Kara Tippetts lived in my home town, was a fellow blogger over at Mundane Faithfulness. Kara (also author of The Hardest Peace) struggled through a battle with cancer that was equal parts life-giving and tragic (and I can’t even believe I could write that and mean it!)
To my watchful eye, Kara made a decision to shout from the highest heights as often as possible that God is good and that her struggle was not in vain. Her beautiful friend Jill, who I knew best in our MOPS days with little littles, writes alongside Kara with depth, honesty and candor about an extraordinary community of friends going through difficult times with their friend. The message can perhaps be best summed up with the title: JUST SHOW UP.
“And then a friend comes along, and she’s screaming, screaming in the midst of horrible hard that GOD IS STILL GOOD. That GOD IS SOVEREIGN. That SUFFERING IS NOT THE ABSENCE OF GOD’S GOODNESS.
And it’s like a fire has started.
New whispers grow like unchecked flames.
What if those are lies? What if God is good in the midst of this? What if? ….I believe Him. I believe in His promises even when I don’t understand them. I believe. I believe. I believe. Help my unbelief.”
This book is about intentionally surveying the people in your life and making a decision to “enter in.” Jill and Kara model the idea that we can replicate; showing up and therefore influencing the world through these actions of loving and serving one another during trials. Imagine the ripple affect, people!
A MUST READ!
Megan's Take: Somehow the advice, "just show up" feels so simple and yet so HARD. There's so much "less mess" when I keep a safe distance from hard. I don't have to worry about saying the "wrong thing" -- I can just hit "like" on someone's FB post or type out a simple "I'm praying!" I suppose these comments are WAYS of showing up, they don't hold a candle to the kind of showing up that Jill talks about in this book. When we physically give someone a hug, take the time to make a meal or sacrifice our sacred "to do" list to listen to someone's pain, something extraordinary happens. True community, the kind that enters into the mess -- no matter what -- is a true gift.
I am constantly BLOWN AWAY by the community God has woven together in our little plot of land here in Colorado Springs. So often we can't tie a pretty little bow around life. And while that might "scare" some folks, the Jesus sisters I have in my life remain unflappable. Of course we cry and lament the hard, but we also laugh and pray and declare victory in Jesus over every situation. I have no idea what tomorrow holds, but I know that I have people in my life that will SHOW UP. I know this because they have -- and they will. Thank you, Jill (and Kara!) for putting words and flesh to something that leaves us, many days, wishing we could just hide in the closet and make it all go away. There is beauty in hard. And if we don't show up, we just might miss it.
Holly's Take: You would think that I might not have to read a book like this, because I was the recipient of those who "Just Showed Up," after Dave died. However, I still feel like a novice when it comes to knowing what to say in tragedy or knowing how to best enter in when a friend is at the end of their rope. I still claim that those who surrounded me, should be the ones who write a book. I still don't know how they always knew what I needed. They were champion show uppers . . . that is for sure!!!!!!!!! I certainly wouldn't wish a devastating diagnosis or the death of a spouse or child, or any other devastating event to occur in a friend's life, but I wish everyone could experience the kind of heart support that is in Jill's book. I am truly changed. It's not always the hard part that changes somebody . . . it's the beauty of everyones' strengths being poured into your heart. It's the beauty of having to choose God, for reals. It's the beauty of seeing the church outside of the walls of a building. It's the beauty of seeing your neighborhood, respond like a real neighborhood. It's the beauty of grace over and over and over again and again..