Because of a past infection, I knew I had a compromised liver.
Late last year, my liver took a turn for the worse, and I became gravely ill. I was in the Emergency Room three times. I underwent constant bloodwork, scans, and procedures. And I was eventually placed on the liver transplant list at Piedmont Hospital because it was determined that I needed a new liver to survive beyond the next 1 to 2 years.
This is a story of how God walked with me through a terrifying season and the miracle of receiving a new liver, which will allow me to live a normal lifespan.
First, I want to give all the glory to God for how He cared for me during this personal crisis. God listened to the prayers – from my friends and family, my D-Group and Missional Community, the New City Church congregation and Elder team, and my friends' congregations and Sunday school classes.
God provided a strong network of friends, family members, neighbors, and New City Church Covenant Partners to support me. And I needed a great deal of support. My friends took me into their homes to care for me, took me to the ER, called 911 when I was found unresponsive in bed, set up a phone and text system to make sure I was okay every day, and served as 24/7 babysitters to take care of me, drove me to Piedmont Hospital for doctor and lab appointments, picked up prescriptions and groceries, took care of my cats, took my garbage out and picked up my mail, did my laundry and washed up the kitchen, made sure I took my meds, brought food. In short, they encouraged me and blessed me during a long, difficult time.
God provided excellent doctors and medical insurance to help pay for doctor visits and labs, multiple trips to the Emergency Room, ambulances, oxygen machines, and medication.
Eventually, I stabilized. I felt okay. In general, I was able to return to a normal lifestyle. My MELD number – known as the Model for End-Stage Liver Disease – indicated that I was very low on the transplant priority list. I certainly didn't expect a call from the Piedmont Transplant Center telling me they had a liver for me.
But God performed another miracle, and I did receive that call. The liver I received was intended for another patient – a patient who was too ill to be transplanted. I received that liver through God's intervention, which seems to play well with my other senior citizen organs. Each day, as I praise God for my health, I also thank the individual and the family that made that donation possible.
Looking back at the past year, I realize God had deeper plans. He used all of this experience for my good. Through the illness, He literally brought me to my knees. I finally accepted that I was powerless to help myself. I realized I depended desperately on His grace, love, and healing. At times over the past year, I knew I was barely hanging on. God used that time to deepen my faith and trust in Him. My recovery is a living example of God's faithfulness. God saved my soul, and now he has saved my life.
During the Edge retreat for the middle schoolers in the youth group, I became closer to God. So many of my youth group friends and I became closer to God and wanted to know him deeper and trust him more. I feel like just from that retreat, I have been closer to God and know that I can turn to him in any situation.
While on a school trip to Carolina Point, a Younglife camp. I made unforgettable memories with my friends, but my favorite was the ones during worship. We had great music done by Forever Free and great speakers. But my favorite part was when we talked about accepting Jesus. The speaker asked anybody who hadn't but wanted to accept Christ to stand up. I had already been baptized as a baby and declared my faith, but I felt like I hadn't fully accepted Jesus. I believed but not fully. Then, one of my friends asked me to stand with him, so I said yes. I stood because he asked but more so because I felt like I hadn't fully accepted christ. Next, she asked us to find a teacher and for them to pray with us. So, with some of my friends, I went to Ms. Shoone, my 4th-grade teacher and now the art teacher. Then, I felt like I had accepted Jesus Christ.
My Dad's salvation!
Change didn’t happen to me overnight. My story has taken a long time to develop. But, change started in me when I needed to sell my house and move down to Georgia to be with Ryan and the family. I wasn’t sure how I would fix an electrical problem in my house, and God sent Peter Underwood and John Hudson to my home in KY…500 miles away!
They didn’t know me, but they wanted me to know the Lord, and they wanted to help me. I saw something in them I had never seen before in my life. That’s what got me thinking about God. Before that, I had been in the dark for so many years….I thought I was just done. They talked to me, prayed with me, and let me see the light of Jesus. They showed me that I had a reason to live if I would just give God a chance….to let Him come into my life. And I did!!
After that, things in my life started happening that otherwise wouldn’t have happened. For instance, my house sold quickly! Praise God! Then, the entire moving process was smooth. God illustrated his goodness and faithfulness to me, from closing on my house in KY to moving to GA, buying a new home a month after I moved, and finally being with my family and grandkids.
It didn’t happen overnight. It wasn’t like a light switch. It’s taken time, but God has been so gracious to me. I’ve gotten involved in a church, a missional community, and a discipleship group for the first time in my life. I have real friends now: John Hudson, Peter Underwood, David & Jessica Ly, Chipp Trigg, Donna Dehner, Mike Chrysler, Brandon Dean, and so many more! So many people have poured into me! It’s like a different life; in fact, it is a different life. I’m learning every day. I’m hungry for the Lord every day.
