I have never met a more radiant, joy-filled person than Kim Newlen.
I only met Kim once but I have never forgotten her.
Not only was Kim the founder of an international ministry called Sweet Mondays, she was also an author, inventor, speaker, and Guinness world record holder.
A couple of years ago, our little community was blessed when Kim came to our church to speak.
My fellow Bible study leaders were asked to come in and help Kim set up before her talk that day. The minute I walked into our fellowship hall, I noticed her bright light. My friend Marj introduced me to Kim and within moments I felt as if I had known her all my life. Her warmth, her charm, her sense of humor, her absolutely radiant smile and the sparkle in her eyes all testified to a woman who loved life and lived every day to the fullest.
But despite her tiny frame and soft Southern drawl, she was one tough lady who had survived many heartaches and trials, including an excruciating and complicated bout with breast cancer. But rather than dim her faith, those times of testing only served to fuel an already strong faith into a blaze that could not be contained.
Rather than surrender to bitterness or a “why me?” attitude, Kim surrendered to Jesus and in turn showed all of us the resulting beauty of living a life of “yes.”
I was so inspired by her.
Several months ago, we received news that Kim’s cancer had returned with a vengeance. Every few days, a post from Kim would appear on my Facebook newsfeed. There was that same brave smile that revealed her indomitable spirit. Even in the midst of treatment, hooked up to wires and the standard white plastic hospital bracelet around her wrist, Kim managed to add a dash of panache with a colorful scarf, headband, or flower pin. One day, she even posted a picture of her toenails painted with bright yellow smiley faces. 🙂
Sadly, the news on her treatment got progressively worse but one of her friends wrote on Facebook, ” Despite the fact that her body has been ravaged by chemo and that she is continually weary, Kim keeps getting back in the ring, never losing her bright smile or unwavering faith.”
After a long and valiant fight, Kim’s struggle ended yesterday and she was ushered into the presence of the Savior that she loved so much. Forever free from pain and death and sorrow, she is at this very moment basking in the joy of seeing His beautiful face.
In church today, our pastor announced Kim’s death and shared his own memories of her. He mentioned that when she had visited the parsonage to speak to the widows in our church, she had worn high heels. Since the floors there are soft pine, Kim’s heels left imprints wherever she walked. Pastor Steve said that they are still there to this day, testifying to the fact that Kim had been there.
Then he reminded us that we all leave imprints with our lives.
What will the imprint of your life look like?
Take a moment and think about your legacy.
You are only here once. What do you want your life to say?
Kim only lived for 57 years but the impact of her one short life will continue on in countless ways. I am just so grateful that our paths crossed in this life. Her bright example will continue to inspire me, especially as I go through the valleys. I want to keep getting back in the ring, just like she did.
Please keep her husband Mark and their daughter Kali in your prayers as they adjust to life without their sweet Kim.
“Carve your names on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.”—Shannon Adler