A Clean Heart: Jasmine Le’Shea on Suffering, Her Heart and Eternity
If you’re familiar with Reach Records artist, KB, then you may have heard of singer/songwriter, Jasmine Leshea. Jasmine was featured on KB’s debut album, Weight & Glory, angelically singing the hook on a track entitled “Heart Song” which is partly about her condition. The second verse is based on her story. Listen below.
Get to know Jasmine and hear how the Lord is working wonders in her life and heart.
RAAN: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? When did you believe in Christ? What are you doing these days?
Jasmine: I was born in Chattanooga, TN and raised by two loving parents. My family moved to the Tampa Bay area in support of my dad’s pastoral ministry in the late 90’s. I do not recall the exact date of my enlightenment to Christ, but I definitely remember the experience. My dad for many years had poured into me with Biblical knowledge, for which I am extremely grateful, and I for years spouted it out. But it was sometime during the year 2000 that the Lord led me to my knees in my bedroom. I cried out to Him asking to know Him. That was the first time that I recall not praying for my wants or the wants of others to be met, but I asked with all my heart that I would come to know Jesus, to feel Him, and to live with and for Him. I was graced with salvation.
Today, I am an unemployed college graduate. Lol… I worked up until August 2011 when I took ill due to heart complications associated with heart transplantation. I now work on my music ministry. I fellowship with brothers and sisters, focus on my health, and more as the Lord provides me strength.
RAAN: You discovered that you have an illness when you were a teenager. Can you tell us how you found out and what happened in the next few years afterwards?
Jasmine: I became ill in the latter months of the year 2000. Initially my illness seemed to be minute; my symptoms reflected a common cold. Over time I became more and more tired, I began missing school, and I ultimately needed to sleep upright so I wouldn’t choke on water that I coughed up.
One evening in October of 2000 I felt extremely weak, but I tried to be mobile in my home anyway. Though it took me a while I made it from the living room to the restroom on my own, but when I attempted to get back I couldn’t make it. That was the evening I was rushed to the emergency room. Doctors thought I had pneumonia. They later returned to share that their first diagnosis was inaccurate; I had congestive heart failure. I remained hospitalized for most of the next 5 months, then on February 24, 2001 I was graced with a new heart.
In 2001 and for a few years afterward I encountered several episodes of rejection (the body working to counteract the helpful efforts of the transplanted organ) and was hospitalized for varying durations because of this. I was eventually strengthened such that I was able to graduate with my high school class, then enter and graduate from the University of South Florida. And I had an opportunity to work for several years.
RAAN: How has your experience battling a serious physical condition affected your witness?
Jasmine: It made and makes the truth that life is short and what we do in it much more real to me. It leads me to emphasize in my sharing the need for men and women, boys and girls to live with eternity in mind, noting that only what is done for Christ will last.
RAAN: You did a song called “Heart Song” with the Reach Records artist, KB. What is the message you want to convey in the song?
Jasmine: As KB says in the song, there is purpose in pain. And as my pastor would say, we must “suffer well” keeping eternity in mind. When we die, may our hope leave those who knew us and our stories with the fact that we will join Jesus Christ in Heaven. May we prayerfully comfort and leave many wanting the same assurance for their lives after physical death.
RAAN: It was only much later that you found out your condition may be genetic. Do you think health problems as a taboo subject is common in some African American communities? What do we do about that in our own families?
Jasmine: I recently found, like many of my African American peers, that I knew only vague information about my family’s health history. I’m not certain why, but thorough health communication among our families is often absent despite its extreme importance. When we see a new physician the paperwork always asks about our family’s health history. A physician wants to ensure that he/she does not overlook testing us for what may be genetic conditions; we need to be able to provide the relevant information. So what can we do? Ask detailed questions to every living relative and if feasible review death/medical records of those who are deceased. Also, we should not wait until we are asked rather we should aim to be intentional about having conversations with family members within our reach about our own health statuses.
RAAN: You’re working on an album right now. What’s it called and what is the inspiration for it?
Jasmine: The album I am working on is entitled “Live a Beautiful Life”. The inspiration for the album title is Christ as displayed powerfully through the life of a recently deceased friend and fellow heart transplant recipient known as ‘Joy’. Her heart and her smile would light up a room. Her conversation with me often reflected great hope in Christ. She went home to be with the Lord several months ago, but she truly has a heart that will “never stop beating”. I will never forget how her joy bubbled over to those around her. She faced a few extremely difficult decisions yet she lived a beautiful life, one that honors the Lord Jesus in joy and in strife. The album reflects my desire to live a beautiful life, and it urges everyone to strive to do the same. Supporter can expect first single release May 2013! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to stay informed about this and future releases!
RAAN: What was your journey into Reformed theology? How has that impacted your faith and how you express it to others?
Jasmine: My dad has taught that God has predestined a people who will follow Him, and that those people will do so by His grace and through faith alone as far back as I can remember. He taught this along with other significant reformed theological principals and I ‘believed’ and understood a number of them intellectually. As a teenager the Lord first allowed me to experience irresistible grace, and to this day despite my many many instances of disobedience to Him he shows me that He will never let me fall out of His hand (though He chastises those He loves, which means me too!). I now believe the aforementioned and other truths with all my heart and I want to tell others about the Lord’s sovereignty, His provision, eternal protection, & His great plan that will work together for good for those who love Him.
RAAN: You’re currently raising funds for another major health procedure. What is it and how can people help?
Jasmine: My transplant cardiologist has recommended that I undergo a second heart transplant. I have insurance, but insurance coverage for a procedure that has a 2011 estimated US billing cost of approximately one million dollars along with maintenance costs like medicine, hospital in and outpatient co-pays, etc. will leave me with a substantial out of pocket financial need. For a more detailed heart transplant expense explanation see http://www.transplantliving.org/before-the-transplant/financing-a-transplant/the-costs/. I am asking that readers who are moved by my need help me to raise $100,000. This amount will prayerfully be enough to help cover my $35,000+ medical debt and with costs associated the surgery & post-surgery maintenance for one year. Whether you are able to give thousands, hundreds, twenties, or even ones I ask that you give generously & from your heart. Every gift is most appreciated. Donations may be made via a secure PayPal link at www.jasmineleshea.com. Thank you in advance for your help.