She was ready to go.
Months had passed since she’d entered the hospital for a “routine” check on her dying heart. While her strength was rapidly fading, her courage never wavered and her spirits remained high considering all she’d been through up until this point.
The fact was; her heart was failing and now a kidney was too and the wait was taking it’s toll. Time was not on her side.
If it was time to go, she was prepared knowing that her greatest battles had already been fought and won.
She’d been a tremendous beacon of light and support for the transplant community. More than a spokesperson; she was a valiant warrior and everybody’s favorite cheerleader. She’d been a faithful member of a loving community and the unchallenged reigning “Queen of Hearts” of her family.
Just a few months prior, she’d gotten well enough to share the joy and dance lightly with her husband of 38 years at their oldest daughter’s wedding and the youngest had just announced her first grandchild would be born in the coming year.
God had been so good, so gracious and while they hoped for more time, she was not about to complain.
Her Carepage site had been constantly updated with the newsy news of her status quo, or hilarious encounters with her own “Dr. Dreamy” but always, always focused on purposely encouraging those who stopped by
- to seek first the Kingdom of God and take time to get the most important things in order,
- to have a growing relationship with Christ and daily walk with Him through whatever came their way,
- and to focus on serving and loving others with the Spirits’ help.
A follower of Jesus, this was definitely NOT her religion…it was her identity.
* Even on the cloudiest days; she pointed to beauty and light.
* Even in the darkest moments; she found humor and laughter.
* Even now…as her body’s systems were beginning to shut down and the receipt of donor organs was seeming less and less likely…
she had peace that her prayers were heard by God and being answered.
It was o.k.
Trusting, praying and knowing God was listening; her family and friends were prepared to say good-bye if that was God’s will…even while praying for more time, they knew, by faith one way or another the answer would come.
And on December 8, 2012, God’s answer came.
Just hours after being placed on dialysis, word came that a donor heart and kidney match was available.
Her husband broke the news over the Carepage and I still remember the initial moment when I thought I knew what the message was going to say and my heart fell for just a moment until I realized it read:
“Surgery is a go! Please pray for her and for the surgeons. Also please pray for the donor family. Someone is hurting tonight and we need to remember them also.”
The Donor family.
My heart went out to that family and for days and days as my friend recovered, I thought of them and do still now– with a mixed sense of gratitude and respect. While we were soberly rejoicing in this “good news” for our friend, another set of people was mourning a great loss.
I’ve wondered; did they know Jesus? Had they prayed too? Surely, they must have begged for healing or hope ….or maybe they didn’t know…
It raised the question in my soul about God and prayer, what He hears and how He answers. The question could be and has been raised; did God say “no” to one prayer and “yes” to another?
I don’t believe it could be as simple as that.
It’s more than my feeble mind can comprehend. I can only come to the edges of such glorious knowledge but I am learning one thing about prayer and about God: time and again prayer seems to be more about changing and teaching our hearts about God than about changing God’s mind. God is unchanging; it is we who must change and grow and try to see things the way He does. Even when it hurts.
I am beginning to believe that God always answers “yes”. However, the answer comes in many ways and forms and for reasons we may not understand at the time..or may never understand… in ways that seem hard and painful at first but on the whole are good and glorious.
No, I can not explain.
No, I do not understand why.
I am not God.
But I trust Him.
and so does she.
I am certain: God did hear and He does care and He did answer. Either way, His answer was going to be for the greatest good and for his greatest glory. Sherrell knows this too.
The healing and hope for that donor family came through the beautiful gift of life bequeathed by their loved one to my friend Sherrell and it is most definitely not going to be wasted as she continues to serve and bloom faithfully in all the areas she’s been planted.
I pray they know this hope.
But the truth for Sherrell is that her hope was never placed or found in a set of organs; her hope is found in her relationship with Jesus Christ and until her time is done here on earth, she will serve Him as tirelessly as she can to reach out to a dying world….in His name and through the vehicle of organ donation. I pray that donor families everywhere can know this hope and those who receive them will know the real hope as well.
This hope is mine.
Is it yours?
Furthermore, I am a tissue and organ donor who understands that all I am and all I possess– including my organs– belongs to God. And if I can somehow be a part of His answer to that prayer in someone’s life I am available.
If you are not a tissue or organ donor, I would urge you to consider giving this gift of life. Most states allow you to indicate your preference when you renew your driver’s license. Or, you can go to www.donatelife.net. and find a listing of registry sites around the nation.