Saturday, March 28, 2015

Kara -


"We were made to run through fields of Forever" ~ SCC.

I've put this off all week, but I can't put it off any longer. 

As most of you all know, Kara Tippetts passed away last Sunday, March 22, 2015, at her home, with her family. She was 38. 

I first found Kara's blog before most of the world had. Mrs. Stiemann had shared a link on her FB page, and I wandered over to Mundane Faithfulness. An hour or so later found me with a moved heart, red eyes, a balled up kleenex, and tears streaming down my face after reading every post I could find. That was October 2013, soon after she had received word from recent test - she had Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. I mourned instantly, because I had lost people I loved to that very horrible thing, and knew its dark world. 

When I found Mundane Faithfulness, I remember reading it, and leaving a comment and being shocked that there were only 6 comments on one post, oh, and 9 on this one. And 3 on this one? How come wasn't the whole world reading her heart? She was amazing and I loved her already. :) She was like Ann Voskamp, but in a world I knew more - she lived on land that I'd tromped around with our dear friends who live close by in CO. 

So I shared her website on mine, asking for prayer, in a post that had me writing the deepest and hard words, the words that rarely get shared anymore, this post - Heights and Sorrows

Kara found me, and left a comment. :) 

I immediately had to write her, because I needed to connect more. 

October 21, 2013, 7:18PM ----- Hi Kara....

You visited my blog and left me a comment on my blog post where I mentioned to pray for you, and man. 
I cried when I saw it. That meant so much to me that you took the time to say thanks. 

More than that, it was an open lifeline to know you, like I got to shake hands with you in the grocery line or something.

Honestly, I was just in Monument and every time I read your blog, 
I imagine the way the wind moves through the pines and causes the shushing sound, and the peace of the mountains. 

I'm praying that still peace over you, Kara. I'm praying it for Jason, for Ella, Harper, Lake, and Story Jane.
 I'm praying it for all your friends and your family. 

So thank you for reaching out to say hello. It meant so much. 
I know God brings people to pray, and I end up loving them to death and never meeting them - you are one. 

Don't feel like you need to write back, I know you are tired and probably get tons of e-mail. 
I love you, Kara. I'm a hugger, so I'm sending you a hug. 

~ Jean Marie ~ 

Later that night, this popped into my inbox: 

"I so appreciate anyone asking for prayer as that's what really matters. Really. 
Your words were an encouragement.

Thank you for writing. 

Love, 
Me"

And so I prayed. I prayed my heart out for a year and 5 months, and watched as this woman named Kara fought valiantly, courageously, and gave of her heart to people she didn't even know, but decided to love through her blog. She proclaimed the gospel through suffering in the most vivid of ways. She would end her blog with these questions, and I often found myself convicted or moved or touched or grace-filled toward a situation. My life was filled with blog updates, videos of Kara, Instagram pictures and FB posts about Kara & her family, and I loved it that way.

Life has been more rich with Kara in it. 

Never has the Holy Spirit woken me up more in the night than in the past 17 months, to pray for anyone else than for Kara. I can name at least 12 times when I've come straight awake, suddenly, urgently, out of deep sleep, to pray for Kara. For hours even. I've had tangible dreams, and awoken to check Instagram and FB and seen she needed prayer or was going into the hospital, or was in pain. 

My first thought to spring to mind during prayer requests at Bible studies or women's groups or from anyone else would always be "Kara Tippetts". I wept many tears through prayers of my own and as my friends prayed alongside my own. 

I would think of her in the Starbucks line, the Publix grocery aisle, while listening to different songs, running the bridge, while walking the beach, looking at sunsets - I would suddenly be aware of her name in my mind, and I would start praying hard. 

I have one explanation for this and one only: 
That if you open yourself to the Holy Spirit moving you in prayer, He will. And He did. 

I count it a privilege and a blessing to have lost so much sleep and cried so many tears and loved someone who I knew so little as I did over Kara. As a whole, I feel as though her blogging community who did not know her for long, all felt as though something huge was happening, and we couldn't let one day go by without letting her know the family of God was beseeching mercy on her behalf. 

It's been a beautiful thing to see that,
in the midst of the Tippetts very very hard journey of watching Kara slip from this world to go Home. 

Saturday night, March 21, I went to bed at 11pm, and for the life of me, I couldn't get to sleep. So I prayed for hours for Kara until I did, knowing that she wasn't staying here very much longer. I'm glad the Holy Spirit kept me awake, and kept Kara on my heart all day on Sunday. 

