Friday, November 7, 2008

Courageous Kara

Kara came over today to drop off some presents for us and I got to hear the whole story behind her speaking at Jessa's funeral. Kara had told Jess earlier that God had called her to speak to women but she was unsure if she would be good at it. The funny thing is I didn't know Jess wanted Kara to speak until a couple of days before the funeral. She had told Aunt Sandy who later remembered to tell me. I remember that Jess was scared to death to speak a part in the Christmas play at church. She didn't think she could do it but ended up doing a marvelous job. Now it was Jessa's turn to encourage Kara to speak-- even as she lay dying and could no longer speak. Speaking at Jessa's funeral provided the spark Kara needed; I'm super excited for her because she is now going to speak at a woman's function in December.

Here's what Kara said:
1 John 3:16 says “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ lay down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.”

I remember when Derrick and I were new to Lake Arlington, I kept hearing about this couple “the Kaylor’s”. I heard about how neat of a couple they were. I heard how they taught preschool Sunday school, and had started out with their Sunday school kids when they were babies and moved up with them each year. I had a 2 year old and a baby then. That was pretty impressive to me. It sounded to me that they were not just laying down their lives for those preschoolers, they were risking their lives.

I wanted to meet these “Kaylor’s”. Derrick and I signed up to help watch the preschoolers during worship. As God would have it, the class we helped in was the Kaylor’s class. I remember meeting Jake then as we would switch responsibility for those preschoolers and wondering where was this Jessica.

One day I was walking down the hallway, and I saw this beautiful woman with a maternity sweater I was quite familiar with. I had that very same black and red striped sweater from my favorite store, Target. Jess, who was pregnant with Bryn, was wearing that striped sweater. I knew then that any woman who fancied Target would be a friend of mine.

Shortly after, I officially met Jess at the baby shower that our Sunday school class had for her, myself, and one other new mom. I cannot recall from there a time that I did not know or love Jess.

I could go for days listing all the things I love about Jess. She embodied an extraordinary faith, bold courage, confident hope, supernatural patience, and perfect peace. What I admire most is out of a heart surrendered to her Savior, she served.

I remember one of our Wednesday lunches at ChickfilA after BSF. Jess and Bryn had been invited to a friend’s house to see her new furniture. Bryn apparently wasn’t as excited about the new furniture as the rest of us were, she just wanted to spend some time with her mom. Jess politely said that she and Bryn were going to go home so they could rest together but that she’d love to come over and see the furniture another time.

I remember thinking it seemed so simple, but was such a selfless act of love. For Jess, thinking of others above herself was the norm, not an accomplishment.

One of my favorite Bible stories is in John 13. “It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love…so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”

What I love about this story is that Jesus knew his time on earth was short. The cross was before Him. Jesus loved his own so very much. He was thinking of them, not what tomorrow held for Him. Jesus showed them the full extent of his love. How? Washing their feet. The King of Kings washed the disciples dirt-stained, calloused, wayward feet. This was not the job of the Master, it was the job of the slave. It was an act of humble service. It met a need. It had nothing to do with Him. It had all to do with them.

As Jesus served, Jess served. She did the not so glamorous job of changing diapers as a preschool Sunday school teacher. That is humble service.

She spend countless hours organizing, packing food, and delivering backpacks to schools for kids whose families struggled to provide food. It met an amazing need.

This past summer, Jake wheeled her upstairs into room 221 to help with purple crafts at VBS. It wasn’t about her comfort or ease. It was all about the kids that came to do cool crafts and hear about Jesus.

Tuesday mornings this Fall a group of us has met at Jess’ house for Bible study. During a visit with Jess while she was in the hospital, she asked me if we had met at her house for Bible study that week. I said no, we had decided not to. She went on to say that we should have gone ahead and met. One of the girls had a key and she could let us in. The following Tuesday, though Jess rested at the hospital, we received once again, the gift of her selflessness as we met in her home for our weekly Bible study. Even after Jess came home for those final days of her time here with us, she extended the invitation for Bible study at her house.

Doesn’t that sound just like Jess? Always thinking of others more than herself. It is also just like Jesus.

Like Jesus, Jess’ time on earth was short. How pleased our servant Jesus is with His servant Jess. She lived showing the full extent of her love. She served, having nothing to do with herself, but all to do with everyone else. Listen, can you hear the Master say, “Well done, Jess, my good and faithful servant.”


Anonymous said...

You could not tell that Kara had not spoke infront of a LARGE crowd before. She was very poised and easy to listen to. She evens reminded me of Beth Moore!! That's how good I thought she did!!!
Good for her to continue speaking!!
Love~ Misty

Anonymous said...

Courageous Kara has been given an amazing gift. Thank you to Jesus for orchestrating the unwrapping of this treasure for our Jessica. Jake, are we the least bit surprised that Jessa, from Heaven continues to bring out the best in all of us? I believe this will forever be part of her encourage all of us to live our life solely for the purpose of sharing and serving for Him.

I love you,
Aunt Sandy

Anonymous said...

Kara was kind enough to send me a copy of what she wrote about Jess and was brave enough to read in front of all Jess' friends and loved ones. (Of which she did a beautiful job!) I read it every day and it strengthens me more than you could ever know. It perfectly describes my girl and how God granted her so many gifts. I will forever be grateful for your gift of explaining how sweet Jess was, just a normal human being, like all of us, who loved her Jesus most of all. Thank you Kara. Now go forth and touch others like you touched me and hundreds who gathered in the church that day. Jess would be so very proud of you, and her is Jesus, too.
Judy (aka Mom)