( Pictured: Jace with our daughter Lyric (6 months old) before heading into surgery)
My name is Kaylee Gutierrez and I have been married to my husband Jace for 6 years. Jace works in medical sales and is a wonderful provider. Although he has encountered many health obstacles in his 33 years of life, this has not hindered him from sacrificing to lead our family. Jace is one of the worship leaders at our church and is incredibly anointed in this gifting. I’m thankful every day that God chose me to be his wife.
I also have the beautiful privilege of being Mom to Lyric (3.5 yrs. old) and Sawyer (11 months). Lyric is your classic first born girly girl. She talks NONSTOP (often driving me mad) and loves to wear dresses. Every morning she asks if we can go upstairs to put on one of her dresses but not until mommy has had her coffee, first. I can’t do anything before that bitter caffeinated goodness hits my taste buds! I know you moms can relate. Sawyer has been such a sweet baby boy and is already completely different than his sister. He is more independent and loves to destroy things! He will throw things out of any drawer or cabinet he can manage to get into. He fights tooth and nail to play in the toilet. And any time the baby gate is left open makes a mad dash for the stairs. These two kiddos wear me out and bless my life in more ways that I could ever count.
I grew up in Dallas, TX (surrounding areas) and other than college have lived here my entire life. I come from a wonderful family and growing up I had a pretty normal and blessed life. I guess some probably would have called me spoiled but I wasn’t a brat, I promise. My husband and I are very involved at our church Shoreline Dallas (www.shorelinedallas.com). In addition to my husband being one of the worship leaders, over the last 5 years, I have been honored to serve in multiple areas of the church. This is a small snapshot of our family. Now let’s go deeper…
Just over 3 years ago, I sat in a cold and sterile hospital room full of beeping machines, IV bags, and at least half a dozen nurses. While my husband lay on the bed, I sat in a stiff chair, tears flowing down my cheeks, holding our precious 2-week old daughter. I looked up at my husband, and to my surprise, he had the biggest, most genuine, smile on his face. Full of joy, he expressed to me the peace he felt and that he knew God was going to get us through this.
Minutes earlier, I eagerly waited for the doctor to update me on the procedure. The procedure which had potential to affect the rest of our lives. I looked down the well-lit hallway, rows of windows bringing in natural light on this gorgeous day, to see the doctor make his way toward me. I tried to read his face as he approached me...Did the procedure go well or was bad news coming? As he knelt down and touched my hand, I knew the answer to my question. Not being the best with his bedside manner, the doctor told me that my husband’s heart had failed and he would need a new heart. He would need to be put on the heart transplant list, for the second time, immediately. His first transplant had rejected and there was no way to save it. He needed a brand new heart or he would lose his life, I would lose my husband and my daughter, her father.
The next 6 months went by slowly as we waited for “the call”. “The call” that they had found a match for Jace’s new heart. The call that brings relief to your heart as you know your husband is being given a second chance, or in our situation a third chance, but the call that brings another family grief as they handle the loss of a loved one. Those six months changed my life! During that time, the Lord equipped me with more strength, peace, comfort, and joy than I can describe. He called me to step out of my comfort zone and trust Him with things unseen. Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
Through this journey, I had no choice but to fully surrender to the Lord. No control over the outcome of our circumstances, I came face to face with harsh realities. There was the possibility of becoming a widow at only 28 years old, with a newborn baby. Would my baby get a chance to know her father and the deep love he has for her? Would she know that his prayer is to walk her down the aisle on her wedding day? After only 2 years of marriage, would he truly grasp how much I love him? How much I need him? The questions and fears that could weasel their way into my mind were relentless, but I could not lose my focus on the TRUTH! During an intimate prayer time with the Lord, just a week before we received the devastating news, Jace received a powerful word from God! This word trumped every fear or question we could ever have. God led Jace to Psalms 41:1-3 “1 Blessed are those who have regard for the weak; the LORD delivers them in times of trouble. 2 The LORD protects and preserves them—they are counted among the blessed in the land— he does not give them over to the desire of their foes.3 The LORD sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness.” This scripture gave us hope in times of despair, joy in times of sadness, and peace in times of worry.
Praise the Lord, we received a donor heart on January 15, 2014. We thank the Lord every day for the selfless family who allowed their loved one’s organs to give others a second chance at life. God’s promises to us had been fulfilled. He had not left or forsaken us. He had blessed us with more time as a family. Jace received a second chance to be a husband. A second chance to be a father and walk his daughter down the aisle. My daughter would experience more of her father’s love for her. I would have more time to show my husband the unconditional love I have for him. Not all families are so fortunate and we were truly blessed!
This is only a portion of my story but it is a big part. God used this trial to breathe purpose and passion into my heart. Over the years, those passions have taken different forms. God has changed things in my heart during different seasons, but it is incredible looking back and discovering how every trial and blessing He’s brought me through were all working together to bring me closer to Him and the calling on my life. I would love for you to follow along, as I reveal what the Lord is consistently doing in my life and how He continues to form me into a servant for His glory!
Are you in a season of intense trials and desperate for the Lord to give you strength to face them head on? When we are in the midst of trials we may only have short moments to spend with the Lord, but if our hearts are focused on Him, He will bless those fleeting moments. I challenge you, no matter how much time you have each day, to choose a scripture and pray it over yourself. Focus your heart, even briefly, on Jesus. The Lord gives us grace in the time we spend with Him and His peace will begin to fill you. Galatians 5:22-23 says, “ But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
Are you in a beautiful season of blessings? Praise God! Take time each day to thank Him for this season. Ask Him to fill you up as you prepare to face future trials with more peace and wisdom than those of the past. Philippians 4:6-7 “Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
(Pictured: Jace on the operating table receiving his second heart transplant. He was the 100th heart transplant recipient with Baylor Dallas's new transplant team)