It feels totally inadequate to say "thank you" to my community for the huge outpouring of love you bestowed upon my family last week when my daughter, Kristin Short, went to heaven. I am at a total loss for words (you never thought that would happen, did you?) to express my gratitude for all you did for us.
The prayers meant the most, but then there was the food, drinks, cards, gifts, phone calls, home visits, flowers, funeral visit and so many expressions of sympathy that I cannot even begin to tell you how much it all meant to us. I appreciate it more than I can say.
I spoke at Kristin's funeral, by the grace and power of God alone, and expressed the desire to make it a celebration graduation time. If you will indulge me, I would like to dedicate this column to my angel daughter, Kristin Leigh Short.
When a young life is taken, the world takes notice ... the life is remembered. The passions, dreams and goals are reflected upon, and hopefully, lives are changed. We played the song "If I die Young" at her funeral and a phrase that stood out to me was "the sharp knife of a short life." Something happens to us when a young person is taken. We sit up. We take notice. We reflect. We know that life is brief and eternity certain. The song continues, "when you're dead everyone is listening. ..."
Kristin was compassionate, caring and relentless when it came to fighting for those who needed a champion. She was sweet and meek, but if you messed with someone she cared about, look out! She never fought for herself, (that was my job) but her desire to love the unlovable and those the world considered outcasts, downtrodden and, basically, broken people became more than a mission - it was an obsession as her time on earth drew short. One of her last texts to me was about a man in the CVS in Lynchburg. He was abusing his wife and Kristin was standing up for her and showing her kindness toward her and her child. She was furious that the man had the audacity to open the door for Kristin and call her ma'am directly afterward. She told of talking to random strangers in line and her conclusion in the text: "Help! I've become my mother!"
Kristin had a passion for Christ. The Bible says, "as the deer pants after the water brooks, so my soul pants after you." She longed and desired Christ like no other person I know or have ever known. Kristin had a zeal for people that was unwavering, and always putting others' needs ahead of her own. Many a night she stayed up most of the night, talking, texting and chatting online, helping someone who was having a hard time. She did suicide prevention on a regular basis. God placed people upon Kristin's heart on a daily basis. She would then "check on them" in some way, whether it was a phone call, text or visit. She always prayed when someone came to mind. She did not stop until the "burden" was lifted. She prayed for her enemies and she forgave them. It is hard to believe, but Kristin's naivety, innocence, sincerity and sweet nature seemed to attract a bully every now and again to see just how far they could push her, as if to see if she would "crack." Though she did not, there were times when I did. It became a joke: "Hey, you need Momma's help?" No, she didn't, of course ... God was watching her back. She even told me a few days before she died that she had written a letter of forgiveness to someone who had hurt her repeatedly. I assumed it was mailed, but I do not know.
During the past few months, Kristin began having "God moments" that were beyond anything I have ever read about or heard of. We talked almost every single day and usually for more than an hour or two. She shared these experiences with me. Kristin desired a father in a desperate way and found "Abba" to be the most amazing "daddy" (Abba means daddy in the Hebrew language). As she grew older, she desired a husband as most young women do. Her frustration of not having one drove her to her knees constantly, and I encouraged her to allow God to be her husband as he had been mine after being widowed.
I ached for her though. I wanted her to know the love of a godly man. The past few months, she truly came to terms with God as husband, and expressed that on a daily basis. One day she was praying as she drove in her car, and out of the corner of her eyes, she saw an angel man sitting in the passenger's seat. Peace flowed over her as she knew that God was truly her husband. Interestingly enough, when Kristin went into the path of the semi-trailer, the passenger side took the impact. All that was left of the car was a little bubble where Kristin sat. She sustained a blow to the back of her head that took her life, but she was perfect otherwise. Her car door opened and they lifted her out of what looked like a mass of metal rolled up. Abba carried her to glory.
