I think we all can relate to walking through unexpected circumstances and having to choose to either embrace the journey or shrink back into despair.
One of those seasons for me personally was recently last year, 2017; a year unlike any other for my husband and I. He was diagnosed with End Stage Renal Failure (ESRD) at the end of 2016, and all we knew was the days, weeks, months ahead would be beyond challenging.
In short, dialysis treatments are pretty much the difference between life and death for a Renal patient. Dialysis does what the kidneys can no longer do for the body. He started this process in early January 2017.
If you’ve ever met Freddy,
you learn quickly that he never meets a stranger. His view on life is always a glass full and overflowing perspective! He loves to laugh, have a good time with great friends and has a strong Christian faith that resonates loudly in all he does.
As we began our trek in 2017, Freddy’s days consisted of the following routine:
* Wake up at 6:00 am to leave for his full time job from 7am-5pm - M-F
* Dialysis treatments - Tues & Thurs evenings 6:30pm-10:30pm and on Sundays 4:00pm-8:00pm
* A 45-minute one-way commute to/from his treatments.
* Arrive home from dialysis and crawl up the stairs to finally eat something for dinner, then rest a few hours to wake up and start his day all over again.
Although fear of the unknown can overwhelm out of nowhere, I love how God often begins preparing a heart for things that are yet to unfold before your eyes. He did this for me as 2017 began. One of those scriptures was from Psalm 16:8-11
“I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety. For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave. You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.”
I felt like He was giving me this Word as a prayer to pray over Freddy during this season. It was a scripture that I began to insert Freddy’s name in and cling to believing that his body would “rest in safety and not be swallowed up and rot in the grave.” As the challenging days past, there would be times of confident assurance that the Lord was on our side and yet more times than not we were utterly stripped bare of any possible hope that we had as we continued on this unknown path for a living donor to come forward.
What is faith? I love how the New Living Version states this in Hebrews 11:1
"Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see."
Time and again the Lord kept reminding me to trust, and allow Him to lead me through this deeper walk with Him through this season.
There were many extreme mountains and valleys we walked through during this season. We learned that our first possible donor was denied and we were back to square one. It was a wellspring of devastation that hit all of us in a tumultuous wave. Where do you even go from here? I pretty much curled up in the fetal position and called it a day. Tears came, disappointment flooded in, weariness and constant questioning all became apart of the daily routine. Still, the Word of Lord remained unwavering. I knew down deep the Lord was at work and bringing Freddy's miracle to pass.
“Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” Psalms 62:8
Through a whirlwind of events, we learned that we had another approved donor and surgery was scheduled for September 1, 2017. We had no idea who this anonymous person was.
August 11th found us having dinner with a girl who was in a Young Adult Small Group that we had led. Her name is Rebekah. She never knew of Freddy's need until we posted it on social media. She was interested to hear our story of the first donor which also led us to tell her about our new surgery date scheduled! As we ended our story, she began hers with the words "Well, I am having surgery too on September 1st! I'm your donor!"
I'm not sure if I will ever be able to find the words that so eloquently describe the gratitude of someone so excited and willing to give of themselves for another. Comparably, this is what the Christian faith is centered around!
It was true!
September 1, 2017, came and went, but not without one person laying down her life to give someone else new life. That day at Piedmont Hospital Atlanta, GA, a 25-year-old girl gave a 47-year-old man the gift of life in the form of a new kidney. We are forever grateful for Rebekah and for the Lord's faithfulness in carrying us through once again.
Are you faced with difficult circumstances right now? Do you find yourself having to decide whether you will embrace the journey or shrink back? If you are walking through a dark season right now, hold on and persevere. Your circumstances today do not define your future for tomorrow. God is working on your behalf.
Let me encourage you on and remind you that Jesus Christ is the unshakeable Rock and Anchor. Period. It is these exact seasons of life that IF we choose to embrace the journey and His Truth, He will take us to a more in-depth revelation of who He is. Through that, He reveals once again; He is for us and wants the best of the best for us. His Word is alive and active. Unlike any other, there is power in His Word!