That time has come again. Today marks the fourth year since Kisha passed away. Today is what would have been her 25th birthday. I think back on my 25th year that has just recently concluded; it was one of my favorite and I can’t help but be sad she isn’t able to experience it for herself. However, there is a part of me as I learn more about Heaven and eternity; that is also a little panged with jealousy in knowing where she is.
It is interesting that oftentimes when we go through trials, we are unable to understand why things are going on. Although I do not fully comprehend His entire purpose in her death, hindsight has given me the ability to see the good that He has promised would come out of things like this. During her last week at the hospital, I promised her that I would share her story….His story through her….often. Of course, as time has passed, I haven’t shared it as much as I would have liked to believe I was going to. Many of you know this story, some of you do not. I will probably do it a disservice in trying to convey it in a written format, but I hope you will be able to see His sovereignty through it all.
Kisha and I became friends my sophomore year (her freshman) at the University of North Texas. She was a track athlete and was often around our dorm. We instantly hit it off and became practically inseparable. Of course, with anybody you spend that much time with, feelings were hurt and there are a lot of things I regret about our relationship. The main one is how much I turned her off to God, prompting her even once to tell me that I made her hate God. What terrible words to hear. Particularly when they ring true.
In March of 2004, I attended a service at Fellowship that convicted me about my relationship with Kisha. They were encouraging us to think about what we had in our lives that we were not surrendering to God. I wanted so much to have Kisha fall in love with Jesus, I had taken it into my own hands and ruined it (thankfully God is much bigger than my mistakes!). I instantly turned it over to the Lord, cried about it, and apologized to her for all I had done wrong. And it was a lot. It was interesting watching her in the last month of her life. She expressed to me doubts about some things that were going on in her life (that, in looking back, shows me God totally moving in her heart). She let me know she was just waiting for things to be perfect (to which I replied, you know they’re never going to be until we’re in Heaven). And, she knew in her last week that she would be dying in a car accident. Unfortunately, I kinda scoffed at this idea although many of our last conversations revolved around this. She said she wasn’t afraid, that she had become closer to God during that week because rather than turning to me she would turn straight to Him, and I found out later she had even been talking to another Christian friend at night asking questions about salvation and Heaven. Her mom remembers seeing her a few weeks prior and it struck her how much she looked like an angel. God was definitely leading her life.
Our last interaction was something I will hold in my heart forever. She was going to go on a motorcycle ride with a friend and we were supposed to go to her Aunt’s later that day. That morning, her mom called, she called her brothers, and she even heard from her dad. We were watching Venus and Serena. Her friend called to let her know he was outside waiting. When she got to the door, she turned back and told me she loved me. And reminded me that it would probably be the last time she would tell me that in person. I asked if there was anything she wanted me to tell to anybody and she told me to “just let them know that I love them”. She came back to give me a hug and I said, “Just make sure you have Jesus in your heart and I’ll see you when I get to Heaven.” It is very evident the Holy Spirit was guiding this conversation because, really, who has a conversation like this when your best friend tells you she’s going to die?! She came back in a few minutes later with her helmet on to say a quick “Hey, girl” (those of you that know her can hear her saying this) and headed back out. A few hours later, she called to let me know that she would just meet me at Monica’s. Little did I know that would be the last time I would hear her voice.
I got to Monica’s and instantly knew something was wrong. Kisha was not there yet. I got a picture in my head of myself working the next year and sharing about how I had lost my best friend the year before. I called her right away and left a voice mail wondering where she was. Literally, two minutes later, the phone rang. Tay answered it and started screaming and handed me the phone. It was their grandma letting us know Kisha had been in a motorcycle accident and was at the hospital.
The next six days were surreal. I can’t even completely remember all that went on. But it was a lot. Her pastor referred to it as the Harris Methodist Revival (the hospital she was at). My mom flew in town, close to 30 people were in and out each day, and we formed new friendships. It was a roller coaster ride of not knowing if she would make it, being convinced that she would, and hearing in my mind all of our conversations from the week before. She was ready to go Home. Her biggest fear in dying young was that her mom would be devastated.
On Good Friday, April 9th, Kisha’s 21st birthday, her mom came in and let us know the Lord had awoken her that morning to tell her He needed to take Kisha home. After singing Happy Birthday and saying good-bye, her mom let her know that she would be okay and God would give her strength, and we would all make it. She died within 20 minutes. About 50 of us shared in celebrating her life that day. And began to mourn her death.
Although many of the details come and go, and I’m sure that each of us involved has a different perspective, it is impossible to try to claim that God was not involved in all of this. At her funeral, I watched hundreds of people touched by His story of her life. At the hospital, on airplanes, at my job….I listened to people who were impacted because of all of this. I watched her brother stand up in a congregation and share words from 1 Peter: “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold…may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed”. Why do we question Him? His love, His care, His patience, and long-suffering nature. He works in mysterious ways that continually point back to the Truth that has gotten me this far.
I am grateful for the short time I got to have Kisha in my life. For her family that has been so supportive and loving. For my better understanding of the Lord because of our friendship. And, even for the pain of her death that has drawn me closer to Him. Although there are few days that pass that I do not think about her, I am comforted in knowing Someone much bigger than all of this has it all under control. And I wait patiently for the day I will be up there too, praying I make the most of the limited time I am given here.