Services for Kristen are scheduled as follows:
Viewing at Heritage Oaks Memorial Chapel: Thursday, January 7, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Funeral Service at Heritage Oaks Memorial Chapel: Friday, January 8, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
Graveside Service at Rocklin Cemetery: Friday, January 8, 2:00 p.m.
To view the funeral service as it is live streamed on Friday, January 8, 12:00 p.m., click on this link: https://youtu.be/iVLo78-D2VY
KRISTEN MICHELLE WILLIAMS
Where do you start with the life Kristen lived and the impact she has had on others around her?
Kristen Michelle Norman was born on February 5th, 1964, in Newport Beach in Southern California, a blessing to her parents, Judi and Jim Norman. She was born with a congenital heart defect known as the transposition of the great arteries and was given one day to live. Transported to UCLA, she was christened in the ambulance, underwent emergency heart surgery, and survived that first day. Then, her parents were told she wouldn't live past the age of seven. When she was seven, she had a second experimental heart operation known as the Mustard Procedure, the first in America, that did some corrections to her heart where the chambers of her heart worked in reverse with the small and weaker chamber of her heart now doing all the major work of pumping blood through the body. She continued to improve after her second heart operation, but she would have the congenital heart defect for the rest of her life with no timeline on her life expectancy. Kristen remembers her doctors telling her: "We're looking at you as the guinea pig. Your heart should hold up, but we don't really know."
Kristen's parents were blessed with a second daughter, Kaarin, and the two sisters, only 19 months apart in age, developed a strong love and bond that blossomed and never waivered. Kristen was also blessed to have her older half-brother Jimmie who she loved and enjoyed spending time with.
Kristen was born into a family with an incredibly strong Christian faith in our Father in heaven, and at a young age she became a Christian. Not knowing how long she would live, her faith continued to grow and she developed a strong base to her faith as she was walking evidence of how good God can be. Kristen was told she had to be careful and should avoid physical exercise. So what does she do but take up racquetball as a teenager and running in her late teens that continued well into her forties. Kristen would always claim she was shy as a young girl but she began to come out of her shell in high school, attending University High in Irvine. She bonded with a group of friends who became life-long friends and even though they are scattered all over the United States, they have kept in contact since High School. As she grew older, she always looked for opportunities to discuss her faith with people she came in contact with, hoping to lead them to a relationship with our Father, and she did.
When she finished high school, Kristen spent a couple of years at Orange County Community College and then got an opportunity to attend UC Santa Barbara where she began a love affair with that area and wanted to live there. She didn't have much money but worked multiple jobs to graduate from UCSB with an undergraduate degree in Psychology. Kristen always had trouble focusing during classes, and while studying, and that is when she discovered coffee. At UCSB, she really came out of her shell and made more life-long friends. After UCSB, she began working for a loan company but she had a desire to work with animals. She took a position at UC Irvine working with animals and that led her to a similar position at Stanford University and a move to Northern California.
Through a common friend at Stanford University, she met David Williams in the Spring of 1993. If there was ever love at first site, this was it. Engaged six weeks later and married on February 5th, 1994, her birthday, it led to a nearly 27-year love affair between them. In reality, all Kristen ever wanted was to be was a wife and mum, but she was told she couldn't have children. Kristen and David were blessed with a son Garrett born in 1994 and a daughter Rachael born 16 months later in 1995. Kristen just kept defying what she was told she couldn't do and continued to show how good God is. Settled in San Jose and raising a young family, Kristen continued to develop friendships with those all around, neighbors, parents at school, the local church. Her strong faith and positive attitude toward life continued to impact everyone around her and bring more people to a relationship with our Father.
In her late teens, a chance discovery of an old canon camera led to a life-long passion for photography. It was a struggle to get her in front of the camera as she always wanted to be the one taking the photos.
She inherited a green thumb from her parents and over the years enjoyed gardening and was always outside planting, trimming, and repotting plants. Her love of home renovating and decorating led to her creating a home filled with love and peace with her personal touches everywhere you looked. She loved being outdoors and was able to travel within America and to Australia and Europe as well. Her biggest passion was being in close proximity to the beach, oceans, lakes and streams, and you would see the joy come out of her when she grabbed her camera and started taking photos.
Kristen and David moved to Rocklin just east of Sacramento in 2006 to be closer to family and began attending Bayside Church. As always, Kristen fostered new relationships with mothers of children at the same schools as Garrett and Rachael and participated in prayer groups. She also became involved with the Women's Ministry at Bayside Church, first participating in prayer groups and ultimately becoming a group leader.
Throughout her life, there continued to be one defining character for Kristen, her relationship with our Father in Heaven, and that was her number one priority. She understood that our life here on earth is fleeting and that the promise of God for a life of eternity in Heaven should be something everyone would want. She was never pushy with her faith and never judgmental of non-believers, but was living evidence of how God can bless you.
Kristen decided she wanted to get her Masters in Psychology with a goal to do counselling and helping people, drawing upon her faith and life's experiences. She began her masters classes in 2015 at Western Seminary in Rocklin.
On November 26th, 2018, at the age of 54, she suffered heart failure and stopped breathing, but God was good. She was getting a checkup with her heart specialist at the time of her heart failure. God knew it was not time, her doctor was able to apply CPR, and she survived. She was in the hospital for a month, had multiple operations, but never once complained. Initially, they were discussing the possibility of a heart transplant but her heart recovered enough to avoid that. The first week of her recovery in hospital, she accepted whatever God had in store for her and was ready to be with Him but that was not His will. She returned home to grateful family and friends just in time to celebrate Christmas in 2018. All the friendships she developed in Southern California and Northern California led to an army of people praying for her to survive and recover, and the power of those prayers and God's will came through. Kristen slowly began taking up her masters classes again and building up strength through regular five mile walks. She was able to continue to guide and see the growth of her son Garrett as he began to forge his own path in life, and see her daughter, Rachael, marry the love of her life, Andrew, on August 30, 2020.
On November 26th, 2019, Kristen wrote the following: "So a year ago today was when my life took a turn and the Lord saved me. I should not be here, and it's amazing all the miracles and prayers that were answered. It is such a testimony that I need to understand and share. Lord, help me to do that. I want everyone to experience the peace and joy that a relationship with you gives us. There are so many blessings. Your word is true and your love is unending. Help me to honor you by using the rest of my life for your service."
On December 21st, 2020, God decided it was time for Kristen to be home with Him, and she is now in Heaven with her Father. Heaven is a better place with her there. She hadn't been feeling well for a few days and went into the hospital. Once again, her heart stopped but this time it was her Father's will for her to be with Him. The last thing Kristen was reading in her Bible was Mark 4 where Jesus is with the disciples. In Mark 4:20, Jesus says, "Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop - some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown." In Mark 4:21-23, Jesus says, "Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don't you put it on its stand? For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear." In Mark 4:30-32, Jesus says, "What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it. It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade." These verses sum up the impact Kristen had on all our lives. She had unwavering faith and a relationship with her Father in Heaven. She used her life to reach people around her. Not concealing her faith, but being open about it, she was a walking testimony to how good God is … living 56 years when she wasn't supposed to survive her first day, and leading countless people to personal relationships with God.
Kristen continues to be an inspiration to us all with how she lived each day with a great positive attitude and showing us how we should pursue our relationship with our Father in Heaven, how we should be in the Word of God daily, and how we should openly show our faith to those around us and treat everyone equally with love and compassion. She will be missed as a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a niece, a cousin, and a friend here on earth, but her spirit and impact is with us all. We will all look forward to joining her in Heaven for eternity.