I have been reading your blog for a while and have wanted to write you many times but it never felt like the right time. I have known Matt and Kari since the spring of 98. At that time Matt was preaching at the church I had attended on and off. The first time I met Kari I feel in love with her. Her personality, the way she carried herself, of love of life just attracted me to her.
Yes, I had a relationship with both of them but the real relationship came from Kari. She was the "big sister" I never had. No matter what she was going through, she always had time for me. She never treated me as this little kid but as a person she cared for. After Kassidy died our youth minister left before we were suppose to go to camp. Without even hesitating Kari agreed to become our youth minister and take us to camp in Glorieta New Mexico. That trip with her, I will never forget. I really saw Kari's love for what God wanted her to do. Not many people could have put up with 15 kids, 13 of the junior high. I teach JH right now and there is no way I could have done what she did. I really got to know Kari during that trip. We talked alot about life, friends, family, and Kassidy. She knew that she would miss Kassidy always because a part of her was gone, but she understood that the Lord had a reason. She said it took her a while to come to that but she would look at Kensi and knew that she needed to take care of the precious angel she had left.
Then when she found out she was pregnant... that was funny. She came out to my car as I was getting to church and she told me she had some big news for me. She told me she was pregnant. I just looked at her because I wasn't sure if she would be happy about that or not because she said she didn't want a baby. She told me that at first she was really scared about having another child but she said it was meant to be. She told me from day one that she would call her "Grace" if it was a girl because it was by the grace of God that she was pregnant. She loved her girls oh so much. She would call me and tell me any crazy thing they did, and with Grace there was always a funny moment. She was so proud of them.
True, Kari was a hard person to crack. She, like myself, put up a wall to protect herself. We talked about this from time to time and we realized in our minds that we did this to see how bad people really wanted to get in. If you didn't care enough to try to break through the wall then maybe you didn't deserve to get inside her. Anyone who broke through and got to know Kari was never the same. I know I haven't been.
Even through our relationship started out as "preacher wife/youth" it was never just that. She became my best friend. She welcomed me into her family, trusted me with her kids, gave me a couch to lay on and vent, and a shoulder to cry on. She always wanted what was best for anyone she knew and she would do whatever she could to help that person. I had her as a youth minister and a college professor. She taught me more than she would ever know and stuff that I am just now realizing. She was my rock and I regret not telling her everything she meant to me.
When Kari died part of me died. Then when the allegations against Matt came about after I saw things with my own eyes, more of me died. I was so depressed that I almost didn't graduate college. I missed her so much. I tried to talk to someone but how could they understand what I was going through. The knock on my door the morning she died forever changed my life.
I want people to know what a great person Kari was. I want people to know that this world was such a better place with her in it. I want people to know that Kensi and Grace have so much of their mom in them. I have no doubt in my mind that they will do great things when they grow up because of their mom and what she gave them in just a short time. See Kari may be gone, but she lives everyday in those girls. Her DNA is in them and for that I know they will be ok. I want the world to know that no matter what may happen in the courts, Kari lived her life to the fullest. Understanding that life is short and don't ever regret what you could have done something about. Kari left impression on my life and I am forever grateful. I want people to know that we can make sure Kari still leaves an impact on this world by passing on what she gave us. I want people to know that Kari Lynn Baker was not only my friend, my youth minister, my teacher, but she was always so much more. She showed everyday how God used her. She lived her life for him and there couldn't have been a better person to display his great gifts to us then her. What a special angel we have in Heaven watching over us!
Thank you, Jenny!