A week before her death, she called me weeping. She had attended Brentwood Church in Lynchburg. She loved her church. She felt the presence of God there and never missed. But on that particular Sunday, the presence of God fell down so strongly, that she could only weep. She wept that entire service and then came back to her apartment and called me weeping, and could not stop the entire afternoon. It was such a sweet and all but overwhelming experience. The spirit of God was more than a zephyr, a breeze, or a gust on that day, it was a tsunami of peace upon her that caused her to weep.
The mission of Kristin's life, her calling, if you will, was to stop, derail, put to a halt: human trafficking. A daunting task for one little whisp of a girl, you ask? You didn't know my girl. She was determined and relentless to pull these girls out of prostitution and show them Jesus. With almost every breathe her last few months, I heard about it. She came to the realization a few weeks ago that she "could have been born in a prostitution house!" "Were it not for the grace of God," she proclaimed, "I could be one of them!"
Brentwood Church in Lynchburg, Virginia, has a ministry called 4/24. They minister to those in human trafficking. One particular ministry is in Thailand and they take mission teams over. Kristin had been "breaking me in" to the idea of her going over there, but she had not told me she had already signed up for the December mission trip.
Her pastor let it slip unknowingly, and assumed that I knew that she was going to Thailand in December.
The world will see that Kristin Short's life's burden will be met through her death.
Her life was not cut short, but rather "planted" that it might bear fruit. John 12:24 reads: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." It is no wonder that God chose July 4, Independence Day, to take her home.
I do not ask "why" but rather, I ask "What now God?" I remember the missionary story of the lady who came back from a lifetime of service on the mission field. She bought a farm and started taking in homeless people. She was working with a threshing machine when all of a sudden her right arm was severed from her body. At that very moment, she lifted up her stub and asked, "Father, what now? What would you like me to do now that I've lost my right arm?" I feel a bit like that this morning. If you knew our little family, you know that Kristin was more than a daughter to me. She was my very best friend and my confidant. She was my sister in the spiritual sense, and so much more than my right arm, but I am lifting up the stub of my life that is left and asking, "What now Abba Father?" What would you like me to do now that my baby girl is safe in your arms?
Kristin knew her life would be short. She talked about it since her early teens and maybe even around 12 years of age. I had never read her journals until the day after her passing. Throughout her journals she proclaims that God was preparing her for heaven, her desire to go to heaven and see her Jesus. Below is a couple of excerpts that shout: "Just give me Jesus":
In 2003, (17 years old) Kristin Short writes: "A peak into my heart and life! My hope is for God to use me to show others Himself. No matter how short the life, none is loss, when lived for Christ. God's hope isn't that we may be strong, but that we may be weak, so His strength is what others see. Whether by my life or by my death, may Jesus receive all honor and glory. I'd rather live 18 years for my Jesus, than 88 years for myself. I hope no one ever says I was good or godly. I hope they can say, 'I saw Jesus in her and it was all His goodness flowing through her. That's what I want!'"
In 2007, Kristin wrote: "I am tired of being safe and comfortable. I want to rescue children out of the paws of the lion, I want to be a radical Christian for you, Jesus. I want you to turn the world upside down thru me. I want to love those who the world throws out, and I want to carry the broken, and hug the contaminated. I lay aside my will for thine, O Lord, my schedules, hopes, plans, agendas, and dreams, I cast at thy feet. I am no longer looking for my prince. I have had him all along: my Prince of Peace. It is fine with me if I die at 30 and never been kissed, never having had a boyfriend, as long as I have completed the purpose and life you have planned for me. You, my Jesus gave your all for me, and I want to pour every drop of me out for you! When I die, I just want it to be said of me, 'She loved her Jesus.' You are all I want Abba! No words can express what I'm feeling at this moment. All my love and life, Kristin 2 Timothy 2:4 - 'No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.'"
For information about 4/24, write to: Brentwood Church, 1971 English Tavern Road, Lynchburg, Virginia 2450
(Kimberly Short-Wolfe was the mother of an angel: Kristin Leigh Short-Nov. 9, 1985-July 4, 2011.)By KIMBERLY SHORT WOLFE