Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Getting Out of the Boat - the Kidney story

As you may, or may not, know, my wonderful husband John is donating a kidney next week to his friend Robbie. We met Robbie and his family in 2002 when we all went to church together at Spartanburg Community Church (now Milestones). John and Robbie are both the tech-geeky kind (and I mean that in the nicest way, bless their hearts) and both served together in that and other capacities at the church. In 2005, God moved us away to NC, but through technology and a short three hour distance, we have remained friends and kept in touch. So here is the story from my (honest) perspective:

A year ago: We hear that Robbie is going to need a kidney soon. His current one is not going to hold out much longer. We add Robbie to our prayer list.

December: Robbie's kidney is failing. The need to find a donor is now imperative. Robbie and his family let everyone know and ask that they pray about donating. We pray.

December - March: Some people are tested, but things are not working out as far as finding a match. We're still praying a match will be found.

March: Robbie is in complete kidney failure and goes on dialysis. John says to me "Maybe I should get tested to donate a kidney." I marinate on that for a little while. My fearful reply "I don't know... I mean, we have a kid with diabetes - he might need a kidney. We have another kid with kidney problems who might really need a kidney. I just think we need to save our kidneys, just in case." John sees my point and mulls it over.

And then, in the shower one day, God spoke to my heart: Jesus said, "Whoever (keeps) his life will lose it, and whoever loses (or lays down) his life for my sake will find it." ~Matt. 10:39 Ouch. And then, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." ~John 15:13

So I'm in shower weeping and asking God.. "Really? You're asking me (to agree with my husband) to do this? But what about my kids?!" And then came the answer: Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money. Why, you don't even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." ~James 4:13-15. To be driven home by: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." ~Matt. 6:19-21.

Okay so bear with me while I interpret: In a nutshell Jesus was saying 'If you love Me, and you trust Me, and you want to be like Me, then be willing to lay down your (husband's) life as I laid My life down for yours. Kirsten, do you trust Me? Why worry about whether your sons will need a kidney or not? They may NEVER need a kidney and will you be selfish and store your treasure (kidney) on the earth or will you store it in heaven? And I know all about tomorrow! If your sons need kidneys, don't you think I will provide for them as I provide for all of my children, including you? Kirsten, do you trust Me? Will you get out of the boat?

My sobbing, dripping wet, mess of a self replied, "Yes, Lord. I trust you. I'll take the step over the edge and focus my gaze on You." So, I called John right away at work and told him everything. You know, that man is awesome because he knew those things all along and was just waiting for the Lord to speak to me.

So within a week or so, John had his first blood test (in March). And I began to pray "Lord if this is really Your will please open the doors, but if it is not Your will, please shut them tight (Please oh please shut them tight!)" Well, the transplant center called and said that although John's blood type matched, there was some kind of insurance snafu that wouldn't allow John to be a donor. Door Closed. (Picture my fist pump "yes")

We continued to pray that a donor for Robbie would be found. He was unable to work a lot and his body felt like it was being dragged behind a car because of the effects of the dialysis. His kids cried when he left to go. It was heart wrenching to read his tweets about how much his life was sucking because of this.

People continue to be tested. One guy found out that he himself was in kidney failure...uugh! But a match had still not been found. Then one early summer day, the transplant center called and said that they had worked out the insurance snafu and was John still interested in donating? He replied with a resounding "Yes!". I replied with a resounding "Gulp". But I remembered God's words to me; they were engraved on my heart.

John passed test after test. He found out that his cholesterol was slightly high and that the doctor thought he had a big butt (haha... I had to!) but other than that, he was a perfect match.
He still needs to go for his pre-op stuff this week but the surgery is scheduled for the 14th in Charlotte -- that's next week!

Am I nervous? Yes.
Am I anxious about leaving the children with my mother? Yes. (anxious for my mother, who has to deal with the kids and their schedules, not the kids)
Do I worry that my husband might die? Yes.
Am I scared about being in Charlotte by myself? Yes.
Am I worried about the financial repercussions? Yes.
Do I feel like I'm going to throw up? Yes.

Do I believe that God is who He says He is? Yes.
Do I believe that God will do what He says He will do? Yes
Do I believe that God, my Abba Father, loves me and is holding our family firmly in the palm of His hand? Most definitely!
Will I step out of the boat? "I'm coming Jesus! Help me to keep my eyes fixed on You!"

"Kirsten, do you trust Me?" - Yes, Lord, I trust you.

***If you would like to be a part of this story, please visit this link! Thank you all for your love, your prayers, and your support!


J. R. Daniel Kirk said...

Thank you for sharing your story, Kirsten. It's a beautiful narrative of what truly comprises Christian faith--and what it means to embody the self-giving, life-giving love of Jesus.

My prayers are with you guys.

Veeno said...

Thanks Kir. God loves you, I love you, and my big butt loves you.

Expect kisses from all three.


Kelly Irene said...

Wow. Thanks for sharing this. You and your family are being lifted in prayer by many--including me. (I found you via the Storied Theology blog.)

Heather said...

Took me forever to get around to commenting, but you know we love you guys and we're praying for ALL of you! Hugs & Prayers from the Armstrongs.

Amy McMahon said...

Awesome. God is just awesome. Thanks for sharing this!