Sunday I mentioned briefly what has taken place in our lives over the last couple of years. Jeremiah 29.11 has always been a verse that I have clung to, but lately it has really become more significant.

It 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."

There are times when circumstances in life seem to be a monumental disaster and you feel like throwing your hands up to God and screaming "Are you kidding me?" As we have watched our children develop some unusual medical symptoms that made doctors scratch their heads, we too have felt quite helpless. Kathy, being the persistent nurse/mother/researcher, after much searching and trying started to find a disease that may line up with some of these things. The wait for testing could have taken months though. Realizing that these symptoms were progressing rapidly, she searched even more and found a conference in Calif. If we could get out there and attend the conference, then all of us could get screened for this disease for free, as this is a genetic disorder.

All of this time, we were so frustrated with all of the doctor visits, tests, etc. We were looking to find some answers and direction. Well, after they tested all of us and asked us 939 questions, they said "let's start with John." I'm thinking "hey, we're not here for me, I'm fine." They began to tell us that the most dangerous marker for this disease is an "aortic root aneurism." Most people that have it do not discover it until it is too late and they are dead. The average life expectancy was about 45 years old. They told me I had that marker! Normal aortic root measurements for my age and size were from 2.5 to 3.5 cm. Mine was 4.2. If it were to get to 4.5 or more they would start talking about surgery. Wow. Everything changed in a moment. All of the things the kids had been through that seemed like a disaster was leading to something good- saving my life. We also found out that the kids aortic roots were on the large end of the scale too. Upon returning home, we were tested again with the same results.

One of the most common meds used for this is something my doctor had me on for a number of years for migraine prevention. He had just taken me off of it about 3 months prior to this discovery. What would have happened if I'd stayed off that med and the aneurism hadn't been detected? God has good plans. I went right back on it.

Upon hearing the news that I had this aneurism, a group of pastors from Spanish speaking churches asked if they could come and pray for us and lay hands on us as the Bible instructs. I, of course had no objections. The church also had a time set aside to do the same thing. We also had people from all over the world praying for us.

Approximately 14 months later, we went to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore for follow up and annual check on that aortic root. Braced for the worst, anticipating the best- the dr said that the aortic root is now 3.95cm and everything looks "proportionate." He said it didn't even look like I have an aneurism. If I did, he would see it right away. It would look out of proportion with the rest of my heart. I may still have a weakness in the wall there and will still have to get it checked and so on, but-Wow. On top of that- both of the kids measurements stayed exactly the same even though they both went through pretty major growth periods right here in the middle of their teen years! Call it whatever you want. Try to rule out the God factor any way you want. He's still in there! He's still got plans for good for you and me!

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