Four days before her wedding, Kimberly Woods got a life-changing phone call.
Kimberly had been living with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a heart disease that causes the muscles to be abnormally thick resulting in difficulty pumping blood. In August she was placed on the waiting list for a heart transplant.
At noon on September 28, 2021, Kimberly received a call from the hospital saying there was a heart available for her and she had to decide immediately if she wanted to accept or stay on the waiting list.
“I was shocked when I got the call,” she recalled. Kimberly, her fiancé, and family prayed over the decision and talked through options. “We prayed and I just felt a sense of peace, and I knew it was God saying, ‘Yes!’”
Kimberly knew she wanted her fiancé, Tony, to be by her side as her husband when she underwent the surgery. Her mom called Grace Community Church in Goshen, Ind., Kimberly and Tony’s church home for years, and Pastor Jim Brown was immediately onboard with an impromptu ceremony.
“It was really an easy decision, because both Tony and Kimberly loved the Lord,” Jim said. “I quickly got things set up in our south auditorium, grabbed our staff so they had people supporting them, and performed the wedding. It was a short, beautiful, meaningful, and Jesus-centered Wedding!”
Immediately after the ceremony, Kimberly and Tony drove the four and a half hours from Goshen, Ind., to Cleveland, Ohio, where they were met by family and friends. They prayed as a group, and at 10:00 p.m. Kimberly went to the hospital for the transplant.
Kimberly is nearing her six-month mark of recovery, which means soon she can resume normal activities like attending church and work. “With this new heart, I can move, dance, and exercise. It’s definitely a whole new world,” she said.
A side effect of one of the medicines Kimberly has to take is feeling emotionally disconnected. She felt very close to God before the surgery but admitted since the surgery it’s been hard to feel His presence. “I haven’t stopped praying, even though I can’t feel Him because prayer is powerful.” Although she accepted Jesus as her savior at a young age, she felt she needed to also commit her new heart to Him. “When I asked Jesus to be my forever friend again, I felt a sense of peace and a weight was lifted off my shoulders,” she said. “That was a turning point for me. Since then I’ve felt more calm, I’ve been able to sleep better, and I have been able to reconnect emotionally.”
“It’s hard to give everything over to God,” she said. “But when you do, it’s so much better. His timing is always perfect. I can look back and see Him in big and small miracles.”
Kimberly and Tony have a reception planned for June to celebrate their new life together and their hope for a long future together. Connect with Kimberly here.