Tuesday, June 15, 2010

It's been ten years...and I have a story to tell.

I remember it like yesterday.  I was 20 years old, home from UGA for the Summer.  Driving through Richmond Hill, I wondered why the flags were at half mast.  I kept driving, drove to my boyfriends house and remember exactly where I was sitting when I got the phone call.  Katie had died.  I remember sitting in a state of shock and not really knowing what to think or do.  As the afternoon dragged by all I could think was Katie was just so happy.

You see, Katie and I cheered together in High School.  We'd kept in touch through out the first year/s of college and I had last seen her at Easter when me and my graceful self fell down the stairs to the balcony at RHUMC (that was for my 1 of 2 yearly visits to church--Christmas and Easter) and she caught me.

Katie was different.  At the time all I could figure out was-- that difference--was that she was just so happy.  I remember the day she died and I said, I want that.  Whatever it is that she had, I want.  I was on a quest from that moment, searching for what she had.  All I knew was that Katie went to church.  So, with that little bit of knowledge, my boyfriend and I broke up before the summer was over and I headed back to Athens.  I'd attended a Methodist Church for those 2 holidays a year, so I thought the UGA Wesley Foundation was a good place to start.

So that next year, with one foot in the world and one foot knowing I needed to go to church, I went to the Wesley Foundation on Wednesdays and I was downtown to party with the rest of Athens on the weekends.  The Lord (still didn't know it was Him, or that He wanted a relationship with me) brought enough believers into my life that had relationship with Him, that they convinced me to sign up for leadership the next year.  So I did.  I remember my leadership interview at the end of that school year and them asking me my opinion of the Trinity and I said, "What's the Trinity."  Nice.  They must have heard the audible voice of the Lord, because they put me on leadership for the next year.

I went home for the summer again.  It had been one year since Katie passed away and I hit an all time low emotionally.  Towards the end of the summer, about 2 weeks before heading back to Athens, I was so desperate, I said, Jesus, if you are real, show me.  I had a drastic encounter with the Lord....surrendered everything and then headed back to Athens.

In Athens I found myself having zero desire to go downtown or party.  Instead, I was drawn to creating relationships with people that knew this man Jesus that I had encountered.  I had finally figured out that what Katie had was not a regular attendance at church (which she did have, but that wasn't what mattered).  What she had was a relationship with Jesus.  I had finally found it.  I had finally found Him.  And that happiness that Katie had--it was the Joy of the Lord and I finally had it.

Upon being back in Athens, I was put in a role of leading a small group of Freshman girls--yes, 2 weeks after surrendering my life.  I knew nothing about this man Jesus other than the fact He had saved me from the pit of Hell (and that was exactly where I was emotionally) yet, I had Freshman girls asking me questions about Him.  The only way I knew how to answer them was with a, I'll get back to you...and I spent that school year (my 5th year of college by the way) at His feet.  I fell in love that year.  I wanted all I could have of Him.  I was so hungry for Him that I was never satisfied and just longed for more.

Fast forward 9 years and my friend Matt dies.  I immediately head back to Richmond Hill to visit with the family and then right after that drove over to see Katie's family.  We visited that night, reminiscing and thinking of Katie.  As I was getting ready to leave, Katie's mom said I have something for you.  She pulled out Katie's Bible and it took all that I had not to lose it right there.  Really, you want to give this to me, was all I could think and utter.  Katie never knew me as a Christian, yet I gave my life to Jesus because of her.  And there I was in her parent's kitchen holding her Bible, 9 years later.

During this last year, the Lord has opened the door for me to speak at a handful of high schools.  I go with Katie's Bible in my hand, knowing I have a story to tell.  I have a story that I was lost, depressed, emotionally wrecked...yet one girl lived her life differently and I was forever changed.

So with that I close as this blog has gotten way too long.  But it's been a moment for me, whether you've read through this whole thing or not, remembering my friend Katie.  The way she lived life and the way she loved Jesus led me to the cross.  The way she was in love with a Man, introduced me to my Bridegroom.  Today it's been ten years since she passed away and I uttered the words, "I want what she had."  Thank you Jesus for allowing me to know Katie.  Thank you Mr. Tommy and Mrs. Sharon for raising a daughter that was madly in love with her Savior.  My life was radically changed because of your daughter and for that I will be eternally grateful.


April said...

thanks for this, kristin...it is amazing the people God puts into our lives that change the course of our lives...I am thankful to know you. Truly.

Lyndsey said...

Beautifully said! Katie was an inspiration to me and I can still see her sweet smile! She is missed.

Amelia said...

Kristin, in some ways.. you've been a constant in my life.. when it seems like not much else is. Strangely, this was the first time I heard your story. Until now all i knew was Katie's life impacted you to bring you to where you are now. Thank you for calling me deeper!
love you my friend,

ManUtd17 said...

Thanks for sharing this.

Ginny said...

Wow! That was a beautiful blog! Katie was one of my first friends when I moved to the Hill. One of the only people who would talk to me and show me my classes. I miss her sweet smile too! Thank you for this. I really needed to read it!

Danielle said...

thanks. very beautifully said.

Sharon B said...

What a moving tribute to our beautiful Katie! I continue to be in awe of the lives Katie has touched and continues to touch through you, Dana, and so many others. Just know you have provided me with sweet dreams for tonight. We love you!