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A Lesson in Faith

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Celebrating the Life of Kristi Rich

Kristi Michele Rich departed this world on April 2, 2019. She was 49 years old. It can’t be said that her family in particular and her ever-widening community in general lost her because we didn’t. We know right where she is.

She is in our hearts, she is in our determination, and she is in Heaven.

From her initial diagnosis over six years ago, Kristi refused to let cancer define her. Instead, she chose to continue being defined by her faith.

Joshua 1:9 “…Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

This was her verse. This was the mantra she lived by. This word of God spread over and over by Team Kristi, whether in person by the distinctive teal bracelets and t-shirts, to the #KristiStrong that always seemed to be present in the cyber-world.

To Kristi these were visual representations of God’s promise.  She drew her strength from her faith and received so much strength and inspiration from the THOUSANDS who were part of Team Kristi. She could never fathom why so many cared about her. For Team Kristi members, it was like a beacon light that just drew you to her.

Her faith in God guided her to marry the love of her life, Mike Rich. With her heart full, Kristi’s heart expanded. Michael and Taylor were her heartbeats.

Kristi was co-owner (with Mike) of the Lovelady Food Center for 11 years. She ran her own beauty shop. She worked for 17 years at Lovelady State Bank (was even assaulted during a bank robbery).

Still following her faith in Christ, Kristi and Mike opened Market Street Deli in their hometown of Grapeland. Kristi also opened Blings and Things in Grapeland. That woman loved her crafts! And she could give Martha Stewart a run for her money!

Most of those things were accomplished after her diagnosis. Her diagnosis didn’t matter. Following Christ mattered. Her family mattered. With her faith in place, and God firmly by her side, with the support of her family, Kristi carried on with life.

The perennial team mom, Kristi didn’t just cheer on her kids. Well, she did, but if there was a kid and Kristi knew them, then they too, were her kids and received the same cheers. When Kristi finally shaved her head (she was tired of shedding), the ENTIRE Lovelady Lions basketball team (which her son Taylor was a member of) shaved theirs too. It was a show of solidarity with their “mom.”

Graduations, weddings, baseball games and grandbabies – that is what Kristi Rich was about. She adopted the strays (people and pets) and was always more concerned for others than herself. Was she a Saint? No, she was just Kristi, the lady who pulled a U-turn on Hwy. 19 to get a turtle off its back and away from the road.

She had dark days, she had worries, but she also had sisters … a Mom … and a host of other family and friends that God put into place for just such occasions.

Much to Kristi’s dismay, her inner-circle considered her a hero. And inner-circle is somewhat of a misnomer. If you ever made eye contact with Kristi Rich or commented on a post, you were her inner-circle. If you were Team Kristi, you were inner-circle. She was pretty much impressed by the different strengths of everyone she met, never realizing those admirable qualities were just a reflection of her own.

God’s Light shone bright in Kristi. She stayed true to Him and His plan, even when she didn’t understand it. She does now, and is rejoicing.

 

KB