I cannot believe it has been 5 years since my life was saved.
5 years since God worked a mighty miracle and chose to keep me on this side of heaven.
If I’m honest, I NEVER would have been brave enough to choose this journey for myself. NEVER. However, I am SO thankful that God chose it for me.
I often times feel as if there is a misconception that “once you have a transplant, you are healed for life” OHH, how I wish that was the case. Does receiving a transplant give you back your life? Yes. Does it allow you to live a new normal and have many more memories? Yes. Is it a life-long health battle with anti-rejection medications, managing my blood disease, lab visits, many doctor visits, always being cautious of germs, not being around those who are sick, being cautious of what you are eating and touching? Yes.
Am I grateful? ABSOLUTELY! Is it still a hard life? MOST DEFINITELY!
There has been a lot of struggle over the past 5 years.
6 major surgeries and a lot of ups and downs regarding my health.
But in the midst of the struggle, there has been more beauty in my life than I ever could have imagined myself.
God has given us organ donation as a platform to share of His goodness. To share with a watching world that Jesus is always enough. Jesus is better than it all.
Over the past five years, I have gotten to see my two nieces be born, spend so much time with my nieces and nephews which is one of the greatest roles in my life right now—being their Aunt LiLi. I have had travel experiences, 5 more wedding anniversaries, I have celebrated 5 more birthdays and entered into my 30’s this past year. Reid and I self published our book! I have built an incredible relationship with my donor family, our Godparents. We have spent many fun weekends at their beach cabin becoming closer to them and learning more and more about their girls. I rode on the Donate Life Float in the Rose Parade. Reid and I bought our first home. And (hopefully) soon I will get to become a Mommy through adoption!!! And most recently, I have watched my husband be so moved by the transplant journey the Lord chose for me that he wanted to pass that gift on through living donation. What a gift!!!
Reid and I have been able to live out what has become one of our favorite bible verses over the past 5 years. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5.
The opportunity to volunteer and visit patients at the hospital on the transplant floor has been a huge blessing in our lives. It reminds us that the suffering we have endured is never wasted. We are now able to use the comfort that we received from God and others and return it to those who are now walking through their own suffering.
The past 5 years have given Reid and I a new perspective on life. One that I am beyond grateful that we learned at such a young age. We wake up with a zest for life. We praise God each morning for waking us up and giving us his breath in our lungs. We know that not everyday is promised to us.
We have learned to let the little stuff brush off our shoulders. We have learned to focus on what is truly important in life: faith, family, friends, and intentional time.
I love this quote from Tim Keller.
I never would have asked to be a transplant recipient but if I could have seen the blessings that would come from it and the opportunities that God has given us to Glorify His name and spread the good news of the gospel—I would have asked for this journey.
Through our struggles, we always come out of it more secure in God’s steadfast love and have a greater affection for and trust in Him. –Lauren Chandler
Friends, if you are suffering, keep crying out to God, Keep waiting. HE WILL COME!
As I look back the one word that keeps coming to my mind is PRAISE!
Lauren Chandler in her book, Steadfast Love put it this way: “Praise lets us tell on God—to recount all the ways He has been faithful.”
Thank you ALL for loving us so well—especially since February 2014. You have been our prayer warriors, our strength, a source of encouragement, and have pointed us back to the cross in each trial.
We consider you among our greatest blessings!
And to the greatest hero I never knew, my organ donor, Courtney Ray Sterling who saved my life—Thank You for the most selfless gift. I strive to honor you daily.
All of my love!!