Loyalty is something everyone and every business seems to want to have. That is the main reason why Speedway has their rewards program. It is what drives all relationships in this world. Loyalty is a strong characteristic to possess and a top attribute to have in friends/ a signifiant other. It is not to be undervalued.
First off, I want to tell a little bit more of my story. So those close to me know that I went through a lot more trials than just a liver transplant. You may be thinking that isn’t enough, but let me tell you that you have NO IDEA. My body was under attack from March to July. I had so many complications that I honestly wished the transplant never even happened. To begin with on the way home from the hospital I had this stabbing pain in my shoulder and it hurt so bad I couldn’t breathe, so we turned around and went back to the ER. The doctors found out that I had a bile leak so they tried to fix that by a procedure that included a giant tube a plastic stent and me being knocked out… Basically they went down my throat to put this plastic thing in my bile duct, it was fun.
Well that didn’t work. I continued to be in pain and being sick to my stomach and we found out that I still had the stupid bile leak and it was leaking into my stomach cavity. I was filling up with liquid so quickly I looked pregnant. They would perform a few more of those procedures to try to “stop” the bile leak, I think they were called ERCPs. On top of having all the ERCPs I would get my stomach drained because the bile made it hard for me to eat, and if I did eat it was a miracle if I kept it down. The process of draining a stomach of liquid is a joyful and almost euphoric experience….. not. People, let me tell you that getting poked with a needle the size of your face and having that needle be hooked up to a vacuum is not the best way to start off your Thursday mornings. I would get those done about once a week sometimes more, and each time they would drain about 6-8 pounds off of me. So I lost weight quick. If you look at the picture I attached you can see how slim I got, I weighed a whopping 124 pounds in that picture. After a while of being in and out of the hospital and being so weak I couldn’t get up out of a chair without assistance, I was beginning to doubt God. Doubt that He was their and I was beginning to doubt He wanted the best for me.
So what happened next? I got a surgery done where they attached tubes to my liver to act as bile ducts since mine clearly weren’t working. And what were said tubes attached to on the other end? Giant bags that hung outside of my body and were strapped around my legs. This caused me to not be able to wear shirt while those were in, not be able to bathe, not be able to lay flat and basically not be able to move at all because it hurt so bad. On top of this the hole started leaking bile so I had to drape everything I sat on with towels or gowns so I didn’t stain the surface I was sitting on. I thought I truly hit rock bottom. Then… BOOM. A break up. Don’t get me wrong, my girlfriend at the time was a trooper. She was selfless in countless ways, she did more than I ever thought was humanly possible, but things happen and relationships end, but I am still thankful for the sacrifice she made. I thought this was the end, I was heartbroken by this girl, my body was definitely broken, and honestly my spirit and soul were also broken. I didn’t want to get better. But then another surgery happened, where they fixed my bile leak for good and almost immediately I turned around for the better. Praise God right?
I want to highlight the loyalty that my friends possessed first. They stood by me and cheered me on through it all. Whether it be late night text messages, trips to the other side of the state to see me in the hospital, bringing me blue Powerade Zero, watching competitive cooking shows, or honestly just coming over to see me; my friends truly stood by me. They made sure that when I fell, both physically and spiritually, that I didn’t stay there. My friends would bring cookies that I loved and just sit next to me on the couch even though I was so ashamed and embarrassed of the way I looked. I know I wasn’t the most fun to be around being shirtless with giant bags of bile hanging outside of me and also being poorly bathed, but they made me feel like I was the same as I always was. My friends stayed and loved me even when it got hard, they showed me the love of Christ again.
Man, how much does God really love us? He sticks with us when we don’t want Him to. When we think He is the most distant, He shows up in the small things to prove to us that He is there, holding your hand and walking you through whatever storm you are facing. He is so gracious and loving that even if you doubted Him and His entire existence, like I did, He will still look down and smile at you because you were made in His image and He sees you as His beautiful son or daughter. God’s omnipotent power makes Him able to do that for me in Portage, MI and for you wherever you may be. He wants to wrap you up in His love and wrap you up in His blessings because that is His nature.
Honestly, I don’t know why I went through what I did. I don’t know why any of us go through tough situations when we live under God. I wish I had the answers, and I wish I could tell you but that is why I’m not God. He is the only one that can tell you why things happen, but let me tell you if you rely on Him and trust His plan, He will get you through it. Life won’t be all rainbows and pot of gold, there will be terrible hardships that face you and your loved ones, the real question is how loyal will you be. Will you still relentlessly chase after Him because you know that God is sovereign and is good or will you fade away because you think He is punishing you? It is really up to you. God will still be there with arms open wide, ready to bless you and ready to greet you like the father did in the story of the Prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32.