I received the book Just Show Up by Kara Tippetts and Jill Lynn Buteyn from Family Christian free for the purpose of Review. All opinions are my own for more information please see my disclosure policy.
Chronic illness, cancer, suffering and pain these are scary words. I believe almost everyone reading this post has someone in their life who is dealing with one of these issues or something else that is as powerful and painful. Can you just show up in someone’s life? In my own life I am living with a chronic illness that leaves me unable to do some basic things for my family at times. I have a family member who has a kidney disease that will one day take her life. I have another family member who just spent the past year battling a serious form of cancer. Another friend who was in our community group a few years ago is also battling a serious form of cancer. And the list goes on. I keep asking myself am I willing to just show up?
Kara Tippetts, one of the authors of this book went to be with Jesus in March 2015. Her battle with cancer is now over and now her family and friends are left to pick up the pieces and live through the aftermath of her battle. Yet out of the suffering that Kara, her friends and family went through has come a precious book that has opened my eyes to the painful loveliness that comes from a life well lived and a battle well fought.
I have to admit I didn’t know of the blogger Kara Tippetts, who blogged over at MundaneFaithfulness.com before her death. I wish I had found her before I learned of her death from other bloggers. I have only been in the blogging community for a few years, and there are many amazing bloggers I have not found yet. Kara Tippetts was one such blogger I never got a chance to know. I am looking forward to reading her book, The Hardest Peace in the future as well as reading through some of her blog posts that can still be found on her blog.
Another blogger I didn’t know about is Jill Lynn Buteyn. She is a published author and blogger over at Jill–Lynn.com. I am pleased that I still have an opportunity to read more from her.
The book Just Show up is more than a book about how to walk through suffering. It is a book written in the midst of suffering, it is a book written from the raw moments and the heart-breaking moments of life that come while walking through suffering in community. This book is an amazing picture of what it looks like to live life fully in community. Kara and Jill give us a glimpse of what Jesus is calling the church to be.
We are all called to live our lives this way, but so many of us shy away from it. Each of us has her own reasons for this pulling away. It is painful to step into someone else’s hard place. It is painful to allow someone into your hard place. This is exactly what God wants us to do.
I struggle with accepting help from others, which is so different from how Kara responded during her struggle. She humbly admitted that she needed and wanted the help of those around her. I allow pride to get in my way and prevent me from opening my mouth and admitting a need. When I finally do admit I have something I need it doesn’t come from a place of humility and grace, it comes from a place of entitlement and anger that those around me didn’t see my need themselves. I am so ashamed and convicted by Kara Tippetts example. I struggle with allowing people to see me raw. I don’t want them to see me so weak and unable. To expose our weak places, and to open ourselves in vulnerability allows for others to trample all over our weakest most fragile parts. Yet that is exactly what Jesus is calling us to do.
I love reading Jill Lynn Buteyn’s transparent snippets that she puts at the beginning of each chapter. She shares the hurt and agony of walking through the ugly, as she calls it, with her precious friend Kara. I am humbled and convicted by Jill’s responses too. As I read her passionate pleas to God for healing and restoration of her friend’s health I wondered, Do I love my friends that well? Am I willing to walk through the pain with them? My first response is to hide away and disconnect from the pain.
Yet isn’t this what Jesus is calling us to do? Isn’t this what Jesus himself did? He got into the ugly with people around him. He touched the lepers, he touched the woman who had been bleeding, he spoke gently and loved the unlove-able. Are we willing to get out of our comfortable places and hurt because we are loving that much?
Tears flowed as I read this book, it is powerful, lovely and so terribly painful. I can relate to both Kara’s side, being the one needing the help as well as Jill’s being the person to come along side. I have a responsibility to step into the ugly with those around me even when the pain is too hard. God is there for the too hard. I have learned that more than once, but still … it is so hard, I know.
I want to recommend this book to everyone I know. It is an easy read and yet it isn’t. I read it in just over six hours, but it is a painfully lovely read as well. It will expose your soul in ways you don’t want exposed, yet you, like me desperately need those things exposed. I wish I could hug Jill Lynn Buteyn and all the other amazing women who walked such a painful journey over these past few years. Yet how many women out there around us are walking that exact same journey now.
I have a bit yet to process in my own heart from this book. It touched my very core and I am not sure I am through working through it all yet. I pray the Lord uses this amazing book to touch the hearts of women all over this world and we learn to live our life fully in community the way Jesus is calling us to live.