My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. ~Psalm 73:26, NIV
On September 7, 1991, I gave birth to a precious baby girl. On her second day of life, my daughter, Christina, was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome – a fatal heart defect. I thought, “This cannot be happening!” God (who I wasn’t sure really existed) must be playing a terrible joke on me. Broken-hearted, I watched Christina was put in an ambulance and taken to Loma Linda University Medical Center, where she was placed on the transplant waiting list. Then, on October 27, Christina received her new heart.
The next few years did not get any easier. I added more words to describe myself – depressed, frantic, and unsure. By the time Christina was three years old, she had gone through heart rejection, endured three massive strokes, and had more sicknesses, hospital stays, and clinic visits than I care to recount. I found myself crying continually and barely able to put one foot in front of the other. I had sunk into the lowest, deepest, darkest pit of my life.
In this pit of despair, Christina’s nurse, Helene, became my friend and shared the love of Christ with me. It was in this place that I began to look up and hear the gentle calling of my Lord, Jesus Christ. Everywhere I turned at Loma Linda, people would speak His name. My eyes had been opened and I knew that Jesus Christ was God Almighty Himself. I became beautifully and wonderfully saved! He lifted me out of that miry pit and gently began to restore me. I now had glorious new words to describe myself – love, joy, and peace – the fruits of the Spirit.
Christina grew up. She was amazingly witty and bright. Continually captivating others, she babbled with joy. She LOVED Jesus. But on March 6, 2001, my 9-year-old daughter passed away.
The next few years proved to be even more difficult. Though I had a perfect peace and could even rejoice in seeing all that God had done, my son, Norman, became angry and sullen. Through Norman’s pain, the Lord remained faithful. Today, my 18-year-old son serves the Lord with all of his heart, as the Lord sends him on mission across the globe, helping children in need.
I still look back on those first days and remember Loma Linda with fondness. I can see now how God used the doctors, nurses, and staff to be His hands that lovingly pointed me to the cross. Not only did my daughter receive a heart transplant, but my son and I received beautiful new hearts as well.
– Christy Lindsey is the mother of a heart-transplant recipient. She resides in Murrieta, California.