Finding Hope in the Valley
"I started to trust that He has a reason for my situation and a plan for it — that it wouldn’t be something I have to go through, but something I get to go through in order to show a different community what it means to trust Christ.” – Lance Parker
Lance Parker received his third kidney transplant three weeks after his wife Lindsey gave birth to their first child. That was ten months ago.
“I don’t recommend having two life events in one year,” Lance said. “We bought a house in July, had Lily in November… ”
“And had a kidney in December!” Lindsey chimed in.
“Three events,” he said.
Lance was born with only one kidney and an unrelated condition — one that, two years prior to his birth, he said, was only able to be diagnosed through autopsy. “I’m glad I was born when I was born,” he said.
He was 6 months old when he had his first surgery. To date, at age 34, he’s had nearly 40.
“It’s been my life — doctors, appointments, stuff you have to do, medicine you have to take,” he said. “It’s always been my life.”
His first kidney transplant was in 2003. He was 19. It lasted three years.
“I was in college and young and stupid,” he said. “I stopped taking my medicine because I got really depressed. The kidney failed.” He was placed on dialysis once more.
In 2011, he received his second kidney. It lasted almost three years. The kidney attacked itself and his body rejected it.
Again, he was placed on dialysis, put on the list for another new kidney and waited for the call. That call came four and a half years later.
It was a Sunday morning in December of 2017. Lance and Lindsey were back at UBC for the first time since Lily had been born. They stood visiting in the sanctuary after the service when Lindsey noticed Lance step away from the group. It was a call from the transplant office.
“We have the perfect match for you,” said the voice on the other end. “It’s a little older than I’d like, but it’s a perfect match and we’re gonna do it.”
Lance walked back to the group and pulled his wife to the side. “They have a kidney,” he told her. They walked back to the group and shared the news with the community surrounding them that morning. They were prayed over. They were encouraged. They were loved.
“My initial response was ‘No. Not right now. We can’t do this,’” Lindsey said. Lily was only 3 weeks old. They were finally settling into their new normalcy.
“Looking back now, though,” she said, “I see how God had the perfect timing for it.”
She was still on maternity leave. Both their parents had just retired. With the help of family, she’d be able to walk with her husband through it all.
That night, they were in the hospital. The next day, Lance received his new kidney.
Lance remembers a time when he was angry with God because of the lot he’s been given. But when he started to trust God instead of trying to deal with his health issues on his own, he gained a new perspective.
“I started to trust that He has a reason for my situation and a plan for it — that it wouldn’t be something I have to go through,” he said, “but something I get to go through in order to show a different community what it means to trust Christ. Anytime I start to get annoyed or frustrated, I remember Jeremiah 29:11. I know that God has plans that are beyond my understanding.”
“There have been a lot of hard things — things to figure out,” Lindsey said. “But we’ve both been able to see how God worked it out and how He has controlled everything. You know it in your head, you know? But when you’ve experienced it firsthand, you’re like, ‘He does know what He’s doing!’”
Since the transplant, Lance has been in the hospital several times for days at a time. During those times, he doesn’t work. Though they know God is in control and believe that His plan is good, they’re physically and emotionally tired. They trust him with Lance’s health, but the daily things are hard to relinquish control of. They worry. They struggle. He says they’re in a valley. But they still have hope.
“I find strength in the song that says, ‘Though the sorrow may last for the night, his joy comes with the morning.’” Lance said. “Just knowing that this is temporary and knowing that God is going to bring us through and that we’ll be better because of it — strength, hope and the ability to carry on comes from this.” - as told to Josh Hayter