One of a Kind

Just one week ago, a beautiful and beloved friend left this earth and danced her way into heaven.

She danced into heaven with victory … and in power … and in joy.

I know that is how she entered heaven … because I know the heart of Kristie Rush.

Kristie was a little sister in the faith to me … a passionate follower of Christ … a determined teacher of the Word … and she was filled with contagious joy until the very last day of her life on this side of eternity.

Kristie was 42 years old … the wife of the incredible Chad … and the mother of the dearly loved Emilie and Daniel.

I met Kristie about 4 years ago through the encouragement of 2 different, non-connected friends.

Kristie told Lynette, a church friend, she wanted to know more about the Holy Spirit.  Lynette told Kristie that she needed to talk to Carol McLeod

Kristie told Angel, a neighborhood mom, she wanted to know more about the Holy Spirit.  Angel told Kristie that she needed to talk to Carol McLeod

Kristie called me and oh! Did I ever jump at the chance to spend time with this precocious, brilliant, gorgeous woman of God!!

Now … let me assure you … I am not an expert on church doctrine or on theology that stems from an academic foundation.

I am just a girl who is head over heals in love with Jesus … who is passionately addicted to His Word … and who finds all the joy I need in time spent in His presence.

I also love the Holy Spirit.  I love the role that the Holy Spirit plays in our lives today.  I have found the Holy Spirit to be a dear friend and a powerful teacher as I travel through life.

I have tapped into the power of the Holy Spirit time after time after time.  I diligently endeavor to cultivate and to display the fruits of the Holy Spirit in my life.  I don’t always succeed in revealing those delicious pieces of fruit … but in those moments when I fail … I am so thankful for grace.

And, I do believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are for today.  

Kristie and I first met at Panera one morning and stayed until Kristie had to go pick up her kids at school.  It was only about a 5-hour meet and greet.

We met at Panera over the course of the next 3- 4 years … with our Bibles open, our notebooks in hand and our computers in tow.  We laughed … we cried … we disagreed … we struggled … we challenged one another … and we searched for truth.

Could Kristie ever ask questions!!  She was never content with platitudes or with easy, church-girl answers.  Kristie wanted truth.  She wasn’t content with religious jargon, with denominational preferences or with stop-gap answers.  She yearned for the truth that only the Truth brings.

Her favorite word was “messy”.

In the beginning, we realized that our commonality was found in a fierce love for the Word of God.  If the Word said it …Kristie and I both believed it.

Kristie was in the midst of a Stage IV cancer battle and wanted to know more about the Holy Spirit’s role in the life of a believer.

She knew that God the Father loved her.  She was certain that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, had died on the cross to save her from her sins.

But … her question was … where does the Holy Spirit fit into our journey on earth?

As I have looked back through my “Kristie Rush” notes, I have discovered some of the genuine, soul-stirring questions with which she challenged me over a green tea smoothie and a bowl of vegetable soup.

What is the baptism of the Holy Spirit?  Is the baptism of the Holy Spirit for everyone or just for some?

Is the baptism in the Holy Spirit a separate experience from salvation?

Are the gifts of the Holy Spirit for today or did they cease with the early church?

What about prophecy?  Do people just make up prophecies and hope they are true?

Is God still speaking through people today?

Is healing a promise of God or not?

Yep … the girl could ask questions!

But the question that pierced through my heart was this one that Kristie asked with no tears but with quiet wonder …Why isn’t everyone healed?  Will I be healed?

In those moments that turned into hours, over a cup of tea and a whole grain bagel, while the noise of life went on around us, Kristie and I bonded.

I made a new friend in Kristie.

She made a new friend in the Holy Spirit.

And then, when I entered the arena of breast cancer myself, Kristie became my fiercest prayer warrior and most valued voice of wisdom. She made me laugh … she let me cry … and she sent me fighting Scriptures.

After all … we were both girls who loved the Word, remember?

Kristie could be irreverent at times … the twinkle in her eye took on even more facets when she would defiantly tell me a cancer joke.  (I cannot repeat what she said to me when I told her that I was going to have a mastectomy.  This is a G-rated blog, after all!)

Kristie tutored me in how to take a bath with tubes hanging out of my body … what questions to ask the great and intimidating oncologist … and how to hang onto Jesus in the middle of the night.

And then she went to heaven and left me here.

She is living where there are no more tears … where there is no cancer … where everyone is healed … and where joy is the very air that is breathed.

I am still here in the land of time and unanswered questions.  She has no more questions.

I am still making doctor’s appointments.  She is hanging out with the Great Physician Himself!

This is what I know just one week after Kristie Rush’s grand entrance into eternity:  Heaven is richer and earth is poorer.  

Earth will never be the same without Kristie Rush.

God is good.  He does good.  He works all things together for good.

Only once or twice in a lifetime do you meet someone who is breathtakingly beautiful … amazingly brilliant … unbelievably accomplished … and passionately filled with faith.

But when you meet that person, as I did when I was introduced to the never-to-be-forgotten Kristie Rush, you realize that this extraordinary person was made for something much more than all of this.

Kristie wasn’t made for mere time.  She was created for eternity.

Kristie now lives in the place for which she was made.  She is in heaven and is no longer in pain.  Cancer did not win in Kristie’s body.  Jesus won in her life and she now lives forever with Him.  

There will never be another Kristie … she wasn’t just one in a million. She was one of a kind.

I’ll miss you, my friend.  I will miss our long conversations and your ridiculous jokes.  

I will miss studying the Word with you and going for the heart of truth.

I will miss your advice and your wisdom.

And I am certainly not sure that I can ever go to Panera again …