“Jesus Take The Wheel!”

Yesterday, I posted on Facebook that lupus was the best thing that ever happened to me.  Many people didn’t understand how such a horrible disease could  be the best thing that could ever happen . Even my husband looked at me crazy after reading it. It was not a typo! It is absolutely the truth!!

Recently I was talking to a friend that has been in a valley for some time now.  I was sharing with her how GOD allowed me to reach the lowest point in my life so I would let go and totally depend on him. For many years he let me do things my way.  He allowed me to pray to him and ask him to fix problems in my life while not truly believing that he would do it. I had plan A & B covered, and GOD was my plan C. How many of us pray to GOD to fix certain things in our lives, yet we don’t believe that he can do it, so we try to do things our way? I know I have. Despite the many times that I mocked GOD in prayer, disrespected him and spit in his face while telling him what I was going to do, he still loved me. Even in my sin he still loved me! While I smiled and worshiped him in public, I denied him in my heart in private!! Yet, he loved me so much he used lupus to save my life!!

I have an issue with control. I love it and want more of it. I have an issue with trust. It is rarely given, and quickly can be snatched away. The Lord know’s I struggle with both of these. My issues with trust and control were hampering my relationship with him.  I had built my wall up so strong and high that I wasn’t even letting the Lord through it!! He not only broke my walls down, he bulldozed that baby!! He took ALL control from me. I couldn’t even go to the bathroom by myself. I had to depend on strangers to clean me up afterwards. I had to trust that they  would take care of me. My most intimate moments, and basic private human functions had to be attended to by others. There was absolutely nothing under my control. I was flat on my back, and couldn’t do anything but look up.  That is where I found GOD’s love.

Why did it take lupus for me to learn my lesson? Why couldn’t I just surrender all on my own?  I would have saved myself so much time, heartache and pain if I would have let it all go and believe GOD would take care of me. Would I be the person I am today.?Here I am with a chronic disease that has no cure. If I worry or become stressed about anything, I will have a flare up. I live with chronic pain everyday for the past 14 years. There are days I can barely get out of the bed. This has forced me to learn  how  to ask for help. I can’t even  attempt to try to do it all; my body won’t allow me to!

Wow! What a crazy faith walk it has been over the past 14 years. I have seen the Lord perform so many miracles in my life. Things have not come together by luck or happenstance. It was the hand of GOD moving in my life. I have been in the hospital room when the doctors come in,with their faces drawn trying to explain to me that my  tests, and kidney function isn’t looking to good, then come back a few days later to be told that my kidney prognosis is great!! I have seen how the Lord helped the doctors to diagnosis me with lupus within 2 weeks while many other lupies take years and years to get a diagnosis. I have seen the Lord move when I got pregnant after the doctor told me I would never be able to have children due to the chemo making me infertile. I have seen the Lord shut down the words of the first obstetrician I went to when he told me that I would be horribly sick during my pregnancy and my son, if he survived, would be the sickest baby in the nursery. He told me to get an abortion. He then told me I was young and could have more children later. Eight months later, my son was born premature, but with absolutely no health issues!! While pregnant I was the healthiest I had ever been. My kidneys even healed themselves despite having to do the work for two!!  These and many more miracles have truly strengthen my faith. I know longer worry about what tomorrow brings, because I know GOD has already taken care of it.  I checked my account this morning and  my balance will not cover the rest of my bills for the month, but I am not worried at all. Our car is broken down right now, but I am not worried one bit!! He has promised me he would supply all my needs, and he hasn’t failed me yet!

I don’t know GOD’s plans for my future. I don’t know if it is his will to be totally healed, or if this will just be something I have to live with for the rest of my life.  2 Corinthians 12:8-9 says,

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

It wasn’t until I lost all control that I was able to experience GOD’s mighty power! Yes it is sometimes a rough road to travel,  and some days are hard to endure. Yes, frustration exists, and many tears are shed, but I will continue to give him the praise regardless of what may come my way!!!   Through it all, lupus ABSOLUTELY was the best thing that has ever happened to me. I am a walking testimony!! GOD’s GRACE IS SUFFICIENT!!!

Brandi 🙂

 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheButterflyStitcher

Instagram:  Thebutteflystitch

“My Soul Is Anchored”

If someone were to ask how i feel right now I would say concerned, but steadfast. Today was definitely a test of faith, but I still believe the Lord is in control. I had a kidney biopsy on my 7-year-old transplant kidney today.  Though I feel fine, my labs show there is a considerable amount of protein in my urine.  The doctors have not been able to find out why.  The biopsy shows that I have significant scarring and is beginning to show early signs of possible rejection.  The scarring is irreversible . They have decided to increase some of my anit-rejection meds and add a new medication in hopes of slowing down anything that may be causing it and try to prolong the kidney as long as possible. The positives are though my kidney isn’t ideal, they say that my function is over 60% and is functioning very well to have such significant scarring. If for what ever reason it drops down to 20% I will be put back on the transplant list.  The other positive news is that my lupus is still in remission and was not the reason the kidney isn’t functioning as it should be.  They want me to return next Wednesday to see how my body is taking the new milligram changes, and the new drug that they are prescribing to decrease the protein.

I listened to all they had to say, and their advice, but inside I was praying.  I have been here before.  I have been in a hospital bed too many times with a diagnosis that seems to leave me in the deepest and steepest valley, and each time I pray and ask the Lord if he chooses not to heal me today, just allow me to make it to see tomorrow. It has been 13 years and I am still here! They do not know my story. They don’t know how many times the Lord has sustained me, carried and kept me.  They do not know I was in a wheel chair for 2 years unable to walk.  They do not know how my son shouldn’t even be alive.  They do not know!!! I feel like Noah right now.  I have built this huge ship, loaded it with the animals, and now I am looking out the window with nothing but water as far as my eye’s can see.  My family has made it through the storm, though uncomfortable there has been no casualties. I have sent out the raven, and now the dove, and I am waiting for the olive branch.  He will send me that olive branch. It may not be today, or tomorrow, but it will be done!! Until then I will take my medication as prescribed and remain in prayer. This is  my testimony before my testimony!! Whether he heals my kidney today, or if I must hold on until he provides a new kidney, my freshly plucked olive branch is already on the way!

