Sarah Felps Schecter (’84) found that stepping out in faith and trusting in God’s plan ended up being different than anything she had ever imagined.
For more than two decades, Schecter has worked in education, and for the last 10 years she has served as the principal of the lower grades at The Oakridge School, a private school in Arlington, Texas.
“I love my kids. They are sweet, smart, fun and always ready to learn.”
As head of the lower school, Schecter forms relationships with both students and their parents. During fall 2018, she had a conversation with Amenze Jones, the mother of three students, that left her thinking.
“I asked Amenze how her summer was going and she said OK, but her answer seemed a bit flat, and that didn’t seem like her. So I said what’s going on, and she just spilled the beans and said they were really struggling.”
Schecter learned Amenze’s husband, Nate, had been having health issues. What started out as a possible vision problem turned into an immediate visit to urgent care, a two-week hospital stay, and being put on dialysis.
“When I first talked to Amenze, Nate was already on dialysis. I couldn’t believe it. I saw him on field day, and he looked fine. It just seemed ridiculous that you could go from a normal, healthy looking person, to someone who’s on dialysis in just a few weeks.”
Schecter said it was after that conversation that she felt God was calling her to do more than just pray for the family. And, after learning that Nate had been placed on the donor list, that tug grew stronger.
“I just kept feeling heavily like I was the person who was supposed to do this. It was weird. I discounted and ignored it because it didn’t make sense I would be the person to help because I am not close friends with them, and I have never even thought about being a donor.”
Schecter kept tabs on the family through the fall, prayerful that Nate’s health would swing back the other way, and he would recover. By Christmas Nate wasn’t any better, so she approached her husband and two children about being a donor. She was surprised at how quickly they were on board.
“All three of them were like, ‘You’ve got to do it. If God put this on your heart, you have to do it. At least get checked to see if you are a match.’”
Despite having her family’s full support, Schecter said it wasn’t until parent teacher conferences a month later that she fully committed.
“One of Nate’s kid’s teachers had said she would like for me to be there. To me, that was God saying, ‘Sarah, you need to do this. Stop putting it off.’”
After the conference was over, Schecter pulled Amenze aside and told her that she felt she was supposed to be the person to give her kidney to Nate and would do what was needed to get on the donation list.
After several months, Schecter was called and quickly found out she was a perfect match. However, it wasn’t until the following school year, in November 2019, that Schecter received the call.
What had just been a possibility was now a reality. The pieces appeared to be coming together seamlessly, but Schecter said it wasn’t an easy journey.
“There were some hard days in there. About a week before the surgery date I started getting a little antsy and nervous and having some doubts.”
Those doubts quickly dispersed when Schecter’s church family, the Hills Church of Christ, organized a prayer circle at her house a week before her surgery.
“They prayed for every aspect of the surgery — it was amazing. After that, I was excited. After that, all my worries, doubts and fears were totally behind me, and I never had a second thought.”
Schecter said the entire journey has been an opportunity not only to listen and learn to hear God better but to obey and act on what he is calling her to do in any given moment.
“Just like the old song says, ‘Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.’ As soon as I obeyed, the happiness in Jesus was there, and that’s how it’s been all along.”
This not only has had an impact on Schecter’s life but the lives of her students. Her hope is that one day they will remember this experience and listen to God’s voice in their own lives.
“I have 145 students in lower school and I hope and would love it if 20 or 30 years from now many of them have donated a kidney or liver or whatever science allows them to donate or even just their time, love and attention.”
Putting your hope in God and God alone can impact your life in ways you can’t even imagine. Schecter says she feels this more and more as she grows older.
“Nearly all of us have these crazy ideas, but because we are so pragmatic and on our own schedule, we refuse to hear them. It’s been one of the highlights of my life and to think that if I hadn’t listened and followed through, I would have missed out on it completely.”
— Katie Clement