On July 4th, eleven years ago today, our daughter Hannah was diagnosed with rheumatic fever.
It all started when we were on our beach vacation. On the second night, Hannah started to run a fever of 104.5 degrees. We prayed for her then gave her ibuprofen and acetaminophen–back to back. The fever wouldn’t budge. It was staying high throughout the night. I sat up with her doing everything I could to lower the temperature. The next morning, we stood at the doctor’s office waiting for them to open. They diagnosed her with strep throat and gave her amoxicillin. Relieved, we filled the prescription, gave it to her, and waited for her to get better.
By the end of the trip Hannah’s fever was gone, but her energy didn’t return. Her swim team was waiting for her when she got back home. Hannah had been a fast swimmer and had always had more endurance than most kids–but something was wrong. Hannah couldn’t muster the energy to practice or even sit up now.
Ten days of antibiotic was finished and we took her to her doctor for a follow-up. They ran blood tests on her that revealed she had Rheumatic Fever. They didn’t know what to do for her. Not many got this anymore. They prescribed a long-term dose of antibiotics and gave her steroids for some of the extreme symptoms. Over the next months, she actually got worse. Nothing helped her. We prayed. All our friends and family prayed. For an entire year Hannah was bedridden. She rarely walked. We picked her up and carried her everywhere. She couldn’t even walk to the bathroom. When traveling, we made her a bed in the back of our Suburban, and that is where she laid. There were days we didn’t know if she would make it. It was one of the hardest years of our life.
But, she not only made it through, she came out of it stronger than ever spiritually and mentally.
Hannah is 23 years old now and has no heart damage. She is in perfect health. She is married to her highschool sweetheart, Jake, and is one of the most Godly women I’ve ever known. Her hardships led her into a very deep walk with Jesus. She is unshakeable in her faith. Psalm 23: 1-6 describes her walk.
She graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University 2 years ago and is a full-time social worker today. She works with low-income young moms educating them in child development and parenting skills. Many of her clients live in hopeless circumstances. Some are homeless living in motels. Some are hungry with little to no food. Some are addicts wanting help but not knowing how to get it. Some live in bug infested places you wouldn’t want to visit. These are the homes Hannah goes to everyday. She not only gets to pray with her clients; she brings hope to the hopeless, love to the loveless and answers to the lost–all in a day’s work. She loves what she does and says she couldn’t be doing anything that would be more rewarding than being a missionary in her very own city.
When you remember Hannah, would you pray for her? Her assignments are huge. It can be daunting in her own strength, but she goes in His. Please pray for more spiritual wisdom, protection and power from the Lord. Thank you Jesus for Hannah. What a powerhouse of Your glory!