Continue to keep me in prayer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9B8RCeJ4hm4

 

Check out my fb page at: www.facebook.com/thebutterflystitcher

“Today My Life Begins”

I celebrated my 6th “Kidneyversary” today (5/10).  Six years ago I received a call from UAB that they had a kidney waiting for me and I needed to get there as soon as I could.  I remember like it was yesterday.  I was in the process of doing my nightly routine of hooking myself up to my dialysis machine.  My husband worked nights at the time.  The kids were sound asleep.  It was around 10pm and I had waited to the absolute last-minute to hook myself up.  Though I had a long cord I would still be tethered to it for the next 10 hours or so. Like any other night I was getting everything prepared so that I could lay down, watch a little t.v. while my life line, the dialysis machine did all the work.  I had done it so many times over the past 2 1/2 years I could do it on auto pilot.  For what ever reason that night I didn’t feel pressured to do it right at the stroke of 10pm.  I didn’t have any appointments in the morning so I would be ok if I wasn’t able to disconnect until 10 or 11  in the morning.

The phone rang. I just knew it was my husband calling because he had forgotten to do something.  Instead a male voice that was not my husbands, was telling me they had found a kidney match for me.  I couldn’t hardly say anything but “Thank you Jesus”, and to answer yes I would be able to get to the hospital.  I dialed my husbands number.  Of course this would be the night he wouldn’t answer his phone.  I called again, then again, and I still didn’t get an answer.  I called a friend who possibly could have been with him.  Still I got no answer!! One of the most important nights of my life and I couldn’t get my dang husband on the phone!!!!  I called my in-laws to let them know what was going on, then my best friend so that I could have someone to keep the boys.  Finally my husband called back.  I was so excited my brain was moving faster than my mouth, so I had to actually take a few deep breaths to be able to tell him what was going on.  He was home 20 minutes later.  The boys were sleep walking to my in-laws car while we stood in a circle holding hands praying for traveling mercies, and that my surgery would go well.  I packed my bag into the car. I knew I had forgotten something or things, but I was to excited to pack.

It seemed we were the only one’s on the road that night which ended up being a good thing. That night had to have been the darkest and most foggy night of the year.  I don’t know how fast my husband was driving, but he definitely had his foot on the gas.  I think I prayed all the way there!  I wasn’t sure the of the window of time I actually had to get there.  I knew from past transplant education classes I wouldn’t be the only one there getting crossed matched.  I could be one of a handful of people called that night for the same exact kidneys!!  We felt an urgency to get there before my competition even though tests, not time would prove the winners.

I arrived at the hospital and was placed in the room I would be in for the night.  It was painted white and was one of the most sterile looking hospital rooms I had ever been in.They asked all the normal questions they ask you when you are admitted into the hospital.  I had repeated these questions so many times over the years I didn’t even have to think about it. Do you have any allergies? What meds are you on? Do you know the dosage? Who is your emergency contact? Do you have a living will or a power of attorney? Yada, Yada, Yada.  Who could think about those things when in just a few hours I was going to be wheeled into surgery.  Of course I didn’t sleep. I couldn’t sleep. I had a mix of excitement, nervousness, anticipation, and a handful of other emotions you have when you find out that your life is going to be changed forever!  I laid there in the dark thinking about how wonderful a gift I was going to be given.  The calls from my family in California had died down for the night.  I expected it to resume in the morning; if not on my phone it definitely would be Cornell’s.  My family was overjoyed with the news.  They had been worrying about me from a far.  Sometimes the distance makes any illness worse than it really is.  I could only guess that everyone thought I had one leg in the grave with one eye closed.  For at least an hour I stared at the ugly floral picture on the wall. Who decorates hospital rooms? They always have the worst art work.  They do nothing to help “uplift your spirit”.  Tonight I didn’t need it. It seemed every 30 minutes I would say a prayer of thanks.  I may have been saying the same thing over and over again.  I can’t really remember, but I was extremely grateful.  I found myself doing it for possibly the 15th time that night.  My mind began to wander and I began thinking.  While we were rejoicing, somewhere in this hospital a family was in pain and grieving the lost of their, son, brother, uncle, father.  Someone’s loved one had to die so that I could live.  I didn’t know how to feel about this at the time; sometimes I still don’t.

When the time came I was rolled down  several long cold sterile hallways.  We finally reached the operating room.  Earlier I had been given something to help me relax.  Others say it causes them to not remember a thing.  It seems to not have the same effect on  me.  I always remember everything.  This time I was grateful.  I wanted to remember this moment for the rest of my life.  I never wanted to forget this miracle that GOD allowed me to take part in. There aren’t usually that many smiles in the room, but this time there were more than a few.  It felt like when a baby is born.  There is always an anticipation of a brand new life being brought into the world, that has all the opportunities dreams can hold.  I glanced to my right and saw one of the surgeon’s bathing a bright pink healthy kidney in a saline bath.  Just like a baby, it is crazy how something so small can have such a large impact on your life.  As they prepared me to go under I began to count down trying to keep my eye on my little pink miracle. I looked as long as I could. Not only was I looking at my blessing, I was looking at the beginning of the rest of my life.

Brandi 🙂

 

Check out my fb page at: www.facebook.com/thebutterflystitcher