An online celebration of Kristen’s life will be held on Tuesday, June 23rd at 10am. You can view the service at either of these links: northcreek.org/live or vimeo.com/northcreek.
Kristen Suzanne Shepherd was born in Austin, Texas on June 9, 1977. She went to be with her Lord and Savior on June 2, 2020 at the age of 42. She passed away peacefully after complications from her disease.
When she was five years old, Kristen moved with her family from Austin to Walnut Creek, California. She attended Valle Verde Elementary, Foothill Middle School, and Northgate High School where she graduated with honors in 1995.
Kristen was an active member of NorthCreek Church in Walnut Creek. She was active in the church youth groups and summer day camps. She went on multiple mission trips to Mexico and served as Senior Staff for the church’s Mexicali Mission Trip in 1995.
Kristen was an avid athlete and outdoor adventure-seeking young girl. She began playing on soccer teams at the age of six and continued through high school playing on varsity and competitive level teams. She received multiple “Scholar Athlete” awards in high school. She lettered in soccer, track, and cross country and won the “Gold Block N”, the highest sports award given at Northgate High School.
Beginning at age 12, Kristen attended and then worked for Eagle Lake Wilderness Camp in Colorado Springs, Colorado for seven summers. At 16, she was the youngest person ever hired as a Trip Outfitter for the camp. While working at Eagle Lake, she climbed 13 of the 14,000 foot mountains in Colorado and led groups of high school age kids on one- and two-week wilderness treks.
After graduating from high school, Kristen spent two months traveling in Europe. She especially loved her time climbing on glaciers and in ice crevasses. Kristen was accepted to the University of Texas in Austin and Wheaton College in Illinois. However, her illness prevented her from attending college.
Beginning at age 19, Kristen fought a long 24-year battle with an undiagnosed encephalitis that left her in a wheelchair unable to care for herself.
Throughout her illness, Kristen’s indomitable spirit, her amazing intellect and her unshakable faith in God was a life-changing example to all of us who loved and cared for her. Her speech became very difficult to understand, but she continued to communicate by her amazing ability to spell. Her favorite pastime was playing trivia games and doing anything that would challenge her brain. She endured years of therapies and surgeries with a steadfast spirit of perseverance and fearlessness.
Kristen was an amazing woman who was loved dearly by her large family and many friends. Her family wishes to thank all of the dedicated caregivers who have helped care for Kristen at home for years. They were committed not only to her physical care but to taking Kristen on adventures and being her cherished friends.
Kristen is survived by her parents Edward and Carolyn Shepherd. Siblings: Jennifer Lyon (husband, Justin), Hannah Potter (husband, Jesse) and Mark Shepherd (wife, Emily). Grandmother: Vivienne Williams. Nieces and nephews: Kalena, Sara, Katelyn and Andrew Lyon; Samuel and Allison Potter; Addison Shepherd. And a large and loving extended family in Texas, Washington State and Hawaii.
Kristen was very active in the youth ministries at NorthCreek Church during her Junior High and High School years. The impact of her time in the youth group helped to strengthen her faith to endure the 24 year storm of disability that the Lord would bring into her life. If you would like to honor Kristen’s memory in a tangible way, please consider donating to Northcreek Church’s Building Fund for the creation of a youth focused building. It is our family’s hope that this ministry continues to bring teens to a saving faith in Jesus Christ.
As a testament of her faith, the prayer below was written in Kristen’s journal when she was 19 years old, just as the disease started to cripple her body.
"Enable me to endure, please heal my sickness, my fatigue, my headache, and tight muscles… Help me to be focused on you, fill me to the brim with yourself. I make myself available. Please fill me, use me, let me be an example of your love... When I realize that I am held fast and kept by this enormously great God, any worries about my future seem so irrational. He will lead me and guide me, he will hold me fast to His right hand... Take my life. Keep me in upmost devotion to you. Keep me, that I may pray all day long, even in my dreams. Let my every action bring you glory.... Please sustain me throughout this morning while I do my homework...heal me of this sickness Lord Jesus. Make me fresh and new that I might go on to reach new heights, attain new ground which was impossible without you. I love you, Amen." (Kristen Shepherd; September 30, 1996; Age 19)
Online Service: https://www.northcreek.org/live/
Online Service: https://vimeo.com/northcreek
Donations in honor of Kristen: https://www.northcreek.org/giving/