I wondered as I stared at our gorgeous church stained glass window "I wonder if Kara will have another Easter Sunday. I wonder if she'll make it.". I let the tears fill my eyes as I sang songs about Heaven on Sunday, because I knew she was slipping away, and as my heart broke, I also sang with confidence and joy for Kara - "One with Himself, I cannot die!". 

Kara would slip into Eternity hours later. 

My heart sank and shattered and I immediately burst into tears and cried off and on for hours and all through this week. I cried myself to sleep and woke the next morning with tears streaming down my face as the world outside fittingly poured tears of rain. I wanted healing for her so very much, and I wanted it here, for her family and for her loves, to grow old together. I wanted everything for her. 

But Jesus has something greater in mind, and as I have often realized -
He takes Home to be with Him, the most radiant, beloved, beautiful, among us. The courageously kind, the rich in JOY. 

He takes Home the precious beloved whose time He knew before they were born. 

"But our citizenship is in Heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, 
by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself."
~ Philippians 3:20-21 ~ 

Kara lived radiantly, abundantly, fully, deeply, lovingly, joyfully, beautifully well. 

She made us long to live tangibly close and incredibly loving, and she made us want to die as gracefully as she was. She made me want to be more than I am, encouraged me to say the hard words and open myself to others even when they might not understand, she wrote peace and grace and LIFE into our lives. I saw the glory of God in her so abundantly. 

She showed us Jesus. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There's so much to share, but I want to let you know about these in case you haven't found them yet. 


The memorial service is being streamed live tomorrow at 1:15PM (MST). "Memorial Service"

These 3 videos that encouraged me so much this week (filmed for Focus on the Family in Sept. 2014)
- Your Legacy Matters Part 1, Part 2, & Part 3

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"No more dying there, we're going to see the King!!" 

My joy is that Kara is more alive than we've ever been, and more amazingly loved than we could dare to dream.
My sorrow is that she is separated from her family and from us. 

Please do keep Kara's family in your prayers, as they mourn and miss Kara. 
Her husband, Jason, and their 4 children: Ella, Harper, Lake, and Story Jane. 

Jesus, thank you for Kara. 

"They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; 
for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. 
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." ~ Revelation 7:16-17 

"Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight, 
at the sound of His roar, sorrows will be no more,
when He bares His teeth, Winter meets its death,
And when He shakes His mane, we shall have Spring again." 
~ C. S. Lewis ~

With love always,
~ Jean Marie ~ 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

My Project 52 {Week 11 & 12} -

{Week 11} Sandabakken, Fripp Island, SC ~ March 14, 2015 
The beautiful beach resort we spent 4 days at for our church's women's retreat. It is every bit as lovely as it seems, and more. 
Such a blessed time of fellowship, prayer, worship and laughter!

{Week 12} Sandabakken, Fripp Island, SC ~ March 15, 2015 
Morning sun's rays painting the walls. Such peace here. 

Mama and I were able to spend 4 days last weekend at a beach house named Sandabakken.
We've been there for years before for our church's women's retreat, and it is always such an amazing time and gift to our spirits to revive and rejuvenate us.

I can't believe how quickly Spring has sprung here in FL! Just this week I went to the beach and swam for the first time since Winter.
(Yes, it was COLD) haha. Not as cold as Fripp though. ;) 

Thanks for sharing in my journey in life through pictures and words. I miss blogging, but it gets pushed back so much since I'm juggling running a small photography business (that never seems to slow down) and also college at NYIP, and taking time to rest and recharge too!! :) 

Many of you have been following along with Kara Tippetts and her family at Mundane Faithfulness. 
Please continue to lift them up in prayer before our Heavenly Father as Kara slips from this earth to her Heavenly Home. My heart aches so much for them, but I also rejoice in her peace and soon-to-be-wellness and the joy of being with Jesus. This life aches and breaks, but Jesus always remains the same, and He is faithful to comfort and love tangibly. 

Love y'all!! 
~ Jean Marie ~ 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

My Project 52 {Week 10} -

{Week 10} March 2, 2015 - My gorgeous friend, Paulina. 

On Monday, I had the extremely fun time of shooting a solo portrait session for Paulina in Winter Park! Thankfully, since we are best friends, I texted her and asked if I could use this photo for my Project 52, and she said yes! All of my real photography goes on my website & isn't included here due to client privileges & preferences. ;)

Honestly, this is hands down one of my favorite photographs I've ever taken.
She is stunning, and I love everything about it.

We had such a hilariously fun and laid back time shooting her pictures, and it's easy to remember that joy when I look at those pictures.
Love her and am so excited for her as she works her way through residency in med school!!

With love,
~ Jean Marie ~