Have you ever had to wait? I mean, truly wait? You know, the kind of wait that involved petitioning God for something and feeling confident that HE would handle it? Then, your days of waiting became weeks, your weeks became months, and your months became years, and nothing! No sign in sight that it would happen. As a matter of fact, you began to see things get WORSE. The wait became heavy, too much to bear, and extremely uncomfortable. Come on, I know I’m not the only one who’s experienced this at some point?! You know, that initial moment God assured us that HE will take care of something on our behalf. We believed and had confidence in HIM, and then when it didn’t happen after some time, we became anxious, worried, and in some instances, angry. Well, this was our wait, and I want to encourage you to NOT give up, but rather, wait on God!
Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.-Psalm 37:7
How It Began
Our story began when Des and I embarked on a friendship in 2007. Although we were just friends the majority of 2007, we fell in love in the beginning of 2008. In November of 2009, we got married. Six months later, we were in the doctor’s office hearing that he was diagnosed with Stage 4 kidney failure and could potentially be at Stage 5 any day (meaning dialysis would be needed for him to survive). In September of 2010, his sister became his donor after being found to be his perfect match! So you can only imagine the devastation we felt when we were informed, after routine blood testing, that his kidney was rejecting, just three years later.
Dialysis officially began for Des following the rejection in 2013, which brought with it, a whole slew of troubles in of itself. There were many instances Des had to be hospitalized, needed surgical procedures to de-clot his accesses, became swollen in his body from retaining excess fluid, feeling sick, dizzy, and/or weak and fatigued. All the while, he was a hard worker. He would not quit, in any area of his life. He did not give up! We had some very scary moments and close calls, but GOD!
So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.-Galatians 6:9
After a routine surgical procedure to de-clot an access one day, my husband lost use of all of his accesses for hemodialysis. I was called into the office and informed that the doctors no longer felt comfortable doing this procedure. They mentioned the clots were going into his lungs, and they feared something tragic happening if they continued. They recommended surgery so that he could begin peritoneal dialysis. He began dialysis at home shortly after, which hurt him because he didn’t want his family to see him go through that. It was his last resort, so he had to bite the bullet and go through with it. Then, worst case scenario occurred. The new dialysis method, and last resort, was not working as planned. He was hospitalized a few times on some close calls. We suffered…We prayed…We begged GOD to show up…We waited.
Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. –Psalm 27:14
The NO’s That Broke Our Hearts
In the midst of all the health complications and the waiting, we were also awaiting potential living donors. From the middle of 2014 to October of 2017, we faced three different NO’s with regards to living donors. The second NO broke us. At first, I was in shock and in denial by the NO we received! When I finally came to terms with it, I felt heartbreak that was totally indescribable. My husband did as well, except he shut down. He wouldn’t speak to me or anyone else for that matter. It felt as though he was giving up. I couldn’t help him out of his pit because to be honest, I was worn down, and in my own pit. We spent weeks grieving, mostly in private. Many times we would see each other grieving and not even be able to encourage one another. It’s emotional to even think about now, especially since we are in such a good space today. Thank God we made it through that, but truthfully, we were just tired. We felt let down yet again. And if I’m being totally transparent, we were angry and heartbroken.
You say you can’t see him, but he will bring justice if you will only wait.-Job 35:14
Have you ever faced a NO that broke your heart? If you answered yes, then I’m sure you know how bad it could hurt. I had a moment with God one evening in my car after petitioning HIM to help us in this season, and a prayer I prayed to HIM flashbacked in my mind. I heard in my spirit that very day I asked God, “God give us your BEST! Let the next one supersede expectations and statistics. Give us Your BEST!” Then it hit me! It wasn’t HIS best! The NO we received wasn’t a rejection from God. It wasn’t GOD forgetting us. His no to THIS one meant, HE had something better! I shared this with my husband and we finally had a breakthrough.
By the time the third potential donor was in process, I assured her that God had my husband’s best. I made it clear that our hope was not in man, but in God! However, we waited some more. Needless to say, that turned into our third no. It was a bit disappointing, but not as painful as the previous ones because we had hope, and our hope was in HIM. So, we waited some more. In the meantime, we prayed, we worshipped, we spoke life over the situation, we surrounded ourselves with other believers, and we gave glory to God in it all.
We remained in consistent contact with the hospital regarding my husband’s situation. After being denied by the transplant committee to be on the emergency list, we got a call from a staff member one day asking if my husband would be interested in being nominated for another list. This list had not yet begun, but the approved candidates would be the first ones on it. It entailed receiving a kidney from a deceased donor who had traces of hepatitis C in their blood. There was minimal chance of contracting the disease, but if so, he’d be medicated immediately. We agreed at once! After all, doctors had just told us peritoneal dialysis would last 2 months at best. We both shared this immense divine feeling that overcame us which gave us peace about the whole thing. It was as if God was providing a divine opportunity for us. We decided to keep it private, to avoid external, negative comments and opinions. I can’t explain how or why, but we knew God’s peace was with us. He was accepted for the program and signed in agreement on December 29th, 2017.
Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.-Psalm 5:3
My husband received THE call on February 13, 2018. I still remember how his voice sounded that morning. Shocked is the best way to describe it to you. Thinking back, he probably couldn’t believe the day had finally arrived! Only, this call was not for a kidney from a deceased donor on the hepatitis C list. This kidney was from a LIVING DONOR who was on some sort of kidney donation chain and the kidney was completely healthy. He was the BEST match for the anonymous donor. Get the key words in that last statement? Yes, BEST and ANONYMOUS! Sounds like God to me! We had no idea who it was, but we knew GOD was in the midst. We had a date! On March 8th, 2018 my husband would be getting a kidney transplant. Thank you Jesus!
The day was long, but a successful one nonetheless. Four hours after taking my husband into the OR, the surgeon came out to discuss the outcome of the surgery with me. He assured us that all went well. As a matter of fact, he specifically mentioned how “youthful and beautiful” the donated kidney was. He also made it a point to tell me something that I know God wanted me to know. He said, “As I made the last staple, the kidney immediately began producing urine!” It was confirmation. THIS…WAS…GOD’S…BEST!!!
Meeting the Donor
We mentioned to the coordinators prior to surgery that if the donor ever wanted to meet, we were up for it. On April 15, 2018, we got the call for a meeting day. We immediately agreed. To say we were ecstatic would be an understatement. We didn’t even think we’d ever have this opportunity, let alone so soon after transplant. So, it was a pleasant surprise, and the date was set for May 2nd, 2018.
When we arrived, my husband seemed so calm, cool, and collective. He was happy, excited, but relaxed. Me, on the other hand, I was extremely excited, but nervous. We were immensely grateful and wanted to share that with the donor, and at the same time, we wanted to give all glory and honor to God.
It was the moment we had been waiting for! The door opened, and through it came this very youthful looking woman. I don’t know what I expected, but from the moment we saw her, we felt pure humility, happiness, love, and gratefulness. MY husband and I began to cry as she walked in, and we took turns hugging her. This was an extraordinary moment that we’ll cherish forever. She embraced us in return! We spent a good amount of time together. She shared the entire story of how she got on this donation chain, and the more time we spent with her and heard her story, the more we realized what a truly amazing individual she was. All I can hear in my spirit was, John 15:13, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life…”
The Letter That Made a Difference
The night before transplant day, I decided to write a letter to the kidney donor. I had no idea who I was writing to at the time, but I just wanted to thank the person, wish the individual a speedy recovery, and tell them about how God used him or her to bless us! I cried the entire time, but I just wanted the person to know the impact he or she made on our lives. I wanted the person to know how God used them. I wanted the person to know, this was our miracle.
When we met her, I felt so compelled to hug her tightly. I thought about how this transplant has affected our lives for the better. Surprisingly, she mentioned my letter. She said, “That letter!” She went on to explain that she had read the letter days after transplant day and it encouraged her. She told us how it was on time and as she read, she cried. It gave her insight as to who she was helping, what this meant to us, and how she was truly making a difference. I called her our very own God sent angel. We had a moment of true joy together!
It’s been about 10 weeks since my husband’s transplant. He’s doing exceptionally well! Each and every day he gets stronger and has developed this newfound zeal for life. His medical tests, measures, and numbers are all on target, and we believe his best is here!!
Seeing where we are today is such a huge difference from where we were last year, the year before that, and the year before that! We almost gave up on our hopes of this ever happening, on each other, and on God. Thank God we didn’t, because if we had, we wouldn’t be able to share our miracle and encourage you today that GOD CAN and WILL for you, just as HE did for us, if you DON’T GIVE UP and WAIT ON HIM!!
What I Pray You Take From This
If you have been or are waiting, then there is something you can take from this. Maybe you are waiting on a husband, a wife, or a new found love, don’t give up. Maybe you are waiting on your healing today, whether it’s of a broken heart or from a sickness, don’t lose hope! You may be waiting on a promotion, career shift, increase, favor, or a school acceptance letter, don’t give up! Wait on God! He can and will do it for you. God knows what you need. Do you know what HE is requiring of you? If not, ask HIM. The word reminds us that if we ask, it will be given to us; if we seek, we will find; if we knock, the door will be opened to us. The Lord just reminded me to encourage you that God will not forget about you as mentioned in Isaiah 49:15. It says, “Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands…” Thank you God for not forgetting us, and HE will not forget about you. DO NOT GIVE UP! Wait…On…GOD!
*This is dedicated to all the families who are affected by kidney disease and/or kidney failure. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. Hang on! Don’t give up!
**For more information on how you can become a kidney donor in our local area, check out https://www.ynhh.org/services/transplantation/become-an-organ-donor.aspx .