For months, I’ve been thinking about this idea of “just showing up.”
Actually, it must have been for years, because I asked a friend to bring this book with her when she was coming to visit us in Australia a few months after our first miscarriage.
That title encompassed what we’d experienced as many friends on two sides of the world chose to walk alongside us, our hearts grasping at breath after the loss of our baby.
My life was marked. Our family’s lives were marked. I can only imagine hard much harder our road would have been without them just showing up.
The book quietly testified to that truth from shelf by title alone until just a few weeks ago. The spine of the book unbroken until a sweet young friend of mine found herself a new member of the sorority none of us wants to be in — the women who’ve miscarried.
That’s when I went hunting for the book in a box yet unpacked. I opened it, asking God to help me know how to love my friend well.
Even after weathering the loss of two babies (another one, Gabriel, last December), I felt a wave of amnesia as to what had ministered to my heart so much. Help me know how to love her, Lord? How can I help?
Do you ever wonder the same when you hear of a hurting friend?
There can be barriers, can’t there? I don’t want to say the wrong thing. Or, I am a horrible cook. Or, I’m actually scared of medical things. Or, It’s too close to home. Or, My own wound is still so raw.
Those are valid concerns. If they weren’t, we wouldn’t be held back. But I’d like to offer that we were made in God’s image. And He’s always been in community with Himself, the godhead, as the Father, Son and Spirit. We were crafted from our very start for community. No wonder we long for that at our deepest level.
What would it look like to move toward others, empowered by the One who made us, knowing that we need to receive and we need to give? We need each other.
Here’s the synopsis of the book:
Kara Tippetts’s story was not a story of disease, although she lost her battle with terminal cancer. It was not a story of saying goodbye, although she was intentional in her time with her husband and four children. Kara’s story was one of seeing God in the hard and in the good. It was one of finding grace in the everyday. And it was one of knowing “God with us” through fierce and beautiful friendship.
In Just Show Up, Kara and her close friend, Jill Lynn Buteyn, write about what friendship looks like in the midst of changing life seasons, loads of laundry, and even cancer. Whether you are eager to be present to someone going through a difficult time or simply want inspiration for pursuing friends in a new way, this eloquent and practical book explores the gift of silence, the art of receiving, and what it means to just show up.
The author, Kara Tippetts, writes this in the introduction of the book. I absolutely love this.
Showing up for another says, “I see you. Your pain is known, and though I cannot make it better, I’m here and that’s what matters…
Friends. Community. It is the only way to know and be known. It’s where we see our own humanity and frailty, our gifts and our weaknesses. When we show up for one another, we invade each other in love and become witnesses to the truth that trials and sickness and pain are not the whole story. There’s more, so much more. We can remind one another that our lives are not a mistake. And, most importantly, that we are loved with an everlasting love.”
Maybe you’ve had a taste of a community of friends that seem to match Kara’s words. Or, perhaps, you haven’t but that picture stirs you to think that something like that could exist.
Join me in a very loosely organized online book club starting today.
- Buy the book (ebook, or audio) from Amazon or another bookstore, or borrow from the library. (Hoopla is my new favorite way to borrow audio books and listen from my phone or ipad.)
- Read the introduction and chapter 1 this week. (A quick and easy read yet so much to chew on, both on a practical-level and heart level.)
- Next Tuesday I’ll write a post asking for your thoughts. This is what I’m really looking forward to!
Until then, I’d love you to leave a comment on the blog with one practical way that someone has “shown up” for you, big or small, that really helped when you were going through a hard time.