Kristie Stokes of Jonesboro, AR

Since I heard the news of Kristie’s passing yesterday morning, I haven’t stopped thinking about her and her precious family. Kristie left to go home to the arms of Jesus around 1:45am on December 30th. Her husband Russell and sons, Jackson and Wyatt, were her greatest loves. 

Kristie battled breast cancer this year and the chemotherapy (chemo) severely damaged her lungs. Last week she was transferred to Memphis for additional lung therapy. She was put on a ventilator during the treatment to allow her body to rest and heal. During this time God decided to bring this angel home. 

I have known Kristie for over a decade now. We were not close friends but we parented alongside one another at International Studies (IS). Her boys are around my girls’ ages. There is nothing anyone can say bad about Kristie. She always had a smile on her face and was eager to serve others. We volunteered together at IS for years and she had a servant’s heart. She worked at First Baptist Church (FBC) in downtown Jonesboro for over a decade where she was the Children’s Minister first but most recently she was the Missions and Community Outreach Pastor. She also volunteered for neighbors in need at the FBC Care Center and led numerous mission trips and Bible Schools at the church. 

The last few times I saw Kristie she had lost her hair and either had on a wig or a wrap or a hat. She ALWAYS had that gorgeous smile, even through the most difficult and painful parts of the chemo treatments. The chemo left her weak and tired but she always showed up anyway. 

She told me she felt poorly but yet there she was, at school walk up to get Wyatt, at PTA meetings, at the JHS Homecoming parade, just to name a few of the last times I had the privilege to interact with her. Women like Kristie inspire me to be a better person. I pray that if faced with a difficult battle as she was, I would also fight as honorably as she did. I want to emulate her faith and perseverance. She rarely complained and I never saw her feeling sorry for herself. I only saw her out and about and being there for her boys, her husband, her friends, her church and her loved ones.

I don’t understand tragedy like this. It makes no sense why God would take her precious soul this early. But, I’m not supposed to understand why God does what he does. I’m here to trust Him and His unwavering love for all of his children. I am shaken to the core by this unimaginable loss. 

Many will never be the same because Kristie has left her earthy body and is now in the presence of our Savior. I believe good comes from bad things and I trust good is happening right now as I type because her passing has affected so many in our community. 

I know that I will choose to be more like Kristie. I want to smile more and be a better servant of God. I want to help others by being more loving and giving to those less fortunate. 

I want to be more selfless and not worry so much about what is going wrong in my life and focus more on the positive, the joy all around me and be grateful for everything, even this pain. We are all here for a reason friends. I want to spread love like Kristie did. I want to be strong like her and stand tall even in the face of adversity. 

This was Kristie’s last Facebook post on November 27th. Her words are soothing, powerful and reflect her love for our Lord and Savior.“So this is our 2018 family ornament. When we added it to the tree we talked about how breast cancer has changed our lives this year- in tough ways but always with blessings surrounding us. I’ve needed the reminder of that morning, after a really tough few days. What I thought was fatigue from the end of the end of chemo actually turned out to be some serious damage to my lungs. It’s good to be home from the hospital now, but I’m also facing a new reality of being on oxygen, a recovery that will be weeks, not days, and a delay in my other surgery until my lungs completely heal. Was this my plan? No. Have I seen blessing? An overwhelming Yes. The tribe of family and friends who have carried our family in love, support, and prayer just don’t quit. And I’ve seen that Christy Amaden Johnson,  Beth Williams Murff, and Laura Halford Wood rock in a medical emergency and sure know how to help a friend in need. But above all, I know without a doubt that the God who gave me this promise continues to carry us… ‘Even before I speak a word, you know all about it. You are all around me, behind me and in front of me. You hold me in your power.’ His promises sustain, and that is always enough.”

God, thank you for allowing us the time you did with this precious woman. Thank you for giving her a heart of gold and a smile that brightened any gloomy day. Thank you for allowing me to have known her even a little. She was such a blessing to me by being a wonderful and faithful servant to you. Her passion and strength and her fierce love of her family was such a blessed example of an angel right here on earth. Lord this loss is too great for me to wrap my mind around. I don’t understand why you took such a gift away from us. But, I do trust you and your perfect plan for all of our lives. May her sweet family and friends have the peace that surpasses understanding of this significant loss. May we all strive to be a little better each day and honor her memory by striving to be more like Kristie Stokes until you decide to call us home as well. Always faithful, even on days like today when I just can’t stop wondering, why. Amen. 

Everyone wants to do something for the family in times like these. I’m sure they would never ask but I know there is a PayPal account set up. I donated for Russell to use the money in any way he deems fit. If you feel to the desire to help, please send to :  randkstokes@gmail.com

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