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Jonathon and Caitlin
Dear Friends and Family of Jonathan Woodlief,
As many of you know, at thirteen Jonathan was diagnosed with Lupus. After three years of trying to fight this disease, his kidneys failed and for two years he was on dialysis. In 2000, Jonathan had a kidney transplant four days after graduating from high school — his mother was his living donor. Now about twelve years later, Jonathan is in need of another kidney transplant because about two years ago the lupus returned and began attacking his transplanted kidney. Unfortunately, even with several rounds of chemotherapy and other treatments, the kidney continued to decline and Jonathan in now in kidney failure and needs another transplant.
Jonathan and his wife, Caitlin, were told that he had a one percent chance of finding a kidney match with the general population. A group of amazing friends was tested to see if any of them could be the living donor to Jonathan — four of the five tested were not matches. But a miracle happened. Four months after Jonathan and Caitlin were married Caitlin learned that she was match. However, doctors found a slightly enlarged lymph node found near Caitlin’s left kidney, so plans for the transplant are currently on hold. Please pray that the Lord heals Jonathan and if not, that Jonathan maintain his current health as he waits for either Caitlin’s lymph node to shrink, or until another living donor is identified. The hope is that Caitlin will be tested again in early May and the transplant could then take place soon after at Baylor Hospital in Dallas.
Even with insurance, Jonathan will have many uninsured transplant-related expenses such as: co-pays and deductibles, doctor visits and the costly immunosuppressant medications that he will need to take for the rest of his life. This presents a financial challenge to the family as the transplant team at Baylor has estimated that Jonathan and Caitlin will need approximately $15,000 – $20,000 for first year expenses.
To help offset his uninsured costs, a fundraising campaign in Jon’s honor has been established with HelpHOPELive (formerly NTAF), a nonprofit organization that has been assisting the transplant community for nearly 30 years. All contributions are tax-deductible, are held by HelpHOPELive in the South-Central Kidney Transplant Fund, and are administered by HelpHOPELive for transplant-related expenses only. You can help make a difference in John’s life. Please, if you can, make a donation today.Please continue to pray for Jonathan, Caitlin, their family during this time. They are resting in the Lord’s love, truth, grace and promises and see His mighty power encouraging the faith of many at this time. Thank you so much for your love, care and kindness.
Friends and Family of Jonathan and Caitlin Woodlief
July 16, 2012
Almost 4 weeks
I can’t believe the last time we updated you was in June. I am so sorry we have kept you waiting for so long. Just to bring you up to date, Jonathan has been going to the doctor regularly and while we have had a few scares, his body and my kidney are still getting along quite well and there is no sign for rejection yet! That is amazing!!! Please keep praying however, the first 6 months are the time when Jonathan’s body is most likely to reject the new kidney, so we still covet your prayers. I also went to the doctors and everything looks ok with my body as well!
We both have improved a great deal. We can walk pretty well now and are able do most daily tasks by ourselves. We are still unable to lift heavy objects, but I started driving last week! We also both started back to work part-time last week and we were both so tired when we finished our short day. We are both still pretty tired after a half day of work or an outing but it’s still been great to get out and see friends and slowly start to get back to a normal schedule.
We also have had the blessing of resting,( especially when we had both of our moms visit, my brother and sister-in-law visit and Jonathan’s sister visit. They all helped SO much and we were so grateful to see them) reading many encouraging notes and cards, seeing friends, receiving much appreciated meals, celebrate two of friends getting engaged and even celebrated my birthday last night.
We continue to be overwhelmed and humbled by all that we have received. I wanted to leave you with the lyrics to a song Jonathan and I have been singing around the house a lot that has encouraged us so much. I pray that the Lord draws you close to Himself and reveals how beautiful He is to you so that you may respond in awe and adoration. We love you, thank you for loving us.
Cait and Jonathan
The Greatness of Our God-Hillsong
Give me eyes to see
More of who You are
May what I behold,
still my anxious heart.
Take what I have known
And break it all apart
For You my God, are greater still.
No sky contains,
No doubt restrains,
All You are,
The greatness of our God.
I spend my life to know,
And I’m far from close
To all You are,
The greatness of our God.
Give me grace to see
Beyond this moment here.
To believe that there
Is nothing left to fear.
That You alone are high above it all.
For You my God, are greater still.
June 27, 2012
8 days out and counting…
Cait and I are now 8 days out from the transplant and we are both feeling pretty good. The overall sense we feel is overwhelmed by the goodness and greatness of our God. The main prayers we were praying walking into the surgery were no rejection, good health for Cait, few side-effects from the meds, 2 Cor 1- that the God of all comfort would comfort us so that we can comfort others in their own troubles, and that God would be made much of. God has blown our expectations in these areas flat out of the water. The interviews from Channel 8 and ABC news were very unexpected and we are humbled by how God is using the story He has written to encourage and bring hope to others in suffering and remind us all of the fact that He is able. Though, we have been plastered across the internet with grins and thumbs up it does not mean the days following transplant are always easy. There has been a lot of pain and discomfort, truckloads of medications, and it is a slow road to recovery for both of us and many doctor’s appointments for me over the next year…and of course for life. I will begin going 3 times a week for the first month or so.
