started running for cause many years ago. Early on, my boys joined me. A dear friend of mine died far too soon from inflammatory breast cancer. She was 36, married and had two young children.
IBC is a horrific form of breast cancer. From her diagnosis to death was 18 months. I had never seen as disease ravage a body so quickly, and still haven’t. Like all cancer, it was ugly and merciless.
I got to be with her the day she passed from this life into the arms of Jesus. I will never forget that day. She was coherent until the time she slipped away. With her oxygen mask on, belabored breathing and intense pain, we sang YAHWEH together until she had no energy left.
Her family came in to be with her. A 10 year old son and a 12 year old daughter. They weren’t prepared for what was going to happen. How could they be? How do you prepare kids for the untimely death of their mom?
Katrina breathed her last breath and was home. And in an instant, she had a new body. In every way possible, she was perfected. Her suffering and pain ended with that last breath, and she was taken from this broken world.
But while her suffering came to and end, her family’s agony was just beginning. Those two kids and their father were left with a reality they didn’t expect. They had to move forward without their matriarch. They had to keep living. And it wasn’t easy. But Christ was at the forefront of their lives so while they walked through the river, it didn’t overtake them and through the fire, they would survive.
Kayla Jones was my dear friend’s daughter. She was a beauty like her mama. She love the Lord with all her heart and was determined to follow him. She persevered giant mountains and learned how to pray to navigate life’s struggles. She was simply gorgeous.
That is her on the left of this picture. That was her first race. She’s wasn’t a runner and didn’t particularly like running. I remember that day. She was nervous, emotional but so determined. She ran for her mama.
She was a fighter that girl. Just always kept pressing forward. Pain, suffering and obstacles were just springboards to a deeper relationship with Jesus. She understood at such a young age what most folks never seem to fully grasp. A lifetime of chasing Jesus in just a few short years.
Next month will be 3 years since her death. She was killed in a car accident while on her way to church. She was 28.
I couldn’t believe it when I heard the news. Tragedy in its ugliest and most painful form struck twice on this lovely family. There is no way of making sense to the insensible. This is among the many “whys” that don’t always get answered.
I’ve come to respect God’s sovereignty. I don’t have to understand it and it won’t always make sense, but I know he is sovereign over all and I trust that. I bear witness to that. I’ve experienced it.
The Jones family understands that too. They lived it. And when living it got hard they fought for it. They understand the truth of “where else shall we go!” And they stayed. Present at the feet of Jesus. Broken, bleeding, lost, they stayed.
This memory is bittersweet. Katrina and Kayla Jones you are sorely missed and never forgotten.