On Saturday I said “goodbye” to my friend, Kate. I was asked to speak at her funeral, which was such a daunting task. It seemed impossible to capture her life in just a few short minutes. Only by God’s strength was I able to stand on that stage (in front of over 500 people) and share why Kate was such an electric person. I thought you might like to hear more about Kate too, so here is what I shared…
There are too many stories, too many memories, too many words…
When I first heard the news about Kate, my first thought was “how can someone so full of life be gone?!” It was hard to understand and wrap my mind around. It immediately took me back to when I first met Kate. I actually don’t remember the first time I actually met her, it just seems like she was always in my life. She was a freshman in college when we first crossed paths. She was excited about this next stage of her life — loving Jesus, but eager for more. So much energy and enthusiasm. We started meeting once a week for coffee to dive deeper into who Jesus is, what life was throwing our way, and how we could reach other college students for Christ.
I remember when Kate first told me about this guy Ryan that had started coming to our church. I was naturally skeptical only because Kate always saw the good in people. However, after meeting him I quickly saw why she loved him. He was kind and gentle and the way he looked at her was unlike any other. He was the perfect complement to her. It was fun to watch their relationship grow and deepen. My husband and I had the pleasure of walking through both the excitement and the difficulties of their relationship. We watched them fall more in love with each other and even more in love with Jesus.
My relationship with Kate started out as me pouring into her, but quickly turned into a mutual friendship — iron sharpening iron. She taught me so much about how to live my life boldly and loudly — not caring who hears. She was a loyal friend and cheered me on through every season of my life.
One event stands out in my mind. After living in Columbia, Missouri, for several years, my husband got a job in Austin, Texas. This was a hard move for us because we were leaving family, friends, and a community that supported us so much. Immediately, Kate and Ryan volunteered to help us drive our stuff across the country. At first, I thought Kate was just being sweet. But, her good intentions quickly turned into action. Before I knew it, Ryan and Kate had made all the necessary arrangements for them to help us load the U-Haul, drive to Texas, unpack that U-Haul and drive back. They served us so much that weekend. Ryan did most, if not all, of the driving. Kate unpacked, organized and decorated our apartment when I was too overwhelmed and tired to do it myself. But, that was Kate. Excited to do whatever she could to encourage you…cheer you on…and serve. Her life was never about her, but about others.
At the beginning of this week, I would have told you that I know that God is in control and knows the number of my days. But today, as I stand before you, I live a different reality. I now believe with my heart that God can take us whenever and however He wants to. He’s in control, not me. Thinking about Kate and how she was so unashamed of the Gospel, I have come to the same conclusion. I have shared Jesus with more people in the past few days than I have in the past few years. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow, so we must not miss the opportunities that God has given us today.
Kate was one of the most amazing people I have ever known. But, she wasn’t just a great person on her own. It was because of Jesus living inside of her. He made her great. He made her vivacious, electric, and all of the other adjectives we’ve used to describe her.
1 Corinthians 15:55-57 says, “Oh death where is your victory? Oh death where is your sting? The sting of death is sin and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (emphasis mine)
Christ died on the cross for our sins and conquered death so that all who believe can have eternal life.
I imagine today Kate is dancing on the golden streets of Heaven.
Love you, girl.
Please join me in praying for Kate’s family as they mourn, remember, and celebrate her life.