Recently, the Lord is teaching us a lot about what it means to walk with Him in faith through the struggles and troubles of life. Even today, we got a little scare as my kidney function had decreased significantly since Monday. The doctor scheduled a kidney biopsy for Friday, more lab tests for me over the next 2 days, and a renal (kidney) sonogram for today. What a reminder of how quickly circumstances can change as just Monday we were overwhelmed with the best kidney function I have had since I was probably a teenager. I called Caitlin and her simple faith in Jesus struck me as she said in her prayer, “and Lord…we trust You.” We trust You. What does that look like? We are realizing we have had a lot of misconceptions about what it means to trust Jesus.
I think at times we have this mis-informed idea that stoicism means you are trusting God. The absence of wrestle means that you are trusting God. No tears, anger, or doubt means you are trusting God. When you read the Scriptures faith does not seem to be the absence of struggle, doubt, or wrestle, instead faith involves what you do with the doubt, depression, and the twisting. The faith that pleases God is faith that takes the doubts, struggles, fears, and wrestle and honestly brings them to Jesus. We see one example of this in the Gospel of Mark when Jesus heals the boy with an evil spirit. The father simply comes to Jesus with his unbelief saying, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”
This same idea has been stirring in our heads from a blog from the Gospel Coalition today. Ray Ortland the writer describes how the Hebrew word for ‘wait’ is closely connected with the translation for the word ‘twist.’ That is kind of how we felt today. Twisting, turning, and wrestling with the unsettling news as we waited in the doctor’s office for close to four hours. Ortland goes on to say this, “you may be bewildered, gasping or frightened but that doesn’t mean that you are not trusting God…it actually might mean you are trusting God.”
Well, the good news from today is that the sonogram came back clear and the doctor is now pretty sure my kidney function test from today was higher because of a certain medicine that will need to be adjusted. The better news from today was that God took us to a deeper level of freedom in our ability to see the reality of tears, struggle, darkness, frustration, and even twisting in the journey of waiting and trusting in God…and to see that is good for us to bring these raw emotions to our God.
Photo Galleries (1)
January 26, 2013
Dear Jonathon, My name is Duane Carlson I was your Pard District basketball coach from Marietta Ga. My sons name was Ryan. Today I was looking at some old photos and came upon your picture with Michael Jordan that you autographed for me. I decided to try to find you oby googling your name and some how found this site. I am so happy that you are married and doing good. I wasn,t sure how things turned out. I talked to your mother after I left Ga. and moved back to Chicago. I was going through a divorce at the time. I have since remarried and it it ironic that my wife has family in Dallas. They live in Southlake. Not sure if you are familiar with that area. At any rate we visit there often. I have since retired from Delta Airlines although I still get to fly for free. I would love to hear from you if you have time. My email address is [email protected] or phone number is 847-322-9576. It definitely made my day finding out that you are doing so well. Tell your mother I said hello. God Bless You and Your Family. Your friend Duane Carlson
Duane Carlson Arlington Heights il.
August 3, 2012
Jonathon and Caitlin, I have not written yet, but I have been following your story since spring. I have been praying for you guys and asking the Lord to show his strength with miracles and provision and healing, and to show his character through this. I am amazed and grateful to see that happening! I admire you two and am awed by your courage in all this. I am so proud of you and how you are living through this the right way. I am not sure what else to say, except to encourage to keep doing so. This morning I took extra time to pray for you, your bodies' healing, the transplant not being rejected, your provision and more. Caitlin, I hope I can meet you some day! Jonathon, it's been way too long since I have seen you, but life is just like that. I hope that we can remedy that at some point!
Alan Goddard, now in Athens GA
June 27, 2012
Hey Jonathan! We haven't seen each other since Campus Crusade days (you may not even remember me!), but somehow I have heard about your recent transplant! Thought I would read over your blog, and I am completely amazed by you and your wife! It's amazing to see what God has done in your life! Know that Derek and I will be keeping you both in our prayers!
June 25, 2012
Jonathan - I ran across a picture of the two of us on a boat when our families traveled north...we were on a whale watch together. A lot has changed since then! I've had you on my mind for many years. For the past 5, I've worked as a Family Support Coordinator for Carolina Donor Services. When I step in to speak with families about the importance of donation, I always have you, and the thousands of others waiting for that life-saving gift, there in the back of my mind. Never give up. Thanks for being an inspiration to us all.
Jeremiah Davis / Winston Salem, NC