Today I want to introduce you to Teresa. This amazing women choose to give her kidney to a total stranger. She is a wife and a mother of two (8 and 11 years old). Teresa is also a high school principal and a former teacher which means, beside making a huge impact on the life of the person she gave her kidney for she is making a huge impact on the lives of the high school kids that attend her school.
It was at University High School (Spokane) in 2012/13 that Teresa heard Doni share her story. Teresa was at University High school because she had been hired as a one-year replacement, for a health teacher (prior to becoming a principal). Little did she know God would have a very powerful calling on her life that she would learn about when Doni came to speak for the organization called “Donate for Life.” Doni was encouraging the students to sign up to become an organ donor upon their death. Teresa shared with me that Doni spoke briefly and humbly about giving one of her two kidneys to a stranger and how she wanted to be alive to see the difference she could make. Because God is God, Teresa went from thinking that the idea of giving a kidney, although admirable, was something she could not do herself, to actually doing it. “I could never do that” would become a thing of the past just a couple of months later. During the second semester Teresa had the same group, but a different speaker come to speak to her health class. This time this living kidney donor named Keith jokingly said, “I kinda feel like God gave us two kidneys, one so we could give away”. This is a perfect example of God wanting us to do something and getting his point across. Teresa went from “Not me to YES GOD”
“Although he was joking I knew that message was for me. It was a God moment, forever stuck in my mind. God was nudging me that He wanted me to do this. Within minutes of him making this comment, I called Spokane Kidney transplant and asked about becoming an “alturistic donor” (giving to a stranger). I never hesitated, never felt scared, fully believed this was something God not only wanted me to do but I felt excited to do it. They sent me the paperwork that day and my journey began” said, Teresa. (Photo: Teresa and her beautiful family just before surgery)
Teresa wanted to make a difference in someone’s life, in this capacity, while she was living. She is a person who gets life by giving life and the opportunity she was given to be a living donor was one she fully embraced.
She had a lot of support from friends and some criticism from one particular family member but the criticism she received never was a showstopper for her. Knowledge is power and Theresa found out in doing research that people live just fine on one kidney. If she could live just fine with one kidney, then why wouldn’t she be willing to give her other kidney so someone could live?
Teresa used a different program to give her kidney than Doni because Spokane did not have program in place when Doni was a donor. Teresa went through Sacred Heart Kidney Transplant Center with the help Joanne McCleary.
As with Doni, my mind was blown once again with Teresa’s take on this whole thing. I told her I could not wrap my mind around it and I did not think I had it in me. She responded to me with a question. She asked me if I had to bungee jump in order to save someone’s life would I be able to? I have told my husband more than once no way, not a chance would I ever bungee-jump but when she said that I could save I life I said “Yes” without hesitating…She said, “Well, I couldn’t.” I sat there for a moment trying to let what she said sink in. After a moment of silence she said to me God made each of us different, each of us has a specific purpose, a specific calling, we are not all called to do the same thing. You could do that and I couldn’t. I gave a kidney and you are not called to do that. Wow! Let me say it again, WOW! That simple question made it seem so much easier to understand.
After helping me to understand, Teresa told me about her interview with Nadine Woodward when she used the same analogy. I did not want to get it wrong I asked her to write it down for me.
“I remember in the initial interview with Nadine Woodward her asking me what it felt like to be a hero. I laughed and told her that I don’t think I’m a hero because we all do things that we believe we are called to do. AND…when we do what we are called to do….. we are in our wheelhouse. It isn’t laborious. It is purposeful and meaningful. What one person is called to do isn’t necessary what another is called to do. For example, if I was asked to bungee jump to save someone’s life I don’t think I could do it. Yet, for someone else, they probably could and would. I couldn’t and wouldn’t. But for me…I would much rather go through major surgery to save a life. AND..I did”.
This “Real Housewife of God’s Kingdom” may not see herself as a hero but I sure do. I think both her and Doni are heroes. Her favorite scripture is Ephesians 2:10 (AMP) and I have to say it one of my favorite parts of this series. I love to see how God’s word speaks to each lady.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s own handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, (born anew) that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us (taking paths which He prepared ahead of time), that we should walk in them (living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live.)
Talk about living out your favorite scripture! “That we may do those good works that God predestined for us, that we should walk in them” Nailed it!!
Teresa says she doesn’t have any regrets about doing this and she shared her thoughts with me in such a beautiful way I thought it would be best said in her words not mine.
“I would do it again if I had another kidney to give. This whole process has been extremely amazing and rewarding for me. I feel like God gave me a beautiful gift. I would never thought that by giving a kidney, I would be the one to be blessed but it is true. I have a richer life through this “good work” that God prepared before the foundation of the world for me to do. I do believe that I’m the lucky one. So I thank God for the opportunity I was given to “get life – by giving life”.
As I said before, Teresa is now a High School principal and I have to say I think those kids are lucky to have such a wonderful woman over seeing their school. God is really using her for His Kingdom and that is why I wanted her to be a part of this series. This woman of God has not only made an impact in the school, in the life of her children, her husband and her church; she made a huge impact in the life of a man named Albert when she gave her kidney to save his life on May 24, 2013. Take a moment to really read what the card says that Albert gave to Teresa. “From the person who you gave back their life” Talk about being the “Hands, Feet and for this post the Kidney of Christ”
Recently Teresa was able to speak to a women’s auxiliary group and said It was sooo rewarding to see how a simple act of surgery could impact so many lives! Simple? I think choosing rather to eat the chocolate or not eat the chocolate is SIMPLE. Choosing to give up a kidney would not be simple for me. Again, I am humbled by her story.
Albert and Teresa stay in touch just like Doni and Teri do. They will share a very special connection that most of us will never understand. There lives are forever intwined by two of the most selfless acts of kindness I have ever witnessed. This photo shows how God uses all of us in his incredible plan. Doni on the end in the pink was inspired after reading an article to give her kidney, she then speaks at a school where Teresa (in the green) hears her and something starts to happen in her heart. God would then use Keith (with the glasses) to speak the words, “I kinda feel like God gave us two kidneys so we can give one away” to move Teresa’s heart to say, “Yes”. Albert (on the end) is now living a happy and blessed life with the help of Teresa’s kidney. Jeremiah 29:1, “For I know the plans I have for you,” Declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope for the future.” seems like the perfect verse to wrap up this latest episode of the real housewives out God’s kingdom.
I hope you have been inspired to see how God wants to use you and please, if you have not signed up to be a donor on your driver’s license please do so. You could be saving the life of someone else. To see more of Teresa’s story you can watch her interview with Nadine Woodward at Kxly.com
Until next time on the Real Housewives of God’s Kingdom when we meet two women in ministry, blessings and may you be filled to overflowing with the love of God.
-The Midlife Domestic Goddess.