By Christie Thomas
God's Brave Women - Christie's Story
My fingers trembled as they clutched the mouse. My Facebook feed displayed a post from a young mom who pleaded for someone to give her a second chance to raise her child. She asked for a kidney.
She had a son. I have sons.
She had type O+ blood. I have type O+ blood.
The words of John the Baptist echoed in my head: “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” (Luke 3:11)
Surely God couldn’t be calling me to give up one of my two kidneys. He wouldn’t do that. John the Baptist was talking about shirts, not body parts. But I do have two kidneys, and they both function very well.
"The words of John the Baptist echoed in my head: “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” (Luke 3:11) Surely God couldn’t be calling me to give up one of my two kidneys. He wouldn’t do that. John the Baptist was talking about shirts, not body parts."
The words of Esther rattled around in my soul: “And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)
Surely God couldn’t be telling me that I have come to this comfortable and healthy position for such a time as this. He wouldn’t do that. Esther lived in another time, another place. But I am healthy, even if I’m not the queen of anything.
The words of Jesus in Luke 12:48 clinched the matter: “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.”
The entire evening, I wavered between utter fear (what if I died?) and incredible joy (could God really use me to save a life?). A week later, I submitted my name and began to walk the endless parade of tests to see if I could be a kidney donor. I pledged to walk the path as long as God allowed.
"The entire evening, I wavered between utter fear (what if I died?) and incredible joy (could God really use me to save a life?)."
As it turned out, the woman who originally ignited my interest in donating the kidney had found one, but there were many people on the waiting list. So, I signed up as an anonymous donor. If it worked out, a complete stranger would inherit one of my kidneys.
I didn’t tell a ton of people, because anytime I did, they looked at me either with horror or in awe, neither of which felt right. I felt like I was just choosing the next right thing, not doing anything particularly amazing.
Finally, on a dark March morning over a year later, I lay on a gurney, shivering under a blanket. The nurse pulled my glasses off just before we got to the pre-op room, and the realization of what I was actually doing sat down hard on my chest. Fear whispered to my heart.
“This is stupid. You know that, right?”
“You could die.” I shivered. I knew that there was no guarantee I’d still be healthy if I did this. Several of my family members thought this was a very foolish move.
“There’s still time to back out.” The doctors had been adamant that I could change my mind at the very last moment and no one would fault me. This was an elective surgery that was designed to do me harm.
"The doctors had been adamant that I could change my mind at the very last moment and no one would fault me. This was an elective surgery that was designed to do me harm."
Courage had felt so easy the past few months. None of this had felt like a big deal while I sat in the doctor’s office. But now, with my teeth chattering in fear, unable to see past the end of my nose, surrounded by fuzzy people moving briskly around the room, Fear sat down hard.
Out of desperation, I began to whisper Psalm 23 (which a teacher helped me memorize when I was 4).
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.”
Fear still draped over my chest like a sack of rocks and I wrung my clammy hands as I continued muttering:
“He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.”
Right. God had led me down this path. I knew that. Whatever happened here was for his name’s sake. For his glory. A few rocks fell out of the sack on my chest, invisibly plopping to the floor.
"God had led me down this path. I knew that. Whatever happened here was for his name’s sake. For his glory."
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
My heart still felt a little squashed, but at least my heartbeat slowed from a gallop to a trot. I continued mumbling the psalm and slowly the weight eased off my chest.
I was still trembling when they wheeled me into the operating room and lifted me onto the table.
“Last chance,” said the doctor.
I inhaled deeply. To God, I said You are with me. To the doctor, I said “Do it.”
And when I woke up, feeling like something had alternatingly inflated then chewed me, I knew that God was still with me.
Just so you know, it wasn’t my courage. I didn’t have a stash of courage, ready to pull out of the cupboard like a jar of peanut butter. I didn’t summon in like a queen might summon her servant. Instead, I allowed God to speak his own courage into my heart, allowing me to go through with something that the world saw as either heroic or foolish.
"Just so you know, it wasn’t my courage... Instead, I allowed God to speak his own courage into my heart, allowing me to go through with something that the world saw as either heroic or foolish."
Like many of my friends, you may be saying, “I could never do that.” That’s what I thought too. But here’s what I learned. Never say “I could never” to God, because with him, all things are possible. He can lift fear and breathe courage in the darkest of places and the weirdest of predicaments.
Do you trust him?
Brave Woman Manifesto
Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story!
And by the way...
You are Brave!
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Christie Thomas lives with her husband in Alberta, Canada and is mom to 3 amazing boys. She is the author of 2 picture books (Quinn’s Promise Rock and Quinn Says Goodbye), and the upcoming Mother and Son Prayer Journal. She loves to help Christian moms nurture deep faith roots in their kids through her online work at littleshootsdeeproots.com. Her favorite thing to do with her boys is read good stories and do wacky science experiments.