Fighting Cancer at Christmas

She was wearing a knit hat. Not surprising for November in Colorado Springs. But then she pulled it off and her suffering was exposed. Her eyes were bright, her smile was warm, but her head was bald from chemo.

Kara Tippets is a mother of four young children and the loving wife of a church-planting pastor. She would happily end her bio there, but she can’t … not since the diagnosis. In spite of the chemo, cancer has crossed all the boundaries of her body, and has even entered her brain.

20140930-085509.jpgKara writes beautifully about leaning into Jesus as she suffers. Her blog “Mundane Faithfulness” has thousands of readers and her recently released book, The Hardest Peace is already a best seller.

“I have recently been in so many interviews, and I am often asked if I struggle feeling angry over the path we find ourselves walking. My answer is typically the same – Jason and I have fought to be ‘broken’ instead of bitter and angry. It’s not a simple journey.”

Her battle for peace is a daily reality, especially with Christmas coming.

“Oh my heart – oh my sad and covetous and jealous heart. I want to go to a thrift store and buy old wool sweaters and make ugly stuffed animals with my kids and bake over Christmas break. I do not want to be back in radiation battling to kill what is killing me … I want to be decorating my house for Christmas.”

Kara struggles every day, but she’s a veteran in this battle. She knows where to go when she starts to covet a “normal” life.

IMG_1358“I hunt down the grace, the peace, the source of what true living really is. It’s not the absence of this pain, it’s not the presence of normal. It’s not the ability and strength that I covet so desperately. It’s Jesus.”

The answer, she says, is to, “Live so LOVED that you are able to fight the temptation of jealousy and live present in the life you have today. This moment. This minute.”

Presence – not presents – will be the focus of Christmas this year for the Tippets.

“Presence – living in this moment, looking in gratitude towards the next moment, and fighting against the lies of comparison. Our children will likely not remember the gifts, but they will remember the love.”

Janet Morris is a mother of three, a grandmother of three, and wife to Charles Morris, the speaker and president of Haven Ministries. She helps write the programs for Haven Today, has co-authored two books—Jesus in the Midst of Success and Saving a Life—and is also a women’s Bible study teacher and leader. Her third book, Missing Jesus, Find Your Life in His Great Story, comes out March 1. Janet confesses that she also drinks one pot of Chai tea a day, talks to her dog, and is close friends with C.S. Lewis. But most of all, she needs Jesus every day.

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