What will you do in the mundane days of faithfulness? Martin Luther
The Megan S. Ott Foundation was established in 2010. Megan, a native of Noblesville, was diagnosed with breast cancer, when she was thirty-two weeks pregnant with her second daughter. Prior to Megan's death, she, her husband and parents established the foundation to assist families dealing with financial expenses involved with cancer treatment. To date, three hundred women have received help.
One of these women, Kara Tippett, a friend of Megan's from high school, came to Indianapolis to speak the Monday before Thanksgiving. Over eight hundred people came to hear her story of cancer and survival.
Honored to be in the audience, I listened as Kara explained the discovery of a lump in her breast a few days after she, her husband and four children moved to Colorado Springs in 2012 to plant a church.
Inspired by Kara's blog, "Mundane Faithfulness" and her book, The Hardest Peace, I was eager to hear this remarkable young woman, who has persevered through multiple treatments as the disease has progressed throughout her body, most recently to her brain. Although she continues to receive medical treatment, she is living with terminal cancer.
Kara chronicled her faith journey from experiences in high school to how she lives with God in suffering. Her remarkable story of welcoming God into her illness, and hearing how she's been faithful to God, leaned on Jesus and approached suffering of any kind was deeply inspirational.
In a quote from her book (page 56) she and her husband, Jason, are discussing problems with their first church in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
"In the impossibility of walking through this season of life, I remember clinging to Jason at night and asking him if we were going to be alright. It felt like our hearts were going to break and never heal again. He turned to me and gently told me, 'Kara, tomorrow we get to wake up and be faithful. Whatever each step brings and whatever hard comes, people will always disappoint us. But tomorrow, we get to be faithful in that moment.'"
As Kara's cancer spread and she comes to realize she may not live to see her children grow up, she talks about hope - not hope in a cure, but hope in God (page 78).
"The stomaching of endless pills feels proactive, and I find myself hopeful in a good outcome, but my hope is not in a cure today. My hope is not in the absence of suffering and comfort returned. My hope is in the presence of the One who promises never to leave or forsake, the One who declares nothing 'will be able to separate us from the love of God.'" (Romans 8:39)
Early in her hospitalization, the day after she arrived in Colorado, she told her husband to return to their children so they did not awaken with the stranger who was staying with them.
"Alone in the hospital room, in a brand-new town, I remembered a question I had asked a group of young girls I had worked with: 'in the absence of comfort and friends, is Jesus enough?' In that cold stark hospital room, with only employed staff as my company, that question echoed through my mind. The answer was sure and the peace was present. It was an answer I was holding tight."
Kara's honesty and realistic approach to a terminal diagnosis inspires by captivating and illustrating a life lived completely with God. She doesn't deny her sadness leaving her husband and children. Letters to each conclude her book.
I invite you to follow her blog and purchase her book. You do not have to be dealing with cancer to receive encouragement and hope for whatever suffering is in your life.
Prayer: God, help me remember that no matter what I am facing, I have the opportunity to get up each day and be faithful to you. I have the assurance that nothing will ever separate me from you, and the reality of your presence and companionship whenever I am alone is enough. Amen.