finitely. But, our timeline is just a dash on God’s timeline.

I like to imagine Kara taking that final sail towards the distant shore. A crowd is on the bank, rambunctiously cheering for her with a loud welcome. We see Jesus as He enfolds her in His arms, as she steps out of the boat, and leads her home.

We waved good-bye on March 22nd, and now throw her a kiss, knowing that all pain is gone and she is free. On this side of heaven, we feel sadness, tears, and pain but HOPE fills our hearts. We will see Kara again.

Thank you, Kara, for teaching me how to live well, in the roughest of circumstances, and how to die well — looking to Jesus.