I was finally able to get off of drugs and alcohol and am completely clean. I couldn’t have done that without the Lord. I went back to school, studied, and got another career - I got my CDL, am driving a big truck, and have a great job. The Lord did all this for me. He has provided it all! To come from where I was - in total darkness, without hope, purpose, or life… and now to this! The Lord has given me a second chance. I have a purpose in life - I try to talk to all my old friends in KY and tell them about the Lord and all He has done for me. Some of my old friends don’t like to hear it, and some do, but I keep trying because if He can change me, he can change them too. God has brought redemption in all my family relationships here in Georgia. It gives me s cold chills to think about it. He has brought me from darkness to light. I keep putting on the armor of God every day, fighting the fight of faith, and I am thankful for all He has done!
I haven't been here long, but God has given me a stronger Christian community. Other churches and youth groups were more difficult to fit into as they didn't feel welcoming. At New City, not only am I surrounded by Christians my age and people at similar points of life as me, it has brought my family together. For a while, most of us went to different churches and didn't talk about our thoughts on certain things in the church, but now that several of us go here, it's reassuring to hear their views on what the pastor says or even about the community. Having friends and family experiencing this church with me makes it more comfortable as my family settles in and gets used to things here. I think this was God's way of letting us know that this is where we should be now and for the time to come in the future.
I've grown considerably as a Christian at New City and youth group. I've attended church since I was eight and the youth group since the beginning. There are two big things that I've gotten from growing up here. One is that the messages I hear at church on Sunday and in youth groups solidify my faith and have a deeper understanding of the Lord. I always look forward to the messages every week, even though they can be convicting (which is an important thing!). It's crazy how I'll have been struggling with a particular sin all week and come to church/youth group and hear something that speaks in that or that will prepare me for the future. The second thing is the people, of course. I have amazing friends here, but my discipleship group impacts me so much. We go deep when we talk about Jesus, and Erica, Jess, and Helen are such amazing women of God I can look up to. They care about my life and encourage and pray for me. I've opened up about challenges because of how dared and supported I feel in my group. It's essential to hear the Bible at Church bu also have community. I've found that at New City with the people and discipleship group.
We had grown up in another church for our whole lives and were close with everyone. Although we were involved, I wasn't growing in my faith, and the sermons would rarely speak to me. Once the one youth pastor we had ever known and loved resigned, we did have much to look forward to, and things were never the same. After our friends and family tried new churches that were closer and better, we finally found New City. After the first day, not only me but our whole family knew this church was the one. Every sermon I hear on Sundays benefits me and grows my faith. I was very nervous about the youth group, and camp with the youth group started my journey to love this youth group. The environment was so impactful and welcoming, and I look forward to it every Sunday. The high school beach trip was very impactful, and I was growing with God more and more. The speakers, games, songs, and people made the trip the best youth retreat I have ever had. I love all the leaders so much, and they make it obvious how much they love us. New City has never failed me, and I know this family is who I want and need to grow with God.
I am incredibly grateful for New City Church and its youth group. My family started going here over Covid, and I'm so glad we did. New City youth group has impacted me in so many ways. One of which was the Folly Beach youth retreat. Aaron gave me a new perspective on topics. I thought I knew all of the answers too. The small group leaders and Patrick and Erica all have the heart to help us grow toward God, which is evident. They love us more than we know, and I'm thankful for all the leaders. On the folly beach retreat, I found God again and rededicated my life to him. If it were not for the discussions, we had in small groups or for the safe environment Jessica, Erica, and Helen created. I would not have had the courage to start that conversation with Jess about the struggle I was facing with my faith, the leaders here are so genuine and authentic, and it is different from my old church, where they all acted perfectly. I think the fact that they are so sincere and honest is what I like most.
I've been going to New City Church for most of my life. I've grown up in the church, so I've always known who God is, but it probably wasn't until my sixth grade when I started coming to youth group that my faith became my own, and it wasn't just because of my parents anymore. That was also the year my anxiety/depression got terrible, so I was grateful to have this community around me while I struggled. I especially had two girls who I got close with in seventh grade who specifically helped me through the rough times and are still my two closest friends. I'm grateful for NCC because here I have a community around me that help me grow in my faith, the people here are super supportive and have always been there when I need them, and they keep me accountable.
Being a volunteer for New City youth has brought so much joy and purpose into my life. God has taught me how to disciple others while giving me a more compassionate heart toward students and all people. It's giving me a bigger picture of the family of God and living in a community. Being in a discipleship group with older women pouring into my life and then being able to do the same for girls younger than me has blessed me in my walk with the Lord