We've been blessed beyond belief in these past 4 months. In November, we were contacted by a local family that gives an amazing gift to another family each Christmas. Each member of their family chips in to get things that the other family needs. This year, they chose us. We were blessed with new coats, clothes, boots, and a much needed eye exam and new pair of glasses for Jake. We felt incredibly humbled and grateful for the gifts this family gave and think of them each time we use them. God used these people to provide for us when our situation would not allow us to provide them for ourselves. It's a shining example of how the church works together. We hope to follow their example in the future.
In December, my sister and her husband and daughter came to Illinois for Christmas. We had a great time with them and even had pictures taken of our entire family. My brother and sister and their families gave me a ring that has "HOPE" engraved on it. It was an incredibly special gift, and I wear it every day. Whenever I look at it, I think of them and know that they are thinking of me and praying for me and hoping with me.
I also received an incredible gift from a friend. My best friend, Kati, has a brother that we've prayed for for a very long time. About a year or so ago he gave his life to Christ and has been changing in amazing ways...and in ways only a relationship with Jesus Christ could make happen. He's always been a good guy, but seeing the change in him has been awe inspiring. He spent New Year's Eve with Kati and her family and Jake and me. We also celebrated Christmas together that night, and his gift to me was amazing. He told me he'd been praying for a long time about how and when to stop smoking. He said that after praying he had decided that when I get new lungs he would stop. To me, this was the most amazing gift I could have received. To know that he prays for me and cares about me is special in itself, but to know that he will be breathing fresh air when I do is a priceless gift.
I had a "dry run" in December. While I was in the hospital, they called me to tell me they MIGHT have new lungs. It was a long shot because of some complications they foresaw, but we all went on high alert. It ended up being a comedy of errors. I got a hold of Jake but we couldn't decide if he should come up or not since they were pretty certain the lungs wouldn't work. Then I called my dad and he was in the middle of getting his tires rotated at Wal-Mart and couldn't do anything. Almost everyone else I called didn't answer their phone. And I'd left my papers at home with the list of people I should call so I was going by memory...NOT a good thing! Everyone was finally contacted and told to wait until we knew for sure, and Jake went ahead and made the 3 hour trip. About 5 minutes after he got here, my nurse came in and said "No go". And that was it. So basically Jake drove 3 hours to watch me eat dinner!
It really was a good thing to happen, though. It gave all of us a chance to see what would happen...and most of us found out we were not ready. It was also a good chance to see that they really were looking for lungs for me and there really are lungs out there with my name on them.
Probably the biggest excitement of the last 4 months, though, has been Jake's work. On the first of January, a lot of new medicare laws came into play. Because of this (making a very long story short) we no longer have an income limit in order for me to continue having affordable healthcare! Jake started working 30 hours per week at church and once the transplant happens will be able to start working there full-time! We are thrilled! Jake loves his work which is a huge answer to prayer to begin with, but to be able to do it full-time will be amazing! This will also allow us to move out of my parents house and FINALLY have a place of our own again!
So many exciting things are just around the corner for us. I ask that you continue to pray for the transplant and for the donor and their family. Also, please pray for our emotional health. I continue to be in the hospital for 2 weeks with usually only 4 weeks in between stays. This is incredibly draining for both of us. Since the end of October I've been in the hospital 5 times. We're really ready for this trend to be done, but also realize that it's all in His timing. I am thankful for every day I have with the lungs I have. Just please pray against discouragement for both of us.
Thanks again for your prayers for us and I hope the next time there is an update it will be Jake doing the typing. We'll keep hoping!
"My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever." Psalm 73:26