I awakened to the usual noise of plastic crinkling. Mom was stumbling sleepily downstairs to warm the bag of sugar water used in her kidney dialysis. I rolled out of bed, yawning, and hurried to get ready for the day. That night we were throwing a baby shower for my oldest sister, Angela.
Angela’s baby would be the first grandchild in the family. The shower had grown to a huge affair—up to forty women were expected! But a shadow lay over the house. Mom’s dialysis was no longer working effectively and deadly toxins were once more building up in her body.
Yet through this trial and many others over the last few years (one surgery after another), my mom had stayed faithful. Scheduled around her four daily dialysis exchanges, she continued to serve in the church, help at homeschool events, mentor young mothers, and teach me my senior year of high school. But most of all she continued to praise God for the blessings she still found among the troubles. The doctors were astonished at her energy and spirits.
We knew that God could touch her and heal her at any moment. But I also knew that this was not His plan for us. I could see the impact her faith had on doctors, friends, even the lady in the grocery store. And so we waited, praying for His healing through the doctors’ hands.
Unknown to us, there were others praying that morning. Even as I climbed into the shower one woman was kneeling by her bed, “Lord, give Carol a kidney—today.” And as I brushed out my long hair my cousin was pleading, “Heal Aunt Carol, Lord. Bring her a transplant soon.”
Medically-speaking, a transplant was not something that would happen that day or any day soon. The average wait for a kidney transplant through the national donor list was two years. Mom had been on the list for only six months.
That evening I came in as Mom was mopping the kitchen floor. She was breathing heavily and her yellowed skin looked even more sickly in the evening light. “I’ll finish,” I told her, taking the mop as the phone rang. Mom answered it and I froze as I listened to the one-sided conversation. Surely it couldn’t be what it sounded like!
She hung up the phone. “That was OHSU,” she whispered. “They have a kidney that matches me and we have two hours to get to the hospital.”
I laughed and cried at the same time. Suddenly mopping the floor seemed like an odd thing to be doing and I set down the mop, running to get the rest of the family. We went into high gear, packing Mom’s bags for the hospital stay and calling friends.
Just as we were leaving, Angela arrived. “We’re headed to OHSU!” we hollered out the car window. “Are you coming or staying?” She stared at us in shock as we explained delightedly, “Mom’s getting a kidney!”
She gasped. “Well, I--, I guess I better stay here since forty women are coming for my shower. I’ll come over after the party. Bye!” She grinned and waved as we sped down the driveway.
Meanwhile, the women began arriving at our house. Each guest was greeted at the door with the wonderful news of their answered prayers. What a blessing to have forty women gathered at our house to pray as the transplant process began! A party for one new life suddenly turned into a party for two “new” lives!
We reached the hospital and the rigorous tests began to ensure that Mom’s body was healthy enough to handle a transplant. Finally the doctors announced, “Everything looks fine. We’ll do the transplant first thing in the morning.” Mom didn’t stop grinning until the anesthesia kicked in the next day.
Early the next morning as Mom was wheeled toward surgery, a nurse plopped a cardboard box on her gurney. “There it is! Bond.” Surprised, we saw that the box was marked, ‘Right Kidney’. “What are you going to name it?” the nurse asked.
“Fast Working.” Mom announced. Perhaps it was a prophecy--the kidney began working on the operating table.
One month later Mom was sitting in a hospital once again. But this time her skin was pink and healthy and in her arms lay her new granddaughter, a child who she would live to see grow up to love the God who answers prayer.
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