I'm currently reading a book called Breathtaking, a book about one girl's life with cystic fibrosis. The author, Amber, was born in 1986, before the CF gene was even discovered. She was diagnosed with CF shortly after birth. Amber tried her best to live a normal life and even went to a semester of college, but by age 19, her pulmonary lung function was down to 19%, and she was on oxygen 24/7. She was listed for a double lung transplant, even though she tried very hard to stay as healthy as possible. The book is a collection of reflections from her friends and family about the struggles of life during and after the transplant, as well as many personal emails Amber sent to friends and family. I'm only partway through the book, but so far, I don't want to put it down. Amber has a contagious joy and loves the Lord with her whole heart. Even as she was preparing to possibly die, Amber's faith was never shaken (She's still alive today due to the miracle of transplant, but before the surgery and while she was on the operating table, the future was uncertain). One of her friends described Amber this way:
"I have watched Ambet face battle after battle head-on and claim victory through Jesus Christ's power in her life. To Him she gives all the glory and honor, and to Him she lives and breathes each moment of the day. She will be the first to admit she isn't perfect, that there were days she wanted to give up, that the fight seemed too long, lonely, and draining. But it was on those days that the power of Christ was displayed through her, for as it states in 2 Corinthians 12:9, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' She knew that fight, those days of loneliness. Of sickness, of struggle, was going to be worth it because she was living for seine and something higher than herself. She has lived out what it means to find joy in suffering, to find hope in desperation. To find unconditional love in the only One who can provide what some of us spend our whole lives searching for."
What an incredible description of a young woman with an unknown future and a seemingly unfair disease! Amber could've easily given up. She could've been mad at God, and honestly, she probably experienced moments of frustration. But her trust in God proved to be her firm foundation. Her faith burst through the pain, the loneliness, and the uncertainty. And others took notice.
I love reading stories like this. Amber is an inspiration to me! This Christmas break was one of the hardest on my body. I've never felt so weak, helpless, and powerless, and I am slowly starting to physically understand the progressive nature of CF. I'm nowhere near needing a transplant, and Lord willing, there will be a cure for CF before I need one!! However, my stamina is not the way it was when I was a kid. I have to have IV medications much more frequently than I used to, and I don't stay healthy for as long after I finish a course of IVs. My CF is becoming a more noticeable part of my life, a part I can't just ignore. I pray that on my good days AND bad that I would have an attitude like Amber's. I want people to look at me, struggles and all, and see the love of Christ shining through me. I want to trust God completely and not be weighed down with worry about the future.
"No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me.
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hands.
Til He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I stand."