Excerpt from Daring to Believe by Amy Gray-Cunningham
“I have been all things unholy; if God can work through me, he can work through anyone.” —St. Francis of Assisi
THE GROOM AND THE BEST MAN took their places at the front of the hall, and the DJ queued the music. All eyes darted to the back of the room. Dressed in an off-white lace gown with flowers in her hair, Mallory appeared with her father by her side. He wore a smile which lit up his face—a moment forever etched in my mind.
The room had been decorated just as in Mallory’s childhood dreams. The lights were dimmed, and a sweet fragrance of roses
perfumed the air. A spray of white flowers adorned the wedding arch where the couple would speak their vows and cement their life-long commitment with a kiss. But most important of all, the room overflowed with family and friends who came to witness the intimate joining of two precious souls.
Mallory glided by me on the arm of her father looking like a graceful swan streaming through the water. Tears flooded my eyes as I drank in the moment. Mallory’s father—tall, healthy, and full of life—beamed with love and admiration for the little girl who had captured his heart many years ago.
Proudly, David Ensley presented his beloved daughter’s hand in marriage to the second man she’d ever loved. For both David and Mallory, however, this day proved much more special than simply a happy dad offering his daughter’s hand in marriage. For all of us, in fact, it was about savoring a joyful story that could’ve had a different ending, but thankfully didn’t, because of those who dared to believe.
When our new bride, Mallory, was a teenager, her father, David, had been diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease, or PKD, which eventually put him in renal failure. Her wedding day most likely wouldn’t have included her father, except that her Aunt Jennifer, desperate for a miracle, had courageously turned to social media.
Jennifer Ensley Scoggins had created a Facebook page, Looking for a Kidney for My Brother David, in hopes of finding a living donor. Neither Jennifer nor their older brother, Randy, were eligible donors, and other family members were not a match. But Jennifer never gave up hope. She believed God would provide a miracle—an angel to help her brother.
Our connection began when Chuck, my husband, casually read Jennifer’s Facebook page aloud to me one evening. Something deep within me stirred and with all my heart, I replied, “I hope someone steps up to help him.”
My life then took a dramatic 180-degree turn when I heard— from out of nowhere—“Amy, that person will be you!”
I had been asking God to use me for His purpose. However, I never thought He’d ask me to do something so outrageous.
On July 6, 2011, I donated a life-saving kidney to David Ensley. It is this fantastic journey that I share with you now.
As an organ donor, I became a perfect match—a 1-in-20 million to be exact—to this man I didn’t even know. Our body types were such a close match that we could have been siblings. As a result, David now requires only a small amount of anti-rejection medication to keep his body from rejecting the new kidney I donated.
I initially decided to write this book to educate people about kidney donation and the process I went through. At the time of my surgery, there weren’t many books written about the procedure, and I just love books! The ones I found were clinical and boring. I wanted to write about my personal journey with the intent of possibly inspiring others to consider becoming living donors, as well.
The book, however, has evolved into something much more than a story about a kidney donation. It has become a testimonial to daring to believe in the impossible and watching for the synchronicities in life leading you to your divine purpose.
Daring to Believe is an inspiring love story. But most importantly, it’s about my ever-growing love affair with God— or “Papa,” as I call Him—and discovering that what I’ve been searching for my entire life was within me all along.
God, Allah, Tao, Source, Adoni, Papa—it doesn’t matter how you refer to the Supreme Being of the Universe. God is not a thing, or a place, or a concept. It’s the breath within each of us that connects us to the All and to one another.
God is accessible in everyone at any time. You’ll find Him in the vagrant on the street or the CEO in the corner office. You’ll recognize Him in the act of holding the door for the person behind you or the hug you give a friend. You may or may not find Him in a church or a synagogue or a mosque or a bar, but you will notice Him in the people who frequent those places.
I grew up as a Christian, and you’ll find many references to the Christian way of life throughout this book. But I beg you, whether you are Christian or a non-Christian—no matter what your thoughts are about that aspect of your life, please continue reading!
My prayer is that this book touches people across all divides and religions. God is all-encompassing no matter the name He’s called!
May you be inspired and Dare to Believe.
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